The Riverdale section of the Bronx began as a real estate venture in 1856, financed in part by the prominent Dodge, Goodrich, and Spaulding families. The construction of the Hudson Division of the New York Central Railroad in the 1850s, which included a stop in Riverdale, enhanced the appeal of the area. In the 1860s, the increased accessibility to Manhattan together with the magnificent views of the Hudson made Riverdale a popular site for summer mansions for the city’s elite. Riverdale Avenue was laid out in 1884, providing further access.
Before the commencement of World War II (1939-1945), a number of luxurious one-family homes were built on the landscaped grounds near the mansions. The 1930s construction of the Henry Hudson Parkway and the extension of a bus line into the area spurred further development. After the end of the war, most of the larger estates were sold to institutions and developers, and a number of apartment complexes were erected.