Contact Info
Miranda Hine
PO Box 6604
Syracuse, NY 13217

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Our Mission Statement
The Thornden Park Association (TPA) promotes increased community use of Thornden Park by restoring, revitalizing, and advocating for the park while maintaining its historic integrity.
About Us

The Thornden Park Association is a not-for-profit corporation organized under the laws of the State of New York. The Thornden Park Association was founded in 1983 to advocate for, restore, and revitalize Thornden Park, a seventy-six acre historic landscape, situated within the complex and diverse University Neighborhood.

Please consider showing your support for our efforts in Thornden Park (30 years' worth!) by becoming a member. The annual membership fee to join the Thornden Park Association is $10. Please send us your name, address, phone and email address and a $10 check to: Thornden Park Association, PO Box 6604 Syracuse, NY 13217

Thornden's Traveling History Show

Thanks to Summer Volunteers from SUNY-ESF and Colgate Alumni of Central New York!

Thornden Park looks better after consecutive Saturday clean-up efforts.

 On Saturday 22 August, the Colgate University Alumni Club of Central New York worked like beavers (pun intended), cutting down weeds, brush, and trees hiding amongst yews and arborvitae around the Herb Garden. We are hoping it will regenerate now that there is sun, air, and growing room. This energetic group were joined by area residents Aida Khalil, Paul Aviles, Lynne Odell, Lenora Monkmeyer, and Miranda Hine. Special thanks to Parks for providing the tools needed for this work session. The pile of brush we amassed is quite formidable!


On Saturday the 29ths, sixty ESF Freshmen and their orientation leaders more than doubled this summer's volunteer effort in Thornden Park! This is hard to imagine.  For the past few years Thornden Park has benefitted from this extraordinary annual volunteer effort. A special thank you to Laura Crandall, Office of Student Affairs at ESF, and Steve Harris, City Forester at Department of Parks and Recreation for all the planning and organizing that was needed in advance of this day of service. Not only do the students benefit the park with their might and muscle, but they also connect with the community as they learn about valuable outdoor resources in their midst. This year in Thornden Park students fanned out and worked on the E. M. Mills Rose Garden, The Lily Pond, the Lilac Grove, Winter Walk and the flower beds at Madison Street entrance. They contributed over 180 hours of labor. Thank you so very much.

New Drinking Fountain Installed at Playground

The Thornden Park Association, TNT Area 5, and Department of Parks and Recreation have collaborated to install a new dual-user drinking fountain at Thornden, designed to hydrate (leashed) pets and two-footed drinkers alike!

TPA received a grant to replace the old, dare we say ancient, water fountain near the playground.


Thanks to Glen Lewis of the Parks Department for overseeing installation.

Memorial Installed at Thornden Park Lily Pond

 The Thornden Park Association has repaired and upgraded the brick foot pads under the two stone benches in the upper Lily Pond garden area.

This area is a peaceful place to rest and enjoy views across the waterfall towards the E. M. Mills Rose Garden. Inspired by its contemplative mood, the brick foot pads in front of the benches have been rebuilt and slightly enlarged to accommodate inscribed bricks to honor people who have been active in either the history of the park or the Thornden Park Association.

Each footpad has a central brick that explains this concept. Those being honored are Debbi Wellman, Katie Moran, Susan Hardoby, Lee Titchener, Major Alexander Davis, David Campbell, and Dan Collins. The Thornden Park Association will add names in the future as it deems appropriate.

A special thank you to Lyn Simmer for coordinating this project and David Suarez for his masterful masonry skills.

Weeding to Keep Thornden Beautiful

A HUGE group showed up on a BEAUTIFUL Saturday morning and we got a lot accomplished. The beds around the Carriage House are weeded; we planted some annuals at Madison Street entrance to the park and two thirds of the driveway to the Carriage House is cleared of grass – thanks to an amazing effort by Mark Pourpore.

Then we moved on to the Lilac Grove, which was somewhat daunting. Where to start? Restoring this is going to be a HUGE job. We decided to mark off one section to work on this year. One of our first missions is to get a weedwacker or lawnmower in under the lilac.

Thank you for all your efforts go to Grace Flusche (who brought Souradeep), Marilyn Zaleon, Paul Aviles, Ellen Somers, Kathy Downing, Lenora Monkmeyer, Jeanette Mattson, Mark Pourpore, and Matt Oja.

