St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf
1000 Hutchinson River Parkway, SE corner of Bruckner Boulevard
(School had also been on site of 915 Hutchinson River Parkway SW corner Bruckner Boulevard.)
Schickel & Ditmars, architects
Anyone driving through the East Bronx on their way to the Bronx-Whitestone, or the Throggs Neck bridges cannot help but notice St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf, a massive, red brick building. This Romanesque Revival style building was constructed in 1913 by the architectural firm of Schickel & Ditmars. The building uses the linear form typical of many large turn-of-the- century charitable institutions and asylums. Its massed wings in a signature V-shape are most noticeable from the rear of the property, facing the St. Raymond’s Cemetery chapel.
The 10-acre property that the School occupies today is what remains of its much larger original tract of land. Cut through by the coming of the Hutchinson River Parkway in 1939, several similar red brick Romanesque style buildings, used by the School for the Deaf, are still used today by the 17-acre Monsignor Scanlon High School.
Through enabling State legislation, St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf was established in 1869 by the religious order of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary. The school’s first home was in the West Bronx near 184th Street in the Fordham area. When enrollment outgrew the original building, a branch was established in Brooklyn. By 1876, the Throggs Neck branch opened at Oakland Cottage. The number of deaf children needing services continued to increase into the early 20th century. The present building opened in 1913.
Now nearing its 140th anniversary, St. Joseph’s continues to serve the needs of deaf children from infancy through 14 years of age. Artist Martin Wong’s work “Traffic Signs for the Hearing Impaired” is installed at the edge of St. Joseph’s property. This work was awarded Mayor Dinkens’ “Very Special Arts Award” in 1992 and it serves as a reminder of the importance of sign language for the deaf.
Janet Butler Munch