Many of Staten Island's prominent families made their homes here during the nineteenth century. One of these families was the Jones family, most of whose descendants came to New York from Philadelphia. The most prominent member of this family on Staten Island was Shipley Jones, who was born in the middle of the nineteenth century. He was born into a wealthy family who created a large estate for him in the current neighborhood of New Brighton. Originally, the estate was owned by his parents, both of whom died prior to the first years of the twentieth century. At that time, the estate was passed down to Shipley Jones, who owned it for a number of years before he too passed away.
Shipley Jones graduated from Columbia College in 1869 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He later received his Master of Arts degree at the same college. Shipley Jones' career began at the end of the nineteenth century, when he entered the New York Stock Exchange. His uncle, Ludlow Thomas, had been vice president of the Stock Exchange Building Association. In 1889, Shipley Jones became his partner as a stock broker. By 1903, he created his own firm, Jones & Lanman. He and his partner, Jonathan Trumbull Lanman, were commission stock and bond brokers for many years after the creation of the firm.
Aside from his prominence as a stock broker, Shipley Jones was known for being a member of a number of public and private clubs and societies. After it was established by J.P. Morgan in 1891, Shipley Jones became a member of the Metropolitan Club, a private gentleman's club in Manhattan. Jones was also a member of the Society of Colonial Wars, another private society created the following year, in 1892, for those whose ancestors were involved in any of the Colonial Wars. At one point, Shipley Jones was also the treasurer of New York City's Knickerbocker Bowling Club.
The estate owned by the Jones family was a rectangular parcel of land consisting of 26.25 acres between the current streets of Prospect Avenue and Butler Terrace. The western and eastern boundaries of the site have since been removed, but today they would roughly be the extensions of Sumner Place and Clyde Place. By the twentieth century, the estate became known as The Cedars. There are numerous reasons as to why the estate could have been called such a name. One reason could be because Shipley Jones' residence at the time of his college graduation was listed as being on Pine Street, which was a street at the southeastern corner of the property. Another reason could be because of Cedar Place, which was a street that existed at the southwestern corner of the property around the time the estate was named. Yet another reason could be solely because the estate was comprised of a number of trees.
Shipley Jones passed away in 1936. Not long after his death, many buildings began to be constructed at the northernmost section of the property. Within a few decades, roughly six acres of land at the southern portion of the property came into the hands of the Putter Realty Company. The company owned the land for over three decades before they finally decided to build affordable townhouses on the site. Their plan, however, never came to fruition, as the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation decided to utilize the property as parkland.
By 2002, the six acres of land, along with two additional adjacent lots, were taken by eminent domain by the City of New York. At that time, Jones Woods Park was established. While it has been threatened numerous times by residential developments, Jones Woods Park has retained the almost-seventeen acres that make up its site. The park is situated between Arnold Street, York Avenue, Lafayette Avenue, and Butler Terrace. It is often considered to be an extension of Skyline Playground, which is between Prospect Avenue, Clyde Place, Harvard Avenue, and Arnold Street.