Do join us next time: 

Thursday, August 13, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 22, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Saturday, August 29, [time TBA – ESF Day of Sharing]

Excellent Turnout for 2015 Thornden Park Association Garden Tour!

On June 14th, the Thornden Park Association hosted its Annual Tour of gardens located in and around the Syracuse University neighborhood. This year's tour attracted over 150 visitors. Thanks to all those who attended, and special thanks to the gardeners!

Garden tours raise funds for the Thornden Park Association’s continuing efforts to restore and revitalize the park, which has been its mission since its inception in 1983.

2015 Shakespeare Festival Dates Set For August


Chili Bowl Festival a Success!


New Roof Installed on Water Tower

The end of 2014 saw the completion of renovations to a Thornden landmark, as contractors finished installation of the Elon P. Stewart Standpipe's new roof.

The extensive renovation project was carried out over the course of a year and cost $2.85 million.

A Post-Standard staff photographer captured some exciting shots of the installation of the new roof, which can be viewed here.


Congrats and Thanks

This summer has been quite rainy. Perfect weather for weeds to grow strong and healthy. Most gardeners would agree, especially members of the Syracuse Rose Society, who have a herculean job of keeping all the raised beds in the E. M. Mills Rose Garden free of weeds. To the rescue, on Friday, July 18, came 14 young, energetic, hardworking students from Syracuse University (aka The Weed Killers.”)

These students, who are part of the federally funded TRIO program, donated two hours of their busy summer residency to help weed one entire quadrant of the garden. They were joined by their supervisors, two members of the Syracuse Rose Society, two students from ESF and four members of The Thornden Park Association. The pile of weeds in front of the group is the result of forty hours of labor! We are so grateful to these students for their assistance. They made Syracuse a better place!

Shakespeare-in-the-Park 2014

Twelfth Night’s Love Hits Your Funny Bone in this Year’s Shakespeare-In-The-Park Romp

Amor Vincit Omnia

"Love hurts, love scars, love wounds, and mars." Twelfth Night contains a classic romantic triangle: Count Orsino loves Olivia, who is infatuated with Cesario/Viola, who pines for Orsino. Concurrently, Olivia's steward Malvolio and Sir Andrew Aguecheek each pursue Olivia, while she in turn seeks out Sebastian, whom she mistakes for Cesario, who is really Viola.

No one is truly insane in Twelfth Night, but a current of zaniness pervades the action of the play. Separated twins, various disguises, and impediments to love conspire to make Twelfth Night seem like an episode of Frasier written by Shakespeare. Until the final resolution, one feels as if the pur-suit of romantic relationships does more harm than good. But true love sees the soul. True love recognizes the noble inner qualities of the beloved as well as the outward. The play provided Shakespeare with an opportunity to address (and sometimes mock) concerns raised by the Puritan theater critics of his time. Just as in our own enlightened age, Elizabethan theater critics anointed themselves the keepers of public taste and propriety and Shakespeare resented being judged. Twelfth Night was his opportunity to explore conventional wisdom regarding gender, sexuality, class identity, and morality. Thus, the play's main antagonist Malvolio is shut out from all the fun and gaiety ultimately expressed by the other characters. Someone has to be the butt of the jokes while Love conquers all.

Six shows:

Friday, August 8th: 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 9th: 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 10th: 2:00 p.m.

Friday, August 15th: 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 16th: 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 17th: 2:00 p.m.


Discovery Camp

For nine years, the Thornden Park Association has co-sponsored Discovery Camps in Thornden Park’s Carriage House.

From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., children explore Thornden Park’s many features enjoying outdoor activities, which integrate, art, science, and language arts. Weather permitting, swimming will be included in their afternoon activities. Over the years this program has grown exponentially.

In collaboration with The New School, we now offer five weeks of camp in July and August. This year our camps were fully enrolled by March and will serve 60+ children. Registration fees for 2014 was $90. Scholarships are available. If you would like to receive advance notice for the 2015 season, email

Camps for 2014:

Camp 1: Thornden Park Association. July 14 (Students entering Pre- K. K, 1)

Camp 2: Thornden Park Association. July 21 (Students entering Grades 1, 2, 3, 4)

Camp 3: Thornden Park Association. July 28 (Students entering Grades 2, 3, 4, 5)

In addition, the Thornden Park Association will co-sponsor two other camps with The New School:

Camp 4: New School: August 4 (Students entering Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) 

Camp 5: New School: August 25 (Students entering Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


Symphoria Brass Quintet - Free Concert

Thanks to the support of the Syracuse Sounds of Music Association, Symphoria's Brass Quintet will play a free show in Thornden Park's Amphitheatre on Sunday, July 20 at 6:00 p.m.

