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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Toonerville Trolley Pays its Bills -- Late!

Nearly everyone familiar with Pelham history and those familiar with the once-popular "Toonerville Folks" comic strip know that the little trolley car that inspired comic strip artist Fontaine T. Fox to create the "Toonerville Trolley" ran through Pelham Manor during the early 20th century. Occasionally I have published Blog postings about the famous "Toonerville Trolley" such as the ones listed below:

Tuesday, September 20, 2005: Pelham's "Toonerville Trolley" Goes To War

Friday, June 17, 2005: "Skipper Louie" of Pelham Manor's Toonerville Trolley

Tuesday, April 19, 2005: Pelham Manor Residents Fight Construction of the Toonerville Trolley Line

While many in Pelham remember the trolley line that ran through Pelham Manor, few may remember that the "Toonerville Trolley" line failed to pay its bills to Pelham Manor until long after the line was shut down.

It seems that in about 1943, two members of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Pelham Manor were doing some research on an entirely unrelated matter when they ran across the original contracts between the Village of Pelham Manor and the Westchester Electric Railway Co. According to the agreements, the Westchester Electric Railway Co. would be allowed to run a trolley line through the Manor free from Village taxes for a short period of time. Thereafter, the company would pay to the Village a tax of one percent of its gross earnings from the line for the first taxable year with a one percent increase in the amount payable until the amount capped at five percent of gross earnings during the fifth taxable year and would remain at five percent of gross earnings from the line each year thereafter.

The deal reportedly was struck in 1910 -- then was promptly forgotten by all parties involved. In 1943, however, six years after the line was closed and replaced with a bus line on July 31, 1937, the Village of Pelham Manor hired George W. Townley and one of his colleagues from the New York City law firm of Townley, Updike & Carter to obtain the back taxes never paid by the Westchester Electric Railway Co.

In February, 1943, the Village settled the matter with the Westchester Electric Railway Co. and received a check for $17,500 in full settlement of its claims for unpaid taxes based on percentages of the company's gross earnings from the line.

To read more about the dispute, see Street Car Co. Remits $17,500 Check To Manor, The Pelham Sun, Vol. 32, No. 46, Feb. 18, 1943, p. 1, col. 3. The article was a follow up to an article that appeared in a previous issue of The Pelham Sun, Vol. 32, No. 44, Feb. 5, 1943, p. 1, col. 1.

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