1609 – Henry Hudson sails up the Hudson River, exploring the Dutch East India Company. He becomes the first European to see what is now called the Bronx.
1639 – Swedish sea captain Jonas Bronck settles in the “South Bronx.” He builds a farmstead at what becomes 132nd Street and Lincoln Avenue (1 mile south of Melrose Commons). Dutch, German, and Danish servants settle with him.
1654 – 15 men settle at the head of navigation of Westchester Creek (now the Bronx River) and found the first village in the area, called Westchester (located at what is now West farms in the south Bronx). This is the first permanent settlement in the Bronx.
1673 – The Boston Post Road begins as a path to deliver the post between New York City and Boston passing through Melrose, in the Bronx, and continuing into Westchester county. It is currently known as 3rd Avenue in Melrose Commons and then Boston Road beginning at 165th Street and 3rd Avenue.
1748 – The Van Cortlandt House is built by Frederick van Cortlandt. This is currently the oldest house in the Bronx.
1790 – Lewis Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and owner of the Morrisania manor, proposes his property as the site of the future capital of the United States, located on the southwest corner of the Bronx, this entire avenue was called Morrisania.
1840 – North Melrose, Melrose, and South Melrose are separate tracts of vacant land owned by four Morris cousins.
1849 ¬– Robert H. Elton purchases the seven acres that comprise North Melrose from Governor Morris in December.
Throughout the 1850s – The Bronx develops as a suburb for people working in the city. The population of South Melrose and Melrose is predominantly German, while North Melrose attracts the Irish population. The main street, Cortlandt Avenue, is eventually dubbed “Dutch Broadway” and Melrose becomes an extension of Manhattan’s German quarter.
1850 ¬– Samuel Denman purchases 120 acres of South Melrose from Gerard and Henry Morris. Together, Elton and Denman market their holdings with those of William H. Morris, the owner of Melrose, platting right-angle streets and dividing the three tracts into more than 1,000, 50 x 100-foot lots.
1864 – A horse-car line is established on the east side of Melrose.
1874 – The portion of the Bronx west of the Bronx River, where Melrose is located, is annexed by New York City and becomes the twenty-third and twenty-fourth wards of New York City.
1875 – The population of Melrose doubles to 8,000 since 1865.
1887 ¬– The Third Avenue El (Elevated Train) is extended along the eastern edge of Melrose. Some residential construction begins in streets adjacent to Third Avenue. Construction is predominantly three- to four-story tenements.
1889 – The Washington Bridge between the mainland and Manhattan over the Harlem River opens.
Throughout the 1890s – Melrose grows in popularity and becomes more urban due to 3rd Avenue elevated train.
1898 – The city of Greater New York is created as a federation of five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Louis F. Haffen is elected the first Borough President of the Bronx.
Throughout the 1900s – Along with the growing industrialization, the South Bronx population increases.
1904 – Expansion of the Bronx begins with the first subway connecting the Bronx and Downtown New York. Old Melrose Village (South Melrose) becomes “the hub of the entire Bronx.”
Throughout the 1910s – The South Bronx/Melrose residents are living in exceptionally good circumstances.
1910 – Southwestern Melrose is almost entirely Italian. East and North Melrose are almost entirely German.
1911 ¬– “The Hub” becomes “the great business center of the north borough” and “the most prominent shopping district in the Bronx.”
1912 ¬– The Bronx flag is designed. It consists of orange, white and blue horizontal stripes to represent the Netherlands, upon which is superimposed the Bronck family coat-of-arms enclosed in a laurel wreath.
1914 – The Bronx becomes a separate, and the last, county of the state of New York.
1915 – The Bronx Borough Courthouse was built in Melrose
Throughout the 1920s – Italian, Russian and Jewish populations in the Bronx grow. Urbanization continues. Most tenements of the South Bronx are built.
1920 – The population of Melrose reaches 53,188. The Jewish community is introduced and the automobile begins influencing the design and location of small homes.
1923 – Yankee’s Stadium opens. The New York Yankees become known as “The Bronx Bombers.”
1929 – The Great Depression hits. Rapid growth dies, but the Bronx is still relatively well-off.
Throughout the 1930s – The population of Melrose steadily drops.
1930 – The population of the Bronx peaks at well over a million (1, 265,258).
1934 ¬– 49% of the population in the Bronx is Jewish. At this time, the Bronx has more amenities than any other borough (95% with central heating, 97% with hot water, 99% with private bathrooms).
1936 – The Henry Hudson Bridge, Henry Hudson Parkway, and Triborough Bridge are open to traffic.
1938 – Alexander’s Department Store opens on Fordham. It soon makes more sales than any other department store in the US.
