J. Clarence Davies

Effect of Factories - Lines of Development - Increasing Values - Gains Spasmodic Rather Than Regular - Business Centers and Density as Factors - Modern Instances.

The modern development of the Bronx started about 1884. At that time a merchant, who had purchased from the Morris Estate and the Port Morris Land Improvement Company a tract of land around what was known later as North New York, built a series of two-family brick houses in rows. These houses were put up by O'Gorman & Stursburg and extended from 138th Street to about 141st Street. Altogether, during that series of years from 1884 to 1890 this one firm built possibly four hundred of these houses. They were such a great success in renting and in selling that the building of flats soon followed. The flats were financed more or less by building loan operators who had been operating in Harlem and in New York City itself. About 1890 the population of the Bronx was about 70,000.

Operators have purchased land from the original owners - that is to say, the old wealthy merchants - have cut it up into lots and then sold it at auction. The lots were built upon at first with frame houses, which are now passing away. Tenements, apartment houses and flats are now being built. The leading local settlements are now becoming the business centers and a modern city is being built up which is increasing at the rate of 125 per cent every ten years, or about an average of twelve or fifteen per cent per annum, in population, resources and assessed values.