Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Two Relatively Unknown Private Schools in Pelham: The Pelham Manor School and The Pelham Manor Day School

For years I have seen references to a private school that operated in Pelham Manor from about 1917 until about 1935 called "The Pelham Manor Day School" and, occasionally, the "Pelham Day School."  The institution was located at 1018 Edgewood Avenue near the intersection with Prospect Avenue and served pupils from kindergarten through the eighth grade.  The school began with a tiny faculty and a group of about a dozen pupils, but grew until it served more than 100 students each year.

Recently, I decided to try to learn more about the little school.  As I began my research, I stumbled across quite a surprise.  I learned of the brief existence of an entirely unrelated school of which I previously was unaware.  That school was called "The Pelham Manor School."  It opened on September 20, 1915 at Boston Post Road and the Esplanade and billed itself as a successor to Mrs. Hazen's School.  

The Pelham Manor School

At the close of the 1914-15 school year, Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls, located in a group of buildings at Boston Post Road and the Esplanade, closed its doors forever.  A few months later, on September 20, 1915, a new private school named "The Pelham Manor School" opened.  An announcement of the opening described the new school as "Succeeding Mrs. Hazen's School."  

Announcement of the Opening of "The Pelham Manor School,"
as the Successor to Mrs. Hazen's School, on September 20, 1915.
Rochelle Pioneer, Sep. 18, 1915, p. 6, cols. 1-3.

The advertisement above reveals much about the initial opening of the school.  To facilitate search, the text of the advertisement is transcribed immediately below in its entirety.

Succeeding Mrs. Hazen's School

The Kindergarten will be conducted for one hour in French and two hours in English.

Boys wil [sic] be received in the first three departments and will be tutored for preparatory schools.  Pupils will be prepared for Regents' examinations if desired.  College preparatory as well as advanced courses for grammar and high school graduates, are offered to girls in addition to the regular course of study.

Special students will be received for elective courses of literature, art, design, history of art, English, languages, dramatic art, cultivation of the speaking voice, etc.

Trolleys from Pelham, Mount Vernon and New Rochelle stop at the school entrance.


Virtually nothing is known of this school that opened as a "successor" to Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls.  Hopefully additional research will reveal more about this institution which certainly seems to have lasted only a short while since virtually nothing can be found about it. 

The Pelham Manor Day School (AKA The Pelham Day School)

The Pelham Manor Day School opened in a structure that previously was a private residence located at 1018 Edgewood Avenue in 1917.  The structure no longer exists.  The guiding light of the school was its principal, Clara Armstrong.  

Clara Armstrong, a native of Portland, Maine, became the principal at or shortly after the opening of the school in 1917.  When the school opened, it had a faculty of three (including Clara Armstrong) and ten pupils.  It grew quickly.  Within twelve years it had 106 pupils served by a faculty of ten.  In fact, by 1925, the school had outgrown its small facility which had to be completely renovated and enlarged to add classroom space and up-to-date educational facilities.  

In 1932, Clara Armstrong announced that due to health reasons, she was retiring from her 15-year stint as principal of The Pelham Manor Day School.  The local newspaper printed a laudatory letter from the school trustees regretfully accepting her resignation.

The school, however, continued to operate for at least some period of time thereafter.  A brief item published in 1935 indicated that, by then, "Miss Helene Schumacher" was serving as the principal of the Pelham Manor Day School.  See Social Happenings, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 12, 1935, p. 6, cols. 1-2 ("MIss Helene Schumacher, principal of Pelham Manor Day School is at Camp Cotuit, West Barnstable, Cape Cod, Mass.").  

As with The Pelham Manor School that succeeded Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls, it is hoped that additional research one day will reveal more about the history of The Pelham Manor Day School that once operated at 1018 Edgewood Avenue.

1922 Newspaper Advertisement for "The Pelham
Manor Day School."  Source:  The Pelham Manor
Day School, The Pelham Sun, Dec. 29, 1922, Vol.
13, No. 44, p. 3, col. 2.  NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

The advertisement immediately above reads as follows:

"THE Pelham Manor Day School
Prospect & Edgewood Aves.
Pelham Manor
Telephone, Pelham 1655
Kindergarten and first eight grades.
Prepares boys and girls for all college preparatory schools.

1928 Newspaper Advertisement for "The Pelham Day School."
Source:  The Pelham Day School, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 20,
1928, p. 14, cols. 1-2.  NOTE:  Click Image To Enlarge.

The advertisement immediately above reads as follows:

Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade
Catalogue on Application
Horace H. Chittenden
John T. Snyder
E. Kendall Gillett
Edward H. Townsend
Roscoe C. Ingalls"

"Pelham Manor . . . 

Making Improvements

The Pelham Manor Day school is being prepared for the new term, and will be completely remodeled and renovated for the pupils, when the new semester begins this month.  Alterations are being made inside and out, and the building will be fitted up with modern school equipment, and buidling facilities.  More space will also be provided for class-rooms, and by the time the school is ready for opening, all will be in readiness for a highly successful school year."

Source:  Pelham Manor, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Sep. 4, 1925, p. 12, col. 3.

"Principal Of Pelham Manor Day School Announces Her Resignation At End of Term
Miss Clara Armstrong, Who Has Made Conspicuous Success of Private School in Pelham Tenders Resignation at End of Fifteen Years Service -- Accepted With Regret.

After fifteen years as principal of the Pelham Day School, in Pelham Manor, Miss Clara Armstrong, will retire at the end of the present term.  Her decision to relinquish her duties was reached last week, ill health which two years ago forced her to take a vacation of three months was the major factor in determining her course.

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees on Monday night the resignation of Miss Armstrong was received with regret.  During the fifteen years of her incumbency as principal Miss Armstrong has won and held the respect of all her pupils and their parents until she has become generally accepted as a Pelham institution.

'For some time I have felt the need of an extended rest,' said Miss Armstrong, in her letter of resignation, 'and it now seems best to ask you to relieve me from my school duties.'

'I shall look back on the years at school with pleasant memories, and shall always be interested in its success.'

The following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the school:

'It is with greatest regret that we, the members of the Board of Trustees of Pelham Day School, accept your resignation as Principal of the School.

'Your work since 1917, when the school was founded, has been untiring.  The organization which you have built up, and the results which have been achieved, speak for themselves.  The school, in this period, has grown from three teachers and a dozen pupils to a registration in 1929 of 106 pupils and 10 on the teaching force.  The children who have gone out, both boys and girls, have made most enviable records and have proven that the preparation received under your guidance left nothing to be desired.  

'The Board has known for the past two years of your wish to be relieved of the responsibility of the school.  You have been good enough during this period to carry on in spite of ill health.  We are indebted to you for your cooperation.  It has helped us over a very difficult period.  

'Now that you have definitely decided that you must sever your connection, we all wish you a most speedy recovery and hope that when your health allows, that you will be able to associate yourself with a congenial organization amid happy surroundings.  We regret to have you leave.  Our sincerest and best wishes go with you.

'Should we as a group or individually be able to be of any assistance to you at any time, or should you wish to refer anyone to us, please do not hesitate to do so.  It will be a great pleasure to co-operate with you in every possible way.

