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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pelham's First Automotive Taxi Service from the New Haven Line Train Station

The Pelham Sun printed an interesting record of what likely was Pelham's first automotive taxi business based at the New Haven Line train station in its February 25, 1943 issue. The account appeared in connection with the thirtieth anniversary of the business, known as Curry Bros., held on February 13, 1943. See Curry Bros. In Tax Service Thirty Years, The Pelham Sun, Vol. 32, No. 47, Feb. 25, 1943, p. 6, col. 3.

Early Post Card View of Pelham Train Station
as it Looked at About the Time Curry Bros.
Began its Taxi Service on February 13, 1913.

Joseph J. Curry and his brother, Dennis F. Curry, were born in New York City and moved to Pelham in about 1908. For many years they lived with a sister in a home located on Seventh Avenue near Fourth Street. They first operated a trucking business in Pelham. In 1913, however, they began operating cabs from Pelham Station on the New Haven Line. According to the account of their business published in The Pelham Sun:

"When they began, the Town of Pelham was just beginning to feel its growth as a residential suburban community. Automobiles were few, and good roads quite scarce in the villages, so the taxi-cab business became popular. As the residential advantages of the Pelhams appealed more and more to the business man of the nearby metropolis as an ideal place for a home, the town grew and the demand for taxi service increased."

Times, of course, were different then. Early brass-trimmed cars, according to the same account were just making their debut in Pelham, but they had removable tops fastened to the body of the vehicle with straps that rendered them "noisy, cold, drafty and uncomfortable in winter or wet weather".

For a time in the 1920s, the taxicab business might be described as chaotic at best. The Curry Bros. had obtained the concession to operate taxicabs from Pelham Station. Rival taxicab services reportedly tried to muscle in on the brothers' Pelham Station business. Among those who sought to compete with the Curry Brothers were Charles Cammerano, Charles Tamke, Tom Stewart, Charles Stockman and Tom Spafford. "Some of these", The Pelham Sun reported, "paid for sub-concessions but more often the Curry Brothers were called upon to resist invaders by force of words and wielding of fists."

As the business thrived, a third brother -- Cornelius Curry -- joined the business. The business was successful for many years due to the hard work of the threesome. In 1943, the local newspaper wrote:

"Thirty years in the taxi business in the Pelhams has meant 30 years of sleeping in the few hours between the last train at night and the first one in the morning, and getting a little rest in between. Thirty years means the service must have been good or it would not have survived those years."

Source: Curry Bros. In Taxi Service Thirty Years, The Pelham Sun, Vol. 32, No. 47, Feb. 25, 1943, p. 6, col. 3.

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