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, December 13, 2005

The Manor Club's First Clubhouse Built in 1887-1888

Today's Manor Club, located at 1023 Esplanade in the Village of Pelham Manor, is a cultural, civic and social club for women. Although it had its beginnings in the 1870s, it was not organized formally until January 10, 1882. The clubhouse that stands today is not the original clubhouse. Today's clubhouse opened in 1922. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting will provide two early views of the original clubhouse and a little about its history.

View of the Original Manor Club Clubhouse
Published in Real Estate Guide Printed in 1892

A history of the Manor Club by Mrs. Earle E. Bradway indicates that in May 1883 the club decided to purchase two lots on the Esplanade owned by Mrs. Robert C. Black for the construction of a clubhouse. According to Mrs. Bradway, "Mr. Robert C. Black, Mr. John H. Dey, Mr. W.R. Lamberton, Mr. George H. Reynolds and Mr. G. Osmar Reynolds signed and filed articles of association under the provisions of an Act of the Legislature passed in 1875, and on the 28th day of May 1883 became incorporated under the name of the Manor Club. This incorporated club in June 1883 took title to the land referred to and carried out the intention of the purchase by conveying life interests to the several members of the old Manor Club.”

It took members of the Club several years to raise the money necessary to build a new clubhouse. In the meantime, they decided that the lots previously purchased were not the best location for the structure and arranged a new site – the site where today’s clubhouse now stands.

Club members selected F. Charles Merry as the architect. He designed a lovely shingle-style building with a large auditorium in the center and a deep “piazza” (porch) that surrounded nearly the entire building. 

On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1887, a crowd gathered for the laying of the cornerstone of the Manor House, the new clubhouse. The Order of Exercises for the ceremony suggests that those who participated believed that they were shaping the history of their village – three of the speakers addressed the following topics: “History of Pelham Manor”, “The Early History of The Manor Club”, and “The Later History of The Manor Club”. Construction proceeded smoothly and the new clubhouse opened in June 1888.

The club expanded rapidly by growing its membership effectively. By 1917 it appears that the financial affairs of the group were in order and discussions began regarding whether to expand the aging clubhouse or to build a new one. A building fund was started and members such as Mrs. Robert C. Black donated additional funds toward the project. Finally, in 1921 the club decided to build the new clubhouse. A plan was devised “to have members sign pledges ranging from twenty-five dollars to five hundred dollars, payable over a five year period” to assist with the project. Fundraising succeeded and the club selected Mr. William H. Orchard as the architect for the new clubhouse.

The old clubhouse was razed. Construction of the new clubhouse proceeded smoothly and the clubhouse was formally opened in February 1922.
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