The Bronx In Postcards 1905-1920
A short visit to the vanished Bronx of of a century ago.
It truly was the “Beautiful Bronx.”
A place to dine in style was the Woodmansten Inn. The Woodmansten Inn specialized in French cuisine and could seat 125 patrons. It was a busy place conveniently located across from the Morris Park Race Track (yes, the Bronx once had a horse racing track).
Though the postcard says West Chester, this is indeed the Bronx. A good portion of Westchester was part of the Bronx until 1874 and continued to be called West Chester even after the absorption into New York proper.
The Hunter Island Inn was originally a mansion belonging to Elias Hunter’s daughter, Elizabeth de Lancey. It was made into a popular restaurant in the early 1900s. The Inn was demolished in 1937.
The current Yankee Stadium now occupies Jerome Avenue and 161st Street.
All the stately homes that once surrounded the Grand Concourse & Boulevard near Weeks Avenue are gone. “Trainor’s House”, notated in the postcard is obviously the owner and occupant.
The Tremont Theatre at 1942 Webster Ave. specialized in Yiddish film. The theatre shut down around 1960. The building is still there but has been mutilated and is now the home Davita Kidney Care.
In 1889 William H. Webb founded the Academy for ship builders. Webb, became a wealthy man through ship building and was considered a naval engineering genius.
The building seen here was located on 13 acres near Fordham Road and Sedgwick Avenue. The building was completed in 1892. Besides being a school the building served as an old age home.
Webb promised, “Relief aid support to the aged, decrepit, invalid, indigent or unfortunate men who, within the precincts of the United States – anyone having been engaged In the craft of ship-carpentry, building of marine engines or any part or section of the hulls of vessels or engines thereof, together with their lawful wives, will be furnished, free and gratuitous aid.”
Webb’s endowment continues today and is one of the few U.S. colleges that remains tuition free.
The Ship Building Academy moved out to Long Island in 1945, but the ground’s buildings were still standing until the early 1970s. They provided an eerie sight easily visible to passerby on the Major Deegan Expressway until they were finally demolished.
A BBQ restaurant slathered in graffiti now occupies part of the site.
Baker Ave. in The Wakefield neighborhood of the Bronx looks like it could be small town America. None of the large houses seen here are still standing.
The Presbyterian Chapel on Independence Avenue in the Spuyten Duyvil area of the Bronx is also known as Edgehill Church. It is still standing, virtually unchanged.
It is located on a hill across from Kappock Park, originally serving as house of worship to workers of the Isaac G. Johnson ironworks and foundry which was the center of commerce in the area in from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century.
Built in 1888, Edgehill Church was designated a New York City Landmark in 1980. Due to its dwindling membership, Edgehill Church has been closed to the public for over 20 years.