ndembowski

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  • in reply to: New York Marble Cemetery and Inwood Marble #2170
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Yes, there was:

    Advertisement for Ahneman & YounkheereGeorge Younkheere was a real history buff–the Curator of the Kingsbridge Historical Society.  He also contributed to the Riverdale Press.  The below is from a 1955 issue:

    in reply to: New York Marble Cemetery and Inwood Marble #2168
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Good find for sure.  I had never heard of that company.  From the description, the “dwelling and store” on 231st Street owned by Burfeindt seems to have been this one, which matches the dimensions and location provided.

    in reply to: New York Marble Cemetery and Inwood Marble #2163
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    You’re welcome and I found some Inwood Marble in Riverdale Park today, actually a bunch of it right around the entrance at 232nd and Palisades Ave.  I was walking along the path into the woods on what appeared to be sand but it was just a bunch of decayed marble.  I could tell because there were intact marble chunks all around.  Here’s a weathered piece:

    It crumbles when you touch it and if you break it open you can see the white inside:

    Incidentally, the water rushing down the hillside during hurricane Ida turned up a lot of material in the eroded gullies that lead to the Hudson River.  Parts of the park seemed like they must of been dumping grounds in the late 1800s with all sorts of glass, metal and ceramics sticking out of the ground.  My daughter found this one (a bottle from the DH Smith factory in Yonkers, circa 1870):

    Advertisement in the Yonkers Statesman, 1870s

     

    in reply to: New York Marble Cemetery and Inwood Marble #2161
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    That’s a great line and the article Peter shared is really good.  If you want to see some great images, buy the back issue of the “Mineralogical Record” where the article first appeared-Nov. 1997.

    Here is the AMNH’s geological map and it shows that Inwood Marble could be found right where you say, Zach.

    Frederick Van Cortlandt owned a quarry along the Hudson River in the early 1800s and perhaps earlier.  I don’t know exactly where it was located, however.

     

    in reply to: New York Marble Cemetery and Inwood Marble #2155
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    I came across some more interesting information about proposed uses for Inwood Marble and the fate of Nichols’ marble quarry.

    First, it seems that the marble was initially called “Kingsbridge Marble” and despite its reputation as a weak and crumbly stone, it was advertised as “suitable for buildings.”

    Newspaper Clipping for Kingsbridge Marble referring to it as "the best quality."
    NY Evening Post, 10/2/1818

    Ezra Ludlow was a local landowner–of the Ludlow family for which the Ludlow neighborhood of Yonkers is named.  There were some different proposals for how to use the marble reserves over the years.  In 1820, an interesting proposal was considered:

    1820 proposal for prisoners to build their own prison on the quarry.
    2/23/1820 New York Gazette

    First time I’ve heard of prisoners building their own prison!  Peter Cooper proposed using the quarries to expand the piers and put unemployed New Yorkers to work in an economic downturn:

    2/10/1855 NY Evening Post

    Perkins Nichols’ quarry and mill doesn’t seem to have done great business–at least not enough to save Nichols from bankruptcy in 1839.

    This 1836 map gives an idea of where the quarry was located.  Marble Hill is near the top, where the Kingsbridge crossed the Spuyten Duyvil Creek.

     

     

     

    in reply to: New York Marble Cemetery and Inwood Marble #2154
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    I think the Perkins Nichols marble mill must have either burned or been torn down by 1850.  It was on the northern bank of the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, so about where Corlear Ave and W. 230th intersect today.  The building on the southern end of the Kingsbridge was originally Alexander Macomb’s gristmill.

    That is a very nice panorama.  Who painted it?

    in reply to: Ethical Culture Fieldston Campus and Lincoln’s Collector #2150
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    An employee at the Ethical Culture Fieldson School, Kirk Ruebenson, made these map sliders using the NYPL map warper tool.  Drag the arrow slider to compare maps–pretty nifty!

    in reply to: Kingsbridge Flood – December 1870 #2148
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Wow, that’s pretty incredible.  This morning while walking to work I passed the mill pond in Van Cortlandt Park and the Department of Environmental Protection was there.  I bet they had just unclogged the drain as the water level was back to normal.

    Sometimes when the pond overflows it turns up some unusual stuff on the ground after the water recedes.  In the past I have found ancient looking oyster shells on the ground after flooding.  Today I was surprised to see what appeared to be clams just south of the mill pond next to the path on the stone dam.  One of the clams was still alive.  I guess there are freshwater clams living in the mill pond.

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Ah, yes good point.  It is an 1879 George Bromley map and this link takes you to the version with details.  Curious to see how much of the land that comprises the Mosholu Golf Course was owned by individuals not named Van Cortlandt.

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Quite a number of the listed above streams can be found on this map:

    Number 5 listed above is referring to “Turtle Brook”–interesting to know that the Van Cortlandts got their drinking water from there.  That’s the long stream in the above map crossing the parade ground and emptying into Van Cortlandt Lake.  Frederick Van Cortlandt’s 1749 will uses the name “Turtle Brook” for the stream.

