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.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Organizational Plans for North Pelham's Victory Gardens in 1943

Previously I have published to the Historic Pelham Blog brief articles describing efforts by patriotic residents of the Town of Pelham to create, tend and harvest Victory Gardens designed to make the town as self-supporting as possible during the early years of World War II. To read those articles, see:

Mon. Nov. 7, 2005: World War II Victory Gardens in Pelham

Thu. Nov. 10, 2005: More About World War II Victory Gardens in Pelham

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog will provide additional information about the Victory Garden program and the volunteers who administered it.

The Village of North Pelham (which merged with the Heights in the 1970s to form today's Village of Pelham) formed meticulous plans in the early part of 1943 to organize its efforts to support Victory Gardens in the little village. Those planning efforts were coordinated by William B. Shaw who served as Chairman of the Victory Gardens Committee in 1943. Ken G. Hancher led efforts to develop Victory Gardens in the Village of North Pelham that year. Organizers divided the Village of North Pelham into five zones and installed a coordinator in charge of each of the zones.

District 1 was the Chester Park area. Kneeland S. Durham coordinated efforts in this zone. He developed a community plot on vacant land north of Pine avenue.

District 2 extended from Chester Park to Fourth Street. Fred P. Schall coordinated efforts in this zone. Plans were made to approach the Parkway Commission for permission to cultivate the "strip of land bordering the parkway just north of Fourth street bridge".

Philip Godfrey coordinated Victory Garden efforts in District 3. According to a published account, for many years Godfrey "raised crops on Fourth avenue and Second street that were the envey of all who saw them or were lucky enough to obtain produce from the lot."

District 4 extended from Fourth street north to the border with New Rochelle and was bounded on the east by Fifth Avenue. J. Knettles who lived on Park Place coordinated this zone. He was selected for the role because he held an agricultural degree.

District 5 covered the neighborhood of Pelhamwood. A. R. Dummett of Harmon Avenue coordinated efforts in this district.

Source: Dr. Hancher Is Head of North Pelham Gardens, Pelham Sun, Vol. 32, No. 48, Mar. 5, 1943, p. 10, col. 7.

The Victory Gardens program in Pelham during World War II was exceptionally successful. Careful organizational planning such as the efforts detailed above were an important factor in that success.

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