Lewiston in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Oak Hill and Scovell Knoll
The knoll was named for Seymour Scovell (1786-1852), who built his two-story stone mansion at the top of this knoll in 1834, and named it Oak Hill after the oak trees growing there. The mansion had a full basement, and the complex included a carriage house, green house and walled gardens. The house was one of Lewiston's most revered landmarks - a mansion from the town's earliest days that looked like it was part of a haunted movie set. The same family owned the mansion for generations and old timers in town remembered the place as both imposing and spooky. In fact, the play and film, Arsenic and Old Lace, was inspired by the property.
Scovell's driveway, which is now Niagara Street, was a straight shot to the famous Frontier House which still stands today. Scovell Mansion was destroyed by a fire in the 1960's, although parts of the foundation and garden walls
Now explore the woods on the maze of trails. You will see a variety of sculptures and other artwork produced by artists, as well as the Lewiston Mound, the Theatre in the Woods, and the site of the Scovell Mansion as you reach the summit of the knoll.
[Prior markers text] Significant history surrounds Oak Hill, which is part of the Lower Landing Archaeological Historic Landmark. An ancient burial mound and other historical evidence support the early presence of Native Americans on the site, as well as trappers and settlers who were attracted to the potable water of Oak Hill's spring.
Begin your self-guided tour by walking to Richards' Pond, located at the edge of the woods, across the roadway from parking lot C on the east side of the theater.
Richards' Pond and Marsh is an environmental artwork created by Peter Richards, artist on residence during 1988 and 1989. This artistic preservation of a cold water spring provides a wildlife sanctuary and a place for inspirational thought. Richards used Grimsby and Whirlpool sandstones, Irondequoit limestone, glacial rocks, native shrubs and trees, and Red and White Oak beams from an 1851 barn.
The restoration of the pond and marsh, with the support of the Niagara County Environmental Fund, resulted in the site's certification as a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife
To the left of the Marsh ia a path leading into the woods. Follow the path to the Lewiston Mound - a sacred burial mound.
[map]KEY. A) Richards' Marsh, Pond and Butterfly Garden. B) Lewiston Mound. C) Meeting Place. D) Picnic Area. E) Entrance to Upper Trail. F) Lecture Space. P) Parking Lot. SCULPTURES. 1) inspire, partially charred cherry. 2) Expire, wild cherry. 3) Aspireagus, wild cherry. 5) O, Arch, and Spire Aspire, red oak. 6) Frame, partially charred red oak. 7) Frames in a Bush, red oak. 8) Waiting, charred oak. 9) Two Eyes Crying and Bench, red Oak.
Radiocarbon dating has traced the origins of the Lewiston Mound to 140 AD. It is the most sacred area of the park. Over 1800 years ago, unknown Native Americans were buried in the Hopewell-style mound.
Many Hopewell mounds were constructed on the shape of animals; others were oval or conical. The original form of this Middle Woodland Hopewell-style mound remains a mystery. As you view the remains of this mound, respect it as a sacred monument to all Native Americans of this Niagara site.
Continue down the accessible walkway (noting sculptures along the path) to a sign on your left directing you to the upper pathway. The right path leads you past more artwork, to a picnic area and an exit from the
The Upper Pathway is an easy-to-moderate walk leading you past additional sculptures of special interest. White Markings on trees guide the way.
The artist, George Peterson - a self-taught wood turner and sculptor with a sudio in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina - used a two week residency in 2001 to create his works from trees that New York State had designated for removal.
Of historical interest, Oak Hill was the name of a stately two-story stone mansion built by Seymour Scovell. It stood on top of the knoll from the 1830s until the 1960s. Some of the garden walls and the foundation can still be seen.
The Oak Hill Project was supported in part by the Niagara County Environmental Fund in 2001 as part of our continued commitment to nature and the environment.
Organizations are encouraged to use Oak Hill as an educational venue for historical or environmental programs and/or youth activities.
Location. 43° 10.044′ N, 79° 2.705′ W. Marker is in Lewiston, New York, in Niagara County. Marker is on South 4th Street 0.1 miles south of Tuscarora Street, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in Artpark, a New York State Park. Marker is in this post office area: Lewiston NY 14092, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance The Cradles (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lewiston Mound (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named The Lewiston Mound (about 400 feet away); The Lower Landing (about 500 feet away); Fort Joncaire (about 600 feet away); The Magazin Royale (about 600 feet away); Welcome to Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park (about 600 feet away); Lower Landing Archeological District (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Lewiston.
Also see . . . Artpark - New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. (Submitted on April 8, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music • Environment • Native Americans •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 155 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.