Gaze over the Bronx from a quirky castle with a cinematic past, yours for $1.5 million
If you’re looking to command your own castle but want to stay within the five boroughs, this Bronx home is architecturally quirky that includes a tower and terraces for gazing down on the neighborhood. In Kingsbridge Heights it lacks a moat, dungeon or stable, but there are some original interior details, a garage and a side plot large enough for a generous garden. It even has a 1970s movie credit to add charm.
Despite its medieval inspiration, the house on the market at 2744 Kingsbridge Terrace has decidedly early 20th century origins.
The listing mentions an architectural connection to the “famous Bailey House”, but a search dive revealed no connection between Nathaniel P. Bailey, for whom Bailey Avenue is named and who owned a large estate in the area, or the historic James A. Bailey House in Manhattan. The men were unrelated, only the Manhattan Bailey had a connection to the famous Barnum & Bailey circus, and the architect of the Manhattan house died before the one on Kingsbridge Terrace was built.
Instead, a search of wills, city records, journals and other records shows that the land on which the house, garage and neighboring 2738 Kingsbridge Terrace all belonged to Frederick Schill, who immigrated of Germany in the 1870s. Frederick and his wife Anna lived on the street, formerly known as Nathalie Avenue, at least as early as 1900 and owned these lots until at least 1911. That year, Frederick filed the plans for a three-storey stone house with a tiled roof to be built. on Kingsbridge Terrace at an estimated cost of $10,000 to designs by Rudolph F. Knochenhauer. City appraisal records from 1914 indicate a completed three-story home on one of Schill’s three lots on the block.
Schill, noted as the superintendent of a piano factory in census records, died in 1915. His will and probate papers show that the couple resided at 2744 Kingsbridge Terrace at the time of his death – and that the three lots were still in his hands. . Census records show that Anna lived in the house as the owner until at least 1920.
Knochenhauer was a civil engineer by profession but presents himself as the architect or contractor behind several properties in the area, sometimes in partnership with Knochenhauer and Morelli. It’s unclear if any of his other projects were as whimsical as this one.
It is possible that Knochenhauer was also responsible for building neighboring No. 2748, built for Richard F. Kolb around 1911. Knochenhauer did other work for Kolb, and these two houses share a stone wall of similar style at street level. While the brick house at No. 2748 isn’t quite as fanciful, it does have a hint of battlements on its corner tower. Interestingly, a 1914 map shows the two brick houses with wooden porches and metal, tile or slate roofs; it also lists the two two-story houses plus attics and basements despite other records showing the three-story No. 2744.
While a 1923 photograph from the street shows a piece of the garage, the stone wall and some ornamentation, the oldest historical image of the full facade of 2744 Kingsbridge Terrace discovered was the historic tax photo circa 1940 , which shows the house as much as it is today. The long climb from the sidewalk to the front door is a necessity due to the terrain, but also a dramatic element. Perforated quatrefoils in the staircase and terrace walls provide an ornamental touch while the roofline features a fantastic mix of crenellated tower, pointed gables on the front and side facades, a massive chimney, a red tiled roof and a small round tower with weather vane.
His on-screen credit dates back to a 1979 appearance in “The Wanderers,” a film co-written and directed by Philip Kaufman about a 1960s Italian-American street gang in the neighborhood. Exterior views and interiors of the basement appear several times in the film.
While all censuses from 1915 to 1940 list the house as having no more than two families, sometimes multi-generational, in residence, it is currently arranged as three families with a duplex apartment, a through floor above and a unit downstairs. top floor with bonus attic space.
The interior definitely needs an old house lover’s touch, but period details include stained glass windows, mantels, wood paneling, and a dumbwaiter that connects all three units. While there are plenty of listing photos, there is also an enthusiastic broker video and, more importantly, a 3D tour that takes a closer look at certain details and conditions.
While all three apartments have outdoor terraces with some period features and their own charm and challenges, the second unit, on the third floor of the house, appears to have the most original detail intact. There is a front salon with a columned room divider with a bit of fretwork, a fireplace with an original tile surround, pocket doors and wood floors with inlaid surrounds. A bit of Lincrusta can be spotted on the hallway walls, and there’s a dining room with a coffered ceiling and another mantle.
The unit also features a bathtub with original early 20th century tiles, complemented by delicate border tiles.
The kitchen dates from the Deco era and has walls covered in yellow tiles with a decorative border tile and black tile trim as well as a vintage sink.
The appeal of the top floor unit is certainly its view, seen from the terraces but also enjoyable both indoors in a window seat tucked into the crenellated corner tower or from the timber lined attic, which has window niches perfect for getting lost with a good book. The apartment also has the mantels and stained glass found in the other two units and another period bath.
The full basement is not shown in the 3D tour but it is in the broker’s video. It doesn’t look like the party carpet depicted in “The Wanderers”, but provides extra space and opens to the attached garage.
Located east of Major Deegan, the house is also a short distance from northern Manhattan via the Broadway Bridge. Local amenities include Jerome Park Reservoir and Old Fort Four Park.
The property is listed for $1,499,999 with Bryan P. Dale of Exp Realty.