History of Dorsey Park

By Alice Wareham  (Originally published as “Improving the Saranac Riverbank” 0n April 12, 2010. Reprinted with permission from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise )

Dorsey21958 – VIS purchased the Newman property on Dorsey Street (now Beaver Park) and at the time left it in its natural, grassy state.

When the village developed the lower Main Street parking lot, VIS agitated for and received permission to turn the riverbank into a modest parkland area. William Scopes, a local architect, donated six maple trees, several of which still stand along the new River Walk.

 1960 – The VIS purchased a small parcel of land to the right of the bridge leading to the lower Main Street parking lot when it learned owner Daniel Leggett was anxious to get rid of it and the half-demolished shed which stood on the property.

Working on a very small budget, VIS demolished the remainder of the building. The town of Harrietstown donated fill to build the lawn and put a fence around it for protection while the grass was developing.

Vandals uprooted a gift of willow trees and a second gift replacement; several lilac trees also disappeared.

Despite constant rebuilding and reseeding, the edge of the lawn continued to suffer severe erosion under sudden cloudbursts until the summer of 1966, when the village rebuilt the solid stone wall along the water’s edge.

 In the 1980s, VIS planted a hedge along the Dorsey Street sidewalk to give the park more privacy, and subsequently added a bench. Without permission, a Niagara Mohawk power pole appeared, destroying some of the park’s beauty. Eleanor Munn, park chairperson, protested without success.

VIS Park Map