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, December 21, 2005

An Early Sketch of the First Clubhouse of the New York Athletic Club on Travers Island in Pelham

Occasionally during the last eleven months I have published to the Historic Pelham Blog postings about the New York Athletic Club located on Travers Island in Pelham Manor. For example, see:

Thu. May 26, 2005: The New York Athletic Club's Opening of the New "Summer Home" on Travers Island in 1889

Wed. June 15, 2005: The New York Athletic Club Saved a Portion of the Kemble House Property on Shore Road in the 1920s

The May 26 posting includes an image of an early postcard with a photograph of the original clubhouse of the New York Athletic Club on Travers Island before it was destroyed by fire. That clubhouse was opened for "inspection" by club members on June 8, 1889. See Travers Island, N.Y. Times, Jun. 9, 1889, p. 3.

The building, known as "the big house" was a two-story shingle style structure with a cellar and an attic. It was approximately 100 feet by 40 feet in size and contained 48 sleeping rooms and two large dormitories as well as a restaurant, cafe and a billiard room.

An early sketch depicting a different view of the same clubhouse was published in a real estate publication issued in 1892. The citation for the article that included a sketch of the clubhouse is: Pelham Manor, Pelham Heights and Vicinity, Real Estate Record and Builders Guide, Vol. L, Issue 1,292 Supplement, Dec. 17, 1892, p. 1. The image appears immediately below.

This view of the clubhouse shows quite well the important piazza that wrapped around much of the shingle style building. The clubhouse burned on January 5, 1901 in one of the most spectacular fires Pelham has ever witnessed. When the disaster was over, all that remained of the lovely building pictured above were "three large chimneys, two stone towers, and a smoldering pile of ruins." Clubhouse At Travers Island Burned, N.Y. Times, Jan. 6, 1901, p. 2.

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