Andrew Freedman House Bronx Untapped CitiesPhoto by Lynn Lieberman/AFineLyne

The Grand Concourse has been compared with grand boulevards from the Champs Élysées in Paris to Park Avenue in Manhattan. As a result, it is a great choice to sample some of the best architecture the Bronx has to offer. From its inception in 1890 through today, its history has mirrored that of the Bronx. The Grand Concourse, which was once called the Boulevard of Dreams, highlights sites varying from those associated with the area when it was farmland, before it was incorporated into New York City to those which showcase the Borough’s future.

1. Bronx County Courthouse

Bronx courthouse

The Bronx County Courthouse (now The Bronx County Building) at 851 Grand Concourse is one of the best examples of Art Moderne architecture in New York City. The opening of the courthouse was heralded citywide in 1934. Part of the inaugural ceremonies included Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia officially transferring the seat of the municipal government from City Hall to the new courthouse for three days. Additionally, speeches, a military parade, a concert, and luncheons were held to celebrate the courthouse and the 20th anniversary of the Bronx as a county.

Bronx County Courthouse sculptural groups

The building’s interior is not to be missed either. Its grand ceremonial hall (Veteran’s Memorial Hall) contains four murals created by James Monroe Hewlett as a WPA commission. The murals depict scenes from Bronx history including the landing of Jonas Bronck, George Washington in the Bronx, and Van Cortlandt Park. Until 1988, the murals were hidden by offices. Under Borough President Fernando Ferrer the murals were brought back into public view. In 2010, damage to one of the murals caused minor outrage, but these museum quality murals are still well worth a trip to the Bronx.

Bronx County Courthouse

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6 thoughts on “8 Architectural Gems along the Bronx’s Grand Concourse: County Courthouse, Post Office, Loew’s Paradise Theater, Poe Cottage

  1. There are a couple of inaccuracies in the Poe Cottage entry. Firstly it was in May of 1846 that the Poe family moved to Fordham. Poe’s wife, Virginia, passed away in the cottage on January 30th 1847. Poe Park was opened in 1902. The November 5th 1913 date was when the cottage was first opened to the public after having been moved onto Poe Park earlier that year.

  2. I am seeking to obtain a copy of James Monroe Hewlett’s mural (1932) call “Establishment of the Courts of Justice”. This mural depicts a jury trial in early America. The actual mural sits in the Bronx County Courthouse. Any assistance would be appreciated.

  3. Your information regarding Tremont Temple is INCORRECT. An aquaintence who is the great neice of the Cantor who served Tremont Temple from 1937 until his death in the early 1960’s has copies of the agreements of employment between the congregation and The Reverand Cantor Henry Heller. Should you want any further information please feel free to contact me and I will assist you in making contact.
    Herbert A. Cohn

    1. Cantor Henry Heller tutored me for my bar mitzvah which took place on June 19, 1943 at the nearby conservative synagogue Adath Israel. Incidentally, the Cantor there (Richard Tucker) then had the distinction of being known as ‘Jan Peerce’s brother-in-law’.
      I remember that Cantor Heller had been a Cantor in Germany before escaping to the Bronx. He told me that he was glad to be a Cantor at a Reform temple, because he had promised his grandfather that he would not ride on the Sabbath when he got to America. He could take the bus on Sunday to the reform temple.

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