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, February 07, 2006

February 6, 1893 Request to Allow Trolley Service in Pelham

Barely a month after the incorporation of the Westchester Electric Railroad Company in January 1893, the firm submitted to the Town of Pelham an application for a franchise to operate an electric trolley car line along today's Fifth Avenue between the New Haven Main Line tracks and Pelham's northern border with Mount Vernon. The application, dated February 6, 1893, was among papers located during a cleanup of the basement of Town Hall located at 34 Fifth Avenue on Saturday, January 28. (To read more about the cleanup, see Monday, January 30, 2006: "Cleanup of Pelham Town Hall Basement Leads to Discoveries").

Beginning in about 1893, the Westchester Electric Railroad Company began organizing and, soon, constructing street railway lines in Mount Vernon, Pelham and New Rochelle. The company became a subsidiary of the Union Railway Company over which the Third Avenue Railroad Company acquired control in 1898. Including the tracks in Pelham, the Third Avenue Railroad Company was able to assemble a streetcar system that extended from lower Manhattan through the City, the Bronx and into Southern Westchester County.

An image of the company's application to construct the first portion of its lines in Pelham appears immediately below. Beneath that is the transcribed text of the application to facilitate full text searches.

"New York, Feby. 6, 1893.

To The Honorable Town Board

Of The Town of Pelham, New York.


The undersigned, the Westchester Electric Railroad Company, a corporation duly organized under the laws of the State of New York, respectfully petitions your Honorable Body for the right to construct, maintain and operate a street surface railroad to be operated by electricity through, over, upon and along the following street or highway in the Town of Pelham, together with the necessary connections, switches, sidings and turnouts for the convenient working of the same.

Beginning at a point on Wolf's Lane immediately south of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad crossing, thence in a northerly direction along said Wolf's Lane (also called 5th Ave) through the Village of Pelhamville to the boundary line of the Town of Pelham,

Trusting that favorable action may be taken on the above petition we are

Yours very espectfully [sic],

Westchester Electric Railroad Co.

by H. N. Corlis, President [?]"

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