River Knolls — 40 Croton Dam Road

While there has been some activity at 87 Hawkes Avenue, the weather over the past few weeks has taken its toll, so there’s not much to report.  Instead, I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight another large, nearby, development proposal:  River Knolls, 40 Croton Dam Road.

River Knolls, a proposed 188-unit apartment complex is currently moving through the Town Planning Board review process.  In fact, on Wednesday, April 4 @ 7:30 at the Rec Center, there will be a Public Hearing to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. 

Here’s a link to all the documents on file with the Town of Ossining Planning Board.

And here’s the River Knolls developer’s site.  To say it’s Orwellian is an understatement.

If after reading the above, you have strong feelings about this project, consider coming to the public hearing and making your voice heard.

River Knolls will be located on the site of the old Stony Lodge Hospital, and I was able to dig up a bit of there history there.   Shuttered in 2014, Stony Lodge was a private psychiatric hospital founded in 1927 by Dr. Bernard Glueck, Sr., a most interesting and accomplished psychiatrist.

Born in Poland, Glueck emigrated to the United States in 1900 at the age of 14, and received his MD from Georgetown University in 1908.  By 1915, he had started the first prison psychiatry department at Sing Sing Prison.  A forensic psychiatrist, he testified at the infamous Leopold and Loeb murder case at the request of their defense attorney Clarence Darrow.  (Do go read the Wikipedia entry on this case – I only had the vaguest idea what it was a about, and it’s fascinating and horrifying and known today mostly because Clarence Darrow (of Scopes Monkey Trial fame), reportedly gave a 12-hour long summation to the jury.)

Supposedly built from Sing Sing marble (quarried by convicts right at the site of the prison), Stony Lodge Hospital was a state-of-the-art mental health facility, offering private, psychiatric care at a time when psychiatry was still a nascent specialty.  No “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” here!    One of my neighbors, who has lived in the area for decades, told me that “Stony Lodge evokes memories of a local woman who went there with post-partem depression after the birth of each of her five children. The rest of us delivered casseroles to the family.”

Sadly, it seems that nothing of the hospital will be preserved by the River Knolls development, and so another tiny piece of Ossining’s historical record will be smoothed out, built over and forgotten.

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