Once a grand estate, now a park in Brooklyn

Owl’s Head Park in Bay Ridge is a gorgeous public park high along a glacial ridge overlooking New York Harbor.

But the cast-iron fence at its entrance on Colonial Road poses a question.

What does the EWB insignia mean?

It stands for Eliphalet William Bliss, a wealthy manufacturer of torpedoes, tools, dyes, and sheet metal presses who had factories in Brooklyn.

The 26 acres of Owl’s Head Park were once his personal estate, built not long after the neighborhood known as Yellow Hook was renamed Bay Ridge.

Bliss bought it in 1866 from Henry C. Murphy, a former mayor of the city of Brooklyn and congressman.

This stretch of windy, scenic Shore Road in Bay Ridge was a popular place for wealthy men to create their dream homes, and Bliss was no exception.

Bliss renovated the mansion, added a horse stable, and constructed an observatory tower.

He died in 1903, and in his will he offered his estate to the city at less than its true value for a park—which it became officially in 1928.

[Middle photo: NYC Parks Department; bottom photo: Brooklyn Historical Society]

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3 Responses to “Once a grand estate, now a park in Brooklyn”

  1. Frank Lynch Says:

    Is he any relation to Neziah Bliss, of Blissville fame?

  2. ledamato Says:

    Growing up in Bay Ridge, we always called this Bliss Park, probably a passed-down name from grandparents and such. Some of my crowd gave it the name Blitzed Park, referring to sale and use of certain substances in the 70′s. Anyone else?

  3. Marie Says:

    I recall it as Bliss Park as well….Owl’s Head I thought was the park at 6th Avenue.. and the one on 5th we just called the swing park…

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