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.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Plans to Create a Horse-Drawn Trolley Car System in Pelham in Early 1890

Records in the Town's archives suggest that in early 1890, Town officials considered a request to develop a horse-drawn trolley car essentially along the route later taken by the electric trolley line that inspired the Toonerville Trolley. The route planned for the "horse railroad" as it was called was planned from the railroad station on the New Haven Main Line along Pelhamdale Avenue to the Pelham Manor Depot on the Branch Line and then continuing along Pelhamdale Avenue to today's Shore Road where it would make a right turn toward the southwest and proceed along the road to the boundary between Pelham and Pelham Bay Park. The plans were never put into effect.

The Town's archives contain a typewritten resolution prepared by the Town's "Highway Commissioners" that reads as follows:

"WHEREAS an application has been made to this Board by the Pelham and Travers Island Railroad Company for leave and consent to build a horse railroad in the Town of Pelham, County of Westchester and State of New York, from the depot at Pelhamville in said town, through Pelhamdale Avenue to Pelham Manor Depot, and from thence through Pelhamdale Avenue to the Pelham Road and from thence westerly along the Pelham Road to the line of the City Park.

NOW THEREFORE, Be it resolved that such request be granted on condition however, that the said Company shall comply with all the provisions of Chapter 252 of the Laws of 1884, pertinent hereto.

AND PROVIDED further that the said company comply with the following conditions and agreements to wit

FIRST:- That the surface of said railroad, when complete, shall not be above the level of the road on which it runs, and that it shall conform when finished to the present surface of said roads as near as may be.

SECOND:- That if after the completion of said railroad or any portion thereof, there shall be any defect or obstruction in the roadway between the tracks or in the road for a space two feet outside the outside rail, dangerous to public travel or which in the opinion of the Highway Commissioners should be remedied or removed, the said railroad will, upon twenty-four hours notice from said Commissioners, remedy or remove said defect or obstruction, or in default of said company doing so, said commissioners may repair said defect and remove said obstruction and the said company will pay to the said commissioners the cost of such repairs or removal as a part of the consideration for this consent.

THIRD:- That said company shall place their tracks on the southwest side of Pelhamdale Avenue, the inside track to be at a point thirteen feet from the fence line of property on the southwest side of said Avenue and on the southerly side of the Pelham Road.

FOURTH:- That the said company shall pave with cobble stones or macadamize, the surface of the road between the rails, and for a space of two feet on the outside of the outside rail, and to pave between the road and any sidings, and the sidings to construct and maintain proper culverts at [illegible] crossing Pelhamdale Avenue.

FIFTH:- That said work shall be completed on or before October 1st, 1890, provided however, that if the same shall be interrupted and stopped by injunction the time for completing said road shall be extended for the same period of time that said injunction shall remain in force.

SIXTH:- That the said Company shall build said road under the above restrictions limitations and agreements from the Pelhamville Depot to the line of the City Park, along the route laid out, its charter all in the Town of Pelham, to which consent is hereby given.

SEVENTH:- The said railroad when completed shall not interfere with public travel.

/s/ S. S. Wilson
/s/ John Donlon
/s/ John Godfrey

Commissioners of Highways of the Town of Pelham


On this 5th day of February, 1890, before me C. H. Laing personally appeared S. S. Wilson, James Donlon, John Godfrey Commissioners of Highways of the Torn [sic] of Pelham, Westchester County, to me known and known to me to be the individuals described in and who executed the foregoing consents and they severally duly acknowledged to me that they executed the same, as such Commissioners.

/s/ Charles H. Laing
Notary Public
West Co NY"

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