    Part 2 of Harry Emery’s article is below.  Some of the place names he uses are great to know as they have disappeared from the local vernacular (like Scotch Hill).  Again, this  map can be used to compare with the property owners that he references and find the streams:

    in reply to: Soong Mei-ling (Madame Chiang Kai-Shek) in Riverdale #2128
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Thanks for the follow up.  Interesting about Tommy Hsu but also the history of the Riverdale Press.  It is certainly great for local history to have access to those stories.  I use the Fulton Search site to read back issues.

    in reply to: The Simmons Family of Riverdale #2055
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Good old History in Asphalt–a good book to have!

    I went and looked in the 1880 census and there is a street labeled “Finnegansville East Riverdale Ave.”

    The first person listed is John Finnigan, a 67 y.o. farmer from Ireland.  The rest of Finnegansville is composed of 1 person from England, 4 New Yorkers, and  38 Irish immigrants or children of Irish immigrants.  Every single person listed as living on Mosholu Ave was an Irish immigrant or the child of an Irish immigrant.  Irish Town indeed!

    in reply to: Alexander Calder #2048
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    I looked into this at one point but could not turn up much information on Calder in Spuyten Duyvil.  I remember reading that he attended school in our area but I could not figure out which one.  Calder’s circus at the Whitney Museum was one of my favorite exhibits as a kid so I was eager to find out more but to little avail.

    in reply to: Raoul Wallenberg Forest #2042
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Over July 4th weekend, I was lucky enough to spend some time at a family friend’s country house out in eastern Long Island.  The town we stayed in was described to me as having two main groups of people–the wealthy professionals from New York City that have country houses out there on the one hand and the “townies” on the other.

    Riverdale, for much of its history, seems to have had the same dynamic.  There have been many prominent individuals, from Mark Twain to JFK to Lou Gehrig to Ella Fitzgerald to U Thant, to live in Riverdale.  I could be wrong but it seems these folks were here to get away from people, not to be active members of the community.

    Even in colonial times, the Riverdale area was a place for prominent New Yorkers to have their “country seats.”  But if you look at the common folk of our area in those years, they were related by marriage to their neighbors.  It was actually a very tight knit community.  Whereas the wealthy Manhattanites married into other wealthy New York families and had little to do with their neighbors.  I have never read anything about tensions between these groups but they seemed to operate in different spheres.  That phenomenon might explain the neighborhood’s lack of connection to U Thant.

    U Thant lived here for about 10 years on a 5 acre estate and sent his kids to one of our elite private schools.  I sort of doubt he went to community board meetings and got involved in Riverdale politics/activism.  Plus Riverdale is home to a large Jewish community that would be sympathetic to Wallenburg, who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.  I am sure that has something to do with the naming.  Additionally the forest was named during the Cold War.  As Peter mentioned, Wallenburg was believed to be alive in Russia.  Remember, Riverdale is home to Natan Sharansky Square at Mosholu Ave and W. 255th Street.  I’m sure that street naming had similar roots–a way to honor a person who was working on behalf of Jewish people while at the same time sticking it to the Soviets.

    Still, I see your point Stephanie.  It is not like Wallenburg really had a connection to Riverdale.  It would be interesting to hear what Tom Bird has to say about the name.

    Here is a video of U Thant at his home in Riverdale: https://www.unmultimedia.org/avlibrary/asset/2602/2602271/

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Here’s another map; this one from 1881.  You get an idea of what they were planning for Spuyten Duyvil Parkway in this area.  Today’s Brust Park and the pedestrian/bike path next to the Manhattan College Student Center were all supposed to be part of Spuyten Duyvil Parkway:

    The parkway followed the course of Stony Brook.  It looks like the City acquired that land in an unusual manner, perhaps condemnation, from Hiram Barney as Barney filed a claim against the City as did other neighborhood residents (from the 1/20/1883 City Record):

    Interesting to see that the neighborhood folks seeking claims from the city were represented by Thomas Henry Edsall, the area’s first local historian.

     

     

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    The name Kingsbridge actually did receive the most votes at that 1872 meeting so that is the name that was chosen as the official name of the municipality, which included the neighborhoods of Fieldston, Riverdale and Spuyten Duvyil.

    Van Cortlandt Heights was the name given to the land of the Hiram Barney Estate when it was divided up into lots and put up for Auction.  I would imagine the auctioneer came up with that one:

    And your family’s property on the northeast corner of 238th and Greystone would have been on the other side of “Dash’s Lane” so not part of Barney’s property.  It belonged to Barney’s neighbor Waldo Hutchins.  The Hutchins estate was put up for auction in 1909:

    You can see your family’s former property the Waldo Hutchins Estate Auction Map:

    And the Dash estate also sold in 1909, I believe.  The neighborhood went from being large sweeping country estates to small lots with modest homes in a very short period of time.  Rapid transit spurred this on it seems (from the Hutchins estate brochure):

    in reply to: Van Cortlandt Park: land-use and divisions #2005
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    One resource that has paid dividends in the past is the page hosting the Parks Dept. “Historical Reports, Press Releases, and Minutes.”  You can find that here.  If I come across anything else, I will send it your way.

    in reply to: Spuyten Duyvil Stoves #2002
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    I am thinking that image has to be looking east from a boat on the Hudson.  You are looking over the railroad causeway toward the foundry which was on the peninsula jutting out from what is today the “C” Rock.  There was still no railroad on the north bank of the Spuyten Duyvil Creek in 1856.  That line, the Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris RR, was built in the early 1870s.

