Stewart Park was originally part of the James Renwick estate. It was military lot No. 88 which had been granted to Andrew Moody of the Revolutionary Army on July 9, 1790. It was then sold to James Renwick on December 12, 1790 and remained in that family, undeveloped, for 104 years. In the early 1890's, two separate events occurred that resulted in what is known today as Stewart Park.
- Land was purchased by the Cascadilla School to develop athletic facilities followed by the construction of a trolley line to the lake and the development of an amusement park by the Cayuga Lake Electric Railway Company.
- The purchase of 40 acres between the Cascadilla School property and the hamlet of Port Renwick was developed into Renwick Park which opened to the public in 1894.
The park contained a zoo, a merry-go-round, and the renovation of the dance pavilion for use as Ithaca's first vaudeville theater. In 1908, due to the decrease in ridership, the Cayuga Lake Electric Railway Company was dissolved and the Renwick Park and Traffic Association was formed to replace it. Sometime around 1915, trolley access to the park was discontinued. At this same time, 55 acres south of the park were set aside as a bird sanctuary and maintained by the Cayuga Bird Club. This area was named after the club's president upon his death in 1927 and became known as Fuertes Bird Sanctuary.
In 1915, the park officially closed and was leased by Theodore and Leopold Wharton for use as a film studio until 1919. In 1920, there was a renewed interest in the park for use as a lakeside municipal park by the then mayor, Edwin C. Stewart. The city purchased the park from the Renwick Park and Traffic Association in 1921. One month before the park's formal opening, Mayor Stewart died, and the park was renamed Stewart Park in his honor. In 1923, the City purchased the Cascadilla School property which was incorporated into the park. A Master Plan for the park was completed in 1934 and the present layout of the park, although the master plan was never completed, reflects many of the ideas presented in that design.
Today, Stewart Park is a regionally active park with several facilities including pavilions (available for rent), tennis courts, a playground with several play structures including a carousel, athletic fields, a duck pond, a spray pool, and a bird sanctuary. Stewart Park also has an array of trees growing in it. Visit the Virtual Tree Tour for a list of the trees and descriptions.
Stewart Park Carousel
The Stewart Park Carousel is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Hours of operation are Tuesday- Sunday (closed Mondays), 11am- 7pm. The carousel is open on all Holidays, including those that fall on a Monday.
Single ride: $1
Prepay for tickets: $0.75 per ticket for quantities over 30.
This will encourage parties to pre pay for tickets for larger private events (ie birthday parties, family reunions, etc) making it easier for the carousel operator to process the line of riders. Tickets can be purchased from the operators or at the Streets and Facilities building by cash or check.
Open carousel to all riders: $350 for a full day rental (11am -7pm, 8 hrs) This option would open the carousel for all park visitors to ride at no cost. There will be no option to rent the carousel to allow free rides to only attendees of a specific event. Event organizers would be expected to provide a sign stating the carousel was free for the day and could list the sponsoring agency or individual. This option would need to be prearranged with the City Forester Jeanne Grace at
(607) 272-1718 ext. 4232 in advance of the event.
Adjacent to Stewart Park, you can find the Newman Municipal Golf Course. For more information about the golf course, please visit: Newman Municipal Golf Course
Friends of Stewart Park has more information about the park: Friends of Stewart Park
- Are there public restrooms available at parks?
- Are the park facilities accessible for wheelchairs?
- Are there grills available for public use?
- Can I bring a gas grill to the park?
- May I set up a tent?
- Is there swimming at the parks?
- Can I launch a boat or kayak?
- What do we do in the event of an emergency?
- Are dogs allowed in Cass & Stewart Parks?
- Are kayak rentals available?
- Is fishing allowed?
- When is the carousel open?