Bronxville is an affluent village within the town of Eastchester, New York. It is a suburb of New York City, located about 15 miles north of midtown Manhattan in southern Westchester County.
When New York City's population spilled north of Manhattan during the 19th century, one of the country hamlets in its path was Bronxville, which offered a few scattered structures near the Bronx River, a stop on the New York and Harlem Railroad. In the ensuing decades, the Village evolved from a tiny settlement of farm, orchard, estate and factory land to become one of the nation's premiere metropolitan suburbs.
The earliest settlers to Bronxville are believed to be the Underhill and Morgan families who arrived in the beginning of the 18th century. Both families farmed and tended orchards, but the Underhills also established the first local factory – a saw and grist mill where today’s Pondfield Road West crosses the Bronx River. They built a wooden bridge over the River inspiring the settlement’s first name, Underhill’s Crossing. Their mill was the first of several factories sprung up along the River. Manufacturing was part of the Bronxville scene for almost two centuries, until 1922 when the last factory, the Kraft leather tannery, vanished in a spectacular blaze. In 1844 the Harlem Railroad reached Underhill’s Crossing on its way to White Plains. New settlers soon followed, even though the train would not make regular stops for a few more years.
The 1850's was a time of drastic change in the Village. Underhill’s Crossing changed its name to Bronxville, as the Underhills sold off most of their remaining land. In 1850 Benjamin Horton established a grocery store next to the train tracks and Lancaster Underhill, grandson of the original colonial settler, was ensconced as the first station master and postmaster. The first commuters arrived in the 1850's, including the DeWitt brothers, several of whom practiced law in the Wall Street area. While the DeWitt’s primary seat was in Yonkers, by 1855 one brother had built a house on Elm Rock Road, and the DeWitts owned more than 100 acres of the land eventually incorporated as Bronxville Village. The road to Tuckahoe, now Sagamore Road, was laid out by the DeWitts in 1860. The growth of the 1850's was not sustained, however, in part because of “malarial vapours” rising from stagnant water along the Bronx River.
The village of Bronxville has over 70 acres of parkland including athletic fields, woodlands and a very small part of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation. The Reservation features ponds, wooden footbridges and hundreds of varieties of natural trees and shrubs. Owned by Westchester County, the Bronx River Parkway Reservation is a favorite place for bicycling, walking, running and nature study. From April-June and September-October, a 7 mile stretch of the Bronx River Parkway from Scarsdale Road in Yonkers to White Plains closes to automobile traffic each Sunday between 10 AM and 2 PM. During those times, the Westchester County Parks Department runs “Bicycle Sundays” along this stretch of the parkway.
Although the first local schools were funded privately, Bronxville’s first public school was built in 1870 on land donated by the DeWitt brothers. This one-room, wood-frame structure was replaced in 1906 by a larger brick building. The Bronxville Union Free School District now consists of three schools, an elementary school, middle school and high school. The district has maintained favorable class sizes, improved their facilities by adding wireless access throughout the buildings as well as new pavement for the Elementary School parking lot and new furniture and classroom enhancements, and moved forward with our K-12 initiative focused on critical and creative thinking. We continue to support a vigorous program of student support services, curriculum innovation, and professional development. Although Bronxville students continue to excel by the conventional measures of achievement such as standardized tests, advanced placement results, and college matriculation, we see a need – and an opportunity -- to move to a higher level of learning. Bronxville Schools remain committed to a comprehensive approach that blends multiple measures of student learning in order to get a complete picture of students’ learning needs.
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