bronxologist

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  • in reply to: Fascinating “Van Cortlandt Swamp” Photos #2719

    Answering some of the questions that I just posed, I googled Rodman Drake Park and found that it’s located in Hunts Point. Here are the details listed by the NYC Parks Department.
    Joseph Rodman Drake Park & Enslaved African Burial Ground Oak Pt. Ave. bet. Hunts Pt. Ave. and Longfellow Ave., Bronx: This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.
    The property of Joseph Rodman Drake Park in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx is located in what was once a Weckquaesgeek Indian settlement. In the late 17th century Thomas Hunt–for whom the neighborhood is named–acquired a large estate that encompassed this modest site, and built his stone residence, “the Grange”, down by the shoreline point.

    So, this photo isn’t part of the Van Cortlandt and Tibbetts Brook group, but there are some interesting coincidences in relation to Native American Heritage, colonial estates, and the use of garbage and rubble for landfilling.

    in reply to: Fascinating “Van Cortlandt Swamp” Photos #2718

    The last photo seems different from the others, all of which are close to the deep south of the current Van Cortlandt Park,three on the east side of Broadway and two on the west side. But the last photo has no hills or obvious landmarks, and it is simply labelled “Filling in with city refuse. Rodman Drake Park Bronx.” Where is or was Rodman Drake Park, and who was Rodman Drake?

    in reply to: Local Unpublished Memoir – 1920s #2402

    Many thanks Nick!  The text makes fascinating reading, including a lot of information relating to the re-routing and burial of Tibbetts Brook, about the routing and impact of the Deegan in the 1940s and early 1950s, and about several projects within Van Cortlandt Park.  It also provides a lot of information on neighborhood retailing in the 1940’s and 1950’s, with profiles of many stores.  It seems that a copy was prepared with a lot of accompanying photographs, and that copy may well be archived at the BCHS.

    Great map, especially the full version extending further out to the west and east. What date/year is it? Even a rough date would be a great help.
    On a related topic, because the various aspects of Van Cortlandt Park are closely intertwined, does anyone have information on how and why the park ended up with two Golf Courses, and not just one. The VCP course was opened with 9 holes in 1895 and enlarged to 18 in 1899, and the 9-hole Mosholu course and driving rance were opened in 1914. Recommendations of sources and contacts on VCP golf history would be tremendously appreciated.

    This posting raises some very interesting questions about the origins of the Spuyten Duyvil Parkway. Was it originally a scenic avenue to a park, comparable to Olmsted and Vaux’s Ocean Parkway and Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn? When and why was it constructed and named? What entities or people promoted its construction and design? Did it run from south to north from Spuyten Duyvil (somewhere around Kappock) to Fieldston, and then loop around the northern side of what’s now the Fieldston School area and then the southern side of the Manhattan College Campus to reach Broadway around 242nd Street?
    I’m guessing that the south to north axis was widened and transformed in the 1930s to become the Henry Hudson Parkway, and that the Henry Hudson Parkway was re-routed northward to join the Saw Mill and Mosholu Parkways in the northern half of Van Cortlandt Park. The remaining portion of the Spuyten Duyvil Parkway (the west-east portion) would have been left as a scenic two-lane avenue with no median, and it was eventually re-named as Manhattan College Parkway because it no longer came from, or led to, Spuyten Duyvil.

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