Few suburban villages have as rich and varied a history as Bronxville, an oasis of gracious homes, meandering streets and architectural delights 30 minutes north of Midtown.
Bronxville is a pioneering builder and investor’s vision of what the perfect suburban village should be. William Van Duzer Lawrence, a wealthy pharmaceutical manufacturer, began the creation of what we now know as Bronxville with the construction of Lawrence Park in the late 1800s. The neighborhood’s large, well-designed and dramatically sited homes were approached along winding roads following the area’s hills and outcroppings. The beautiful scenery and architecture soon earned a national reputation.
The lovely village in what was then the country attracted an artists’ colony with some of the nation’s best known authors and artists of all sorts. Today, Lawrence Park is a National Historic District, still distinguished by its windy streets, oddly shaped plots and eclectic mix of large homes.
A more diverse community emerged during the 20th century, with the train station serving as the village’s center. Working off a master plan calling for a mix of commercial and residential uses clustered around this natural hub, Lawrence’s ancestors and other forward-thinking builders erected handsomely designed buildings offering apartments, row houses, shops and, of course, single-family homes. The sensitivity of the planning and design is remarkable, with some buildings set around courtyard-like areas providing quiet, park-like retreats.
The result is a lively mix of architectural styles ranging from Tudor and Gothic to Southwest Mission. A number of buildings constructed during this golden era are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the Post Office, which has a beautiful mural; the Bronxville Women’s Club and the Masterton-Dusenberry House, which dates back to the 1830s.
To this day, Bronxville continues to provide a mix of housing ranging from studio rental apartments to multi-million-dollar mansions, making it the perfect place for people of all ages and lifestyles. It is not unusual for people to live in two or three locations in Bronxville as their needs change over the years but they find themselves unwilling to move away.
Bronxville’s residents benefit from a lovely lifestyle that blends the best of city and country. Manhattan and all of its business and cultural offerings is about a half-hour train ride away. The village’s downtown area offers shops and restaurants, and the newly reborn centers of White Plains and New Rochelle are minutes away.
Bronxville’s public schools have a well-deserved reputation for excellence and the village’s seniors benefit from an active senior center offering computer lessons, exercise classes and games.
Bronxville is home to Lawrence Hospital, an up-to-date community hospital affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital that is known throughout the region for superior care.
The village hosts the campus of Concordia College, a four-year institution with about 1,000 students that brings a shot of youthful vitality to town. (Sarah Lawrence College, named after William Van Duzer Lawrence’s wife, is located in neighboring Yonkers, N.Y., though it uses a Bronxville address).
In an odd twist of history, the widows of Civil War generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee both lived at Bronxville’s Gramatan Hotel at the same time, during which they frequently socialized and went to New York City together.