A Stroll Through “Washington Grove”: Photography by George Cassidy Payne

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On the edge of Cobb’s Hill Park, there is a 27 acre forest in the city known as “Washington Grove.”

In 1932, the city and school district dedicated this quiet wooded haven, and it soon became a popular outside laboratory for learning about the natural sciences and civic responsibility.

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Today, the 200 year old oaks still offer important lessons. Nestled on top of kames and kettles, this may be the most ancient biosphere open to the public for recreational visitation in Rochester.

Under a canopy of Austrian Pines and white, red, and black oaks, the park is home to Rose Breasted Grosbeaks and Red headed Woodpeckers. It is a spring migrant trap for a variety of songbirds including Vireos, Thrashers, Warblers, Tanagers, Sparrows, and Indigo Buntings. At night, the Eastern Screech Owl and Barred owl can easily be detected.

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Adding to the park’s charm is the main entrance, which is basically an extension of Alling DeForest’s wide, grassy mall which divides Nunda Boulevard. DeForest is considered to be one of the foremost landscape artists of his time. The Pittsford native worked with the iconic Olmsted firm and helped design the property of Warner Castle and the Eastman House. His urban design layout here enhances the feeling of surprise, delight, and humility that “Washington Grove” elicits from visitors, especially those discovering this horticultural gem for the first time.

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