Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in New York City (1). The vast 3,000-acre green land includes forests, hiking trails, and is home to a number of wildlife species ranging from harbor seals to red-tail hawks. Many may also know it for the retreat of the Orchard Beach. What most probably don’t know, however, is the historical building of the Bartow-Pell Mansion. An integral part of the Bronx’s expansive and beautiful history, it sits on the east end of the park on Shore Road, overlooking the Long Island Sound. Now a museum, the mansion welcomes visitors from around the borough and the world to visit and partake in its external and internal beauty.
It is a Grecian style stone mansion with Greek Revival interiors, refaced in 1836 when a Robert Bartow acquired the estate (2). The property where the mansion currently sits was part of a 50,000-acre land purchase between the Siwanoy Indians and Thomas Pell, a doctor from Connecticut in 1654. The land treaty was famously signed under an oak tree, coined the Treaty Oak. According to the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, the land was chartered by King Charles II and consigned by Pell in 1666 (3). The area includes parts of what is now Westchester.
Pell began, but unfortunately did not complete, building his home. His nephew, John Pell, would go on to complete it for him in 1670. Unfortunately, the home then burned down during the revolutionary war. By the end of the war, the property was reduced to 200-acres. The land was returned to the Pell family, after Bartow purchased the land in 1836. Bartow completed the construction of the current skeleton of the home in 1842, where he lived with his wife and children.
The estate was acquired in 1888 by New York City. Structures neighboring the mansion deteriorated, but the mansion survived. It officially became a museum, in 1946, and then became a part of the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970’s. It is an official New York City Landmark. Upon your visit, you will see a home furnished with pieces reminiscent of its history - including a 6,000-piece postcard collection by Thomas X Casey showcasing photos of the last century. Like many of the Bronx’s historical landmarks, you will be welcomed by its rich history and beauty.
The Bartow-Pell Mansion is located at 895 Shore Rd, Bronx, NY 10464. It costs $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, and free for children under six. For more information, please visit Bartow-Pell Mansion.
1. "Bartow-Pell Mansion." The Historic House Trust RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2016.
2. "History of Historic Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Carriage House of the Bronx, New York." History of Historic Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Carriage House of the Bronx, New York. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2016.
3. "History of Historic Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Carriage House of the Bronx, New York." History of Historic Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Carriage House of the Bronx, New York. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2016.