E. Kendall Gillett
D. F. Goodnow
Carroll B. Haff
W. B. Holton, Jr.
Louis Carreau
J. U. Reber

Board of Trustees Pelham Day School."

Miss Armstrong's record at the school has been an enviable one.  She has devoted her life to the teaching profession and for the last thirty years has been identified with instruction in exclusive private schools in the East.  Under her direction the Pelham Manor Day School grew from a small private school into one which now numbers more than a hundred pupils.  

Miss Armstrong is a native of Portland, Maine.  Her sister Miss Elsie Armstrong is also a member of the staff of Pelham Manor Day School.  

Among those who were pupils at the Manor School when Miss Armstrong first assumed charge were Richard and Bob Leonard.  Dick is now at Harvard and plays right tackle on the varsity football team; Bob is married and a resident of Larchmont.  Natalie Roe, now married and resident in New York the latter active in affairs at the City; Heywood and Eleanor Fox, Manor Club; Betty Gillett now at Smith; Kendall Gillett, now a Junior at Williams, and editor of the Williams 'Record'; there were fourteen pupils in all.  Miss Larrabee and Miss Stevens were the other two members of the faculty of those days.

Reminiscing -- those were the days when Jack Butcher, now custodian of the Fire Hall was janitor; Jack had just left circus life where he was an acrobat; when the furnace went out as it did once in a while in those days of hot-air heat, Sergeant Burnett was called from police headquarters; he shoveled snow in winter, and helped the children home on stormy days when it became necessary.  

Many in Pelham Manor will regret the resignation of Miss Armstrong, and it is quite likely that the sentiment will express itself in concrete form before her departure.  Although no successor has been appointed, the Board of Trustees on Monday re-engaged the services of all the members of the late staff.  The appointment of a principal will be decided on during the next few weeks."

Source:  Principal Of Pelham Manor Day School Announces Her Resignation At End Of Term, The Pelham Sun, Apr. 15, 1932, p. 5, cols. 1-4.  

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Small Town Girl Mona Freeman of Pelham Became Hollywood Movie Star

She was a fresh-faced small town girl dressed to the nines and ready for her screen test.  She lived with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart F. Freeman of 220 Carol Avenue in the Village of Pelham Manor. On July 8, 1943, she stared proudly, with a wide smile, from the pages of the local newspaper read by her family, friends and neighbors known as The Pelham Sun.  Her name was Mona Freeman.  Actually, her name was Monica Elizabeth Freeman, but she was known as Mona.  She and her stage mother were determined to make her a star.  Beneath her photograph, The Pelham Sun proudly reported that she and her mother would depart that week for Hollywood where she would "be given a screen test, and may be selected for a part in a forthcoming production."  

Miss Mona Freeman, who is under contract to
Howard Hughes, motion picture producer, will
depart for Hollywood this week, accompanied by
her mother.  She will be given a screen test, and
may be selected for a part in a forthcoming production.
She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stuart F. Freeman
of 220 Carol avenue, Pelham Manor."  Source:
The Pelham Sun, Jul. 8, 1943, p. 7, col. 3.  NOTE:
Click Image To Enlarge.

What a screen test Miss Freeman must have had!  Following her screen test, she became a Hollywood glamour girl and one of the most successful Hollywood movie actresses of the 1940s and 1950s.  

Mona Freeman in an Undated Studio Publicity Photograph.
NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

Mona Freeman was born on June 9, 1926 in Baltimore.  Her father, Stuart F. Freeman, was a contractor.  As a young girl, she moved with her family to Pelham.  She and her family lived for a time in a house at 142 Third Avenue in the Village of North Pelham, but later moved to the home at 220 Carol Avenue in the Village of Pelham Manor.  She attended Colonial Elementary School where her first "big role" was in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," a Colonial and Siwanoy School play.  The elementary school play certainly received critical acclaim from the local newspaper which described the "Delightful Presentation Of 'Snow White' Offered By Pupils Of Schools" and noted that Mona Freeman played the "major role" of the Good Queen.  

According to her obituary that appeared in the June 9, 2014 issue of The New York Times:

"At 14, motivated by a desire to help put her older brother through Yale, she decided to take up modeling.  Enrolling at the Powers agency's school in Manhattan, she was asked for $300 in tuition -- the equivalent of about $5,000 today.  'Your school is Champagne, and I'm a gal hungry for bread and butter,' she was said to have retorted.  Tuition was waived."

Source:  Fox, Margalit, Mona Freeman, First 'Miss Subways,' Dies at 87, N.Y. Times, Jun. 9, 2014.  

Freeman began high school at Pelham Memorial High School.  While there, she wrote for the school newspaper.  She hoped to be a magazine illustrator, but was interested in "school dramatics" while in high school.  She participated in Sock N' Buskin and played the role of "Eva" in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" while at Pelham Memorial High School.  Freeman played to critical acclaim in "Uncle Tom's Cabin."  The local newspaper reported that "Mona Freeman showed splendid theatrical capabilities."

Blessed with stunning beauty, in May 1941, Mona Freeman was selected as New York City's first "Miss Subways" in a contest judged by the John Robert Powers modeling agency.  It was Mona Freeman's big break.  She became a sought-after professional teenage model.

The Contest That Started It All.  Subway Poster Reflecting
the Selection of "Lovely New Yorker Mona Freeman" as the
Winner of the "MEET MISS SUBWAYS" Contest of May, 1941.
Note the Prescient Acclamation:  "Broadway and Hollywood
Please Note!"  NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

Mona Freeman began modeling clothing for teenagers.  Her photograph appeared in several catalogs.  She participated in Westchester County and Pelham fashion shows, modeling clothing on the runway with other young women of the area.  See, e.g., Fashion Crimes To Be Disclosed, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 20, 1942, p. 7, col. 4 (referencing "Mona Freeman of Pelham" as one of the models for the "Teen Age Group" at a fashion show hosted by the "Junior Advisory Committee of Arnold Constable, Westchester").

According to tradition, as Mona Freeman's modeling career bloomed, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes saw a photograph of her and, based solely on that photograph, signed her to an acting contract without meeting her in person.  Thereafter, according to one account:

"Howard Hughes signed her to play the stepdaughter of Barbara Stanwyck in 'Double Indemnity,' but she was replaced when tests showed she looked too young.  The same thing happened when Mona was borrowed for a role in 'National Velvet,' at MGM.  The chain of bad breaks was broken, however, when she won the cute part of Irene Dunne's daughter in 'Together Again,' at Columbia.  She played Peggy Ann Garner's older sister in 'unior Miss' at 20th Century-Fox and went to Warner's for a role in 'Danger Signal."  In short, Mona Freeman began finding success playing so-called teenage ingenue roles.

Soon after signing Mona Freeman, Howard Hughes reportedly sold her contract to Paramount.  According to another account, Mona Freeman was able to cancel the contract with Howard Hughes and purportedly walked into the Paramount Studios and demanded a job.  In any event, Mona Freeman soon had a seven-year contract with the studio. 

