ndembowski

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  • in reply to: New York Yankees develop site in Marble Hill #1153

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Hi, Tom.  Thanks for sharing.  I had not seen that map before with the outline of Yankee stadium there (where the Target is today).  That would have been pretty wild to have the “House that Ruth Built” in Kingsbridge.  It would have made sense given the subway line and multiple train lines going through the area.  From the map it appears that the infield would have been in Manhattan while the outfield would have been in The Bronx.  That would have resulted in some funny in-game commentary for sure!

    I also am curious about some of those postcards because I thought I had seen them all but some of those don’t sound familiar.  Do you own all of them?  If yes, would you mind sharing the one of Dashe’s Lane?

    in reply to: John J. McKelvey #1152

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Hi, Stephanie.  I checked the Reverend Tieck’s book for anything on McKelvey or the Villa Rosa Bonheur and I did not see anything.  The book was published in 1968 so the building would not have seemed as historically relevant as it might today.  Another member posted that the building was designed by Robert Garner, who designed the Charlotte Bronte apartments.  So, I guess Garner designed it for McKelvey, is that right?

    Getting back to the Reverend Tieck’s book, I would highly recommend it despite its climbing price.  It really is the definitive guide to local history with many amazing photographs.

    in reply to: September 2019 Photo Contest #1128

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Great post with lots of amazing resources for finding photos.  Most of the photos you posted I hadn’t seen before.  And you are correct about this photo:

    It was jammed in an envelope with the mystery photo so I figured it was the same spot when I noticed the marble bedrock.  However, the gas station in the background was at the corner of W. 230th and Broadway so it has to be the foundation of the post office.  Good sleuthing.  The NYPL has a photo of that gas station here and it is labeled as W. 230th and Broadway.

    Tieck’s red book has a good writeup on the construction of the post office including the human remains (possibly from the Revolution) that were discovered during its construction.

     

    in reply to: September 2019 Photo Contest #1126

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Nice work, Lois.  Below is a clearer image.

    On the left you will see the “Lakes of Sligo” bar and on the right you will see a house and apartment building on Godwin Terrace.  This is the base of Marble Hill and that appears to be an outcropping of Inwood (or Kingsbridge) Marble on the left.  The photo was taken in 1949 so the Marble Hill housing projects were not yet constructed.  Assuming these ladies were in their 70s, they saw many changes in the neighborhood in their lifespan including the disappearance of Spuyten Duyvil Creek and Tibbetts Brook.  It is not surprise to me that the KHS was founded in 1949 given the changes that the this generation witnessed in the area.  That outcropping of marble would not be around much longer either.  The foundation for the grocery store on the corner of 228th and Broadway cut deep into the Marble:

    The above photos along with about a dozen others from the neighborhood will be available for members to view in the “Members Area” shortly.

     

     


    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Thanks.  Yes, that area north of the tracks was filled in but it does seem to be pretty close to sea level judging by the flooding and large puddles there after a rain.

    Great detective work on the train station, Alasky.


    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    I did not know this but you made me curious so I looked into it and found this.

    Just below where you see “Riverdale Ave” you can see “Kingsbridge Sta.”  I guess Riverdale Ave is the old name for West 230th Street.  I am thinking that the postcard is looking east from Broadway and that the building in the center of the background is the red rectangle on the above map labeled “Dr. Parsons.”


    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Normally, this is not these forums are not the place for politics but weakening the SNAD protection in Riverdale would very clearly allow development to run rampant in a part of the neighborhood where the rock outcroppings, natural slopes, and tall old trees give a sense of the natural history of the area.

    When I taught at P.S. 24, we used the rock outcroppings and boulders of Fieldston as a means to teach/learn about geology.  From the sidewalks you can see evidence of plate tectonics and the movement of glaciers.  We also used neighborhood trees as specimens for study (the students were intrigued to learn that the spiky thorns of Black Locust trees were very likely an evolutionary adaptation to prevent the tree from mastodons).  SNAD protections have been helpful in preserving these natural elements, which are a part of the neighborhood’s character and natural history.

    https://www.riverdalepress.com/stories/neighbors-quiver-over-citys-scheme-to-dismantle-snad,67934?

    in reply to: Fort No. 2 on Spuyten Duyvil Hill #1064

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    The effort to conduct an archeological dig on the Fort No. 2 site continues…

