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 07, 2005

The Sale and Subdivision of the Bolton Priory Estate in the 1950s

Periodically I have published to the Historic Pelham Blog postings about Bolton Priory. Also known as "The Priory" and "Pelham Priory", the towering Gothic Revival mansion was built in 1838 and still stands at 7 Priory Lane in the Village of Pelham Manor. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 28, 1974.

The Priory, built by Rev. Robert Bolton and his sons in 1838, was acquired by the Duchess de Dino in the early 1880s and presented to her daughter, Miss Daisy Stevens, as a wedding gift when she married Frederick H. Allen in 1892. The home remained in the Allen family for many years.

During the late 19th and early 20th century, development in the Village of Pelham Manor slowly began to creep eastward from Boston Post Road toward Long Island Sound where the Bolton Priory stands. By the 1940s and 1950s, there was little remaining land within the Town of Pelham that had not been developed for residential use. Land values, of course, were climbing during the post-War boom. Finally, the pressures grew too great for the owners of Bolton Priory.

During the 1950s the Allen family decided to sell approximately 24 acres of land surrounding the home so that they could be developed as a residential area. On April 5, 1953, a brief article appeared in The New York Times describing the development. It said:

"Plans for cutting up Bolton Priory, a twenty-four-acre estate landmark in Pelham Manor, N. Y., have been announced by Fish & Marvin, brokers, who said the Allen family, the owners, had decided to sell off the property in parcels for improvement with luxury homes. Frederick Allen, present occupant, and other members of the family said they would preserve the 100-year-old manor house on the tract. The manor house is said to have been built with the advice and assistance of Washington Irving."

Pelham Manor Land Divided For Homes, N.Y. Times, Apr. 5, 1953, p. R1.

By February of the following year, plans for subdivision of the land had been completed. A client of Kenneth Ives & Co., selling brokers for the property, acquired the tract. Plots were laid out by Guy Mariner, who was associated with the Ives company in handling the development. Buyer to Divide Land Around Bolton Priory, N.Y. Times, Feb. 14, 1954, p. R1.

For about the next ten years, single family homes sprang up on each of the many plots carved from what had been the Bolton estate, forever changing the face of what had been virgin forest when the Bolton Priory first rose.

To read more about Bolton Priory, see the following Historic Pelham Blog postings:

Nov. 29, 2005: An Early, Interesting Photograph of Bolton Priory in the Village of Pelham Manor

Aug. 23, 2005: Society Scandal: The "Strange" Story of Mrs. Adele Livingston Stevens Who Acquired the Bolton Priory in Pelham Manor

Jul. 13, 2005: 11 Priory Lane: The Rose Cottage

Jun. 10, 2005: Pelham's Most Magnificent Wedding Gift: The Bolton Priory

May 3, 2005: Colonel Frederick Hobbes Allen, An Owner of Bolton Priory in Pelham Manor

Apr. 4, 2005: Art and Poetry of William Jay Bolton of Bolton Priory in Pelham

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