The Lasdon estate, originally called Cobbling Rock Farm, was acquired by William and Mildred Lasdon in 1939. The main house of the estate was built in 1933 by Dr. Voislawsky after the original house was destroyed by a fire. The house is modeled after George Washington’s home in Virginia.
William Lasdon is known for establishing a major pharmaceutical company and for his philanthropist endeavors. The Lasdon estate was simply used as a country retreat. The Lasdon family had great interest in horticulture and loved to travel. Along these travels, they brought back many tree specimens and planted them at the estate.
In 1976, William Lasdon created the Mildred D. Lasdon Bird and Nature Sanctuary. This is a twenty-two acre preserve which was donated to the county. There is an intricate system of trails that run through an array of wildlife habitats. Many different species of birds, and up to twenty different types of warblers can be observed there during migration.
When William Lasdon died in 1986, Westchester County purchased the estate for $4.2 million. Several companies were interested in using the 234 acres to put up condominiums. The county wanted to obtain this land in order to preserve the land and history of the area. For the most part, the formal grounds remain as they were designed initially. Westchester County has been continuously developing and embellishing the collections on the property.
The William and Lasdon Memorial Garden site was donated by their daughter, Mrs. Nanette Laitman. This is the main garden present at the front of the estate. It is a one-acre garden created in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Lasdon.
The Famous and Historic Tree Trail features trees and other species that honor historic events and famous Americans, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy, from our country’s past. Each station features a panel describing the famous person or even to which the original parent tree was witness.
The Chinese Friendship Pavilion and Culture Garden was donated by Westchester’s sister city, Jingzhou in the People’s Republic of China. The Friendship Pavilion is the focal point of this four-acre garden; it is a classic Chinese structure and was constructed in China, disassembled, and brought to the United States where it was assembled by several Chinese craftsmen. The pavilion and garden represents the good will relations between Westchester and Jingzhou.
In 1992, three acres of rare American chestnut trees were discovered at the arboretum. Westchester County has been working with the American Chestnut Foundation in hopes of developing a disease-resistant form of this tree. Lasdon Garden is also the first site in the lower Hudson Valley to conduct research of butternut trees. A wide variety of dogwood trees is also present throughout the arboretum. These trees are also a part of an ongoing research project to combat diseases that threaten the dogwood trees.
The Lasdon Garden and Arboretum has several memorials dedicated to the men and women of Westchester who served in many historical events. There is a Merchant Marine Memorial, a Trail of Honor, a Korean War Memorial, the Westchester Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Westchester County Veterans Museum.
Today, the garden is open to the public seven days a week. The garden hosts a variety of events such as, weddings, antique shows, flower exhibits, concerts, and horticulture courses.