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, November 25, 2005

The End of Pelham's Boy Scout Cabin Near The Hutchinson River Parkway

Periodically I have posted to the Historic Pelham Blog items relating to the storied Boy Scout Cabin that once stood in Pelham near today's Hutchinson River Parkway. The image immediately below shows the architect's original sketch of the cabin where a large chimney stands at the rear.

Sketch of the Pelham Boy Scout Cabin Published in the
August 29, 1941 Issue of The Pelham Sun (Page 6).
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

On July 19, I posted to the Historic Pelham Blog an item entitled "Pelham's Boy Scout Cabin Near The Hutchinson River Parkway". Additionally, on October 31, I posted an item entitled "Remnants of Pelham's Boy Scout Cabin Near The Hutchinson River Parkway".

All that remains on the site today is the large chimney. The photograph immediately below was taken recently and shows what is left at the site -- a giant stone chimney covered with vines.

Vine-Covered Remnants of the Massive Stone Chimney
and Hearth of the Pelham Boy Scout Cabin.  Photograph
by the Author Taken on October 30, 2005.  NOTE:  Click
on Image to Enlarge.

The story of what happened to the lovely Boy Scout cabin that served a generation of young Scouts who grew up in Pelham is a sad tale. Today's Blog posting will detail the sad end of the cabin.

In 1924, the Westchester County Parks Commission recommended that a motor parkway be built running north and south to take a little pressure off of Boston Post Road. The Parkway was intended to serve a host of purposes including the preservation of park lands near the Hutchinson River to reduce the deterioration of that waterway and to provide local residents with green space.

At about the same time, the local Boy Scout organization began planning the construction of a cabin near the planned parkway. The cabin was constructed in 1925.

In December 1927, work on a two-mile stretch of the parkway that passed through Pelham was completed. This two-mile stretch passed quite near the cabin. As the years passed and traffic on the Hutchinson River Parkway grew, the solitude that had attracted Scouts to the area was destroyed.

By the early 1940s, the Cabin was subjected to repeated acts of vandalism. One report in the local newspaper published on December 16, 1943, for example, noted the following: "For the third time in a month the Boy Scout Cabin was entered the last offense being on Sunday afternoon, shortly after Pelham Manor police had investigated the property and found it all intact. The offenders got in through a hole in the roof which they forced open after it had been repaired." According to the same report, a local police representative said the culprits "are probably boys who are jealous of the Scouts who have access to the cabin" and that "[i]f they are caught they will be punished severely." Roof Of Scout Cabin Broken In For Third Time, The Pelham Sun, Vol. 33, No. 37, Dec. 16, 1943, p. 1, col. 7.

The vandalism, alas, did not end. Only a few years later the cabin was destroyed by fire. See Plan for Library Gets Support; But Historic Claim Is Challenged, The Pelham Sun, Jan. 29, 1948 (noting "The Boy Scout Cabin, recently destroyed by fire, was erected in the shadow of 'Gen Howe's Tree."). Another part of Pelham's history was lost.

Archive of the Historic Pelham Web Site.
Order a Copy of "Thomas Pell and the Legend of the Pell Treaty Oak."    


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