Biography of Harry J. Armstrong
Bronx County, NY Biographies





HARRY J. ARMSTRONG - Inseparably associated with the marvelous growth and development of The Bronx, especially in that section known as the West Bronx, is the well known firm of Armstrong Brothers, Inc., which carries on a very large business in real estate and insurance, the moving spirit of the concern being Harry J. Armstrong, its president. There are five brothers in the company, all of them enthusiastic over Bronx accomplishments and Bronx projects as well as Bronx prospects, not only in their own lines but also in the lines which make for the general success of the borough and county and contribute to its remarkable prosperity. The spirit of enterprise in the head and founder of this progressive aggregation of brothers permeates the entire establishment, and something of its quality and effectiveness may be gathered from the fact that last year alone the sales made by this firm in the West Bronx section totaled more than $10,000,000 in value. The Armstrong Brothers, Inc., has a firm grasp upon the entire real estate situation in the "Fastest Growing Borough" of New York City, and there is next to nothing in all that section, so far as real estate is concerned, that the members of the company cannot be called uninformed upon; on the contrary, they are to be ranked as among the most expert of realtors in The Bronx, where the real estate business is so keenly conducted that the "survival of the fittest" is the order of the day. Incidentally, Mr. Armstrong and his brothers are rendering a constructive and lasting service to the enhancement of realty values and in, indirectly, bringing additional thousands yearly to The Bronx.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, November 6, 1891, Harry J. Armstrong is a son of Harry A. and Mary J. Armstrong; the former, died in 1911, was a pioneer real estate man in The Bronx, and his father, Patrick J. Armstrong, was the original ancestor of the family in America; he was a bootmaker, and made boots for the famous John Jacob Astor, founder of the house of that name in New York City. The son, Harry J., was a pupil in Public School No. 24 and studied at the College of the City of New York for three years. Having a gift for mathematics and an aptitude for statistics, he became an expert accountant. and after leaving college entered the service of the United States Government as a traveling accountant, and continued in that position for three years. He then participated in the formation of the real estate and insurance firm of Armstrong & Carpenter. Eventually, four brothers of Mr. Armstrong were admitted into partnership, and the business was incorporated under the style of the Armstrong Brothers, Inc., with Harry J. Armstrong, president; Frank J. Armstrong, secretary and treasurer; Arthur J., Edward B. and Bud Armstrong, as salesmen; and to this formidable array of realty experts was added a considerable sales force, the whole constituting one of the largest and most aggressive real estate organizations in the borough. The firm of Armstrong Brothers Inc., went after big business and achieved it, as the borough and county records attest. They helped lead the way in opening up as yet undeveloped properties for sites for dwellings and business blocks. They thus blazed the trail, in cooperation with the great movement in the West Bronx, for the popularization of that section and the advance of commercial prosperity in the borough as a whole. In 1924 the West Bronx broke all records for activity and value in the real estate market. Especially was the great movement and development of properties noticeable in apartment house and business building operations on Fordham Road, Kingsbridge Road, Burnside Avenue and One Hundred and Seventieth Street. A review of the 1924 activities in The Bronx by Harry J. Armstrong, appearing in the Metropolitan press, was particularly illuminating. Concerns, whose names are now household words, quickly moved into the territory and added to their lengthening chains of stores, and banks established branches to accommodate and care for the increasing number of residents and business concerns' new banking business. Municipal betterments 'went on apace and values of properties increased; there was a general all round appreciation of Bronx relations, real and personal and commercial. Into this program of advance entered the firm of Armstrong Brothers, Inc., with zeal and sustained effort.

Mr. Armstrong is an active member of the Democratic party, and is identified with the North End Democratic Club. During the World War he contributed valued service to the government and suffered an irreparable loss in the death of his wife, caused by the terrific explosion of munitions of South Amboy, New Jersey, where the husband was stationed as captain in the Ordnance Department in charge of the munitions depot. It was a harrowing experience for Mr. Armstrong, who was thus bereaved at the very point where he was performing war duty as necessary for the success of the Allied arms as was that of the men at the front in the battle areas of France. Mr. Armstrong is a member of The Bronx Board of Trade and the Lions Club. He is a communicant of the Roman Catholic church.

Harry J. Armstrong married, April 18, 1914, in The Bronx, Chaplain Duffy of the Sixty ninth Regiment officiating, Theresa McDonald, daughter of Patrick McDonald. They were the parents of two sons: Harry J., Jr., born in January, 1915, and Howard B., born in June, 1916, both of whom are students at St. John's Military Academy.

From:
The Bronx and its people
A History 1609-1927
Board of Editors: James L. Wells,
Louis F. Haffen
Josiah A. Briggs.
Historian: Benedict Fitspatrick
Publisher: The Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc.
New York 1927


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