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, January 11, 2006

1931 Artist's Rendering of the Planned Store Complex at Four Corners on Boston Post Road

There is a tudor revival style commercial complex that stands at Four Corners in Pelham. (Four Corners is the local designation for the intersection of Pelhamdale Avenue and Boston Post Road in the Village of Pelham Manor.) Though many Pelham residents visit the stores in the complex all the time, few know much about the little complex.

The image below, from the collections of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham, is an artist's rendering of plans for the complex submitted to the Village of Pelham Manor in connection with zoning hearings held in 1931. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting will provide a little background on these hearings.

In 1931, Pelham residents Arthur W. Cole and Bradley Randall proposed to build the store complex on the southeast corner of the intersection of Boston Post Road and Pelhamdale Avenue. Though today we know that intersection as "Four Corners", for more than sixty years it was known as "Red Church Corner" because of the Little Red Church built by the congregation of Huguenot Memorial Church that once stood on the southwest corner of the intersection where today's Huguenot Memorial Church stands.

There were several preexisting structures on and near the site at the time including small real estate offices, a gasoline station and the old Red Church building that had been moved from its original location and transformed into a store and apartment complex. Messrs. Cole and Randall could not build the proposed store complex without a zoning change for the site. In 1931, the Village of Pelham Manor's zoning restrictions called for apartment house construction of "not less than four stories" on the site.

The history of the apartment zoning for the site is somewhat odd. For years, zoning along Boston Post Road east of Pelhamdale Avenue had been a sore point. According to one report, "[p]roperty owners themselves set the restriction at four story construction" in an effort to avoid hodge-podge development of the real estate along Boston Post Road in this area.

Pelham Manor Mayor Lawrence P. Sherman announced in 1931 that the Village Board would not rezone the site in the absence of consent from each of the property owners that previously had agreed to the four story construction restriction. Messrs. Cole and Randall worked hard to obtain those consents and the Village rezoned the site to allow for construction of the complex. One report at the time noted proudly that:

"Plans for the new building, as outlined by Mr. Randall, will greatly enhance the beauty of the historic Red Church Corner. Setbacks have been arranged to provide parking space in front of the building. The plan also includes the remodeling of the old red church building to conform with the Tudor architecture of the new building. Mr. Randall has announced that several of the stores and offices are already contracted for."

Source: Application For Zone Change In Manor To Be Reviewed at Public Hearing, The Pelham Sun, Jun. 5, 1931, p. 1, col. 5.

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