Mona Freeman, Featured on the Cover of
the June 1945 Issue of Coronet Magazine.
NOTE:  Click Image To Enlarge.

In those early years, Mona Freeman's mother was her chaperone in Hollywood.  As they worked to further her acting career, they stayed together in the St. Frances Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard.  Pelham's local newspaper followed Freeman's early years in Hollywood and trumpeted each development in her career in a sort of "small town girl makes good" way.  At the time, young Mona Freeman worked to further her education, working each day in a classroom with two other students for three hours each day.  In those early years she seemed to miss Pelham and her friends.  According to one account:  "In a letter to one of her friends, Mona stated that she misses Pelham.  'Hollywood is a swell place to make money, but that is all."

Mona Freeman matured into an experienced Hollywood Star.  She played significant roles in a large number of films including:  Here Come the Waves (1944); Till We Meet Again (1944); Together Again (1944); Danger Signal (1945); Roughly Speaking (1945); Junior Miss (1945); Our Hearts Were Growing Up (1946); Black Beauty (1946); That Brennan Girl (1946); Variety Girl (1947); Mother Wore Tights (1947); Dear Ruth (1947); Isn't It Romantic? (1948); The Heiress (1949); Dear Wife (1949); Streets of Laredo (1949); Branded (1950); Copper Canyon (1950); I Was a Shoplifter (1950); Dear Brat (1951); The Lady from Texas (1951); Darling How Could You! (1951); Flesh and Fury (1952); Jumping Jacks (1952); Thunderbirds (1952); The Greatest Show on Earth (1952); Angel Face (1953); Before I Wake (1954); Battle Cry (1955); The Road to Denver (1955); Men Against Speed (1956); Huk (1956); The Way Out (1956); Shadow of Fear (1956); Shadow of Fear (1956); Dragoon Wells Massacre (1957); The World Was His Jury (1958); Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol (1971). She was active in the film industry from the 1940s until the early 1970s.

In addition, Ms. Freeman acted in more than eighty television shows. She acted in episodes of such television series as Wagon Train and Perry Mason.

Mona Freeman Featured in a Glamorous Max Factor
Cosmetics Advertisement.  NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

In 1945, Mona Freeman married wealthy Hollywood automobile dealer Patrick W. Nerney.  She was nineteen.  He was twenty-five.  In 1947, Mona was pregnant while filming the movie "Mother Wore Tights."  Her daughter Mona Freeman, known as "Monie," was born in Los Angeles on October 25, 1947.  Monie also became an actress.  

On September 26, 1952, Mona Freeman was divorced from Patrick Nerney.  Thereafter she dated entertainment lawyer Greg Bautzer, hotel heir Nicky Hilton, and singers Frank Sinatra and Vic Damone.  She later dated Bing Crosby after the death of his wife, Dixie Lee.  At about the same time, she also dated actor Robert Wagner.  In June 1961, however, Mona Freeman married Los Angeles businessman H. Jack Ellis.  

Her second husband, H. Jack Ellis, died a little more than 20 years ago.  At the time of her death at the age of 87 on May 23, 2014 at her home in Beverly Hills, California, Mona Freeman had a daughter from her first marriage, Mona Nerney Hubbell, as well as six children and two-great grandchildren.

Movie Poster in French Language for 1950 Movie "Branded"
Starring Alan Ladd and Mona Freeman.
NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

1956 "Half Sheet" 22" x 58" Movie Poster
for Shadow of Fear Starring Mona Freeman.
NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

*          *          *           *          *

I have written briefly about Mona Freeman of Pelham before.  See Wednesday, March 22, 2006 Mona Freeman, Glamour Girl of the Silver Screen, Lived in Pelham.  Below is the text of a number of articles that address Mona Freeman's time in the Town of Pelham.  Each is followed by a citation to its source.

"Delightful Presentation Of 'Snow White' Offered By Pupils Of Schools
Talented Young Cast Stages Well Known Fairy Tale in Auditorium of the Siwanoy School.

Pupils of Siwanoy and Colonial Schools successfully presented Rose Tyleman's version of 'Snow White' before an appreciative audience in the Siwanoy School auditorium last Friday night.  Snow White was delightfully portrayed by Margaret Collette; while Donald Roberts, Herbert Vaughan, Ernest Malnati, Norman Winter, Anthony Austin, James Page and Charles Cornell gave a realistic portrayal of the famous Seven Dwarfs.

Other major roles in the production, the cast of which numbered 78 pupils of the two schools, were played by Mona Freeman as the Good Queen and Joan Marvin as the Bad Queen; Robert Burrows, the Prince; Alan Seldner, the Page; John Glore, the King; Dorothy Burgess, the little Girl; Martha Brown, the Voice, and Robert Campbell, the Messenger.

Also included in the cast were Carol Conant, Helen V. Markey, Edith Cory, Nancy Lee Swift, Judith Freedman, Barbara Jai, Barbara Jean White, Ethel Alice Miller, Elizabeth Ann Blottman, Edna Pickard, Jean O'Neill, Vivian Deruka, Bessie Kellogg, Jacqueline Walker, Eleanor Coombs, Maureen McGee, Phyllis Derby, Nancy Messinger and John Henningsen.

Also, George Evert, Robert Alcivan, Sally Condon, Alevell Dugger, Deborah Drummond, Francis Dutch, Edward Gilmartin, Susan Hackers, Frances Janet Gore, Mary Jane Littell, Elaine Kennedy, Robert Luce, Anne Neilson, Suzanne Noble, Sally Stevens, Kimball Williams, Barbara Anderson, Martha Brown, Iola Case, Helene Derby, Ellen Glaser, Antoinette Fitzsimmons, Peter Hadley, Jeanne McConnochie, Sheila McGee, James McIlhenny, Caroline Powers, Hope Redington, Gerald Reilly, George Tully, Joyce Walker and Lillian Zernoske.

Malcolm McCoy was stage manager for the production assisted by Robert Jordon and Robert Bosworth.  Alan Zimmerman was electrician, assisted by Edwin Golding."

Source:  Delightful Presentation Of 'Snow White' Offered By Pupils Of Schools -- Talented Young Cast Stages Well Known Fairy Tale in Auditorium of the Siwanoy School, The Pelham Sun, May 13, 1938, p. 10, cols. 1-3.  See also Siwanoy and Colonial School Pupils Will Present 'Snow White' On Friday -- Talented Young Cast Will Offer Stage Version of Well Known Fairy Tale in School Auditorium, The Pelham Sun, Apr. 29, 1938, Vol. 29, No. 4, Second Section, p. 1, cols. 3-4.  

"School Production Of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' Proves Delightful Performance

Truly one of the most delightful performances to be staged in the Pelhams by a theatrical group was the production of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' staged in the auditorium of Pelham Memorial High School on Friday night by the talented members of Sock & Buskin, school dramatic society.  The play was presented in a manner typical of such a performance given in the year 1875, and the young members of the cast appeared to be fully mindful of the tradition which was theirs to uphold and the performance was a credit to themselves and to their director W. Francis Scott.

