Biography of Joseph P. Ryan
Bronx County, NY Biographies

JOSEPH PATRICK RYAN - Much of the growth and prosperity that distinguish The Bronx as tht most rapidly growing borough of New York City, must be placed to the credit of one of its foremost citizens and a "gentleman of the old school," Joseph Patrick Ryan, a self made man, whose perspicacity, energy and the ability to embrace opportunity, enabled him to seize upon the time and place wherein he has realized the accuracy of his vision of The Bronx as a source of revenue for the investor and business man far beyond the expectations of his contemporaries of less courageous nature. Today, this fine upstanding son of Irish parents, he himself being a native New Yorker, is one of the largest factors in the metropolis' northernmost community, and on all sides is looked upon as one of the soundest exponents of Bronx history, tradition, realty and finance.

Born in New York City, March 17, 1863, Joseph Patrick Ryan is the son of Patrick and Catherine (Ryan) Ryan, his parents natives of Tipperary, Ireland, the father born in 1834, and the mother in 1835. Having come early in life to New York, the elder Ryan engaged in the trucking business in that city for a number of years. The family home was on Twenty first Street, between First and Second avenues, where the son Joseph Patrick spent his boyhood and youth. He received his early education at the old Public School No. 40, situated on Twenty third Street, between Second and Third avenues, from which he was graduated to the College of the City of New York, Twenty third Street and Lexington Avenue. While an academic course was one much to be desired, the young man Ryan believed at this time that a more practical contact with affairs was where he best could serve; therefore he obtained employment, and it was while thus engaged that he elected the profession of sanitary engineer, for which he fitted himself at Cooper Union Institute.

Having laid a good foundation for the career of his choice, Mr. Ryan established himself in the plumbing business and as sanitary engineer, his headquarters for ten years being at Thirty sixth Street and Lexington Avenue. Virtually from the beginning his enterprise was attended with success, and it was a logical step to the adoption of the building business as an adjunct to the plumbing establishment, to which it was kin. Through this expanded business, Mr. Ryan took upon himself the great task of rebuilding many of the fine old residences in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan, later carrying on a similar work in The Bronx. In these buildings he also installed modern plumbing and bathroom fixtures, making a specialty of the two lines for some thirty years, during which period he became a leader in that kind of business.

With Mr. Ryan's entrance into the activities of The Bronx on a major scale, he began to purchase property in locations where his foresight told him that eventually there would be high increases in valuation. He is the owner of the entire block front on the south side of Fordham Road, between Elm Place and Marion Avenue, and of the attractive group of buildings at the northeast corner of the Grand Concourse and Fordham Road, this being one of the most important and valuable sections of building in the West Bronx, and valuable properties on Broadway in the nineties and West Forties in Manhattan.

Mr. Ryan's realty holdings reach into the millions; and his interests have multiplied so rapidly that he has created a number of corporations, in which he and his sons are officers and directors. These corporations are holding companies, also designed for the purpose of operating the properties, and are known as: the Westkell Realty Company, Inc., the Fondelm Realty Company, Inc., the Conford Realty Company, Inc., and Joseph P. Ryan, Inc., of each of which Mr. Ryan is president and treasurer.

Other interests in which Mr. Ryan is a commanding shareholder are the Fordham National Bank, of Which he is president and a director; the Lewis Oil Corporation, a successful independent oil refining company, of which he is a director and a large stockholder; the Saligold Mills, Inc., of which he is chairman.

This last mentioned concern is the manufacturing plant of "Rayon" underwear, and they have assembled at the northwest corner of Willow Avenue and One Hundred and Thirty fifth Street, The Bronx, a factory covering 30,000 square feet, thus bringing a new industry of importance to this section of the city. Mr. Ryan also has vested interests in a number of other business enterprises.

In civic affairs and citizenship relationships Mr. Ryan plays an important part. He is a member of The Bronx County Grand Jury and of the Tammany Hall County Committee for The Bronx, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Winged Foot Golf Club, and the New York Athletic Club. He is affiliated with the Royal Arcanum and the Knights of Columbus. His religious association is with the Roman Catholic church. He is president of Conference St. Nicholas of the Tolentine Roman Catholic Church and of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of that church. He is also a member of the Holy Name Society.

Mr. Ryan married, April 4, 1893, in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Rev. John Whelan officiating, Mary Jane Daley. She was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, daughter of John F. Daley, born in Bandon, County Cork, Ireland, in 1833, died in 1898, and Margaret (Wagstaff) Daley, born in Bantry, County Cork, Ireland, in 1835, died in 1908. Children of Joseph Patrick and Mary Jane (Daley) Ryan: Walter Joseph, born September 28, 1895; Charles Francis, born December 13, 1897; Henry Wagstaff, born January 22, 1899; and Margaret Mary, born December 1, 1904.Joseph Patrick Ryan moved to the Borough of The Bronx from Manhattan, October 1, 1915, and has lived there to the present time, his home being on University Avenue, below Fordham Road, a fine old house of Colonial type and one of the few old houses remaining in this section.

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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