WWI “Camp Van Cortlandt”
Presentation and Walk
With historian, Vivian Davis
Saturday June 17, 2023 @ 11AM
at Van Cortlandt House Museum
Ever wonder why the athletic fields in Van Cortlandt Park are called the “Parade Ground?” It harkens back to the days of WWI, when Van Cortlandt Park was a military camp.
PINKSTER FESTIVAL in
VAN CORTLANDT PARK (5/6 from 12-4)
Riverdale Nature Preservancy Annual Meeting
Kingsbridge Historical Society President, Nick Dembowski, will be speaking about the past, present, and future of Edgehill Church of Spuyten Duyvil at the Annual Meeting of the Riverdale Nature Preservancy. Other speakers will be Jessica Haller of the RNP, Christina Taylor of the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, and Eric Dinowitz. Register here.
As spring approaches, we are closing in on the date of Pinkster, a major religious holiday that was celebrated in colonial New York but is little known today.
Pinkster is the Dutch word for the Christian religious holiday of Pentecost that takes place 50 days after Easter. But for the enslaved and free people of African descent, for whom the celebration is most remembered, it began the Monday after and lasted three to five days. It was celebrated all over the Dutch colony of New Netherland and New York from the 17th through the early 19th century. The celebration was unique among New York’s historical holidays as it incorporated rituals and traditions that Africans brought with them to this continent.
Learn about this lesser-known aspect of New York’s early history at a special Zoom presentation with Lavada Nahon, Interpreter of African American History for New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Lavada Nahon is a culinary historian focused on the 17th to 19th centuries, mid-Atlantic region, with an emphasis on the work of enslaved cooks in the homes of the elite class. She is also a generalist in New York African American history from the 19th through the 20th century. She has 20 plus years of public history experience working with a variety of historic sites, societies, and museums across the tri-state region. Her mission is to bring history to life by giving presence to the Africans and people of African descent enslaved and free in the New Netherland/New York in whatever way possible.
Lavada Nahon’s presentation will be made via Zoom on March 23rd at 7 PM. The event is presented as a collaboration between The Kingsbridge Historical Society and the Van Cortlandt House Museum with funding support from New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development.
Adventures at the Editor’s Desk:
A Conversation with Bernard Stein, Pulitzer Prize Winning Editor of the Riverdale Press
Free Zoom Presentation of the Kingsbridge Historical Society
Thursday February 16, 2023 at 7:00 PM
From 1978 until he joined the Hunter College faculty in 2005, Bernard Stein served as editor of The Riverdale Press. He remained its co-publisher until he and his brother sold The Press in 2008. Throughout that time, The Press crusaded to preserve the character of the community, safeguard green space, and give residents a voice in the decisions that affected their lives.
It was an unusually adventurous tenure.
The Press’s investigative reporting led to a grand jury probe and the passage of legislation aimed at corrupt practices in the public schools. It played a significant role in exposing the wrongdoing that led to the jailing of virtually the entire leadership of the Bronx Democratic Party in the mid-1980s and the dismantling of the largest medical waste incinerator in the state 10 years later.
In 1989, terrorists firebombed the Press office to retaliate for an editorial defending the right to read Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.
In 1998, Bernard Stein won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for what the Pulitzer board called “his gracefully-written editorials on politics and other issues affecting New York City residents”; It was the third time he had been a finalist for the prize.
Stein will look back at the outsized impact of a little newspaper in a talk sponsored by the Kingsbridge Historical Society on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. The presentation will be via Zoom and you can register for a free ticket here. There are a limited number of registrations available but a recording of the presentation will be made available to all shortly thereafter.
“Sneak Peek” Open House of Our new Headquarters, Sunday 1/29, from 12 noon to 3 PM:
Dear Kingsbridge Historical Society Members, Friends, and Neighbors,
Please join us for an informal “sneak peek” open house of the new Kingsbridge Historical Society Headquarters at Edgehill. Long closed to the public, we are opening the doors of the former church so that our members, friends, and neighbors can take a look inside Spuyten Duyvil’s only registered historic landmark. And if you thought it looked nice on the outside, wait until you see the beautiful Tiffany stained-glass windows, the simple but elegant wooden arches, and finely carved woodwork flanking the organ pipes. It really is a site to behold. So, please stop by for a cup of coffee, a little conversation, and a chance to see a beautiful and historic local landmark–and spread the word!
Please note: the building does not yet have a working bathroom nor a heating system so bundle up. We are looking forward to meeting you there any time between the hours of 12 noon and 3 PM at 2570 Independence Avenue. Please check the website for updates in the event of bad winter weather. The rain date is February 5th from 12 noon to 3 PM. The building is not yet wheelchair accessible.
Mark your calendars: Thursday February 16th at 7 PM – A Zoom Conversation with Buddy Stein, Editor Emeritus of the Riverdale Press. Details and registration information to follow.
