Many of the Bronx’s older buildings date from the Dutch colonial era and before. The Valentine-Varian House on East 174th Street in Fordham is one such largely unaltered building that provides insight into the history of the area. This brick farmhouse was built in 1758 by Henry Valentine and Peter Varian, two brothers who had been granted a tract of land in 1664. They added to it over time, and it remained in the family until 2015 when it was sold to a group that intended to restore it. However, no plans have been made public as of yet regarding what will become of this historic house if restored. It is located at 3266 Bainbridge Ave, The Bronx, NY 10467.
The Varian Family
Peter Varian was the first of his family to settle in the Bronx, purchasing land in the area known as the Dutch Flatts in 1664. Three of his sons, Abraham, Henry and Johannes, would go on to build a house on that property near the intersection of what is now Fordham Road and Crumack Avenue. Abraham and Henry would eventually build this stone farmhouse together around 1758. The brothers were farmers and owned a mill and gristmill on the property. Johannes Varian, the youngest child, would eventually buy the farm and continue to live there until his death in 1817. The Varian family was not the only Dutch family to settle in the Bronx. They were joined by the Van Nest family, which owned a plantation in the area that is now the Van Nest College campus, and the Hegeman family. The Hegemen owned a large tract of land near what is now East 149th Street and Bainbridge Avenue. The Hegemen family was a wealthy family, not only in terms of financial resources, but also in terms of social status. In fact, the Hegemen family held a high position in the Dutch colonial society, and the family’s patriarch, John Hegeman, served as a member of the New York Provincial Council and the New York Assembly.
Dutch Colonial Era
The Dutch colonization of the New World took place between the years of 1609 and 1795. For the Dutch, who were Protestant, it was an opportunity to practice religious tolerance. They also saw the Netherlands as a great trading partner, importing goods and exporting fine textiles. The Dutch settlers traded with the local tribes of Native Americans, including the Wappinger, the Schoharie and the Delaware, who would eventually land in the area that is now the Bronx. During the Dutch colonial period the Bronx was known as “Warwick.” Most of the land that is now the Bronx was owned by the Van Arsdale and the Hoogland families. These families were the first to colonize the area, purchasing the land from the local Native Americans. The Van Arsdale family had a large plantation in the area of what is now East 149th Street, Bainbridge Avenue and Fordham Road, while the Hoogland family owned the land that is now the Bronx’s east end.
History of the area before the Bronx was incorporated into New York City
In addition to the Dutch settlers, there were also the original Lenape Native Americans. The Lenape, who were also a group of Native Americans, would eventually make their home in the Bronx. The Lenape controlled the area that is now the Bronx until the 17th century, when the English gained supremacy in the region. It wasn’t until the middle of the 18th century that the area was incorporated into New York City. It is important to note the transition from a Dutch colony to a New York City municipality. During this time there was significant growth in population, and the City of New York was seeking a way to govern the growing population. In 1785, the State of New York passed a law that allowed the City of New York to expand into the counties of Westchester, Kings and Queens. The City of New York incorporated into New York City.
Current State of the Farmhouse
The Valentine-Varian House has been left to let itself decay. The city has been there to offer assistance in keeping it aesthetically pleasing. In 2015, the farmhouse was owned by the Valentine-Varian House LLC, who intended to restore the house. The house is currently in a state of great disrepair. The structure is in need of structure repair and asbestos abatement. It is also extremely drafty, and the exterior has fallen into disrepair. The owners of the farmhouse have the opportunity to come together and make the Valentine-Varian House a place of great beauty and historical significance. The Valentine-Varian House could become a venue for weddings, parties, fundraisers and other events. The Valentine-Varian House could also be used as a museum and a place to educate visitors about the history of the area.
Finding out more about the Valentine-Varian House in Fordham
The Valentine-Varian House has a rich history that can be explained thanks to the many documents and records that have been kept. These documents can provide the answers to many questions regarding the house and the story of the Valentine-Varian family. Many of the records will be transferred to the Bronx History & Genealogy Society, and they will be available to the public. The Society plans to have extensive displays featuring photographs and artifacts, as well as a research room for visitors to learn more about the Valentine-Varian family. The Society will also be publishing a series of books about the Valentine-Varian House and Fordham. These books will include detailed information about the Valentine-Varian family, as well as information about the house itself. Checkout next article.
The Valentine-Varian House is a valuable piece of history and a relic from the Dutch colonial era. The building has been left to fall apart, and it is in need of extensive repairs. The Valentine-Varian House is a place of great historical significance and could be utilized by the Bronx community as a venue for historical research, meetings and other events
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