Sunset Park and the Western Slope Section
In 1928, Cayuga Heights developer Jared T. Newman and his wife Jane Newman donated Sunset Park to the village for use by the public.
At the crest of a sandbank in the section of Cayuga Heights that Newman called the "Western Slope," the land below the park had been leased by Minos M. Reynolds as a sand and gravel pit since 1920. Reynolds's Cayuga Heights Sand Bank Company supplied village roads from this source during the first few decades of the development of Cayuga Heights.
Newman envisioned Sunset Park as "a place for those who are to come after us would find it a pleasure to stroll and to sit down in the seats and on the masonry wall and drink in the beauty of this wondrous landscape." (Copy of letter to V.P. Young, June 11, 1926, Jared Treman Newman papers, #2157. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.)
As part of the deed transferring ownership of the park, the Newmans stipulated that the views should never be obstructed. The park still provides panoramic views of Cayuga Lake and the City of Ithaca in the valley below. It serves as a prime spot for Ithacans to view the July 4th fireworks over Cayuga Lake.
Village Historian Beatrice Szekely's "The Gift of Sunset Park"--presented at Sunset Park on July 8, 2017 as part of Historic Ithaca's "Walk and Talks" series--describes Jared Newman's vision for the park and how he and Jane E.W. Newman came to donate the land as a public site.
An attractive neighborhood of family homes, many of them designed by local architects as their personal residences, grew up along the park. "Homes of the Western Slope of Cayuga Heights, New York" by Deputy Historian Patricia Longoria compiles some of the notable architectural features of these houses and stories of influential past residents of Sunset Park.