James B. Lenahan

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The following is quoted from The Bronx and Its People: A History 1609-1927, edited by James L. Wells, Louis F. Haffen and Josiah A. Briggs (1927),

"JAMES B. LENAHAN - President of the cut stone concern of which his father, Bernard J. Lenahan, helped to build up, and of which he was president until his death in 1915, James B. Lenahan is known throughout Greater New York as one of the largest dealers in cut stone for building purposes in The Bronx. Among the jobs for which he has supplied materials are about twenty public school buildings, for the old Twenty third Ward Bank, for the Dollar Savings Bank, now The Bronx County Trust Company, the Irving Columbia Trust Company, Fordham branch of the Corn Exchange, the Concourse Plaza, Bronx Terminal Market, and many apartment houses in The Bronx and Manhattan. He also supplied stone for the entrance and approaches to The Bronx Zoo and Horticulture Building, in Bronx Park, and the Nurses' Home on Brother Island. In maintaining this extensive business James B. Lenahan is merely carrying out the ideals and policies of his father. Known at present as James B. Lenahan, Inc., No. 2820 Marion Avenue, the business was started almost forty years ago, in 1887, as R. W. Kane & Company, at One Hundred and Fortieth Street and Rider Avenue, with Bernard J. Lenahan as president. It continued as R. W. Kane & Company until 1895, when on the death of R. W. Kane and Patrick Cummings it became known as Bernard J. Lenahan, and continued under this title until the death of Mr. Lenahan, Sr., in 1915. The son succeeded to the presidency and changed the name to that which it bears at present. The father, who was a man of rare business acumen and judgment, was born in Ireland and came to the United States at the age of twenty one." (This text is available on the internet at http://www.onlinebiographies.info.)

The threesome, Richard W. Kane (c.1845-1896), Patrick Cummings (c.1840-1894), and Bernard J. Lenahan (1848-1915), consistituted R. W. Kane & Company at Rider Avenue and East 140th Street, the Bronx, from the late 1880s to 1896. This ad for R. W. Kane & Co. appeared in Laws Relating to Buildings in the City of New York, published by The Record and Guide, 14-16 Vesey St., N. Y. in 1892. (The address is given as 140th Street and Ryder Avenue, Ryder being used at times until the name became standardized as Rider at a later date.)

When Cummings and Kane died, Bernard Lenahan inherited this business, which he renamed B. J. Lenahan Steam Stone Works at 303 Rider Avenue, the Bronx. The 1899 report of Factory Inspectors of the State of New York listed B. J. Lenahan, Cut Stone, with an average of 40 employees, working 54 hours of labor per week. The NY State Dept. of Labor's Industrial Directory of New York State, 1912, listed Lenahan, B. J. & Son, 303 Rider Ave., Lime stone cutting, employing 20 men. On Bernard Lenahan's death in 1915 ownership of the business passed to his son, James Bernard Lenahan (1882-1934), who again renamed it to carry his own name. James B. Lenahan Stone Works continued at Rider Avenue and 140th Street from 1915 to 1926. Then, "Cross & Brown Co. sold for the Cleveland Duluth Iron Works a tract of land containing 15,000 square feet at East 135th Street and New York Central Railroad to James B. Lenahan" (New York Times, 29 Aug. 1925, pg. 19). This new property was 841 East 135th Street, and became Lenahan's office until the business closed in 1933.

In 1918 James Bernard Lenahan, age 35, born 19 September 1882, cut stone contractor, in business for himself at 303 Rider Ave., Bronx, NY, registered for the World War I draft when he lived at 375 East 209th Street, the Bronx.

Lenahan's obituary in the New York Times, 1 April 1934, pg. 28, read, "Mount Vernon, N.Y., March 31. - James B. Lenahan, in the stone contracting business in New York City, died suddenly of heart disease last night at his home in Crestwood. He was a native of Albany and had lived in Bronxville for about seven years before moving to Crestwood. Mr. Lenahan was a member of the General Contractors Association, the Lions Club of New York City, the Schnorr Club of the Bronx and the Dunwoodie Golf Club. His widow, three daughters and a son survive."

Copyright © 2016 Walter Grutchfield