The Bronx In 1897 and Its Beautiful Homes – They Gave Way For Progress
Concluding our series on the Bronx from 1897 we look at the final set of photographs excerpted from the 1897 book The Great North Side.
The editors stated purpose in publishing the book was “to attract population, capital, and business enterprise to the Borough of the Bronx. It is not issued in any narrow sense with the desire of building up this borough at the expense of the other boroughs, for the reader will observe that the writers evidence an equal pride in advantages distinctively the possession of the Borough of Manhattan. We are first of all New Yorkers — citizens of no mean city — and proud of the fact. But our particular field of activity is the Borough of the Bronx, and we know that whatever tends to the upbuilding of this borough redounds to the credit, prestige, and glory of our common city.”
The editors of The Great North Side really never saw the realization of their goals. The population increased and the borough was developed, but not in the way they envisioned.
What was once a roomy borough with splendid homes and wide open spaces became overdeveloped. The construction of the subway in the early part of the 20th century brought land development, a building boom and hundreds of thousands of people to the Bronx.
By the 1930s many of the fine old homes had been demolished and large parcels of land were subdivided and developed with apartment buildings.
In the 1950s Robert Moses cut the Bronx’s jugular. Moses’ Cross-Bronx Expressway bulldozed a wide swath of the Bronx destroying thriving neighborhoods and essentially splitting the Bronx in two halves.