Isaac Valentine, a prosperous blacksmith and farmer from Yonkers, built the two-story Georgian house out of the native stone on his land. The House’s location provided Valentine with access to crop markets in New York and with plenty of business as a blacksmith as carts and carriages flowed steadily past his door on the way to the King’s Bridge and Manhattan. During the Revolutionary War, however, a different sort of traffic swept through the neighborhood as the British and Colonial armies contested possession of the bridge and road.
Isaac Varian bought the House and 260-acre farm from Valentine’s creditors in 1792. After Varian’s death in 1820, his son Michael took over; in 1893, Michael’s son Jesse became the third generation to own and operate the farm.
By the end of the 1890s, rapid development made it nearly impossible to farm in the area. In 1904, Jesse Varian sold his lands to a developer. William F. Beller bought the House and the small parcel of land surrounding it at auction in 1905, and maintained the House on its original site for 60 years. To preserve the House, Beller’s son, William C. Beller, donated it to The Bronx County Historical Society in 1965.
The Bronx County Historical Society restored the Valentine-Varian House and continues to operate it as the Museum of Bronx History. Exhibitions and public educational programs focus on the borough’s changes over time.
Valentine-Varian House is owned by the Bronx County Historical Society and is a member of the Historic House Trust. Its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.