In the old favorite roles, 'Uncle Tom' and 'Little Eva,' Harry Jackson and Mona Freeman showed splendid theatrical capabilities.  Louise Fischer as the distressed 'Eliza,' James Leahy as Phineas Fletcher, her white champion, and John Pugh as the generous-hearted St. Clair dendeared themselves to the audience in a proper manner.  Miriam Holzheimer as the straight-laced 'Ophelia' was amusing and properly tender-hearted when pity for the slave 'Topsy' required it.

As 'Topsy,' Frances Ingalls ran away with the show if any one did, as could be expected.  Miss Ingalls showed a full appreciation of her roleand was a delight every moment she was on the stage.  This performance, particularly attracted the younger audience which viewed the production in an afternoon matinee last Thursday.

There were some real rogues in the roles of the villainous 'Simon' (Edward Cudmore), and 'Haley' (Clinton Kenney), and throughout the cast the high school students gave an excellent performance, which was augmented by chorus singing under the leadership of Albert J. Fregans, head of the Music Department of the school.

Even the ever-looked for mechanics of the production, Eliza crossing the ice and the ascent of Little Eva into Heaven, were accomplished in fitting style.  True it is that the Great Danes wo were pressed into the roles of the bloodhounds failed to show a proper appreciation of the need for speed in chasing Eliza across the ice, and it is said that 'Eva' had difficulties in making her ascent at a dress rehearsal.  These only added to the enjoyment of the play.  

Other members of the cast included:  David Cole, Albert Jeffcoat, Weston Roberts, John Graziadei, Stephen Lee, Fred Landenberger, Murray Lifschitz, Robert Schuster Jr., John Kreuter, Jerome Conkling, William Burrows, William Hawley, Herbert McLear, Irving Lyon, Kenneth Moore, Bruce Parker, Peter Haackes, Richard Tomset.

Also, Marilyn Lange, Gloria Sisti, Gretchen Fuller, Mary Hurley, June Bevan and Betty Lou Scott.  

Even the program followed the old type theatre bill, and it described the high school auditorium as the 'Pelham Opera House,' Messrs. Brown and Fairclough, owners and managers.  The audience was requested to follow its natural inclinations, 'To applaud Virtue in distress and to reward villainy at appropriate moments in the drama.'  With great glee the audience followed the suggestion and never was a villain hissed so generously as 'Simon Legree.'  

Included in the choral group were Toni Hemmenway, M'Liss Mentley, Betty Ridout, Lorraine Doyle, Gretchen Fuller, Anna Mastrangelo, Catherine Deck, Jean Deck, Claire Cudmore, Ellen Bristol, Elaine Ackley, Nancy Gay Robb, Helen Seibert, Beverly Nash, Priscilla Peters, Gertrude Gill, Sarah Babcock, Helen Stone, Jane Dickerson, Shirley Hawthorne and Ann Smillie."

Source:  School Production Of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Proves Delightful PerformanceThe Pelham Sun, Apr. 11, 1941, p. 11, cols. 5-6.  See also SELECT CAST FOR SCHOOL SHOWING OF FAMOUS PLAY -- Many Talented Young Thespians Will be Seen in Production of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' at High SchoolThe Pelham Sun, Mar. 14, 1941, p. 7, col. 2; "UNCLE TOM" TO BE PRESENTED IN OLD TIME STYLE -- High School Dramatic Society Will Present Historic Old Play Thursday Afternoon and Friday Night, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 28, 1941, p. 8, col. 5.  

"Miss Freeman To Act As Model In Fashion Display

Miss Mona Freeman of Carol avenue will act as one of the 'junior miss' models at the fashion show sponsored by the Junior Consumer Advisory Committee for Arnold Constable this afternoon at 3:45 o'clock.

'Crimes in Fashion' is the title of the novel fashion display which is to be presented at Locust Arms restaurant, Locust avenue, New Rochelle.  The clothes selected have been chosen by team members who will explain the reasons for their choice and will act as commentators.  The audience will try to find the 'fashion crime', glaring or subtle, in each case.

Mrs. Anne Albee, fashion director of Arnold Constable will be the judge."

Source:  Miss Freeman To Act As Model In Fashion Display, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 20, 1942, p. 4, col. 4.  

"Tales of Three VILLAGES. . . 

Should be Bridled.

We are in favor of muzzling or rationing some publicity agents.  Currently we have been besieged with inquiries as to why we have not published the story about Miss Mona Freeman of Pelham Manor, who, to quote the press agents, 'walked into a producer's office in Hollywood, asked for a job and was engaged right away.'  That type of publicity gives an entirely false impression to a lot of Hollywood adolescent aspirants and might cause some of them to try and do likewise.  Miss Freeman's good looks had caused her to be in demand by illustrators as a model for some time prior to her departure for Hollywood.  She was under contract to Howard Hughes when she went to the Coast last August, and it was not until she was able to cancel the Hughes contract that Paramount gave her a job.  We gleaned that information from a letter received from her by a Pelham friend.  Hollywood is full of good lookers, but the producers require something more -- an aptitude for hard work, sustained effort and a willingness to learn."

Source:  Tales of Three VILLAGES . . . Should be Bridled, The Pelham Sun, Nov. 11, 1943, Vol. 33, No. 32, p. 2, cols. 3-4.  

By Aline Collins, 9-B

Not long ago the startling news that Mona Freeman was in Hollywood reached the ears of her Westchester friends.  The residents of Pelham, particularly the students of Pelham High, were filled with pride to think that one of their former members was now signed to a seven-year contract with Paramount.

Mona had attended Colonial School and her first big role was in 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,' a Colonial and Siwanian [sic] school play.  After graduating from Colonial, Mona entered Pelham High where she played the part of 'Eva' in 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.'  In May, 1941, she started modeling for John Powers, and in the same month she was chosen as 'Miss Subway,' of New York.  Miss Freeman has done photographic work only, modeling teenage clothes for several catalogs.  

She was in a picture with Barbara Stanwyck, but after a few weeks the studio decided that she looked too young to play as rival opposite Miss Stanwyck.  However, Mona now has a small part in 'Tomorrow's Harvest.'

Mrs. Freeman is also in Hollywood acting as Mona's chaperone, and they are staying at the St. Frances Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard.  Mona is back in school; being one of the three people in the class, and only for three hours a day.

In a letter to one of her friends, Mona stated that she misses Pelham.  'Hollywood is a swell place to make money, but that is all.'"

Source: Collins, Aline, MONA FREEMAN GETS HOLLYWOOD CONTRACT, The Pelham Sun, Nov. 23, 1943, Vol. 33, No. 34, p. 2, col. 2.  

"Tales of Three VILLAGES
On Way to Stardom

Mona Freeman, who is under contract to a motion picture concern in Hollywood, is doing very well.  The Pelham girl, according to Richard Berger, producer for RKO, is a great success in her first picture, which will be on this market within a short time.  Mrs. Berger, the former Sherry Pelham, writes to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. M. Kennett of Linden Avenue, that Mona has stardom 'potentialities.'

Incidentally, Sherry Berger will be home from Hollywood for Christmas."

Source:  Tales of Three VILLAGES -- On Way to Stardom, The Pelham Sun, Nov. 22, 1944, Vol. 35, No. 32, p. 2, cols. 3-4.  

