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Do You Remember?

"Bartow-Pell Stone Carriage House Is Only One in Area"

Tom Casey poses in front of the Bartow-Pell Carriage House located off the Shore Road opposite the Split Rock Golf Course. The building has been landmarked.

(Reprinted from the Bronx Times Reporter on June 20, 2002)

This past Christmas season my wife and I enjoyed the inaugural candlelight tour of the Bartow-Pell Mansion and Carriage House. It is my understanding that this event will now be an annual attraction at this historic site and so it should be. It occurred to me that I've written about the mansion any number of times but not about the carriage house which, along with the mansion, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

It was built by the Bartow family in the 1840's within view of the their Greek Revival mansion. The natural stone structure served the family well while they lived on the estate but it fell into disrepair after being acquired as parkland in 1888. The International Garden Club, which was established in 1914, took over the mansion as their headquarters in 1915 and immediately began restoring the property. Their immediate concern was the mansion and grounds but the carriage house was not forgotten. As with most projects of this nature, it required a great deal of funding to return it to its original state of beauty.

After being designated a landmark in 1977, efforts were made to stem the ruination of the old carriage house. Through the late 1980's and into the 1990's extensive repairs were made and today it is a showcase historic site. It is, in fact, the only surviving stone carriage house in the metropolitan area, an attribute that serves as a drawing card to many architects and historians.

The building has three floors and the main entrance leads to the carriage room where a re-constructed period carriage can be viewed off to the left. The harness room is to the immediate right of the entrance and the horse stalls are on either side at the rear of this floor. The various tools and equipment, such as harnesses and currycombs, in use during the late 19th and early 20th centuries are also on display on this level. Mannequins are used as props where appropriate recreating a real-life scene of the heyday of horse and carriages. The hayloft is above and the lower level has been reserved for educational purposes including school trips and lectures. Should you be planning a visit to this National Historic Landmark, be sure to bring along a camera to captures scenes of a way of life all but forgotten.

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