Yonkers Historical Society Annual Meeting
The Epic History of a NYC Street Corner
Thursday August 18th at 6:30 on the back porch of the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum
Kingsbridge Historical Society President, Nick Dembowski, will present the fascinating history of one of our neighborhood’s most historic locations–the corner of West 230th Street and Broadway. The event is free and open to the public.
So far the weather looks good for today’s tour:
“Before the Van Cortlandts” Walking Tour
Thursday, June 9th
7:00 to 7:45 PM
Kingsbridge Historical Society President, Nick Dembowski, will present new research about the earliest recorded history of this area–the 1600s, when the clash of global empires upended the lives of local residents such as Adriaen van der Donck, Towachkack, Antone and others. It is a dramatic and sometimes bloody history that is still relatively unknown.
- Wreath Laying
- Sons of the American Revolution Flag Dedication Ceremony
- Tobacco and Sage Ceremony
- Dedication of Seven Wappinger Stones
- Munsee-Delaware Blessing Song
- Walking Tour of Battlefield Site (led by Thomas Casey, Officer of the Kingsbridge Historical Society)
Revolutionary Walking Tour of Spuyten Duyvil and Kingsbridge
Saturday June 12, 2021 @ 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
(Membership and Reservation Required)
KHS members are welcome to join us for a walking tour of Spuyten Duyvil and Kingsbridge to follow in the footsteps of the soldiers, officers, spies, and common people who lived and fought in the neighborhood. We will visit the locations of several small forts, the strategic King’s Bridge, and a prominent local tavern. We will also stop at the homesites of local residents whose lives were upended and families’ divided by the conflict.
George Washington considered Kingsbridge to be “of the utmost importance” and his visits to the area represent some of the highest and lowest points of his time as Commander-in-Chief. It was just as important to the British generals and the neighborhood saw constant activity between 1775 and 1783. Learn about the strategy, the battles, the covert operations, but also the impact of the Revolution on local people. The tour will be led by KHS President, Nick Dembowski with Peter Ostrander, KHS President Emeritus.
The walk will begin at the Henry Hudson Monument in Henry Hudson Park at W. 227th Street and Independence Avenue. It will end at W. 231st Street and Broadway, where the MTA Bus (Bx10 or Bx20) can take you back to where the tour began. Total duration will be almost 2 hours and nearly 2 miles (with numerous breaks).
Capacity is limited so the event is for members only and reservations are required (granted on a first come, first served basis). You can purchase or renew a membership here and request a reservation by contacting info@
Revolutionary Kingsbridge and Yonkers – Bus Tour and Event – Nov. 9 & 16
The Below Meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday March 21st @7PM.
A Photographic Tour of the Village of Kingsbridge
a Free presentation of:
The Kingsbridge Historical Society
presented by :
President Emeritus of the Kingsbridge Historical Society
Wednesday February 20th, Thursday March 21st 7:00 PM at The Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Ave
Kingsbridge was a sleepy and active village at the turn of the 20th Century. Tidal action at high times created an island of Kingsbridge or Paparinemin as native Americans called it. The presentation will use over 150 photos that each are over a hundred years old from the photographic collection of the Kingsbridge Historical Society (KHS). Attendees will not only learn some history but also about the geography and architecture of the long lost Village of Kingsbridge. Meeting will be held at the Riverdale Neighborhood House
Wednesday February 20 Thursday March 21st at 7 PM. The public is invited, come early for a good seat. Street parking is available. Please check the KHS website if weather is a concern at Kingsbridgehistoricalsociety.org .
Van Cortlandt Park – The Last Stop Historical Walking Tour
Sunday October 14, 2018 11:00 AM to about 12:30.
Meet at the front gate of Van Cortlandt mansion by the Parade Ground
Van Cortlandt Park has been the last stop and End of the Line but not just for the # 1 subway.
About 18,000 Years ago the last glacier wore down the soft marble bedrock giving us the expansive Parade grounds of today’s park. For almost 10,000 years Native Americans made the Parade Ground their permanent home–leaving artifacts and burying hundreds of their family members under and around the parade grounds.
Adrian Van Der Donck, the rebellious Dutch settler for whom Yonkers is named, was killed during a war with Native Americans and is likely buried close by his homesite in today’s park. The next earliest owners and settlers, the Tippett and Betts families, also lived and farmed in today’s park. Their hidden burial ground lies just yards from the oldest house in the Bronx, the Van Cortlandt mansion, built in 1749. Rediscovered historical evidence suggests that the park was once home to a large number of enslaved Africans, who played a large part in the development of the area. Newly found documents suggest the location of their burial ground, which will be featured on the tour. The Van Cortlandt family’s secluded burial vault, which played a top-secret role during the revolution, will be a stop on the tour as you learn what brought British, French, German, and American soldiers–including George Washington–to the property.
The is much more to unearth in Van Cortlandt Park’s past. Come spend an hour or two in the fresh fall air and learn more about these buried treasures. Some are quite fitting with Halloween approaching in just a few weeks.
