LPC Votes to Keep Immaculate Conception Church in Melrose on Preservation List; City Island’s Schofield House Receives Landmark Status

Still for landmark consideration by Landmarks Preservation Commission is Immaculate Conception Church in Melrose along with its Rectory and Convent.

New York City’s Landmark Preservation Commission voted today to grant landmark status to 165 Schofield on City Island and put off a vote for Immaculate Conception Church in Melrose for a later date.

This is a victory for the people of The Bronx to be able to hold on to two precious landmarks and part of Bronx history. Although LPC did not vote on landmarking Immaculate Conception, they will eventually do so on a later date according to sources at LPC.

One of the reasons the vote has been delayed was due to concerns of the parishioners who claim that a landmark status will place undue financial burden on the church.

However, according to folks involved with the landmarking process LPC recognizes financial hardships and does not push an institution to go for the costlier of repairs that may be needed.

Personally, we’re staunch supporters of landmarking Immaculate Conception in Melrose due to its historical significance and the fact that too many churches have been demolished in recent years including St Augustine in Morrisania which will now be “affordable” housing.

Immaculate Conception Church has been on Landmark’s calendar of properties to consider for landmarking since 1980 and had been one of the few to make the cut when LPC cleared the list of properties that had been sitting on their calendar for decades.

Schofield House on City Island/Image via Theodore Grunewald
Schofield House on City Island/Image via Theodore Grunewald

As for City Island’s win, Schofield House has been on the calendar since 2009 and finally the commission has voted to bestow landmark status on this historic property.

According to Historic District Council:

“City Island is an area of New York City that truly stands out as unusual, a small maritime community that has been embraced but not engulfed by the urban sprawl of the larger city. As noted in the AIA Guide to New York City, 4th Edition, “on the streets that run perpendicular to the fishbone spine of City Island Avenue are more than a handful of distinguished older houses…65 Schofield Street, serene and peeling, seems a candidate for a Hopper painting: austere, venerable, self-confident.” This building is a remarkable example of Italianate farmhouse design, characterized by a square plan, tall windows, flat roof with an overhanging cornice and elaborate brackets. The building’s most striking feature is the one-story porch which runs across the width of the building. Fantastically, the main body of the house is still clad in its original wood clapboard, which, admittedly, is in desperate need of repair, but serves to evoke a sense of architectural antiquity in a way much more common to small New England towns than The Bronx. Aside from its obvious architectural excellence, research has uncovered direct connections between this building and the Pell and Schofield families, prominent families who were deeply involved with the development of City Island.  This building is, frankly, an obvious landmark on all counts and should be protected in order to maintain its integrity as a visible, prominent link to City Island’s past.”

Thanks to everyone who’s worked hard on preserving our past for future generations.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.