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.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Prospect Hill and Pelhamville Depicted on the 1868 Beers Atlas Map of Pelham: Part I

In 1868, the firm of Beers, Ellis & Soule published an Atlas entitled "Atlas of New York and Vicinity From Actual Surveys by and Under the Direction of F.W. Beers, Assisted by A.B. Prindle & Others. Published by F.W. Beers, A.D. Ellis & G.G. Soule. Assistants F.S. Fulmer, W.T. Comstock, A.M., A.J. Bingham, W.S. Roe, J.A. Cline. 95 Maiden Lane, New York. 1868. Entered . . . 1868 by Beers, Ellis & Soule. . . New York. Engd. By Worley & Bracher, 320 Chestnut St. Phlada. Printed by James McGuigan, Cor. 3d & Dock Sts. Phila."

The 1868 Beers Atlas includes Plate 35 entitled "City Island, Pelham Township, Westchester Co., N.Y. [With] Town of Pelham, Westchester Co., N.Y." An image of Plate 35 appears immediately below with arrows pointing to the area then known as "Pelhamville" near the top and the neighborhood known as "Prospect Hill" near the middle of the image.

Careful analysis of Plate 35 provides fascinating insights into today's Town of Pelham. Today's Blog posting will discuss a few of those insights with regard to the area known today as "Prospect Hill" in the Village of Pelham Manor. Tomorrow's Blog posting will address the area reflected on the 1868 Beer's map known as "Pelhamville".

Prospect Hill Village

On August 11, 1852, a man named William Bryson filed a development map entitled "Map of Prospect Hill Village, Town of Pelham, Westchester County, New York." The map encompassed a prime area described by Lockwood Barr as "on the crown of the ridge near the Boston Post Road, bounded by what are now Highland, Prospect, Esplanade, New Haven Branch, Washington and Old Split Rock Road." Barr, Lockwood, A Brief, But Most Complete & True Account of the Settlement of the Ancient Town of Pelham Westchester County, State of New York Known One Time Well & Favourably as The Lordshipp & Mannour of Pelham Also the Story of the Three Modern Villages Called The Pelhams, p. 123 (Richmond, VA: The Dietz Press, Inc. 1946).

On March 30, 2005, I posted to the Historic Pelham Blog an item entitled "Prospect Hill Village --- Yet Another Early Hamlet in the Town of Pelham". As I noted in that posting, more information about the Prospect Hill Village development recently has come to light. There is a brief but information-filled advertisement and notice relating to the development that appeared in the September 15, 1854 issue of the New York Daily Times (the predecessor to today's New York Times). The text and an image of the notice appear immediately below:

"LOTS FOR SALE. - A very few desirable acre and half-acre lots, beautifully situated on Prospect Hill, in the town of Pelham, Westchester Co., N. Y. They are situated on the turnpike-road, between New-York and New-Rochelle, and conveniently to three stations on the New-Haven Railroad - Mount Vernon, Pelhamville and New-Rochelle. Apply to AMOS JUDSON, Real Estate Agent, Mount Vernon; WM DALLY, on the premises, of THOMAS SPOTTEN, No. 118 Bowery New-York.


The members of the above association are requested to attend a meeting to be held at the Westchester House, corner of Bowery and Broome at, MONDAY EVENING, Sept. 18, at 7 1/2 o'clock P M Punctual attendance is requested as business of importance will be brought before the meeting. By order of the Board of Directors."

It seems that it was quite some time before the Prospect Hill Village development took root. Plate 35 in the 1868 Beers Atlas -- published 14 years later -- shows only six structures on Prospect Hill south of Boston Post Road, one of which is the little school house. The homes, as indicated on the map, were owned by J. Dodge, W. Bertine, H. Steif, W. Dally and T. Maloy. (Careful readers of the Historic Pelham Blog will notice that the family names "Bertine" and "Dally" also appeared on the list I posted on Friday, November 18 of Pelham's Civil War Dead in the posting entitled "In Memoriam: A List of Pelham's Civil War Dead".)

I have juxtaposed a detail from Plate 35 of the 1868 Beers Atlas showing Prospect Hill with a satellite image of the exact same area in today's Pelham. As one might expect, the match is perfect and it is possible to determine the names of currently existing streets in Pelham that are also reflected as streets within "Prospect Hill" on Plate 35 of the 1868 Beers Atlas. Below is a low resolution image of the juxtaposed images.

It is now rather easy to determine the earliest portion of Prospect Hill that was developed between 1854 and 1868. Boston Post Road borders the area on the north. Split Rock Road borders the area on the west. The two streets that run parallel to Split Rock road are -- denoting them from west to east -- Peace Street and Plymouth Street. The three streets that run parallel to Boston Post Road -- denoting them from north to south -- are Townsend Avenue, Jackson Avenue and Hudson Street. The southern "boundary" of the area is Washington Avenue. In the image above, I have colored certain portions of the streets shown in the satellite photograph that are also reflected on the detail from the 1868 map in white. Compare the pattern of the two. They are identical.


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