In the 1930s and 40s, the Bronx was a comfortable refuge for families escaping the cramped poverty of downtown Manhattan. The broad Grand Concourse, the pride of the borough, swept through the neighborhoods of the central and northwest Bronx. A testament to its popularity with developers at the time, the area of the Concourse between 138th Street and Mosholu Parkway quickly became home to what is now considered the greatest concentration of stately Art Deco buildings in the nation. Montefiore Medical Center (formerly the Montefiore Home for Chronic Invalids), having relocated to Gun Hill Road from northern Manhattan in 1912, was the defining feature of the Norwood community.
Nearly four decades later, in 1981, Montefiore had become a state-of-the-art medical center and teaching hospital. The rest of the neighborhood, however, had not evolved in the same way. Its first inhabitants – mostly Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants – were growing older, their children moving from Norwood. As the original population aged, so did the treasured apartment buildings in which they lived; and, as the cost of maintenance rose, many of those buildings fell victim to neglect and eventual abandonment.
The single largest private employer in the Bronx, Montefiore Medical Center depended then, as it depends now, on the stability of its community. Montefiore has long maintained that health involves more than treating sickness – that it is also partially responsible for protecting the individual’s security and overall well-being, through an interest in education, job availability and adequate housing. Such a sense of obligation led Montefiore to establish Mosholu Preservation Corporation in 1981, intended as a powerful antidote to widespread housing deterioration and abandonment in Norwood.
an independent not-for-profit corporation, got its start as a buyer and
renovator of decaying property, and a catalyst for reinvestment in a
strengthened private market. Over the past 25 years, with help from develop- ment
projects and generous benefactors, it has since grown into a multi- directional
force for preservation and pride in the northwest Bronx. Its influence is felt
in the improved security Norwood residents find on their shopping strips and
home streets; in clean, welcoming parks that provide places to play and
congregate; in an award-winning newspaper that keeps residents informed on local
news and community issues; and in countless other projects that contribute to
making Norwood and surrounding areas a better place to live, work, shop, go to
school, and relax. Based on its esteemed history, MPC will surely be a force for
betterment for many years to come.
Copyright© 2006-10 Mosholu Preservation Corporation.