1939 – The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge opens.
Between…the 30s and 50s most established European immigrants leave the South Bronx due to better living opportunities upstate and on the periphery of the Bronx.
1955 – The Major Deegan Expressway opens.
Throughout the 1960s – Melrose Avenue is considered the Broadway of the Bronx.
1961 – The Throg’s Neck Bridge opens.
1963 – Robert Moses leads and finalizes the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway. Though an engineering marvel in its time, many blame the expressway for worsening the decay that was beginning to take place in the South Bronx.
1964 – The South Bronx becomes one of the first areas proposed for anti-poverty funding.
Throughout the 1970s – Gangs targeted at the youth of the Bronx grow in popularity. Arson, crime, and devastation nearly ruin the South Bronx.
1977 – President Jimmy Carter makes a visit to the South Bronx which is later televised and broadcast on the radio. After the 1977 World Series, held at Yankee’s Stadium, America receives it’s 1st look at the devastation and corruption of the South Bronx – “The Bronx is burning.”
Between…1970 and 1980, the population drops from 21,000 to 3,000.
Throughout the 80s – The reversal towards cleaning up the South Bronx begins. During the late 1980s, initial plans for a middle-income, home-ownership-based community in Melrose are developed by the Departments of City Planning and Housing Preservation and Development.
1984 – 55% of families are below the poverty level, 39% of which are receiving welfare.
1985¬ – As part of a $5 billion funding for New York City, Mayor Koch initiates a program that would spend $1.5 billion on affordable housing for the Bronx over the next decade.
1987 – Fernando Ferrer elected Borough President.
1988 – Borough President Fernando Ferrer establishes “ New Directions for the Bronx” a study of how new housing and commercial development could reshape the Bronx – Magnus Magnusson serves on the new affordable housing prototype advisory board.
1989 – A 52 unit NYC Housing Partnership Townhome development ‘ Melrose Homes” is built in Melrose by Magnusson Architecture and Planning.
Throughout the 1990s – The turnaround begins with a Melrose headed towards full improvement. The Melrose Commons Development receives multiple awards in its honor and features in numerous exhibits.
1990 – Population of Melrose has decreased to 6,000 with a median income of $12,000. This same year, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (D.E.I.S.) issues plans for its original urban renewal.
1991 – The Bronx Center Project, a collaborative, community-based plan to revitalize a deteriorated 300 block section of the South Bronx begins. The Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Plan is part of this project. Petr Stand of MAP co-chairs this committee.
1992 – A public forum to discuss pending developments in the area, organized by the Bronx Center Project, takes place on November 12. At this time, an announcement was made that the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Plan was in the process of being certified.
1993 – Upon great disapproval of the residents, Yolanda Garcia founds Nos Quedamos/We Stay in order to resist large scale urban renewal plans that would displace thousands of residents of the Melrose section of the Bronx. Starting in February, meetings are held every Tuesday in the Nos Quedamos headquarters (811 Cortlandt Avenue) to inform the community and organize their response to the City Council.
1994 – After two years of collaborative work between Nos Quedamos, their consultants and the City, the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Plan is approved and signed into law by the City Council.
1995 – Magnusson Architecture and Planning and Nos Quedamos receive planning grant from NYSCA.
1996 – Melrose Commons plan is awarded the ADPSR Project Award for Socially Responsible Work, “Project of the Year.”
1997 – The “Civic Lessons” exhibit opens in New York featuring the best civic projects in New York. The Melrose Commons Plan is prominently featured. The Bronx is designated an “All-American City” by the National Civic Council.
1998 – Plaza de Los Angeles breaks ground – the first new construction project in Melrose Commons
1999 – Design work for La Puerta de Vitalidad and La Casa de Felicidad begins
Throughout the 2000s – Melrose is renewed.
2000 – La Casa de Felicidad is completed
2001 – La Puerta de Vitalidad is completed
2003 – Palacio del Sol starts contruction
2004 – Construction begins on the Parkview Commons I / Palacio del Sol is completed
2005¬ – Yoland Garcia, founder of Nos Quedamos passes away
2006 – Parkview I and Courtlandt Homes open
2007 – Parkview phase II and III completed
2008 – The Aurora and Orion are completed – first new condominium buildings in the South Bronx - Dorado is also completed
2009 – Melrose North sites awarded to 3 development teams – MAP is awarded Melrose Commons North Site C
2010 – Melrose Commons awarded LEED for Neighborhood Development phase II certification / El Jardin de Selene opens – first LEED-Gold certified building built on privately acquired land in Melrose
2011 - La Terraza is completed