In the event of rain, the concert will be held at the University United Methodist Church (at the corner of East Genesee Street and University Avenue, four blocks northwest of the park).

2014 Shakespeare on the Grass

It's time for our Shakespeare-On-The-Grass series.  This year's show is one of Shakespeare's great "problem" comedies, Measure for Measure.

The show is directed by producing artistic director Jamie Bruno and stars Jack Sherman (The Duke), Simon Moody (Angelo), Heather McNeil (Isabella), Sarah Bradstreet (Mariana), and Basil Allen (Lucio), leading an outstanding cast of fifteen actors.

This a pay-what-you-can show where we collect a donation at intermission.  Food is available for sale at the concession stand from the Thornden Park Bulldogs and ice cream from Gannon's Isle.

Show dates are: June 20-29, 2014

Friday:     5:30 p.m.

Saturday: 5:30 p.m.

Sunday:   2:00 p.m.

Weeping Beech Bench Raffle

Want to win this stunning bench, created by artist John Noviasky?

We will be selling raffle tickets for the next two months. You can purchase them at our Garden Tour table on June 15 and at our booth at the Westcott Cultural Fair. The winner will be drawn at the Westcott Cultural Fair. Tickets will cost $5 or 3 tickets for $12.

2014 Chili Bowl Festival a Great Success

The 2014 Thornden Park Chili Bowl Festival was held on February 8th, and was a huge  success.  The event cleared a profit of over $2,100, making it the 4th-most successful CBF since the event’s inception about 20 years ago.  The cold but sunny weather helped bring out a large crowd that packed the Field House for the duration of the event.  Two television stations sent camera crews and aired stories that evening, highlighting the event and the Thornden Park Association’s work to improve the park and encourage its use.

The Chili Bowl Festival has benefitted from loyal support by many area businesses, several returning as sponsors year after year.  Gianelli Sausage donates all the ground  sausage and beef for the Syracuse and Classic Beef chilis, and Plainville Farms, despite its reduced CNY profile, ships turkey thigh meat from Pennsylvania each year for the Turkey Chili. Additional loyal business contributors for sponsorship cash and in-kind donations for raffle prizes are Geddes Federal Savings & Loan, Blue Prints Dog Studio, Cooperative   Federal Credit Union, Nancy Freeborough DVM, Pei Lin Huang, Syracuse Real Food Co-op, Anthony’s Pasta Bar, Beer Belly Deli, Coleman’s Florist, Insomnia Cookies, Ken Nichols Art, Mello Velo, Middle Ages Brewing Company, NY Bold Onions, Picasso’s Pastries, Piraino’s Country Liquors, Skytop Liquors, Solvay Bank, Symphoria, Syracuse Stage, Tops Friendly  Markets, and Wegmans.  The delicious home-brewed root beer from E. J. Wren is donated by Peter Ensminger every year. 

Thanks, also, to our generous members who bought raffle tickets & made donations!

Again this year, the CNY Disc Golf Association held their “Ice Bowl” tournament on the same day as CBF.  The two events make a great pairing showing how the park can be used throughout the year and not just in the warmer months. 

Weeping Beech

In March 2013, Thornden Park lost one of its landmarks as a wind storm toppled the park's 170-year-old weeping beech tree.

We are also seeking five to ten local artists who would be interested in creating a piece of art from the wood of this beech tree and donating it to the Park Association.

In lieu of payment, the artist would receive some of the wood for his or her personal use. The donated art will be raffled by the Thornden Park Association at the Chili Bowl Festival, the Garden Tours, and the Westcott Cultural Fair.

Cricket, Anyone?

