Legacies & Landmarks: Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville at 350
Exhibition of Fascinating Residents and Landmark Buildings
In the fall of 2014, the OSilas Gallery will host an Exhibition celebrating a visual anthology of Eastchester Residents whose legacies epitomize the tenants of the Eastchester Covenant that were subscribed to by the earliest settlers in 1665. Their stories will be told in the context of the town’s institutions and significant events throughout history, such as the work of the marble quarries, the development of the Harlem Railroad, the founding of Lawrence Hospital and living through World War I, the flu epidemic and World War II. Additionally, photographs, both vintage and modern, will document the impact and influence of the marble industry on Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville.
The national historic site also features a remnant of a village green that was the site of the disputed colonial election of 1733 that raised the important issues of freedom of religion and freedom of the press. John Peter Zenger described the corrupt elements of this election in his broadsides published in New York City.
Originally built as an Episcopal Church about 1700, St. Paul’s Church served the founding families of Eastchester, as evidenced by tombstones dating back to 1704.
The church was re-built as a larger edifice, begun in 1765 and completed after the Revolutionary War. During that conflict, the British used the church primarily as a hospital; there are nearly 100 Hessian soldiers buried in the historic churchyard cemetery. This same graveyard also serves as the final resting place of Civil War veterans from the town.
In 1943, responding to a campaign by Rector William Henry Weigle and lobbied by Sarah Delano Roosevelt, mother of then President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress designated St. Paul’s as the National Shrine of the Bill of Rights. One of the Delano ancestors had been an early vestryman.
In 1980, the church was taken over by the National Park Service and operates now as a museum and research center of early American life. St. Paul’s Church is located on South Columbus Avenue in current day Mt. Vernon, which was once a village within the town.