"Tales of Three VILLAGES

She Went Through The Air -- 

Ammouncement of the wedding of Mona Freeman, former resident of Pelham but now a Hollywood star, was made at the Peltowners Pub one day last week and it moved Richey Unger to stretch his right arm aloft and exclaim dramatically:  'No more will Mona have to be pulled up to heaven on a wire.'  He was referring to Mona's earliest dramatics at Memorial High School when she played the part of Little Eva in Uncle Tom's Cabin and was hoisted heavenward on wires."

Source:  Tales of Three VILLAGES -- She Went Through The Air, The Pelham Sun, Oct. 11, 1945, Vol. 36, No. 26, p. 2, col. 3.  

"Mona Freeman's Movie Star, Now Ascendant, Predicted As One Of Five Great Stars Of Tomorrow

Charles Samuels in his 'Stars of Tomorrow,' published recently, chooses five personalities as most likely to head the movie bills of the next decade.

Mona Freeman, Pelham High School graduate and star of school plays, is one of the five.  He writes of her as follows:

'Tiny Mona Freeman who is as pretty as a Christmas postcard -- and almost as small -- is just beginning to get the breaks she deserves.  Mona is 19 years old and comes from a nice family, but her people lost everything in the depression.

'She was a Powers model four years ago when Howard Hughes signed her to play the stepdaughter of Barbara Stanwyck in 'Double Indemnity,' but she was replaced when tests showed she looked too young.  The same thing happened when Mona was borrowed for a role in 'National Velvet,' at MGM.  

'The chain of bad breaks was broken, however, when she won the cute part of Irene Dunne's daughter in 'Together Again,' at Columbia.  She played Peggy Ann Garner's older sister in 'unior Miss' at 20th Century-Fox and went to Warner's for a role in 'Danger Signal.

'At Paramount she is known as the 'loan-out kid.'  About the only thing she's done on her home lot so far is a small bit as a college vamp in 'Our Hears Were Growing Up.'

'Mona is so very little and young-looking that you can't help being astonished at the maturity of her approach to a Hollywood career.

'I pointed out to Mona that sometimes being borrowed by other studios is a quicker path to stardom than being used at one's own studio because other studios only pick players when they are perfectly suited for parts.

'Mona nodded her head with gravity.

'Nevertheless, I'd like to play on the home grounds once in a while.  That may have its good side, but you get no publicity.  The other studios won't give you a buildup because you're not their actress, and your home lot doesn't because you're not in one of their pictures.'

'I asked her what she expected to get out of stardom?

'Money, first of all,' said Mona, 'but there is something far more important that one finds in Hollywood.  It's an education.  You learn to understand people, learn how to work and live with them.  Then you have a chance to meet the top people in many professions -- writers, artists, actors and craftsmen.  

''I was scared when I came out here, but this is a business, and I intend to know it before I'm finished in Hollywood.  That, most of all, is what one has to learn to understand to succeed in Hollywood -- that you are in a business, not in some wonderful never-never land of dreams.'

'For some reason Mona remainds me of the late, great Carole Lombard.  Carole also was scared when she came to Hollywood, but she learned to live and to act superbly.  I think Mona will too.

'Wally Westmore, who heads Paramount's make-up department, is one of Mona's most enthusiastic supporters.

''You can bet on that little kid,' he told me.  'She has freshness and a wonderful personality.  In my opinion, she'll become a star because she has a deep understanding, young as she is, of human emotions.  She'll always know what she's doing.  She knows that right now, and she's only in her teens.  With her looks, talent and good sense, how can she fail?'"

Source:  Mona Freeman's Movie Star, Now Ascendant, Predicted As One Of Five Great Stars Of Tomorrow, The Pelham Sun, Nov. 8, 1945, Vol. 36, No. 30, p. 3, cols. 4-5.  

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Western Actor Harry Carey of Pelham, Born Henry DeWitt Carey, Recalls His Boyhood Days in Pelham

Harry Carey was a star of stage and screen who became best known for his roles, typically as a bad guy, in westerns.  He grew up on City Island in the Town of Pelham before the area was annexed by New York City.  

Harry Carey's real name was Henry DeWitt Carey II.  He was a son of Pelham resident Henry DeWitt Carey who served as a judge in the Special Sessions Court at White Plains for many years and founded a local dairy known as the Willow Brook Dairy in which he owned an interest for many decades until he sold that interest in the mid-1920s.  Judge Carey also served as president of the New Home Sewing Machine Company.  Thus, the Carey family was quite affluent.

Harry Carey was born on January 16, 1878 on 116th Street in New York City, then a rural area distant from the hustle and bustle of lower New York.   At the age of six, Carey moved with his family from 116th Street to City Island in the Town of Pelham.  I have written about Harry Carey and his father, Henry DeWitt Carey, before.  See Mon., Jun. 02, 2014:  Henry DeWitt Carey Of City Island in the Town of Pelham.  

In 1911, a friend introduced Harry Carey to movie director D.W. Griffith, for whom Carey eventually starred in many, many films. Before his death in 1947, Harry Carey starred in hundreds of films. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  He received an Oscar nomination for his role as President of the Senate in the 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."  He was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame and has his name enshrined along the Walk of Western Stars.  For a complete biography of Harry Carey, see IMDb - Harry Carey Biography, available at <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002503/bio> (visited June 21, 2015).

Actor Harry Carey in 1919.
Source:  Wikipedia.

1920 Movie Poster for "Human Stuff" Starring
Harry Carey.  Source:  Wikimedia Commons.

In 1928, Harry Carey was in between movie projects.  He had just completed filming The Trail of '98 and was about to begin filming another project with the Schuberts.  In between, he began performances of a vaudeville show in Proctor's Theatre in New Rochelle.  

On the evening of Thursday, July 19, 1928, Carey was the featured speaker at a meeting of the Boston Post Road Association held in the old Loew's Theatre in New Rochelle.  The meeting was attended by many Pelhamites, who were shocked to learn from Carey that he grew up in Pelham.

Following this revelation, a reporter from The Pelham Sun arranged a meeting with Harry Carey in his dressing room at Proctor's Theatre.  The interview sheds light on Carey's youth in Pelham and on much of his career.  The text of the entire article appears immediately below, followed by a citation and link to its source.

"Harry Carey, Pelham Bred Westerner, Recalls Boyhood Days In Villages
Motion Picture Star As Youth Stalked First Imaginary Indian In Wilderness Of the Pelhams.  Played Baseball On Old Shamrocks.  Lured First By Sea, Then Horses Through Melodrama Into Motion Pictures

Although many Pelham motion picture fans have applauded the daring exploits of Harry Carey, western movie star, few know or suspect that Carey as a boy, stalked his first imaginary Indian in the wilderness, which the Pelham were at that time, and practiced much of his splendid horsemanship in this vicinity.  Carey the son of Judge Henry D. Carey, of City Island ,which was at that time part of the Town of Pelham.

