For a time, Hartsdale was considered a country retreat. Dr. S. C. Johnson, a prominent veterinarian in New York City, owned a ten-acre apple orchard here. In 1896, he compassionately buried the bodies of deceased animals on his property. As he continued this practice to help other pet owners, he gained widespread attention. Today, Dr. Johnson’s country sanctuary has become the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery.
During the 1890s, August Shrader invented the air valve. Its use in automobile tires was so successful that Mr. Shrader amassed a fortune. His son, George H. F. Shrader, lived on Hillcrest Road, and left the family business to devote himself to philanthropic works
In 1905, George established a convalescent home for “underprivileged mothers and children.” In memory of his mother, he built The Caroline Rest, a 100-bed fire-resistant structure on the elevation behind the Hartsdale Railroad Station, overlooking the golf course and Bronx Valley. There was a physician, a dietician who supervised meal preparation and gave lectures to the mothers, and social workers. While the trend at the time was to teach birth control, the staff at The Caroline Rest refrained from such education. George was so impressed with his workers at the home, that he built a “country club” for them across the road on East Hartsdale Avenue. In 1935, the home was sold, and the property eventually became the site of the Country Club Ridge Apartments.
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