Rock Garden

This park is named Hiawatha Falls for the epic poem The Song of Hiawatha (1855) by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), for whom nearby Longfellow Avenue is named. Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, and attended Bowdoin College. He graduated in 1825, with Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), who wrote The Scarlet Letter (1850). Longfellow became famous for poems such as Evangeline (1847) and Paul Revere’s Ride (1861). He was also a noted scholar of foreign languages, teaching at Bowdoin (1829-1835) and Harvard (1836-1854), and translating Dante’s Divine Comedy in 1867. The Song of Hiawatha tells the story of the legendary Onondaga chief who is credited with having founded the Iroquois Confederation. The poem chronicles his rite of passage into adulthood. Its theme of self-reliance and individual discovery especially suits this park, which was the fruit of the Crotona Park East community’s determination and initiative.