At the meeting of the Boston Post Road Association, on Tuesday evening, in the old Loew's theatre, in New Rochelle, Carey, an entertainer on the program startled many of the audience who were Pelhamites, by remarking that he was a Pelhamite, himself.

The movie bad man proved quite congenial when he met a Pelham Sun reporter this week in his dressing room at Proctor's Theatre in New Rochelle, where he has been playing.  Mr. Carey recalled many incidents of his boyhood in the Pelhams, which were then villages almost as youthful as he himself.

Mr. Carey, son of Judge Henry D. Carey, came to City Island to live when he was six years old and as a young boy favored the sea, and many times accompanied the clam dredgers on their trips from City Island.  The Island at that time had three shipyards and was a very busy community.  Horses then attracted him and his two saddle mounts on which he roamed the country-side, were largely responsible for the western atmosphere, which he later assumed.

'Do I know Pelham,' said Mr. Carey, 'why I used to play first base on the old Shamrock baseball team, and what a team that was.  We played games with a team from New Rochelle called the Resolutes and the Vernons fromo Mount Vernon.'

Carey attended the City Island School and then went to Hamilton Military School in New York, where he continued his studies and his horsemanship under expert tutelage.  After leaving the Hamilton school, he entered New York Law School and graduated in the same class with Judge Jacob S. Ruskin, of New Rochelle.

Law books were too dull for young Carey.  Drama attracted him and he went on the stage, first appearing at the Old Yorkville Theatre, in New York City.  Carey's first starring part brought him back to Westchester County, when he opened in 'Montana,' at the New Rochelle Opera House in 1909.  'There was a great play,' stated Mr. Carey.  'We played that melodrama for over five seasons all over the east.'

In answer to that inevitable question how he happened to enter the movies, Mr. Carey told the Pelham Sun, that one day, at a time when the melodramas were beginning to lose popularity on the stage and he, incidentally, out of work, met Henry Walthall, movie star of several years ago, in front of the old Biograph Studio on Fourteenth street, New York City.  Through Walthall's intercession Carey was given a job and thus four people, destined to become famous in this medium of entertainment, made their first appearance in the same picture.  The four were Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Lionel Barrymore and Mr. Carey.

Following his first taste of screen acting, Carey went west and rose to stardom on the Pacific Coast.  Mr. Carey is at present marking time in a vaudeville act, between the completion of his latest pictures, 'The Trail of '98' and the time this fall when he starts work on a production with the Schuberts.

'My father organized the Willow Brook Dairy,' Carey told the Pelham Sun.  'He combined several small dairies aroudn Pelham and opened his first office in Mount Vernon.  He disposed of his interest in the company about two years ago.'

Carey's father, Henry D. Carey, was Judge in the Special Sessions Court at White Plains and sat with Judge Isaac Mills and Judge Baxter.  When City Island was annexed to New York City, Judge Carey became a Tammany Hall man. 

Town Historian John M. Shinn, Lieutenant Bruce Dick, of the North Pelham police department, and Town Tax Receiver Henry E. Dey all recalle the Carey family."

Source:  Harry Carey, Pelham Bred Westerner, Recalls Boyhood Days In Villages, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 20, 1928, p. 7, cols. 1-3.  

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Community Efforts to Save Happyland: Pelham's First Picture House

For many decades, it has been known that Pelham had a silent movie "picture house" before the Pelham Picture House was built by Clint Woodward of Bronxville in 1921.  About all that has been known, however, is that the Happyland Theater existed -- based mostly on a single, widely-published photograph.  The well-known photograph shows an unusually large crowd, including many children, posing outside the crude theater building.  That photograph appears immediately below.

Happyland Movie Theater, Fifth Avenue, Pelham, ca. 1919.
Source:  Courtesy of the Office of the Historian of
the Town of Pelham.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

I have researched the history of Pelham's silent movie picture house known as Happyland.  I was truly stunned by what the research revealed since I always had assumed the tiny theater to be a simple, small local business.  It turned out to be much, much more than that.  In fact, it turned out to be an amazing community venture for the benefit of Pelham youth.  It also turned out that the story of Happyland is a story that illustrates how history repeats itself (and how easily we forget).  

In yesterday's posting I noted that efforts to save the Pelham Picture House that began in 2001 were not the first efforts to save the Town's only movie theater.  I noted that the Pelham Picture House that stands today had to be "saved" once before in 1928.  See Mon., Jun. 29, 2015:  The Recently Saved Pelham Picture House Was Saved Once Before in 1928.  It turns out that efforts to "save" the Pelham Picture House in 1928 were not the first efforts to save the Town's only motion picture theater.  There were unsuccessful efforts to save Happyland, Pelham's first motion picture house, in 1920.  Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog provides a little of the history of Happyland and briefly details the efforts to save the tiny movie theater in 1920.

In the spring of 1916, a "Child Welfare League" movement gained momentum in the Village of North Pelham.  The purpose of the movement was to "make children a priority."  Within a short time, the local Child Welfare League movement merged into a broader initiative known as "Happyland."  

The Happyland initiative gained great traction in Pelham.  A number of specialists in welfare work traveled to Pelham from New York and addressed meetings of adults and, sometimes, large audiences of children and adults.  Considerable literature was published and distributed by welfare organizations and by the New York State Department of Health.  An experienced nurse gave a talk to mothers and made available exhibits loaned by the State Department of Health.  

It appears that as part of this child welfare movement in 1916 or 1917, residents of the Village of North Pelham banded together to support an initiative by a preacher named J. R. Hewitt who appears to have opened a temporary Happyland in space leased at 319 Fifth Avenue.  Hewitt opened the temporary facility as "a place of worship and for moving pictures."  In October, 1917, projection equipment was installed for the projection of moving pictures.  Rev. Hewitt and his wife clearly were the moving forces behind the Happyland initiative in North Pelham.

Among the earliest supporters of Reverend Hewitt's child welfare initiative that came to be known as Happyland were Eugene L. Lyon, a local builder, and William Edinger, a former President of the Village of North Pelham who was also a local landowner.  In the autumn of 1918, Edinger offered the use of a lot that he owned, located (according to newspaper references) at 410 Fifth Avenue for the erection of a building for exclusive use by the Happyland movement.  Lyon and local men with whom he worked volunteered their labor and built what came to be known as the Happyland Building on the site.  It is believed that the photograph above shows the structure built by Eugene L. Lyon and his men.  Assuming that the address of the building set forth in local newspapers was accurate (410 Fifth Avenue), today the lot on which the building once stood is empty.  

In its earliest days, it seems that there was a single, regular weekly movie program presented at Happyland.  Newspaper announcements seem to suggest such a weekly program.  One announcement published in early 1918, for example, stated:  "Movies Tonight.  The regular weekly movie program will be presented this evening at the meeting which will be held at Happyland, the Child Welfare Center, on Fifth avenue."

Happyland quickly became a popular entertainment destination.  On holidays such as George Washington's Birthday, the theater offered special screenings of special films.  Tickets were required and, on such occasions, were sold not only at the theater but also at a local business known as Kurtze's store located on Fifth Avenue near Fourth Street (today's Lincoln Avenue).  

