100 years of anything but solitude: The Bronx celebrates a centennial of sorts

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The year 1914 saw a Bronx poised for change as the country prepared to enter World War I. Borough President Douglas Mathewson pursued progressive change while Mayor John Purroy Mitchel — a 34-year-old known as the “Boy Mayor of New York”— fought police corruption.

The Bronx was a borough of industry, powered by the Johnson Iron Works in Spuyten Duyvil. Riverdale was a place of woods and wealth dotted with private houses and mansions, according to Bronx Historical Society director of museums and curator Kathleen McAuley.

While the borough itself is over 300 years old, this year marks a century since the Bronx gained county status.

“People decided to celebrate the distinction,” said Ms. McAuley.

The historical society’s own centennial celebration comes in the form of an exhibit giving an overview of the Bronx’s past 100 years. 

It will open to the public on Saturday, April 26.

The exhibit juxtaposes the Bronx of old with the modern locale. Ms. McAuley said it also emphasizes the borough’s efforts to fight against negative stereotypes that were particularly strong in the 1970s. 

She hopes the exhibit will open people’s eyes to changes the Bronx has seen over the past hundred years.

Ms. McAuley said, “I appreciate how optimistic the borough is today — much more than it has been in a long time.” 

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