Headless Horseman Blog

About historic Sleepy Hollow and its environs…

Just In… A Note from the Past… Rockwood Hall

Rockwood Hall about 1911

Rockwood Hall about 1911

By Henry John Steiner

 Historian of Sleepy Hollow, New York

My friend Ed Murphy just sent me a message from Las Vegas.  It’s always great to hear from him, because, whenever Ed gets contemplative about his hometown, he generally fills in another piece of the Sleepy Hollow picture.

Rockwood Hall is one of Sleepy Hollow’s wonderful scenic assets, and a favorite with many of us:

“As a child I lived in Philipse Manor, and my parents were members of Rockwood Hall [Country Club] during the short period it was a country club. My Mom, Aunt and Uncle played golf there in the season. My Mom taught me to ski on one of the hills south of/and overlooking the future area of the IBM [now New York Life Insurance] parking lot, which of course was not there in the 1930s.

The brook-side trail was always a delight in the spring with Dog Tooth Violets and Jack-in-the-Pulpits and the gurgling brook dashing downhill to join the Hudson. The stables were in operation for a couple years and we rode a little. All the estate buildings [of the Rockwood Hall estate] existed in those days. I left the area in 1945 after high school and joined the Marine Corps as the war [WWII] was on. I frequently returned to the area to visit my parents and friends and always took time to walk the trails and dream of days gone by while on the property.

The house at the bottom of Arch Hill [on Route 9 — the old stone gatehouse] was occupied by a golf pro for many years, and his daughter, Patricia, attended Pocantico Hills Grammar School. I think his name was Cecceli, but my spelling is questionable. As I remember his name was Pat…”


©2015 Henry John Steiner


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  1. Ed Murphy

    It is Aways a pleasure to read Henry’s stories. Ed Murphy

  2. Heidi dietz

    Trying to get inTouch with this Ed Murphy.. as I was reading the stories it sounded like he was telling my family story. my father grew up on the estate and there was a man named Mr. Tate that lived in the gatehouse. my grandfather was the book keeper of the country club and family Lore says he was the golf pro. His name was frank dietz.
    My dad and his sister often rode horses and learned how to ski on the same hill.

    • Hello Heidi, I am very sorry to report that Colonel Ed Murphy, USMC Ret. passed about a year and half ago. He was a good friend, a wonderful man, and an avid historian. He is greatly missed. This summer his remains were laid to rest with full honors next to those of his wife Betsy Miller Murphy at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I hope to write more about Ed in a future post.

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