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Gators in the Bronx!

The Old Snuff Mill

Jumpin' Jupiter!

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What's an Alewife, Anyway?

Water for Concrete

Paddling Back in the Day

1895 Tragedy in a Bronx River Swimming Hole

William Hart, the Bronx River Cowboy

Cowboys on the Bronx

Brittannia Rule the Bronx

The Old Drovers Inn

Look Out for the Little People!

Happy Birthday Bronx River Alliance

The Witch Canoe

Woodlawn Brook

The Mighty Kensico

The Battle of White Plains

Launching the Golden Ball

The Left Bank of the Bronx

Awaiting the Alewife

The Boltons of Bronxdale

Ann Hanson, the Bronx River Stevedore

Aunt Sarah Held the Bridge

Jerry, the Bronx River Sea Lion

How the Bronx Got Its Name

Lloyd Ultan's History of the Bronx River

The Wishing Rock

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Bronx?

Big Brown Joe Plugs the Pipe

Ungrateful Old Scrooge

Jonas the Peacemaker

Beaver Tales

Why the Beaver?

Bronx River Parkway Reservation

The Pudding Rock

The Rocking Stone

Edgar Allan Poe and the Bronx River

Shipbuilding on the Bronx

The First Canoes on the Bronx

There Were Bears in There

McAdam's Bronx River Driveway

The Mid-Bronx Ride of Paul Revere

The Many Names of Van Nest

The Frozen Water Trade

Colonel Burr Burns the Blockhouse

Beavers on the Bronx


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Colonel Burr Burns the Blockhouse

One of the more flamboyant episodes in Bronx River history took place 230 years ago this month.


During the Revolutionary War much of the present-day Bronx was a no-man’s-land between the two contending armies.  While the British held the approaches to Manhattan at Fordham and Kingsbridge, the powerful DeLancey family turned West Farms into a Loyalist stronghold, from which young James DeLancey led bands of mounted raiders to seize cattle and tangle with American forces venturing down from White Plains.  To secure his stronghold, DeLancey built a wooden “Fort Apache” style blockhouse to guard the bridge crossing the Bronx River at today’s 179th Street.


Lacking artillery, frustrated American raiders could do little more than take pot-shots at the blockhouse from the opposite side of the river, but when Colonel Aaron Burr took command of the American forces in Westchester County at the beginning of 1779 he hatched his own plan to take the proud DeLanceys down a peg or two.


One February night just past his 23rd birthday, Burr led a raiding party galloping down the White Plains Road.  Reaching the blockhouse, men dashed forward to toss lamp oil filled fire bombs through the gun ports, followed by lit torches and hand grenades.  In moments the blockhouse was hopelessly ablaze, and its frightened garrison tumbled out to surrender.  Burr’s raiders gathered their prisoners and vanished into the night without losing a man or firing a shot.


The blockhouse burned to the ground, leaving West Farms open to increasingly bold attacks from American forces.  It was the beginning of the end for the DeLancey family, who at the end of the war four years later would be forced to abandon their Bronx River estate and flee the country.


Stephen Paul DeVillo