7. There’s a Mansion in Pelham Bay Park

Bartow Pell Mansion

The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum opened in 1946, but before then, the land and its historic home belonged to both the Pell and Bartow families. The history of the mansion began in 1654, when Thomas Pell, an English-born physician, acquired 9000 acres of land from his agreement with the Siwanoy Native Americans. This agreement was marked by a “Treaty Oak,” a somewhat controversial tree (read here why). In 1790, nearly 140 years after Pell acquired the land, it was sold to John Bartow, the husband of Thomas Pell’s descendant, Ann Pell. The original manor that was built on the estate was most likely destroyed during the American Revolution, but a new one was built in 1842 and was owned by John Bartow’s grandson, Robert.

Forty years later, the mansion was abandoned, but was later used by a number of people and groups, including the International Garden Club and Fiorello LaGuardia, who used it as his summer office. In 1946, the mansion was refurbished with period objects and was open to the public as the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum.