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Major General John R Brown Triangle

John R. Brown Triangle

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This triangle honors Major General John R. Brown (1908-1992), a Massachusetts native who moved to the Bronx and served in the United States Army and National Guard for 42 years. He lived in the Kingsbridge neighborhood for more than 60 years, working, raising a family, and volunteering in the community.

Born in Bedford, Massachusetts on April 20, 1908, Brown illegally enlisted at the age of 16, and rose to the rank of First Sergeant in the Massachusetts National Guard. In 1922, he moved to the Bronx and became part of New York’s 71st Infantry Regiment. From 1926 to 1930, Brown worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Bronx.

Brown completed Officer Candidates School in 1937 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. In 1940, he entered the Army’s 44th Infantry Division; and on August 16, 1941, he married Theresa Caraccio. Less than four months later, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor drawing the United States, and John R. Brown, into World War II. Brown served in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, earning the Purple Heart.

After the War, Brown worked as a Business Representative for Consolidated Edison, but also found time to serve a variety of organizations including the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He also continued in the National Guard, serving as a Brigadier General commanding 1,200 people in eight New York counties over a 70 square mile area. Congressman Mario Biaggi honored Brigadier General Brown in the House of Representatives, on October 26, 1971, saying; “he combined tough soldiering with a human kindness that made him well loved and respected by his troops.”

Brown had achieved the rank of major general and was serving as the Commandant of the Kingsbridge Armory, 258th Artillery Regiment in 1972, when he retired from both the military and his job at ConEd. In retirement, he volunteered at the Veterans Administration Hospital, where he had worked more than 40 years earlier. Aside from raising money for the veterans in the hospital, Brown worked in the pharmacy, standing on his feet, wrapping medication for shipment, six to eight hours a day, until his death.

The City first acquired this property at Kingsbridge Road and Sedgwick Avenue, on November 3, 1881. In 1995, the City Council passed a local law naming this property for Major General John R. Brown. John R. Brown Triangle is part of the Greenstreets Project, a joint effort by Parks and the New York City Department of Transportation begun in 1986 and revived in 1994 to convert paved properties into green spaces and to improve existing green spaces. The triangle features benches, pipe-rail fencing, a granite retaining wall, and lampposts. In addition, callery pear (pyrus calleryana) and sweet gum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua) grow in the triangle.

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