In 1963, Frederick Philipse, a local British Lord, erected the King’s Bridge which spanned from the now filled Spuyten Duyvil Creek parallel to what is now West 230th Street and Kingsbridge Avenue, and thus the Kingsbridge area was named. This bridge was the first to connect the Bronx with Marble Hill once part of the island of Manhattan. Kingsbridge was part of the town of Yonkers until 1874 when it was annexed to New York City.
The Kingsbridge Heights area is bordered by Kingsbridge Road to the north, Fordham Road to the south, Jerome Avenue on the east, and the Harlem River on the west. One of the most prominent structures in the Kingsbridge Heights area is the Kingsbridge Armory, a Romanesque fortress built in 1917 to house the National Guard Artillery when they relocated from Manhattan.
Its’ size of equates to four football fields, the immense brick building took the title for the largest freestanding building in the world in 1917, and it is still believed to be the world’s largest drill hall. The buildings on the outskirts are an active recruiting station for the National Guard. The buildings on the outskirts are an active recruiting station for the National Guard. Today, the armory, which covers the entire block from Kingsbridge Road and 195th Street to Reservoir and Jerome Avenues, sits empty.
Since 1994, city officials and community leaders have been pushing for redevelopment of this architectural landmark. Community Board 7 is taking a lead role in this process and ensuring that the armory not only preserves its architectural and historical essence but that this building which has been the site for sports events, concerts and movie films becomes a place that will serve the needs of the community.