November 13, 2020 at 5:38 pm #1723ndembowskiKeymaster
There are two new folders of images up in the “Members Area” of the website.
One folder is a collection of images relating to Puddlers Row, a street of working class housing for the Johnson foundry workers, or “puddlers.” The below image was taken along Puddlers Row in 1952.
Puddlers Row was located between Kappock and Johnson Aves, an area very familiar to Spuyten Duyvil’s bus patrons. The old lane is today the grounds of 555 Kappock Street–the large white apartment building in the center of the below photo:
A 1914 Sanborn Insurance Map below gives you the sense of the scale of the tightly-packed free standing homes along the row:
The homes were owned by the Johnson family and rented to the workers. There was a good deal of nostalgia for the community when the land was sold to a developer and the houses torn down in 1953, even though there was some disagreement about how well the workers were treated.
From the Riverdale Press in 1952:
In 1958, the Riverdale Press ran a story about the Johnson property including Puddlers Row. Teddy Schwartz, who lived there, shared some memories:
One old-timer, William F. E. Sullivan, wrote that for a period, the foundry employed large numbers of Hungarian and Polish workers, something I had not heard before. He also shared another interesting tidbit about Puddlers Row–that it was a shooting location for a silent film about World War One–“Over the Top,” featuring Arthur Guy Empey.
The scene that was shot on Puddlers Row depicted some cavalrymen charging down the lane. According to the account, Empey paid a bunch of students from PS 24 (which was then across the street on Kappock) one dollar each to appear as extras in the film. I have looked for the film in archives but have turned up nothing. Many silent films have been lost to history and this may be one of them.
The view below shows the intersection of Johnson and Kappock. The two story building in the center was at the end of Puddlers row, with the rest of the housing behind it. On the left is PS 24, which could be seen very clearly from northern Manhattan and other parts of the Bronx as there were no apartment buildings to obstruct the view of its red bricks and copper dome.
The aforementioned old-timer wrote this interesting letter to the RP in 1952, which includes some information about Puddlers Row, in addition to a familiar sentiment:
For family researchers: another old timer, Harry Emery produced this hand-drawn map of Puddlers Row with the family names of tenants:
D. Williams, Al. Baker, F. Keck., Henry Post, Chris Mulrooney, J. Arsdale, G. Lewis, Quast, Seekircher, Schwartz, T. Evans, Eisler, Corbett, Al. Smith
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