We make history everyday, and there is just so much more to learn than pre-1950. Today, we want to learn more about the Grass Roots Movement, Demographic Shift and Controversial Housing Law, Devastation and Resurrection of The Bronx 1960-1990s, Detrimental Public Works, and more. The HFL is looking for new voices in the Bronx community to highlight certain trends in our borough’s history that are still felt today. Are you that historian? Please ask how you can be included in our upcoming fall/winter free public lecture series. Send us a note, we look forward to learning something new.
And there’s much more to this generous donation! From board games of the 1870s, to 100-year old golf clubs of the Mosholu Golf Course, the Huntington Free Library will have some amazing items to showcase. Thank you Tom!
Tom is a Bronx thoroughbred. Raised in the South Bronx on East 151st Street, he and his family later moved to Baychester Avenue and 233rd Street in 1963. Tom Attended St. Anslem’s Grammar School (East 152nd Street) and John Philip Sousa JHS 142 (Baychester Avenue), Graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in 1969 (football & band) and graduated from Pace University in 1973 majoring in accounting and computer science. He later married Sharon Mahoney in 1979 after numerous dates at the Lowes Paradise theater and Jahn’s ice cream parlor, both located on the Grand Concourse. They lived with Tom’s parents at their 2-family home on De Reimer Avenue, until finally settling into a co-op in Riverdale.
Tom is a well-trained professional private investigator who has spent a lifetime career as a U.S. Special Agent with the Department of the Treasury. While on assignment from the detailed work at the IRS, Tom had the opportunity of being selected to protect Presidents Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Vice President Al Gore, First Lady Hillary Clinton, and numerous foreign dignitaries. He also volunteered his skills since 1993 as secretary and treasurer of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation (FLEOA).
Always the avid Bronx historian, Tom was one of the founders of the East Bronx History Forum in 2005 and has since been the Forum’s secretary and web master for bronxnyc.com. Since 2008, he has been a trustee of the landmarked Huntington Free Library and Reading Room at Westchester Square and served as its president from 2012 to 2019. He is also the past secretary and treasurer of the Kingsbridge Historical Society and the Taconic Postcard Club. He is a proud member of the Rockland – Bergen Postcard Club, which advocates the joys of postcard collecting.
Tom has given many free historical presentations at the Huntington Free Library, The Bronx County Historical Society, City Island Historical Society, Bartow-Pell Mansion & Museum (board member from 2015-2021), the Kingsbridge Historical Society, the Westchester Genealogical Society, New York Public Library and New York Public Schools. He’s also led numerous walking tours for these groups throughout the Bronx.
Since 2021, Tom and Sharon have retired and now reside in St. Augustine Florida where he is currently the treasurer of the Men’s Club of Our Lady of Good Council.
The postcard collection, along with the other artifacts included in the donation, are currently being categorized and digitized. Some of the items will be on display once the library opens this fall for free public lectures and research reservations. Please contact us to learn more.
On Saturday, September 2, 2023, from 1-4pm, The Huntington Free Library will partner with Catholic Charities Home Base to distribute over 200 hundred backpacks filled with school supplies. With your generous donation, we can double the amount of supplies and increase the outreach to those in need. Help us continue our century old tradition of serving The Bronx community. Make your generous donation here and help a Bronx student start their school year right.
The Huntington Free Library and Reading at Westchester Square is undergoing a historic makeover, with plenty more to look forward to in the near future. Part of a 5-year capital project that also includes the library’s window restoration, ADA ramp installation, archive facility build-out, and landscape renovation, the roof assessment phase marks the very first time any portion of the city landmark has seen a restoration since its opening on October 17, 1891. Angel Hernandez, President of the library explains “After so many years of being on top of every crack and leak with the bare minimum amount resource, we are now in a position to finally start to see this magnificent structure return to its original splendor.”
The library’s roof has seen its fair share of repairs since then, however. With limited resources always an obstacle for the institution, over 30 years of modern asphalt served as the only material protecting the structure from the elements. Patches of random materials marked several spots on the roof where constant leaks threatened its infrastructure. Yet, with proceeds from a recent property sale and generous funding from New York State legislators Senator Nathalia Fernandez and Assemblymember Michael Benedetto, the library can return back to its original state. “It is an honor and a privilege to be part of the restoration of the Huntington Free Library” said Senator Fernandez, “preserving our beautiful Bronx legacy is vital to our growth and education as a borough. The library is a one-of-a-kind landmark in The Bronx and its preservation will benefit our community now and for generations to come.”
The roof restoration will include dark grey stone slate, composite to the original models. Antique copper roof finials, weathervanes, and other Victorian ornaments will replicate those original once affixed to the structure and now lost over time. Reinforcements of certain areas of the roof substrate will ensure it for many more years to come while a fresh coating of paint along the eaves and fascia boards as the icing. This first phase of the restoration project will last two months, while plans to commence the ADA ramp installation are immediately wrapping up. Special thanks to our partners at SLO Architecture and Commercial Roofing Solutions who are dedicated and attentive to the needs of the Huntington Free Library.
The library is on one of the oldest in the borough, dating back to 1891 when the area in which it sits was still part of Westchester County. The library survived two more county changes, when in 1895 the area was annexed to New York County, then finally Bronx County in 1914. Financed to completion by railroad magnate and Throggs Neck resident Collis P. Huntington, the library has received historical visitors like Booker T. Washington, whose signature was captured on some of the pages of the institution’s first guest book. Today the library continues to serve the Bronx community as a space for community events and relief, educational programming, and research.