Our History
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Carriage House, a New York historic estate located in the Bronx

Bartow-Pell through the Years

The Bartow-Pell estate's long and noble history began in 1654 when Thomas Pell, an English doctor from Connecticut, bought the land from the Siwanoy Indians as part of a nearly 50,000-acre tract. King Charles II chartered the Manor of Pelham in 1666. This area included Pelham and the Borough of Westchester. Thomas Pell was consigned the land grant and may have begun a house on the property near the marshy banks of Long Island Sound. His heir and nephew, Sir John Pell, completed a house after 1670. The home served four generations of Pells before it was burned during the American Revolution.

The estate, 220 acres by the end of the Revolutionary War, was sold to Herman and Hannah Leroy in 1813. It was restored to the family when it was purchased in 1836 by Robert Bartow, a businessman and Pell descendant. Southwest of the original home, Bartow built the present gray stone mansion with Greek Revival interiors, and moved into the house with his wife and children in 1842. The house remained in the Bartow family until 1888 when the estate was acquired by New York City.

For more than 25 years the buildings and gardens deteriorated. Of more than a dozen architecturally important houses over-looking Long Island Sound, Bartow-Pell is the only one to survive.

In 1914, the International Garden Club formed to promote horticultural knowledge and to save the Bartow-Pell Mansion. Funds were raised to rehabilitate the house and plant formal gardens. This was one of the earliest restorations in the country, predating that of Monticello in 1923. The architectural firm of Delano and Aldrich carried out the restoration.

The house and grounds, which include formal terraces, a fountain, and herb and perennial gardens, and an 1840s stone carriage house, are owned by the City of New York, operated by the International Garden Club, Inc. and is a member of the Historic House Trust. The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum officially opened as a museum in 1946 and became listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s. Both the interior of the mansion and the site have been designated as NYC Landmarks.

Bartow-Pell Treaty Oak
The Treaty Oak
The tree under which Thomas Pell signed a land agreement with Chief Wampage and the Siwanoy Indians in 1654. With this agreement, Pell purchased a vast area including much of present day Bronx and Westchester. Although the tree has long since passed, the iron fence that surrounded it is still visible in the park.