September 10, 2020 at 8:07 pm #1615
In the 2nd half of the 19th Century Kingsbridge, Riverdale, and Spuyten Duyvil was notable for the large Victorian mansions that were a prominent feature of the neighborhood. There are not many of them left as most were torn down years ago in favor of apartment buildings. One that has survived in an unusual place is the Moller Mansion at 3029 Godwin Terrace. I am sure many neighborhood residents don’t even know it’s there.
If you were to look it up on a real estate site, you might read that it was built in 1931–but that’s an error. It was actually built in 1870. It was moved to its current location around 1931. If you take note of the building’s architectural features–the mansard roof and decorative trim–it is pretty clearly a 19th century design. It was originally the home of George H. Moller and Emma Godwin Moller. You can read about their fascinating family and this historic block in Kingsbridge here.
St. John’s church purchased the property from the family and for more than 75 years it has been a convent and housing for the Brothers of Christian Schools. However, it was just sold. According to the Riverdale Press it was purchased for 1.5 million. A little Googling reveals that “3029 Godwin Terrace LLC” was incorporated in July with Galaxy General Contracting as its registered agent so the all the signs point to the building being torn down with new construction in its place.
The mansion can be seen clearly its original location in the upper right of this turn of the photo:
In the foreground you can is the King’s Bridge spanning the Spuyten Duyvil Creek at the intersection of today’s West 230th Street and Kingsbridge Ave. The Church of the Mediator is visible center top.
Below is a side by side comparison of the house in its original state and after it had been moved.
Other than the removal of the chimneys, it is nearly identical.
As you can tell from the 1903 photo, there was quite a nice view in front of the house–overlooking the King’s Bridge and the Spuyten Duyvil Creek. At the time of its construction, the view was even nicer, as you can see in this 1873 Harpers illustration:
Who would trade that view for today’s West 230th Street? Sure, you would get fresh oysters on the half shell by a babbling brook but you would be losing U-Haul, Dunkin Donuts, and the 99 cent store! The illustration is looking northwest from Marble Hill. The Moller mansion is not depicted here as it would have been just out of view on the right.
When the Moller mansion was built in 1870, the neighborhood was still part of the large city of Yonkers–and yet the splendor of the house was newsworthy. This is from the November 17, 1870 edition of the Yonkers Statesman:
It was a gem in 1870 and even rarer now than it was then. After 150 years, it would be a shame to see this one go especially after losing so many important historic sites and buildings. While Kingsbridge of 1870 may seem like a different universe, at least some things sort of remain the same:
September 10, 2020 at 9:18 pm #1620COGGINSSParticipant
Is there a particular and immediate threat looming?
September 11, 2020 at 4:22 pm #1621
No, there is not an immediate plan to tear it down that I am aware of. The construction company that owns it mostly builds new buildings but they have worked on a restoration project as well. I am planning on reaching out to them to see if they would be amenable to a visit to take pictures to document the building’s features for the archives.
September 22, 2020 at 7:09 pm #1639
December 22, 2020 at 2:01 pm #1828
An online petition is circulating to landmark the Moller Mansion. You can check it out here:
I had been under the impression that the owner’s permission was required to landmark a building but apparently not! Check out the below snippet from the LPC webpage:
Thank you to Stephanie Coggins for alerting us about the petition and thank you Roselin Denis for initiating it!
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