    I created this landing page, which contains all of the news stories about the fort including the latest NY1 report:

    https://kingsbridgehistoricalsociety.org/fort-no-2-a-k-a-fort-swartwout/

    I have written to our elected representatives to ask for help negotiating with the owner and developer.  Again, we are not looking to stop or impede construction–simply to study the site with an archeologist before construction destroys what remains.  If you wish to reinforce that message, feel free to write to them as well:

    Jeffrey Dinowitz: dinowij@nyassembly.gov
    Andrew Cohen: District11@council.nyc.gov
    Alessandra Biaggi: biaggisched@nysenate.gov

    I truly cannot understand why the owner and developer are so reticent to let an archeological dig happen.

    in reply to: Early Colonial Settlement in Kingsbridge #1045

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Hi, Nancy.  I imagine the excavation that you recall from the 50’s was probably was probably the dig at the site of Fort Independence, which was the largest of the Kingsbridge fortifications.  It sat between today’s Cannon Place and Giles Place.

    A detailed archeological report of the Fort Independence excavations was written up and published in 1978 by the New York State Archeological Association.  You can read that here:  https://nysarchaeology.org/download/nysaa/bulletin/number_073.pdf#page=4

    That is the type of report that we would like to have published about another Revolutionary fort in the neighborhood: Fort No. 2 on Spuyten Duyvil Hill.  However, the owner of the land where Fort No. 2 once stood is not permitting an archeological team to study the site.  You can read about that here in this week’s Riverdale Press: https://riverdalepress.com/stories/historians-hope-to-find-revolutionary-war-artifacts-at-spuyten-duyvil-site,69125.  I imagine you do not get the Riverdale Press out in Oregon!  After creating this website, it has been amazing to see how many emails and memberships we get from all over the country–from people like you, who once lived in the neighborhood and are still interested in its history.

    in reply to: May 2019 Photo Contest #963

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Nailed it!  Nice going, ALasky and thanks, Tom, for participating as well.

    It is indeed W. 231st and Broadway.

    The three-story apt. building on the corner is now the home of the “Gold Mine Cafe” and the three adjacent buildings are still standing:

    Here’s the view from the street.  The overhead train obscures most of the view:

    The decorative elements and number of windows match the 1905 photo.

    Further down the street are more buildings that are still around (including the one from the tax photo posted by ALasky).

    The white and blue painted building is the former home of Fuhrman’s Dry Goods, a department store:

    You can still see some of the decorative elements from the facade:

    Fuhrman’s was a beloved local store.  Here is a section of an opinion piece from the Riverdale News from the late 1920’s:

    The trees on the left side of the 1905 photo may seem strange but according to this 1921 map, there were no buildings on the west side of Broadway between 231st and 232nd Streets.  There was only one building within that block.  The below map snippet has Broadway on the bottom and Church Street is now Kingsbridge Avenue:

    The double-culvert sewers run under Broadway.  I had always been under the impression that Tibbett’s Brook was buried in tunnels like these under Tibbett Avenue but numerous articles state that the Brook actually runs under Broadway through the tunnels in the 1905 photo:

    At the southwest corner of [Van Cortlandt] lake, the freshwater flow of Tibbetts Brook is routed down into a storm drain that leads to the Broadway sewer, where it mixes in with raw sewage and stormwater. “On a dry day, four to five million gallons of water from Van Cortlandt Lake goes into the Broadway sewer,” says Taylor.

    That mix leads to a filtration plant.  When rains are heavy, the plant cannot handle the flow so the overflow (sewage included) empties into the Harlem River.  The effort to daylight Tibbett’s Brook would help solve the problem of raw sewage being dumped in the River.  The Times has more info on the buried brook here.

    Thanks for reading and participating.

     

     

    in reply to: May 2019 Photo Contest #961

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    No, you don’t have it yet.  Several of the buildings depicted are still standing.

    in reply to: Robert Brown – Militiaman from Kingsbridge #951

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    I have a lot of questions about this situation as well but I don’t think there are answers.  But he did give custody of his mixed-race children to his neighbors, as opposed to his wife, so I think that might answer your question as to how she felt about the kids.  It really is impossible to know.

