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, August 02, 2006

The 19th Century Grenzebach Homestead in Pelham

There once stood just off today's Boston Post Road near its intersection with Fowler Avenue an old farmhouse known as the Grenzebach Homestead. The photograph immediately below shows that farmhouse (with steps leading to it) in 1889.

The house stood on the hill where the chapel of today's Our Lady of Perpetual Help now stands. The homestead belonged to Henry Grenzebach. The main house commanded a large farm with rolling meadows that extended from today's Boston Post Road beyond today's Colonial Avenue, all the way to the new Haven Main Line tracks.

According to former Town of Pelham Historian William R. Montgomery:

"The property was . . . transferred to Robert Mitchill and by him to David L. Carson. . . . Afterward it was transferred to Dr. Fowler and . . . [later] became the property of Mr. Wm. T. Grant."

Robert Mitchill served as "Superintendent" of the failed real estate development planned by the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association. Portions of the Grenzebach estate were intended for development as part of that failed venture in the 1870s.

Dr. Edward P. Fowler of New York City bought the land for use as a summer estate. While he owned the land, he allowed the first Pelham Country Club (the predecessor to today's Wykagyl Country Club) to lease large parts of the estate for use as a golf course. According to a book published in celebration of the 1991 centennial of the Village of Pelham Manor:

"It was a sporty little course on the rolling meadows known as the 'Carson Place.' The Carson house, originally the Henry Grenzebach home, was on the hill where the Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help now stands. It was more than one hundred years old, and there was also a red hay barn, such as we now find in the back country.

Dr. Edward P. Fowler of New York City bought the Carson place as a summer home. He lived in the farmhouse and rented the grounds to the Pelham Country Club for a golf course. There was a tiny clubhouse, for the keeper and the clubs. It had originally been a carriage house on the farm.

After some time Dr. Fowler decided to divide his property into building lots, and the Pelham Country Club had to look for a new home."

Source: Saunders, James B., ed., The Pelham Manor Story, p. 122 (Pelham, NY: Village of Pelham Manor 1991).

Today's Fowler Avenue in Pelham Manor was named for Dr. Edward P. Fowler who once owned the estate. Likewise Mitchill Place in Pelham Manor was named for Robert Mitchill who also once owned the estate.

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