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 27, 2007

Excerpt of 1917 Report to Board of Education Regarding Distribution of Student Population in Pelham

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In 1918, Teachers' College, Columbia University, published a doctoral dissertation by N. L. Engelhardt entitled "A School Building Program For Cities". In it, the author quoted an interesting excerpt of a report on the geographical distribution of the student population within the Town of Pelham in 1917. The pertinent portion of the dissertation has been excerpted and transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.


Dot maps illustrating densities of total population and of school population show frequently no conformity in the distributions. In other words, density of child population does not shift with density of total population. This was borne out clearly in the school building program as laid out by Strayer and Trabue for the community [Page 32 / Page 33 and Part of Page 34 Contain Unrelated Table / Page 34] of Pelham, N. Y., in May, 1917. The following is an excerpt from their report 15 [Footnote 15 Reads: "15 Unpublished."] to the Board of Education.

During the five-year period between the federal census of 1910 and the state census of 1915, the population of the town of Pelham increased from 2,998 persons to 3,782 -- an increase of twenty-six per cent. That section of the town lying north of the New Haven Railroad, known as the village of North Pelham, increased during this period from 1,311 to 1,874 persons -- an increase of forty-three per cent. The Pelham Heights section had a sixteen per cent increase during this five-year period, while the Pelham Manor section increased only eleven per cent. The best estimate we have been able to make of the present distribution of population indicates that there are very nearly 4,000 persons now living in the town, half of them living north and half of them living south of the New Haven Railroad. It may reasonably be expected that the town of Pelham will contain 6,000 persons by the year 1925. Under normal circumstances this would mean that school accommodations would be necessary for at least 1,200 pupils by that time.

From information furnished by the pupils who attended the school on Monday, May 14, we find that the afverage family supplying children for the schools from the Pelham Manor and Pelham Heights sections, contains 4.7 persons. The average school family in that section of North Pelham, known as Pelhamwood, contains 3.9 persons, while the average family supplying the schools from the remainder of North Pelham contains 5.5 persons. The average [Page 34 / Page 35] family in general throughout New York State and the United States as a whole, was composed in 1910 of about 4.5 persons. The small size of the Pelhamwood families is partly due to the fact that this section is being developed just now, and that the great majority of those who are building homes here are young people whose families may be expected to reach the normal size during the next ten years. The problem of elementary school accommodations for the children of Pelhamwood will probably become most urgent in about five years."

Source: Engelhardt, N. L., A School Building Program for Cities, pp. 32-36 (NY, NY: Teachers' College, Columbia University 1918) (Ph.D. dissertation published as part of series: "Teachers College, Columbia University Contributions to Education, No. 96).

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