Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
Photo of the Week | May 23, 2022
Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Great River
View of Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Great River. (Image from the Islip Town Pictorial Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)
The hamlet of Great River, home to the present-day Bayard Cutting Arboretum, was originally named Youngsport after the family of Erastus Youngs, who built and repaired boats on the Connetquot River in the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1880s, William Bayard Cutting purchased the Great River estate of George Loralliard, including over 900 acres. In 1886, Cutting began to build his country house there. It was designed by Charles C. Haight and named Westbrook. Cutting also hired T.J. Green of Sayville to design a large barn used as a cow stable with a 600-pound clock in the tower of the cow shed. The arboretum was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted for Cutting in 1887.
William Bayard Cutting (1850-1912) was the son of Fulton Cutting and Elise Bayard. Educated in a private school in New York, Cutting graduated from Columbia College at the age of nineteen, and from Columbia Law School in 1871, and was involved with many business, civic, and philanthropic activities but never practiced law. He married Olivia Murray, and together they had four children.
After Mr. Cutting’s death, the estate was kept by his wife and daughter for a time, and in 1952, it was donated by the family via a prior arrangement to the Long Island State Park Region. The intent of the donation was “to provide an oasis of beauty and quiet for the pleasure, rest, and refreshment of those who delight in outdoor beauty; and to bring about a greater appreciation and understanding of the value and importance of informal planting.” The Long Island State Park Commission has preserved much of the property’s original trees, shrubs, vines, and foundation plantings.
Suggested Reading: George Roussos, Bayard Cutting Arboretum History (Long Island State Park and Recreation Committee).