Developments in Kingsbridge – Corlear, Godwin, Broadway

Home Forums 20th Century Developments in Kingsbridge – Corlear, Godwin, Broadway

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    • #1912
      ndembowski
      Keymaster

      I am preparing a talk for the membership about the history of a street corner–W. 230th St. and Broadway.  So I decided to take a walk around that area to get some more recent photos.

      I parked on Corlear and noticed a boarded up lot.

      Same angle two years ago:

      That will be replaced by this:

      This was 3019 Corlear Ave–one of a few nearly identical simple homes that stood on the west side of the street.  As you can tell it sat below street level.  That is because the street level was raised after the home was built.  Here it is at about the turn of the 20th century (I believe it is the one on the left although the porch is a better match for the center one):

      This photo taken shortly thereafter shows the installation of the sewer system on Corlear Ave and the preparations made for raising the street level.  These houses are on the left:

      One thing I love about the above photo is the forked Sycamore tree on the top right.  It still stands in front of the “Sycamore Court” building at the corner of Corlear and 231st.

      Walking up Godwin Terrace I saw the 1870 Moeller Mansion on its last leg and awaiting demolition (the windows have recently been knocked out):

      Walking down Kimberly Place from there, I was surprised to see the Land and Sea Restaurant closed down and covered in graffiti.  The furniture has been removed.  I wonder if it will be replaced by another restaurant or torn down.

      I believe this place had a previous life as a classic diner but that is before my time.  I wonder Land and Sea’s demise was related to Covid-19 or if there was some other cause.

       

       

       

       

       

    • #1913
      Zach Youngerman
      Participant

      Tibbett's Brook, with the Church of the Mediator at right, Bronx, N.Y., undated (ca. 1915)Thanks for the updates. I’ll have to go by both.

       

      This image gives a good idea of the slope behind Corlear down to Tibbetts Brook (this was a holy grail image for me when I found it).

    • #1914
      ndembowski
      Keymaster

      Yes, that’s a great photo, Zach.  Here is a similar one from a postcard:

      The sewers, which you can see were built above street level in that earlier photo of Corlear, were something people in the neighborhood were clamoring for.  And they took a long time to build.  Before I saw the photos of manholes sticking up in the air like chimneys, I figured they probably dug below street level for the sewers.  But Kingsbridge was already prone to flooding so it made more sense just to raise the whole neighborhood up.  Here is a photo of W. 231st Street looking East from Broadway with Bailey Ave in the background.  The manholes look like they are about 10 feet above street level:

      Here’s one looking south from the part of Riverdale Ave above the retaining wall:

      Here’s another of Albany Crescent looking north (as far as I can tell anyway):

      Like many construction projects in NYC, building the sewers took forever and went over budget.  This is from the September 10, 1905 New York Tribune:

       

       

    • #1915
      Peter Ostrander
      Moderator

      The more things change the more they stay the same as the old saying goes. The Kingsbridge sewer project 120 years ago sounds much like the Con Ed gas main replacement here in Riverdale and Kingsbridge and the Bronx. Con Ed contractors  were over 2 years working on my block  alone and they still have many surrounding streets to complete and more still to start. They started back in March 2018.

      But of more interest is the price of the Kingsbridge sewer project started in 1899 for a contracted price of $804 Million dollars !  This  was a enormous amount of money in 1899.  To put into perspective how large the 1899 sewer project cost   in present day dollars in 2021 calculating with inflation it equates to over $25 BILLION DOLLARS. A drain on any budget then or now.

    • #1916
      Zach Youngerman
      Participant

      Wow.  That price tag is incredible.  I wonder how much the city and state budgets were back then? Perhaps a prize of unification or was the area an earlier part of New York City?

      Nick those photos are incredible, thank you.

      It’s incredible to think that the Broadway sewering of Tibbetts Brook which to me is an environmental tragedy was seen maybe exclusively as an improvement (over unpaved roads and outhouses).  I wonder when drinking water was provided and if that was simultaneous.

       

    • #1917
      Zach Youngerman
      Participant

      Nick, I’m just processing the 231st photo looking toward Bailey Ave.  Is it possible that the horizontal lines mid picture are the Putnam Line tracks.  And the sewering was the start of raised roads/overpasses over the line?

      Also, if you have any old photos of the line, I’d love to see those

      Thanks!

    • #1918
      ndembowski
      Keymaster

      To circle back to the beginning of the thread, I got an email from Michael Tynan stating that the Land and Sea Restaurant was originally Arthur’s Modern Diner.  I found plenty of references to it in the Riverdale Press (although the picture quality is not great):

      From the April 18, 1968 issue

      Getting back to the sewers, it is funny that I read that 1905 article and the cost didn’t really dawn on me but yeah, that is A LOT of money.  I get the impression that one of the reasons why Kingsbridge voted to separate from Yonkers in 1873 was that many people wanted this work done and the city of Yonkers couldn’t afford to or didn’t want to do it.  The Yonkers government was more focused on the Village of Yonkers, which was what they called today’s downtown Yonkers.

      1870 Yonkers Statesman

      Today we have a greater appreciation for natural waterways and the benefits of salt marshes, which were very prevalent in Kingsbridge.  And I am sure some local people treasured the natural ecology as there are many stories in the papers about fishing, crabbing, and people enjoying the water.  Many photos show small boats pulled up along the banks of the creeks and many people wrote about the area’s natural beauty.  But there were also stories about kids drowning, bridges in need of repair, the desire for a “water works,” and the benefits of dry land for development.  No doubt certain parties stood to make a lot of money from the building boom that could occur once the swamps were gone as well.  And then there were events like this, which probably did a lot to sway public opinion in favor of draining the marshes:

      December 1, 1870 Yonkers Statesman

      Some of the issues were presented in the below article from the Feb. 8, 1869 issue of the Yonkers Statesman if you feel like straining your eyesight:

    • #1919
      Thomas Casey
      Participant

      Just to put up an image from this interesting little block in Kingsbridge.

      Corlear from 231st

       

    • #1920
      Thomas Casey
      Participant

      The Kingsbridge Library on Kingsbridge Ave, between the ChurchKingsbridge Library

    • #1921
      Zach Youngerman
      Participant

      Wow. Great resources and yes, a relative strain on my eyes and language processing. Is it possible that the rickety looking building across from the Macomb’s Mansion partly on piles is said old diner or maybe a previous incarnation thereof?

    • #1922
      Zach Youngerman
      Participant

      Close up

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