Given Happyland's affiliation with a child welfare program, Christmas also was a special time at Happyland.  Free movies such as "The Fairy and the Waif" starring Mary Miles Minter were offered to children with carols, recitations, and a "message from Santa Claus."  In addition, for adults, live dramas with a cast of local residents were presented as part of the festivities.  In December, 1919, for example, local women presented an "Indian play" entitled "The White Dove of Oneida" in the Happyland Building.  

By 1919, Happyland offered a regular schedule of silent films and news reports.  Films were shown every Monday and Wednesday evening beginning at 7:30 p.m.  Every Friday evening, the programs were dedicated to the children of the town with movies beginning at 7:15 p.m.  The silent films played at Happyland at the time included films from Bray Paramount pictographs, Famous Players, Lasky productions, News Weekly and official United States government films.  Some of the movies shown at about this time, as indicated in local newspaper reports, included the following:  "Leave it to Susan" starring Madge Kennedy; "The Farmerette," starring Gale Henry; "Bobbie Bumps"; "Her Fighting Chance" starring Jane Grey; "Cheating Herself" starring Peggy Hyland; and "The Fairy and the Waif," starring Mary Miles Minter.

Coming Attraction Lantern Slide for Samuel Goldwyn's
"Leave it to Susan" Starring Madge Kennedy, a Silent
Film Shown at Happyland in the Village of North Pelham
on September 22, 1919.  Source:  "Coming Attraction

The Happyland Building located at 410 Fifth Avenue was far more than a tiny movie theater.  It was, for a very short time, a vibrant place of worship as well.  According to an account published in 1920:

"The Sunday schedule includes a Sunday school held on Sunday morning and a popular community service on Sunday night with singing and pictures of educational value.  On Easter Sunday every child and pupil down to the members of the cradle roll were presented with a copy of the excellent children's magazine, 'Everyland,' and also a potted geranium, the geranium being a gift of one of the ladies of the Happyland committee.  While the Sunday school is a separate organization, it has the privilege of meeting in the Happyland building." 

By early 1920, according to one account, more than two million feet of motion picture film were screened by Happyland in the Village of North Pelham.  One published account noted:

"Hundreds of reels of educational pictures have been shown, bringing to the eye graphic presentation of many of the principal industries of today.  Scenes from every land have been shown, sunshine stories and comedies have been part of almost every week's program.  The feature pictures are directed with great care and only clean, wholesome subjects are presented."

By early 1920, however, the Happyland Building sat "dismal and deserted" after the Rev. J. R. Hewitt left the Village for Watertown, New York.  According to one account, "the town did not support [Rev. Hewitt's] activities any too well."  Yet, Hewitt returned to the Happyland Building on at least three occasions after his departure for Watertown to host three "performances" of movies for Pelham residents.  After Hewitt's departure, a local newspaper reported that "Hope is expressed that some enterprising firm or person will start a moving picture theatre" in Pelham.  

On February 12, 1920, Pelham residents gathered in the Happyland Building in an effort to save the program and to continue the work that Reverend Hewitt had begun.  The dinner honored Hewitt for "his efforts in maintaining a place for children's entertainments."  The dinner was part of a fundraising initiative to raise monies to fund improvements of the building including the installation of running water.  The secretary of the fundraising committee, Jacob A. Wirth, announced that the first three days of the fundraising initiative brought in $300 in subscriptions.  As part of the initiative, William Edinger, who owned the property on which the Happyland Building stood, offered the land for sale "at a fair price."  Among the most difficult issues faced by those who wished to save Happyland was raising the money to purchase the land from Edinger.  

It is clear that the initiative to save Happyland failed.  By 1921, the building was still deserted and was used occasionally as a polling place for local elections and a voter registration site.  Because it was deserted, the building was the subject of multiple, thankfully unsuccessful, arson attempts in 1921 and 1922.  In July, 1922, the building was leased to a couple of local entrepreneurs who opened a business in the building named "Pelham Wet Wash," a local laundry service.  A short time later, there was another arson attempt and those entrepreneurs sought police protection.

The little Happyland Building continued to exist until at least 1931.  A brief reference to the fact that it remained in service as "an automobile repair shop" apppeared in the August 28, 1931 issue of The Pelham Sun.  See Board of Trustees Issues New List of Village Ordinances, Covering Motor Traffic, Protection of Public Property and the Insurance of Domestic Tranquility, The Pelham Sun, Aug. 28, 1931, p. 12, cols. 4-5.  

Announcement of movie showings in the Happyland Building seem to end in the spring of 1920.  But, the dream that "some enterprising firm or person will start a moving picture theatre" in Pelham soon became reality when, the following year, Clint Woodward of Bronxville built the Pelham Picture House, a single screen movie palace that still stands on Wolfs Lane and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

*          *          *          *          *

Below is the text of a series of newspaper articles relevant to the history of Happyland.  Each is followed by a citation and link to its source.


Movies Tonight.

This evening a special program of motion pictures will be presented at Happyland, the Child Welfare League headquarters, 319 Fifth avenue, starting at 7:30 o'clock.  The usual high class pictures will be shown, including 'Bobbie Bumps.'  Washington's birthday, next Friday, there will be two performances of motion pictures at Happyland, one in the afternoon at 4 o'clock and another in the evening at 7:30.  An unusually good program will be offered.  As the indications are that the advance sale of tickets will be large, arrangements have been made for residents to procure tickets at Kurtze's store, Fifth avenue near Fourth street."

Source:  HAPPENINGS IN NORTH PELHAM -- Movies Tonight, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Feb. 16, 1918, p. 7, col. 4.  

Movies Tonight.

The regular weekly movie program will be presented this evening at the meeting which will be held at Happyland, the Child Welfare Center, on Fifth avenue. . . ."

Source:  IN NEARBY TOWNS -- HAPPENINGS IN NORTH PELHAM -- Movies Tonight, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Apr. 3, 1918, p. 10, col. 2.   

----- . . . . . . 

High class programs are being offered at Happyland, 410 Fifth avenue, every Monday and Wednesday evening, beginning at 7:30 o'clock.  On Friday evenings, which are set aside for the children, the program begins at 7:15 o'clock.  It consists of the Bray Paramount pictographs, Famous Players, Lasky productions, News weekly and official United states government films. . . ."

Source:  NEARBY TOWNS -- NORTH PELHAM,  The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jan. 20, 1919, p. 5, col. 3.  

North Pelham . . . 

The program for tonight at Happyland will include a splendid Goldwyn feature, 'Leave it to Susan,' with Madge Kennedy and a Gale Henry comedy, 'The Farmerette."

Source:  VICINITY NEWS -- North Pelham, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Sep. 22, 1919, p. 5, col. 3.

"Vicinity News 
North Pelham

A stirring photoplay, 'Her Fighting Chance' with Jane Grey, will be shown tonight at Happyland.  It is written by James Oliver Curwood and staged by Edwin Carewe."

Source:  Vicinity News -- North Pelham, The Daily Argus, Oct. 17, 1919, p. 5, col. 4.  

"News of the Nearby Towns
North Pelham
----- . . . 