This tour will also be the End of the Line for the Kingsbridge Historical Society’s President, Peter Ostrander. Peter has been the President for the past 30 Years and will now be the President Emeritus. After extensive vetting and background checks, Nick Dembowski will take over as the Society’s new President. Nick had been the Vice President and the society’s webmaster. So if you’re coming out for the tour, and we hope you do, please congratulate our new President.
We will meet at the front gate of the Van Cortlandt Mansion on the lip of the Parade Ground. We will start assembling at 11:00 and start out soon after. If you come a bit late, no worries, just look for a large crowd in vicinity of the Mansion. Everyone is welcome and the tour is free.
In case of rain, please check our webpage for updates at:
Directions to Van Cortlandt Park and VC House Museum (mansion),
By Bus take the #9 bus to 242 St and walk east to the Mansion.
By Subway take the IRT Train #1 to 242nd St, Yes – Last Stop and End of the Line.
By Car – there is free parking available at the Van Cortlandt Golf Course south parking lot. It is the 1st lot on your left. Walk west past the Lake, over the old Putnam track East to the Mansion.
Upcoming FREE Presentation – Thursday 5/10/18 7:00 PM @ Riverdale Neighborhood House
The Natural History of
Kingsbridge, Spuyten Duyvil, Riverdale, Marble Hill, and Inwood
Senior Conservation Ecologist, Wildlife Conservation Society, author of Mannahatta
Thursday, May 10th, 7:00 PM at The Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Ave
In the event of bad weather, please check this site for rain date information.
Hundreds of years before city buses and livery cabs clogged West 230th Street and Broadway, Native Americans pulled fresh oysters out of the creek that once flowed there. Join the Kingsbridge Historical Society at a presentation by Eric Sanderson, Senior Conservation Ecologist at Wildlife Conservation Society and author of Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, as he uncovers the original natural ecology of the area around Kingsbridge, Riverdale,Spuyten Duyvil, Inwood, and Marble Hill. For years his group at the WCS worked to uncover the natural ecology of Manhattan as it first appeared to Henry Hudson in 1609. But more recently, using sophisticated computer models and rarely seen historical maps, they have focused on our part of The Bronx and are developing a picture of the interconnected web of plants, animals, humans that once existed in this neighborhood. Rediscover this lost world with the Kingsbridge Historical Society at our
first meeting of 2018 at 7:00 on May 10th at the Riverdale Neighborhood House at 5521 Mosholu Ave Bronx, NY near 256th St (diagonally across from the Riverdale branch of the NYPL). The meeting is free and open to the public and Street parking is available.
Seating is limited so please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and adjunct faculty at New York and Columbia Universities. He is the author of the bestseller about the historical ecology of New York, Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City (2009), and also Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs (2013), and editor of three other books, including the recently published, Prospects for Resilience: Insights from New York City’s Jamaica Bay (2016), about climate resilience along an urban coastline. Sanderson is co-inventor of Visionmaker, an on-line ecological planning forum for New York City. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles or book chapters in ecology, remote sensing, and conservation biology. He led the team that mapped the human footprint on Earth at 1 km scale for the first time and recently contributed to an effort to update the map 15 years later. In addition, he has contributed to planning efforts for many wildlife species, including jaguars, tigers, American crocodiles, North American bison, snow leopards, tapirs and peccaries; and developed a wildlife based conservation planning framework at the landscape scale (Landscape Species Approach). His work has been profiled in The New Yorker, National Geographic, the New York Times, National Public Radio, El Mundo, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), The Times (London), and other media. He currently serves on the board of the Natural Areas Conservancy, a non-profit focused on the conservation of the green and blue natural areas of New York City and the Executive Council of the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, also in New York. Sanderson earned a Ph.D. in Ecology (1998) and a B.A.S. in English and Biochemistry (1989) at the University of California, Davis. He is also an Eagle Scout (1985).
Upcoming Presentation – Thursday 5/18/17 @ Riverdale Neighborhood House
The Kingsbridge Historical Society (founded 1949) will be holding its first meeting for 2017 on Thursday May 18th at 7:30 PM at the Riverdale Neighborhood House. The presentation is free and the public is invited.
The subject will be The History of Riverdale, Kingsbrige, Spuyten Duyvil & Marble Hill in maps. The presentation will be by Nick Dembowski of the Kingsbridge Historical Society. Discover the natural features hidden under the urban landscape that made the area a land of plenty for Native Americans, a defensive stronghold for revolutionary armies, and a base for industry. Trace the evolution of the neighborhoods over the centuries looking at rarely seen maps and images. What remains from the days of early colonial settlers? What has vanished without a trace? Come and discover.
The Riverdale Neighborhood House is located 5521 Mosholu Ave Bronx, NY near 256th St and diagonally across from the Riverdale branch of the NYPL. Street parking is available. Please also view our web page at KingsbridgeHistoricalSociety.org