A 1929 map of Rye displays plans for the development of the land that is now Read Sanctuary, which thankfully never came to fruition. Had they built “Manursing Island Park,” as it is labeled, there would be no Read Sanctuary today!
Playland itself was built primarily in the winter of 1927-28, which included creation of Playland Lake as shown. The County of Westchester built the park on a portion of lands they had been acquiring over a number of years. The County land which was on Manursing Island included exactly the land planned for its “Park” –the same as in Read today.
In the map one sees proposed bath houses and parking spaces, to accommodate “Sound Beach,” which would have involved bringing in a lot of sand (as they had for Playland beach). There is also a “Lake Beach” contemplated. The location of the Read headquarters building and outbuildings is approximately where the upper end of the proposed parking is.
Beyond the beach area is a proposed Athletic Field. On the lake there are proposed boat piers—the boats taking off from the landing by the amusement park. Also take note of a proposed road all around the lake—which would have done some ecological damage, to be sure!
Students of Rye history may find the plotting of private lots surrounding the “Park”—mostly there today—of interest . Chief among these is the layout of building lots on the Westchester Country Club lands. Note them on both sides of Manursing Way, just north of Read. There are over 60 proposed house lots—luckily none was built on and the land remains undeveloped. (A dream would be Read acquiring that part of the land which lies south of Manursing Way.)
So: had the County built what it envisioned, you would not be reading this!