The annual Happyland Christmas entertainment will be held next Friday at 4 o'clock.  The program will consist of carols and recitations, a message from Santa Claus, and Christmas motion picture, 'The Fairy and the Waif,' with Mary Miles Minter.  This will be free to children.  In the evening of the same day, there will be a double program for adults, consisting of the above pictures and an Indian play, 'The White Dove of Oneida' with the following cast:  Mrs. Fairchild, Mrs. George W. Seacord; Prudence Fairchild, Mrs. J. R. Hewitt; Tiarata, Juliet Munroe; Chloresta, Fern Dick."

Source:  News of the Nearby Towns -- North Pelham, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Dec. 20, 1919, p. 3, col. 6.  

"News Of The Nearby Towns
In the Pelhams
North Pelham

There will be a special meeting of the village board tonight.  Action upon making the appointment of captain of police will be taken, as well as the appointment of two or three more men to the force.

Some kindly disposed, big hearted gents of the town have been making complimentary remarks about the director of Happyland and are now making an effort to bring this movement to the attention of the people of Pelham.  The present appeal now being made in behalf of Happyland, originated with several men who were present at the Father's and Son's dinner, held in the Happyland building on the evening of February 12th last.  The purpose of the dinner was to try to get some parents together and to persuade them to be more sociable with their own children.  In other words, for fathers to make chums of their boys and for mothers to win and to hold the confidence of their daughters.  Some of the men present diverted their strength to the director of Happyland and made rather flattering comment regarding his efforts in maintaining a place for children's entertainments.  The work was started in the spring of 1916 as a Child Welfare League, which later was merged into the general movement called Happyland.  A number of specialists in welfare work came from New York and addressed meetings of adults and sometimes large audiences of children and adults.  Considerable literature has been published and distributed by welfare organizations and the state department of health.  An experienced nurse gave a talk to mothers and described exhibits loaned by the state department of health.  The popular feature of Happyland is the weekly moving picture program.  Over two million feet of film has been screened since October, 1917, when the projection machine was installed.  Hundreds of reels of educational pictures have been shown, bringing to the eye graphic presentation of many of the principal industries of today.  Scenes from every land have been shown, sunshine stories and comedies have been part of almost every week's program.  The feature pictures are directed with great care and only clean, wholesome subjects are presented.  The Sunday schedule includes a Sunday school held on Sunday morning and a popular community service on Sunday night with singing and pictures of educational value.  On Easter Sunday every child and pupil down to the members of the cradle roll were presented with a copy of the excellent children's magazine, 'Everyland,' and also a potted geranium, the geranium being a gift of one of the ladies of the Happyland committee.  While the Sunday school is a separate organization, it has the privilege of meeting in the Happyland building, built in the fall of 1918 by Eugene L. Lyon, the builder, and men of the village who worked with him.  William Edinger, an ex-president of the village of North Pelham, very kindly offered the use of the lot for the building.  Mr. Edinger has shown interest in the movement ever since its inception.  He offers the lot at a fair price and this is our next problem, to purchase the land.  The location is favorable, being on Fifth avenue, one block north of the Boston and Westchester station.  However, equipment of itself cannot solve the problem of social betterment.  Anyone familiar with social service realizes the fact that little can be accomplished of permanent value without competent leadership and intelligent co-operation.  All social service, for those able to work, should be directed toward self help.  Certain improvements are contemplated in the building, such as the installation of water and other accommodations must be provided.  The present campaign for funds is meeting with success and many generous donations have been received by Jacob A. Wirth, the treasurer.  The first three days brought in nearly $300 in subscriptions."  

Source:  News Of The Nearby Towns -- In the Pelhams -- North Pelham, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Apr. 15, 1920, p. 12, cols. 1-2.

"News of the Nearby Towns
----- . . . .
North Pelham

Charles Montimer Peck, who wrote the scenario of 'Cheating Herself,' the new play in which Peggy Hyland is the star, is known to many readers of magazines.  Mr. Peck has contributed especially and liberally, to Everybody's Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post, and the Cosmopolitan Magazine.  His first venture with a Peggy Hyland comedy is 'Cheating Herself" which will be shown at Happyland tomorrow afternoon and evening, 3:30 and 7:15 p.m."

Source:  News of the Vicinity -- North Pelham, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Apr. 29, 1920, p. 6, col. 5.

"News of the Nearby Towns
In the Pelhams
North Pelham . . . . 

What is to become of the Happyland building?  That is the question that is being asked now.  Since the Rev. J. R. Hewitt left the village, but three shows have been given in the place although it was built for a place of worship and for moving pictures.  The three performances last given, Dr. Hewitt came all the way from Watertown, N. Y., to give them.  Although the town did not support his activities any too well.  Mr. Hewitt regretted to desert his friends in North Pelham, and is a visitor here occasionally. The building, which was built by volunteer labor, now stands dismal and deserted.  Hope is expressed that some enterprising firm or person will start a moving picture theatre there."  

Source:  News of the Nearby Towns -- In the Pelhams -- North Pelham, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jan. 21, 1921, p. 7, col. 3.

"Wet Wash Laundry In Happyland

The variegated career of Happyland at one time the sole place of popular amusement in The Pelhams as a picture house, bids fair to be brought to a period of usefulness as a mercantile establishment, as William Edinger, owner of the building, has leased it to a syndicate of four men from New Rochelle and Mount Vernon, who have combined with the intention of establishing a wet wash laundry in the old theater building.

Considerable fixing up will be necessary, as the building was badly damaged by fire last fall.  Part of the equipment for the laundry arrived on the ground on Wednesday, and will be installed next week.  The new firm, it is understood, will have a rate of thirty pounds of wet wash for one dollar."

Source:  Wet Wash Laundry In Happyland, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 21, 1922, p. 9, col. 2.

"Attempt To Fire Pelham Wet Wash
Old Happyland Building On Fifth Avenue Object of Firebug's Depredations

Two colored men, proprietors of The Pelham Wet Wash, applied at police headquarters for protection on Tuesday night.  They claimed their place of business, which is located at Fifth Avenue in the old Happyland Theater has been threatened with destruction.  

One of the proprietors states that on Monday night long after midnight he saw two men drive up in a Cadillac car go to the rear of the building and after starting a fire drive hurriedly away.  The fire was extinguished before any serious damage was done.

Questioned by the North Pelham police they could assign no reason for anyone wishing to destroy their business.

The Pelham Wet Wash started business two months ago.  This is the third attempt to burn the old theater building.  Last year the building was used for polling purposes and for registration of voters.  On the last day of registration after the office had been closed it was discovered to be on fire.  In extinguishing the blaze some of the registration forms which had been left in the building were so discolored by water that it was impossible to see either the names or the party for which the voter desired to enroll.  The result was seen on Tuesday when several voters who declared they had enrolled in their parties were declared blank on the official registration books.  Frederick Head and James Buchanan, two of the best known Democrats in North Pelham were listed as unaffiliated on the rolls."

Source:  Attempt To Fire Pelham Wet Wash -- Old Happyland Building On Fifth Avenue Object of Firebug's Depredations, The Pelham Sun, Sep. 22, 1922, p. 7, col. 2.  

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