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3266 Bainbridge Ave viewed from across Bainbridge Ave 3266 Bainbridge Ave the Valentine-Varian House and Museum of Bronx History 
 3266 Bainbridge Ave viewed from across Bainbridge Ave 3266 Bainbridge Ave Southside viewed from Williamsbridge Reservoir Oval
3266 Bainbridge Ave view from E 208 St
3266 Bainbridge Ave
arched entranceway to Williamsbridge Reservoir Oval
3400 Reservoir Oval  at Reservoir Pl
3400 Reservoir Oval  at Reservoir Pl  3400 Reservoir Oval aka 3450 Putnam Pl 3400 Reservoir Oval aka 3450 Putnam Pl The Keeper's House viewed from Reservoir Oval
3266 Bainbridge Ave close up of The Bronx River Soldier a Civil War Statue which had stood in the middle of The Bronx River at Gun Hill Road until 1968



Historical Facts and Pictures by Charles
Located just South of Gun Hill Road at Putnam Place and East of Bainbridge Avenue at Van Cortlandt Avenue East is the park known as Williamsbridge Reservoir Oval. Originally it had been a functioning reservoir that provided water to the North Bronx from the end of the 19th Century until it was no longer needed and was drained in 1925. Later the area was converted into a park with upper and lower promenades, a field for sports activities, a track and playgrounds.

At the North of the reservoir a Keeper's House was constructed in 1889-90 in an L-shaped, 2 1/2 story design, of rock-faced variegated grey-tan gneiss ashlar with smooth, speckled-grey granite trim, including keyed enframements. The house stands at 3450 Putnam Place on Reservoir Oval East at Reservoir Place. After the reservoir was no longer needed, the housed became a private residence for five decades before being purchased by the not-for-profit Mosholu Preservationist Corporation in 1998. It was given landmark status two years later.

Walk West along Reservoir Oval from Putnam Place and you'll soon come to Bainbridge Avenue and East 208 Street, where the Bronx County Historical Society's Museum of Bronx History is located at 3266 Bainbridge Avenue.

Primarily known as the Valentine-Varian House, this two-story fieldstone farmhouse dates to 1758, the second oldest house in the borough. It's builder, Isaac Valentine, was a blacksmith and farmer, who bought the original parcel of land (the house long stood on the NW corner of Bainbridge Avenue and Van Cortlandt Avenue East) from the Dutch Reformed Church. A sturdy structure, it was constructed in a symmetrical style with identical chimneys at either end in a style known as "Gregorian Vernacular," with evenly placed windows. Rooms in the house to either side of the central hallway mirror each other in design. Sections of the house still retain the original floorboards.

The house survived several fierce Revolutionary War battles with cannon blasting from nearby hills. After the war, the Valentines reclaimed their house and lived there until selling it to Isaac Varian in 1792, a successful butcher and farmer. It remained in the possession of the Varian family for three generations. One of Isaac's sons, also named Isaac, was the 63rd Mayor of New York City from 1839-1841.

Sold at auction in 1905 to the Beller family, it was eventually donated to the Bronx County Historical Society in 1965, where after it was removed across Bainbridge Avenue to it's current location alongside the Reservoir Oval to make way for an apartment complex (277 Van Cortlandt Avenue East).

The grounds around the Valentine-Varian House are graced with herb gardens, fruit trees and a Civil War Memorial, the "Bronx River Soldier." This statue of a Union infantryman had stood on a pedestal in the middle of the Bronx River just South of Gun Hill Road for decades, until being removed and warehoused, after years of neglect and weathering, during work on the Bronx River Parkway. In 1968 the statue was rescued and then restored by a Woodlawn Cemetery artisan, then the head of mausoleum repairs, the late Charles Augustoni. In 1970 The Bronx River Soldier was given a place of distinction to the left of the Valentine-Varian House, where he remains on guard today.

To the right of the Museum of Bronx History is the main tunnel entrance into the Williamsbridge Reservoir Oval Park's lower-promenade, playgrounds, track and field. Inside there are a staircases to the tree-lined upper-promenade which encircles the field, with many shaded park benches that offer relief from Summer heat, and some interesting views of the surrounding Norwood neighborhood