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Valentine-Varian House, Varian House Park

3266 Bainbridge Avenue at East 208th Street
Bronx, NY 10467

Subway: D to 205th Street; #4 to Mosholu Parkway Bus: Bx10, 16, 28, 30, or 34 to Bainbridge Ave./208th Street Liberty Lines Express Bus 4A, 4B

The Valentine-Varian House was built in 1758, when carriages traveled the nearby Boston Post Road through a Bronx that was still mostly farmland. The second oldest house in the borough stands today inside a wrought-iron fence in a small park in the Norwood neighborhood of north-central Bronx.

The two-story fieldstone home was built by Isaac Valentine, a blacksmith and farmer who bought the parcel of land from the Dutch Reformed Church. The house then stood one block south across Bainbridge Avenue. During the Revolutionary War, Valentine and his family had to abandon their home, which was occupied by British, Hessian and American troops. Though close to several fierce battles with cannons clustered on a nearby hill, the house miraculously survived.
The Valentines returned after the war, but sold the home and 260-acre property to Isaac Varian, a successful butcher and farmer, in 1792. The Varians kept the house for three generations; one of Isaac's sons (also named Isaac) was the 63rd Mayor of New York City from 1839 to 1841.

The building was sold at auction in 1905 to William F. Beller.

Valentine-Varian House, Varian House Park

Museum Administered by:

Mailing Address:
3309 Bainbridge Avenue
Bronx, NY 10467

Open to the public:
Saturday, 10am - 4pm, Sunday, 1pm - 5pm
Tours by appointment during the week.
Reservations required for groups of 10 or more. Closed mid-December through mid-January & major holidays. For reservations and information, call (718) 881-8900.

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In 1965, his son, William C. Beller, donated the house to The Bronx County Historical Society. It was moved diagonally across the street to a new foundation in the same year.

The sturdy home has a symmetrical style called "Georgian Vernacular," with evenly placed windows and identical chimneys at either end. Inside, rooms mirror each other across a central hallway. Sections of the house retain the original floorboards, hand-forged nails and homemade mortar. Deep-set splayed windows throughout the house were designed to let in light and keep out of the cold.

The structure is today the home of the Museum of Bronx History. Two rooms contain changing exhibitions, while the front parlor has a permanent display about the development of the area, from the Indian and Dutch periods through the Revolution. Plantings, an herb garden, an outdoor seating area and the Bronx River Soldier monument embellish the gardens surrounding the house.