Upstate Cricket Club   Background information Established in 2011, we are a strong group of motivated individuals from different backgrounds. Most of the enthusiasts are graduate (PhD and masters) and medical students at SUNY Upstate Medical University, but we also have post-doctoral fellows, physicians, trainee doctors, physician’s assistants at our behest. Even though cricket is traditionally a colonial game, we have many American enthusiasts who play regularly. Thus we have good mix of people not only from different educational backgrounds with both male and female participants but people from different country of origin such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, England, USA, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Jamaica etc.   Our professional commitments permit us to play on the weekends. We manage a good 4-6 hours of play every time. Recently we have upgraded our cricket equipment to meet the increase in strength of players and the ever expanding enthusiasm. Newer equipment and increasing number of enthusiasts have brought newer challenges. We would love to play at a bigger field and lately we have been playing at the Thornden park football field. However, the center of the field (which is pivotal to our game) is uneven and needs regular maintenance as far as the grass on the ground is concerned. You can visit our facebook page: ‘Upstate Cricket Club’. 

History of Thornden Shared

Susan Hardoby spoke about the history of Thornden Park and presented slides to the residents at The Oaks Residential Community at Menorah Park on July 7th. Some of the residents shared their remembrances of the park in earlier days, as they lived in the area back then. One resident said she had pictures of the many flower beds that inhabited the park in the forties or fifties. We are always interested in stories and pictures of the park and would love to hear and/or see them, so if you have any, please contact Susan. She also is willing to come speak at any gathering or meeting interested in learning about the history of the park. Call her at 445-1798.

In October 2008 Susan Hardoby presented the Park's historical slide show to the Women's Organization of DeWitt Community Church (and we thank them for their kind donation to help us continue our efforts in the park.) Please know that this presentation is free and we are more than happy to show it to your group. (We also have a video called Uncommon Ground, that we produced about the park.) Both are available to your community, church, garden or any other group or organization that may be interested in the history of the park and what a group can do to improve our wonderful public green spaces. Just give Susan a call at 445-1798 to schedule her in to your program. Thanks.

GARDEN TOURS: For the 21st year, the Thornden Park Association hosts tours of private gardens located in and around the Syracuse University neighborhood on Sunday, June 16th from 1 pm – 4 pm. RAIN OR SHINE! Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the creators of these unique gardens. $10.00 tickets will be on sale at the Field House in Thornden Park on the day of the tour from noon to 3 pm. (Enter the park at the E.M. Mills Rose Garden) Self-guided tours begin at 1 PM and end at 4 PM. A map highlighting the gardens, their location and history, will be provided with each ticket purchase. 
GARDEN TOURS: For the 21st year, the Thornden Park Association hosts tours of private gardens located in and around the Syracuse University neighborhood on Sunday, June 16th from 1 pm – 4 pm. RAIN OR SHINE! Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the creators of these unique gardens. $10.00 tickets will be on sale at the Field House in Thornden Park on the day of the tour from noon to 3 pm. (Enter the park at the E.M. Mills Rose Garden) Self-guided tours begin at 1 PM and end at 4 PM. A map highlighting the gardens, their location and history, will be provided with each ticket purchase. 
Shakespeare in the Park: Two Gentlemen of Verona
Aug 11 Thursday, August 11, 2011 5:30 PM
Saturday, August 20, 2011 2:00 PM
Location: Amphitheatre
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Syracuse Shakespeare Festival Rides a Wild and Wooly, Two Gentlemen of Verona, for FREE Shakespeare-in-the-Park   The Syracuse Shakespeare Festival’s August 2011, 9th season, of FREE Shakespeare-in-the-Park, gallops off with a wild and wooly production, 1870s American West style, of Two Gentlemen of Verona.  

Show dates are Thurs/Fri/ Sat/Sun, August 11-21, 2011, in the FREE, family friendly, Thornden Park Amphitheatre.  Thurs/Fri/Sat shows start @ 5:30 p.m. and Sunday shows begin @ 2 p.m.   

Bring your partners, buckaroos, kin and neighborfolk to this FREE show in the beautiful Thornden Park Amphitheatre.  The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and you are encouraged to bring picnics and beverages of your choice.  Food vendors such as John John’s Cooker, specializing in barbecue, and Gannon’s Isle, specializing in ice cream, will have their delicious fare available for sale.  Bring a few pieces of gold or some silver certificates to buy some food or our vendors’ wares.   

A Kids Area is available before and during the show, providing balls, bubbles and surprises for kids 12 and under.  Musical guests will perform before the show and at intermission.  Free parking is available for every show.  Shuttle service is available on weekends.   For more info, go to OR call 315-476-1835


Images of the Park