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Historic Sites in the Area

Originally, Lehman's campus was covered with forest, used by local American Indians to gather nuts and berries and hunt for food. Two footpaths they used were widened by early European colonists. One, just north of Lehman, wound through Harris Park and became part of the original Boston Post Road, over which couriers carried the mail between Boston and New York. Van Cortlandt Avenue East and part of Kingsbridge Terrace are remnants of that road.

The other footpath, just south of Lehman, was used as a cattle trail by colonists who drove their livestock across the "King’s Bridge" to Manhattan and to a growing New York City at the southern tip of the island. Today, it is Kingsbridge Road.

The American Revolution

The bucolic landscape became a battleground during the American Revolution. The Continental Army erected a series of forts overlooking the northern Harlem River, including Fort Independence, just west of today’s Jerome Park Reservoir, and Fort Number four, near the western end of today’s Old Fort Number Four Park across from the southern edge of today’s Lehman campus. Washington’s forces abandoned those fortifications in October 1776 to avoid their capture as the British relentlessly advanced. For most of the Revolution, the campus site remained in British hands.

Who was Jerome?

The Civil War, along with a booming American industry, created a class of wealthy Americans with a great deal of leisure time. Among them was stock speculator Leonard W. Jerome, who enjoyed horse racing. In 1866, Jerome purchased a large tract of land south of today’s Mosholu Parkway, east of modern Sedgwick Avenue, north of present Kingsbridge Road and Reservoir Avenue, and west of today’s Jerome Avenue. The future Lehman campus was in the heart of it. On the site he built the Jerome Park racetrack.

The Grand Concourse

Just a few blocks to the east of the campus lies the Grand Concourse, which begins at Mosholu Parkway and winds its way down to 138th Street. Designed by Louis Aloys Risse, the Concourse was fashioned after the Champs-Élysées in Paris and features buildings designed in the Art Deco and Art Moderne styles.

Academy of Mount St. Ursula

Beyond the Grand Concourse is the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, located on Bedford Park Boulevard. Founded by Roman Catholic nuns from the Ursuline order, the Academy is the oldest all-girls Catholic high school in New York State.

Eighth Regiment Armory or Kingsbridge Armory

Constructed in 1917, the Armory was built to house the National Guard’s eighth coastal artillery regiment. Located on the corner of Kingsbridge Road and Jerome Avenue, the nine-story red brick building was designated a landmark in 1974.

Woodlawn Cemetery

Established in 1863, the Cemetery consists of 400 acres of rolling lawns, spectacular trees, and impressive memorials designed by many of the nation's most accomplished artists, architects, and landscape designers. In the late nineteenth century, the cemetery emerged as the chosen burial ground for many of New York's great entertainers. Vaudevillians and actors, producers and directors, playwrights, dancers, singers, and musicians were all buried here, in addition to wealthy captains of industry and patrons of the arts. They included Irving Berlin, Irene and Vernon Castle, George M. Cohan, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Oscar Hammerstein, Lionel Hampton, Victory Herbert, and Damon Runyon. In 1985, the City of New York embarked on its first Great Tree Search, designating trees in each borough of unusual size, species, form, or historical association. The Woodlawn Cemetery has five of these Great Trees: a Weeping Beech, a Pendent Silver Linden, a White Pine, a European Cut Leaf Beech, and an Umbrella Pine.

Edgar Allan Poe Cottage

This farmhouse was the famous poet and writer's final residence from 1846-1849. Here, after losing his wife, Virginia, to tuberculosis, Poe wrote some of his best-known works, including "Annabel Lee" and "The Bells."

Last modified: Oct 13, 2011

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