There’s much more to Bronx history than the NY Yankees and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, wants that to be known. He and the Bronx County Historical Society have partnered on a new publication highlighting the historic artwork within The Bronx County Building.
“The Bronx County Building’s Historic Murals: An Artistic Legacy,” a joint publication of both The Bronx County Historical Society and the Bronx Borough President’s Office, provides an in-depth examination of the artistic value of the historic Bronx County Building, as well as the recently restored murals that depict the Bronx’s settlement and early growth that hang in Veterans’ Memorial Hall.
Bronx Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan wrote this art and history buffer with its photos done by award-winning photographer Robert Benimoff.
“The story of the artwork in the Bronx County building has never been explored before. The murals are an artistic and historic treasure. The artist was a major muralist in his day and the murals depict four incidents in the development of the Bronx. They deserve to be seen and appreciated,” said Ultan.
One of the murals depicts the Revolutionary War battle of Pell’s Point (currently in Pelham Bay Park), where 750 colonists held off 4,000 British infantrymen giving George Washington enough time to evacuate from northern Manhattan prior to the Battle of White Plains.
“That saved the American Revolution. We would all be singing God Save the Queen if Washington wasn’t able to evacuate Manhattan,” said Ultan. “Besides some history buffs, not many know the history that the Bronx played into the war and much more, I truly hope that this helps spread that knowledge and spotlights the borough properly,” the historian added.
The other murals depict historic events such as: Jonas Bronck settling in the area around the Bronx River during the 1600s, the first county court meeting, as well as George Washington’s departure from the Van Courtlandt house, which signified the final acts of the American Revolution.
“This publication offers a wonderful look at the artistry and history within The Bronx County Building, and I am proud to have partnered with the Bronx County Historical Society, Professor Ultan and Mr. Benimoff on its publication,” said Diaz.
These murals had been damaged during the reconstruction in the building in 2010, and were restored in partnership with the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
The restored works were unveiled last year at a celebration to kick-off Bronx Week 2017.
Each photo represents the first time in the public record that these murals were photographed in their original state without the intrusion of columns.
This publication can be viewed online at the city’s website, while hard copies are available at the borough president’s office and the Bronx County Historical Society.