    Another really interesting name on the militia roll is Anthony Allaire.  The South Yonkers Company of militia (that included men from Kingsbridge) was organized after the battles of Lexington and Concord.  You would assume that the militia was composed of Patriots but at that time the national politics had not yet taken shape as “Patriots” versus “Loyalists.”   Anthony Allaire would be best known as fighting for the British later in the war.  In 1780 he was a loyalist soldier in the south and kept a detailed journal, which is treasured by historians of that theater of the war:

    https://www.tngenweb.org/revwar/kingsmountain/allaire.html

    It is wild to think that his military career started in Kingsbridge in the Patriot militia but ended as a prisoner of the Patriots in South Carolina.  Like many local loyalists he wound up living in Canada after the war.

    in reply to: Fascinating Photo #883

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    Someone did bring up this question at the meeting although no one came up with anything definitive about the structure, which I had thought was a bridge.

    But I do think you nailed it here.  The 1921 Bromley map below shows the train yards and you can see just above the tracks is a section of road labeled “ROAD.”  You can see this same road going up the hill in the original photo to the left of the structure.  This road is essentially the same path that exists today from Waldo Ave to W. 240th Street (alongside Manhattan College’s new student center).

    The NYPL has a great photo of the train yard in 1926 before Gaelic Park was constructed in the field to the south:

    Great detective work and thanks for sharing.

    in reply to: An interesting encounter on Waldo Avenue #874

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    A reader just sent me this link to the Museum of the City of New York’s collection of photos of the old Hutchins estate.  There are some great shots of the mansion, which had a nice view over the valley of Kingsbridge to the east:

     

    The below photo appears to show the stone barn on the right and another smaller building on the left:

    I believe those are the two buildings shown below on the Waldo Hutchins estate sale map:

    I am reasonably sure that both the mansion and the barn are depicted on this British intelligence map from the revolution.  Hessian soldiers were stationed in the buildings for much of the war.

     

     

    in reply to: January 2019 Photo Contest #858

    ndembowski
    Keymaster

    January is over so it is time to reveal the location of the photo.  Does this look familiar?

    It is the intersection of W. 231st Street and Albany Crescent, looking East toward Bailey Avenue.  If you have been in the neighborhood a while, you may know this corner as being across the street from the Piper’s Kilt, which is now the Bronx Public.  Now check out a photo from today side by side with the old photo:

    I think what made this one really tricky was that the building in the foreground is not longer standing.  It was demolished for a Major construction project–the Major Deegan Expressway.  Here is an earlier shot (looking west toward Broadway) of that building, which was home to Robert’s bookstore, Tynan’s hardware, and the Van Cortlandt Democratic Club:

    You really had to zoom in on details in the background to figure it out what you were looking at:

    All of the buildings in the background are still standing, including a house that you can barely make out in the distance on Bailey Avenue.  Here is that house today:

    That house has been there for a very long time.  You can see it on the right side of the below photo, which is looking east on 231st Street toward Bailey Ave.  “The Local” bar was then a soda fountain.

    You can even see that same house (upper right) in the below 1909 image of 231st Street during the construction of the sewer system.  Rather than digging out a trench for sewer pipes, the sewer was built well above street level.  The manhole covers are easily 15 feet above ground–sticking out like chimneys.  The street level was then raised, except for the viaduct for the railroad and Major Deegan Expressway.

    I had mentioned in a hint that the intersection in the photo (231st and Albany Crescent) was where two of America’s oldest roads met and that John Adams passed through it in 1774.  Albany Crescent is something of an unusual name and it has an unusual shape to it as well.  Sometimes when a street has an unusual name and an unusual shape, it is really old.  I have highlighted Albany Crescent in red below:

    The intersection of W. 231st Street and Albany Crescent is where the Boston Post Road met the Albany Post Road.  These were two of the oldest and most important roads in the colonial period.  Coaches from Boston or Albany would pass through this intersection and cross over the King’s Bridge to Manhattan at today’s W. 230th Street and Kingsbridge Avenue.  Here is a revolutionary era British intelligence map showing the same area:

    It is not exactly easy to make out Albany Crescent so here they are side by side with the roads highlighted:

    KHS member, Tom Casey, calculated here that Paul Revere travelled through that intersection and over the King’s Bridge 10 times.  How many people walk past those corners not realizing the streets are over 300 years old!

    Thank you for everyone that participated in the photo contest.  We will have another one soon.  I have uploaded more old photos of these streets to the “members area” of the website.  If you are a member you can view them by logging in to the site.  If you are a member but you do not have a password, or have forgotten it, please let me know and I will send one to you.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 57 total)