By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville
Jan. 4, 2023: I thought I would start the New Year off on a fun and uplifting note by sharing some interesting facts about our very special community.
The actual first Village government was formed at “Dogwoods”, the home of Frances Bacon, newly installed Village President, at 61 Sagamore Road. Still familiar names: Bacon, Kraft and Chambers were our first governing body.
Our Village functioned for its first year of incorporation in 1898 with no ordinances. The very first ordinance, which followed the next year, protected us from public nudity, brothels, saloons, gambling, riots, and profane language.
Other first-generation ordinances prohibited ball playing on Sunday, “hallooing or yelling after dark” and gunfire between the setting and rising sun. (Apparently, daytime gunfire was acceptable!)
In a bit of aspirational thinking, fire escapes would be required on all opera houses, but churches were exempt.
In 1899, homes could be built with no notice to the Village and without regard to size or placement on a lot, as it was not until 1922 that our first zoning ordinance was enacted.
Our early post office was staffed by two post mistresses, maiden sisters who carefully read everyone’s postcards and magazines, and if they thought the information of some urgency, they dispatched local boys to share the messages of often upcoming appointments in New York City that they didn’t want residents to miss. Needless to say, they were deemed, according to the history books, as “authorities on all Village news.”
Our first school, built in 1870 on Pondfield Road looked no different from rural wood structures of the period - a little red wooden building with a cloakroom and a potbelly stove. Parental involvement in a PTA has always been a signature trait in the Village and it was no exception at these early meetings as many of the minutes concentrated on the contents of motion pictures, fearing not only a negative impact on our community but more importantly, a deleterious effect on our diction.
At the turn of the 20th century, we were also home to an insane asylum, the Vernon House Retreat near the intersection of Pondfield and White Plains Roads. Limited to just ten patients, one could be treated for, “mental and nervous diseases and cases of habit.”
Our hospital and nearby Sarah Lawrence College were thanks to the generosity of our Village founder, William Van Duzer Lawrence.
In 1908, Mr. Lawrence‘s son, Dudley, was stricken with an appendicitis attack that would be fatal without an operation. He was transported on a baggage car attached to the first train heading south from White Plains. Furnished with a box spring and mattress from the family owned Gramatan Hotel, he lived after a 12 hour ordeal. Wishing this on no one else’s child, Dudley‘s father contributed $250,000 to inaugurate a hospital capital campaign.
Monies were supplemented by the performance of a “pageant” at Sagamore Park to which thousands attended, including the then sitting governor, Charles Evans Hughes. Lawrence also envisioned a junior college for women and enlisted the help of the Vassar College President, Dr. Henry McCracken. Named after his beloved and recently deceased wife Sarah, the first Board of Trustees of Sarah Lawrence College was actually the same folks as Vassar College.
We had essentially the exact same population - approximately 6500 residents - in the 1930’s as we do today.
Stores were closed on Wednesday afternoons and a home valet truck patrolled the Village sporting a sign, “Would you spare your appearance for $.50?” If not, a gentleman would come to your door and iron your rumpled suit.
In 1928, in honor of its 25th jubilee, Saint Joseph’s beloved pastor, Father McCann, was treated to an around the world trip thanks to donations from the entire Village.
Held at the Gramatan Hotel, Miss Caroline Covington, proprietress of the Miss Covington’s School of Dance, started each class off with the sound of castanets and stopped immediately if “wallflowers” were minus a partner.
The Bronx River was actually rerouted and the Village border changed to accommodate the original construction of the Bronx River Parkway.
There are 1356 parking meters in our Village and they all work . (most days!!)
The Village has no County roads and only one state road, Route 22. It is only Route 22 that cannot be repaved or upgraded by the Village’s capital plan.
60% of our residents live in single-family homes or townhouses while 40% live in co-ops, condominiums or rentals.
Approximately 26% of the Village is tax exempt.
The original soil at the Alfredo Fields, near Siwanoy Country Club, was sold and trucked to Queens for the Worlds Fair in 1939.
With the exception of the Hasidic Village of Kiryas Joel in Orange County, Bronxville is the only community in New York State that is co-terminous with its school district with the municipality issuing both school and Village tax bills.
The overwhelming majority of Village housing units, (72%), were built before 1939.
Clearly, we have always been a unique community and Trustee William Kraft early envisioned even greater things for us, writing on Village stationary that, “In the course of time, we will have one of the finest Villages along the line.”
Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.
While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.
Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.
The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.
Village of Bronxville Administrative Offices
Open 9:00am - 4pm excluding holidays and weekends
Bronxville Police Department
Open 24 hours
Bronxville Parking Violations
Open 9:00am - 4pm excluding holidays and weekends
Bronxville Fire Deparment