Originally part of Cortlandt Manor, the reservation was settled by farmers from Connecticut. The name Pound Ridge is credited to the Indians who originally lived in the area. They had a local pound in which they kept game on the hoof until they needed it for food. The Indians built an enclosure of saplings driven into the ground and drove their game into the pound. The name was spelled “Poundridge” until 1938, when the county bought the property and added the “Ward” to honor William Lukens Ward, Westchester’s Republican county leader from 1896 to 1933.
The park has a unique combination of a significant natural environment and a collection of buildings constructed over a 250-year period. A number of 18th and 19th century houses remain. The fields are historically related to the early farmhouses, and the unplanned landscape of the park is part of its antiquated charm.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation abounds with open space consisting of meadows, wet meadows, sandy moraines and vernal ponds. Its rustic woodlands include evergreen plantations, oak, hickory and maple forests and wooded wetlands. Two streams, Cross River and Stone Hill River, run through the park and are home to thirteen species of native and stocked fish.
In addition to trails, picnic grounds, camping areas and archaeological sites, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is also home to Trailside Nature Museum, a small nature museum and Delaware Indian center. This structure was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.