An Abandoned Stone Mansion Hiding In The Bronx

I’ve been doing a lot of scouting in the Highbridge Section of the Bronx, a neighborhood largely composed of large brick apartment buildings.

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The other day, I was driving down Woodycrest Avenue when something unusual caught my eye at the corner of West 167th Street…

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What the heck was that stone building tucked in behind the one-story shops??

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I pulled over to check it out. With numerous chimneys and dormer windows, clearly it wasn’t built as an apartment building. Was this an old mansion that had fallen into ruin?

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It appeared to be abandoned. The main entrance door was chained up, and the two storefronts on the ground floor were vacant.

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Meanwhile, open windows revealed what appeared to be a gutted interior…

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…with only the birds flying in and out as tenants.

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The building itself is a really odd mix of stone, yellow brick, and occasional swaths of red brick:

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The rear of the building abuts an apartment building, and from the back alley, I was able to see an arched window in the center:

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Another view:

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But what was this originally? It’s not hard to imagine that the large square of one-story shops was once the front yard of the building, perhaps part of a larger estate.

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Later on I did some research, and learned that this wasn’t a private residence, but rather the parsonage for the old Union Reformed Church, a beautiful stone structure located on Ogden Avenue.

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Built in 1887-88, the church features a two-story bell tower and a Tiffany stained-glass rose window above the altar.

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Except here’s the strange thing – the Union Reformed Church is at Ogden north of West 168th Street, while the parsonage is located on West 167th Street off of Woodycrest. What’s the story?

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Built in 1888, the parsonage was in use until 1925, when it was moved to its current location. About the only other record I could find for the 49 West 167th Street address is that a laundromat was once on the ground floor around the late 1940s.

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So not a mansion after all, but still interesting nonetheless! Not sure what the current state of property is, but it’s still neat to find something like this tucked away in a quiet little corner of the Bronx.

-SCOUT

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11 comments

  1. stephanie Parker

    Wow, that is such a beautiful place! And such a shame that its just left there to fall apart. I wish I owned it, I would move it to a more rural location and restore it, if I win the lottery of course! Thanks for sharing! I love these old places!!

  2. Eagle eyes, that’s what you have Scout!

    BTW, have you ever investigated all the Creedmoor buildings out in the far edges of Queens? Very interesting looking from the street (Winchester between Hillside and Union)

  3. Wow. This was awesome! I’m wondering how it could be sitting there in complete disuse though. There’s so much potential in it.

  4. Amazing find, Scout! Follow up… if someone needed to shoot something in there, for a film or photo shoot, how would you even dig in to find out???

  5. Actually, this building is considered on the same lot at the commercial spaces, so the laundry was NOT in the stone building, it was in the commercial space. The property was just sold – for only $150,000 – as of June 2013. I highly doubt it will be restored and the sale was likely for an investor on the commercial spaces. it is, though, classed as a mutifamily with stores. And fyi, it isn’t landmarked –

  6. The spray-painted box with a cross in it above the front door is FDNY’s way to denote an abandoned property that may not be maintained properly, and alerts the firefighters to proceed with caution as floors may not be able to properly support weight, etc.

  7. Judging from the style and mix of materials, I wouldn’t be surprised if this building was originally stuccoed. Interesting things going on behind it, too, with what looks like a couple of old carriage houses, not to mention the interesting complex around the corner – wonder what’s going on in that large Romanesque townhouse?

  8. Great find. It looks like the building itself (if it hasn’t been altered too srastically) may, itslef have been a carraige house which would explain why the trip was no problem for the Parson.

    But, the architecture of building immeidately behind it(from the aerial view)indicates it pre-dates the stone structure.

  9. I lived at Woodycrest and 166th from 1956-1964. As a kid I used to go to the candy store next to this building at Woodycrest and 167th. The building appeared to be abandoned back then. We used to say it was from the days of the Civil War, or maybe even the Revolutionary War. Well, we weren’t too far off with the Civil War. I haven’t laid eyes on this structure since 1964, so, fifty years later the mystery is solved. Thanks!

  10. I live around the corner from this place. for the past 3 years I’ve been wondering what this place was. definitely would be nice to restore into a museum or a community center.

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