I’ve been doing a lot of scouting in the Highbridge Section of the Bronx, a neighborhood largely composed of large brick apartment buildings.
The other day, I was driving down Woodycrest Avenue when something unusual caught my eye at the corner of West 167th Street…
What the heck was that stone building tucked in behind the one-story shops??
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?
It appeared to be abandoned. The main entrance door was chained up, and the two storefronts on the ground floor were vacant.
Meanwhile, open windows revealed what appeared to be a gutted interior…
…with only the birds flying in and out as tenants.
The building itself is a really odd mix of stone, yellow brick, and occasional swaths of red brick:
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:
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.
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.
Built in 1887-88, the church features a two-story bell tower and a Tiffany stained-glass rose window above the altar.
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?
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.
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.
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