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 11, 2005

More on the History of Martha Emmons Weihman Memorial Park in Pelham Manor

Readers of the Historic Pelham Blog know that I recently have researched the history of the Martha Emmons Weihman Memorial Park located on the Esplanade at Boston Post Road behind Huguenot Memorial Church. I have been doing research on the history of the park to assist The Junior League of Pelham, Inc. That organization is engaged in an effort to raise funds to restore the park. Recent postings on the topic include:

Wed., Oct. 19, 2005: Acquiring the Land for the Martha Emmons Weihman Memorial Park in Pelham Manor.

Wed., Aug. 10, 2005: More on the Martha Emmons Weihman Memorial Park: The Landscape Designer.

Wed., July 20, 2005: The Pelham Manor Village Board Decides To Dedicate Park as "Martha Emmons Weihman Memorial Park" on September 8, 1941.

Mon., June 6, 2005: Martha Emmons Weihman Memorial Park in Pelham Manor - Origins of the Idea to Create a Park.

Thu., June 2, 2005: Obituary of Martha Emmons Weihman From The Pelham Sun, August 16, 1940.

Tue., May 31, 2005: The June 6, 1940 Fire That Destroyed the George M. Reynolds Mansion (Part I of II).

Wed., June 1, 2005: The June 6, 1940 Fire That Destroyed the George M. Reynolds Mansion (Part II of II).

Tue., May 24, 2005: Clifford and Martha Weihman of Pelham (Part I of II).

Wed., May 25, 2005: Clifford and Martha Weihman of Pelham (Part II of II).

Recently I distilled my research into an article on the history of the park that appeared two weeks ago in The Pelham Weekly. Yesterday I received a letter, care of The Pelham Weekly, from Ms. Betty Jelstrup of Durham, NC. She is a former resident of Pelham who still reads the local Pelham newspaper. Her letter contained such important and interesting information about the structure that once stood on the site of Weihman Park that I am reproducing excerpts below.

"I am surely the last soul alive who lived at 4638 Boston Post Road, which you call the Reynolds mansion -- a title I had never heard of. My parents moved to Pelham in 1924 and lived in the apartments on the Esplanade in the former school for young ladies and later, after my birth, at 236 Cliff Avenue until my father died in 1930. Mother leased the house to save money and we lived in Pelhamdale Lodge and, when I was in 6th grade in Colonial School, took up residence on the Post Road next to Huguenot Church and the Esplanade. The mansion was owned by the bank and leased by a southern lady who was an interior decorator for wealthy New York clients, who cut it up into six or seven apartments rented to Pelham people who needed to down-size from larger homes, like the turreted mansion on the Esplanade or L. Ogden Thompsons, former President of the Pelham National Bank, who sold his large home on Witherbee and Monterey in an endeavor to reimburse the depositors whose money had vanished in the crash of 1929. Mrs. Thompson held on to a few treasures, which she sold off from time to time to raise money [including, for example] . . . a silver tea and coffee service with her initials . . . Your article mentioned Mrs. Geddes, a charming lady from Whitinsville, Mass. who had composed a song about a glade of cherry blossoms where four-leaf clovers grow -- a source of some income as it was often performed by young ladies called upon to entertain their parents' guests. Mr. and Mrs. Shepard Cabanne, from New Orleans, were other residents - she a sister of Mrs. Lodwick whose son Lyle was one of the young Pelham men killed in World War II. You also mentioned Mr. Tegeder - a German custodian who kept up the building and did the painting and decorating under Mrs. Macon's discerning eye.

Mr. Macon preferred hunting and fishing to working, but did grow specimen Dahlias in the garden, along with some vegetables. One of the treasures of the grounds was a glorious copper beech tree that towered over the house and with its smooth gray bark and evenly spaced branches was too tempting for climbing, and my mother would get agonized calls from other apartments that 'that child' was up in the tree again! I also remember the first hurricane that passed through Westchester. It followed several days of heavy rain, and we watched helplessly as several trees toppled over and blocked the driveway along the sid of Huguenot Church. I had never heard about the cause of the fire, but it certainly disrupted the lives of the residents who had shared not only their apartments, but a warm, friendly and caring spirit. Thank you for taking me back to the late 1930's. Betty Hess Jelstrup".

Source: Letter from Elizabeth Jelstrup to Blake Bell, undated but postmarked Nov. 5, 2005, p. 1 (original in author's files).

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site
Located at
Please Click Here for Index to All Blog Postings.


Post a Comment

<< Home