The History of Godwin Terrace

P.S. 207

Built in 1925

The Namesake Of Our Street

Joseph H. Godwin

Joseph H. Godwin purchased the Macomb mansion on the northwest corner of Broadway and West 230th Street and much of the surrounding property in 1838. He also enlarged the small island near the King’s Bridge in the Harlem River, called Lent’s Island in 1785 and Macomb’s Island in 1789, and built a summer home on it, which he named Godwin’s Island. A small footbridge connected the island to both Marble Hill and Kingsbridge.

From that day until his property was sold at auction in 1917, the land between Marble Hill, West 231st Street, and Bailey and Kingsbridge Avenues was known as the Godwin estate, and the old Macomb house was known as the Godwin mansion.

Born on Long Island in 1817, Joseph Godwin was a carriage maker, and later, a director of the Sixth Avenue and Ninth Avenue Elevated Railway Companies. He married Phoebe Godwin and had two children. The family owned 10 acres of land and lived in the old Macomb mansion at 332 Broadway.

In his later years, Joseph listed his occupation as “Gentleman.” He also was known as “The Squire” for walking around Kingsbridge with a cane and wearing a top hat. He was quite neighborly, and often invited the village residents to pick cherries from his orchards.

On November 2, 1899, Joseph sold his island to John C. Rodgers for $2,500 as part of the Broadway Extension project for the new Broadway Bridge and IRT subway.

When the Harlem River was filled in around 1917, the island was buried under what are today the Marble Hill Houses.

On August 3, 1903, Joseph H. Godwin died in his historic home.

The old Godwin mansion on the northwest corner of Broadway and West 230th Street in 1920, a few years after the river had been filled in, and shortly before the home was demolished to make way for a gas station. Notice the horse at left.
The old King’s Bridge in 1900, about 16 years before the Harlem River was filled in.

Godwin's Island in 1890

The History Of Our Neighborhood: Kingsbridge

It might be obvious, but our neighborhood is named for an actual bridge, the King’s Bridge!

The bridge was built in 1693 by Frederick Philipse, a local lord who was loyal to the British King. Philipse charged all who crossed, except the King's soldiers. The bridge spanned a now-filled-in section of Sputyten Duyvil Creek, which was about parallel to today's 230th Street. The King's Bridge was part of Boston Post Road, connecting southern Westchester County (which later became the Bronx) with Marble Hill, once part of Manhattan Island .

But here is the most interesting part: in the early days of the twentieth century, the King’s Bridge was never officially taken down. This means that when they filled in Spuyten Duyvil Creek in 1914, the bridge was still there. So today, the oldest bridge in New York City is actually buried somewhere deep underneath the Bronx. No one knows exactly where it is.

The King’s Bridge is an excellent example of the hidden wonders of the Bronx, and a testament to the sheer volume of industry and change that swept over New York since the industrial revolution. In fact, it resembles the Bronx itself: often overlooked, but historically indispensable and an integral part of a rapidly evolving cityscape.

Our Historical Neighbor: 3029 Godwin Terrace

3029 Godwin Terrace important dates:

1875 - The Moller Estate is built on this property.

1931 - The building we see today was erected on this property.

July 17, 1935 - The property was purchased at a cost of $17,014 to be used as convent for the Religious of Jesus and Mary.

July 5, 1950 - Remodeling of the former convent at Godwin Terrace to serve as a new home for the Brothers of Christian Schools began. They moved in on September 7 and started their educational ministry at St. John's School (now P.S. 207)

Historical highlights of our building

Charles B. J. Snyder was an American architect who helped build NYC public schools between 1891 and 1923. His designs likely influenced our school construction, but since it was originally built as a religious school, there are some differences and a few highlights our building has that other public schools built in the same time do not enjoy.

P.S. 207 has a sunken gym, because it was originally built as a pool! Ms. O'Brien's mom actually swam on the school's team when she attended the school as a child.

The loft in the former main office is a special added feature that showcases personal touches within our school.

Our main staircases are wider than most public schools, making movement more fluid.