1609 – Henry Hudson, exploring for
the Dutch East India Company, sails up the Hudson River in his ship,
the Half Moon, and becomes the first European to see The Bronx.
1639 – Jonas Bronck, a Swedish sea
captain living in the Netherlands, becomes the first settler in
The Bronx, along with his wife and a handful of German, Dutch, and
Danish indentured servants.
1642 – John Throckmorton comes from
Rhode Island with a group of settlers to live on Throg's Neck. At
the same time, Anne Hutchinson arrives from the same place to live
along the banks of the river later named for her. An Indian uprising
causes Throckmorton and his settlers to flee and Hutchinson is killed.
1654 – Prodded by Thomas Pell of Fairfield,
Connecticut, 15 men settle at the head of navigation of Westchester
Creek and found the first village in the area, called Westchester.
This is the first permanent European settlement in The Bronx.
1663 – The town of Eastchester in the
northeast Bronx is established by ten families abetted by Thomas
1666 – Thomas Pell receives a patent
from the colonial governor making his land in the northeast Bronx
a manor, later called Pelham.
1671 – John Archer receives a patent
from the colonial governor for the manor of Fordham, which included
almost all of today’s western Bronx.
1683 – Counties are created in colonial
New York, and today’s Bronx becomes part of Westchester County,
with the first county seat in the village of Westchester.
1693 – Frederick Philipse receives
a patent from the colonial governor for the manor of Philipsburgh,
extending from the entire northwest Bronx to the Croton River in
modern Westchester County. He builds the King’s Bridge over
Spuyten Duyvil Creek.
1696 – The colonial governor grants
tiny, rural Westchester a charter making it a borough. This meant
that it could have a mayor, council and alderman.
1697 – Young Lewis Morris receives
a patent from the colonial governor making his land the manor of
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1748 – The Van Cortlandt House is built
by Frederick van Cortlandt. This is now the oldest house in The
1758 -- The Valentine-Varian House is built
by blacksmith Isaac Valentine. It is presently the second oldest
house in The Bronx.
1761 -- Benjamin Palmer purchases Minneford
Island, and later forms a syndicate to make it into a major commercial
city on Long Island Sound, renamed City Island. The effort eventually
fails, but the name sticks.
1776 -- The British land at Throg's Neck
on October 12, then withdraw to land on Pell's Point in today's
Pelham Bay Park. There, the 4,000 British and Hessians are met by
350 Americans under Colonel John Glover and are fought to a standstill,
enabling George Washington, with the main American army, to withdraw
safely to White Plains. The Bronx passes under British control until
the end of the American Revolution.
1783 -- Washington starts out from the Van
Cortlandt House with a contingent of troops to cross the King's
Bridge to take possession of New York City from the British in the
last act of the American Revolution.
1783 -- Lewis Morris sends a letter to the
Continental Congress proposing Morrisania as the permanent capital
of the United States. Congress tabled the letter and never considered
1797 -- The Harlem Bridge (the first Third
Avenue Bridge) is built over the Harlem River with a new Boston
Post Road to lead to it. The latter is now Third Avenue to 163rd
Street and Boston Road north of that.
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1813 -- Mattias Lopez starts the first newspaper
to be published in The Bronx, The Westchester Patriot, in West Farms.
1841 -- Archbishop John Hughes establishes
St. John's College, today's Fordham University, the first institution
of higher learning in The Bronx.
1841 -- The New York and Harlem River Railroad,
today the Harlem Division of Metro-North, is built, becoming the
first railroad in The Bronx. It results in an increase in the population
of the western part of The Bronx.
1846 -- Edgar Allan Poe moves to the village
of Fordham, created by the presence of a railroad stop there, in
a vain attempt to cure his wife, Virginia, of tuberculosis. He writes
"Annabel Lee" and "The Bells" there. It is his
last home; he dies in 1849.
1848 -- The Croton Aqueduct, designed by
early American engineer John B. Jervis is completed. This includes
the monumental High Bridge, in the shape of a Roman Aqueduct, over
the Harlem River, which was also used as a footpath to Manhattan.
1861 -- Gas lighting is introduced into The
1863 -- The iron dome of the Capitol Building
in Washington, D.C. is manufactured in the Janes and Beebe (later
Janes and Kirtland) Iron Works at 149th Street and Brook Avenue,
then shipped to Washington by boat for assembly on site.
1867 -- Leonard W. Jerome opens the Jerome
Park Racetrack. There he begins the Belmont Stakes, which is run
there until the park closes in 1890. To attract wealthy New Yorkers
to the track, he builds what is today Jerome Avenue.
1874 -- The towns of Morrisania, West Farms,
and Kingsbridge are annexed to New York City, becoming the 23rd
and 24th wards. These wards are placed under the control of the
Department of Public Parks.
1886 -- The Third Avenue El (Elevated Train)
is extended into The Bronx.
1887 -- Electricity is introduced into The
1888 -- A commission purchases Van Cortlandt
Park, Bronx Park, Pelham Bay Park, Crotona Park, Claremont Park,
St. Mary's Park, Mosholu Parkway, Pelham Parkway, and Crotona Parkway.
This is the foundation of the park system of The Bronx, which today
covers 24% of the borough's land surface. Half of Bronx Park and
all of Pelham Parkway and Pelham Bay Park are located outside of
the city's boundaries of the time.
1889 -- The Washington Bridge between the
mainland and Manhattan over the Harlem River opens.
1895 -- The town of Westchester, the incorporated
village of Wakefield, and the southern parts of the towns of Eastchester
and Pelham, all lying east of the Bronx River, are annexed to New
York City and made part of the 24th Ward.
1897-- The first public High School, later
named Morris High School, is established.
1898 -- The city of Greater New York is created
as a federation of five boroughs with the 23rd and 24th Wards becoming
the borough of The Bronx. Louis F. Haffen is elected the first Borough
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1904 -- The IRT subway is extended to The
Bronx under 149th Street.
1906 -- The Jerome Park Reservoir is opened.
1912 -- The Bronx flag is designed. It consists
of orange, white and blue horizontal stripes to represent the Netherlands,
upon which is superimposed the Bronck family coat-of-arms enclosed
in a laurel wreath.
1914 -- The Bronx becomes the last (62nd)
county of the state of New York.
1914 -- The Kingsbridge Armory, reputedly
the largest in the world, is completed.
1923 -- Yankee Stadium opens with Babe Ruth
hitting a home run, giving it the nickname of "The House That
1936 -- The Henry Hudson Bridge and Henry
Hudson Parkway open to traffic.
1936 -- The Triborough Bridge opens to traffic.
1939 -- The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge opens.
1955 -- The Major Deegan Expressway opens.
1955 -- The Bronx County Historical Society
1961 -- The Throgg's Neck Bridge opens.
1965 -- The Cross-Bronx Expressway is completed.
1968 -- The Museum of Bronx History opens.
1971 -- The Bronx Museum of the Arts opens.
1977 -- President Jimmy Carter visits The
Bronx, followed by television and newspaper cameramen recording
widespread devastation and destruction of the urban surroundings.
This projects a powerful negative image of The Bronx across the
nation and around the world.
1996-- The Bronx County Archives moves to
new building dedicated to Bronx History.
1997 -- The Bronx is designated an "All
American City" by the National Civic Council.
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2000--The Bronx enters the 21st Century.
2001- Gen. Colin Powell, Bronxite, appointed U.S. Secretary or State.
The Bronx County Archives and Storage Facility Dedicated.
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For More Information on Bronx History
Bronx Historical Society