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Guide to the Records of Chapel Farm
1911-2008 (bulk 2000-2003)
 MS 108

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Tiffany Schureman.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 21, 2018

Historical Note

Chapel Farm is located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York. The area is not actually a farm, but a forest. The property was originally a religious retreat built by the Griscom family, the founders of the Theosophical Society. Ludlow Griscom was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Audubon Society for many years. In 1969 Chapel Farm was bought by Manhattan College to build dormitories, but used it as an environmental research station. Due to declining enrollment, Manhattan College started seeking a buyer. Over the next three decades many development plans were put forth, but never went through. One deal did proceed and the College sold five acres at the northern end of Chapel Farm to SGD Corporation. This sale included the lease of the "mansion", which is a house built by the Griscom family, for 99 years and a 99 year renewal. The current owner of Chapel Farm is Villanova Estates, a corporation owned by John Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald planned to build thirteen home sites in the Chapel Farm area. Local residents and politicians opposed the development of Chapel Farm including access/roads, blasting, drainage, tree removal, and erosion control. Fitzgerald eventually started building the homes in 2005.