    I think the view is from about where the red star is on the above 1868 map.  Many of the large property owners named on the map were the industrialists involved in the foundry work.  All the names mentioned below in this 1855 New York Times notice can be found living on Spuyten Duyvil Hill.

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    The event will be live-streamed by the Van Cortlandt Alliance, the event organizers, on June 19th at 11:00 AM at https://www.facebook.com/vcpalliance/live

    You will not need a Facebook account to watch.

    It does not look like it will be on television at this point.

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    The event is set to begin at 11 AM.  The Van Cortlandt Park Alliance is coordinating it and as soon as they release the details on the live-streaming I will post them here.

    in reply to: Ernest de Forest #1975
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Not in any ongoing sense.

    But if you are interested in back issues of “Tube Collector” magazine, you can read articles about De Forest’s work in Volume 1 and a special 105 page issue all about the tube collection at Manhattan College!

    in reply to: Ernest de Forest #1970
    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    That’s fascinating to know.  I wonder if anyone in the engineering program at Manhattan College knows about this neighborhood connection.  Some of the conference rooms in their engineering program are filled with old vacuum tubes on display.  At one point they even had a vacuum tube museum with thousands of tubes organized into displays by Brother Patrick Dowd.  I am not sure if they still do.

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    There is some information in the Rev. William Tieck’s book, “School and School Days in Riverdale – Kingsbridge – Spuyten Duyvil.”  Apparently, the original P.S. 24 was closed in 1940 due to low attendance.  The Iron Foundry had been shut down in the 20s and this greatly reduced the student population as the foundry workers and their families moved on.  The P.S. 24 visitor’s book recorded this last entry, written by the principal of P.S. 7.

    Friday, Nov. 29, 1940

    P.S. 24 Bronx closes to-day–rather sudden though expected!

    Records from 1865 indicate that P.S. 24 & its forerunner in this locality have done an excellent service.  Perhaps other school activities may be assigned to P.S. 24–a wonderful building in a historic & beautiful setting.  Henry Hudson anchored just across the water; that famous Dutchman who swam the water “in spite of the devil” gave the name to this locality & to this school–“Spuyten Duyvil.”

    After a long & useful career the march of time, & the trend of population have combined to close the “school on the hill”–truly a “little red school house.”

    Now I know the full meaning of Kilmer’s “The House with nobody in It.”

    What can be more desolate & more saddening than an abandoned schoolhouse!  Think of the thousands of happy voices, the stamping feet, the busy hum of work!

    “Sic transit gloria.” Farewell “24.”

    – Joseph T. P. Callahan

    The building was built in 1891 without indoor bathrooms (there were separate outhouses for girls and boys) and before school buses.  Check out the below article from “School” magazine, written in 1899:

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    I just happen to be in the area today and I drove down Edsall Avenue just to see if I could spot the house that George Bolint is standing in front of in the photo with the geese.  I am pretty sure it is 2253 Edsall Ave (the house on the left):

    Nowadays, the houses on Edsall Ave routinely sell for over one million dollars.  But they were working class houses in the past as George Bolint’s memories would suggest.  Several years ago, the house at 2251 Edsall Avenue was put up for sale and I went to see it.  Despite being over 100 years old, it only had a couple of owners and had never been renovated.  It was in pretty rough shape honestly.  The front door fell down the stairs when someone tried to open it to greet me.  It was sold to a house flipper for $275,000, who fixed it up and sold it for $750,000 a year later.  But when I visited, it was like a house that was frozen in the early 20th century.  The kitchen was in the basement and the older woman that lived there offered to make me tea, which she did on this old stove:

    The stove could be heated by gas or coal. Speaking of which, the coal yard that George Bolint wrote about was a well-known area business: G.M. Roden’s.

    Here’s their motto and logo:

     

     

     

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    P.S. 24 was once the most visible landmark atop Spuyten Duyvil Hill–being a relatively large building with no other tall buildings around it.  This 1930s map shows where it was:

    It was a red brick building with a green copper cupola.  The building is visible in many old photos and paintings with the hill in the background.  In this Ernest Lawson painting, you can see it on the right hand side (the view is from Inwood):

    In this Vernon Howe Bailey sketch, you can see it on the left (that’s the Columbia Boathouse in Inwood on the right):

    Here is a family photo taken from about the same spot (PS 24 is on the left):

    Here is a shot taken from about where the Kennedy Campus is today:

    I believe it was torn down in 1940.  The students must have had a heck of a view of the city with no tall buildings blocking visibility.  I bet they could have seen the Empire State Building being built from the 2nd floor windows.

     

     

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 148 total)