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, May 09, 2007

1870 Meeting of Residents of Pelham and Surrounding Areas To Encourage Construction of the Branch Line

With the post-Civil War boom, landowners northeast of New York City along the Long Island Sound began clamoring for better means of travel between the City and the area in and around the Town of Pelham. As support for a railroad line to serve the area grew, residents of Pelham and surrounding communities met in 1870 at the Town Hall in the Town of Westchester (now part of the Bronx) to encourage officials to build the so-called "Harlem River and Portchester Railroad".

An article describing the meeting appeared in the June 1, 1870 issue of the New York Herald. The text of that article appears immediately below.



Meeting in Favor of the Project - Suburban Residents Clamoring for More Speedy Communications with New York.

A meeting composed of influential real estate owners of the town of Westchester, Westchester county, was held in the Town Hall of the former place on Monday evening, for the purpose of considering what measures were requisite to secure the early construction of the proposed Harlem River and Portchester Railroad. Among those present were William D. Bishop, President of the New York and New Haven Railroad, and many of the directors of the projected road.

After the meeting had been organized by the choice of William Watson, president, and the appointment of Claiborne Ferris, secretary, Mr. BISHOP in a somewhat lengthy address, set forth the effect of opening a railroad in enhancing the value of land through which it might pass, as well as the inevitable appreciation which would follow regarding property contiguous to the proposed road. He contended that the population of Westchester and adjoining towns is too sparse at the present time to warrant the company in paying extravagant prices for land, and in addition construct a first class railroad: but that if those whose lands would be increased in value by the road would tender or provide the right of way, the company would immediately go to work and give them a first class railroad. Without some inducement on the part of the property owners along the line of the proposed road, he could not hold out much encouragement to the residents of that locality as to the time when the project would be carried out.

C.A. ROOSEVELT, of Pelham, stated that the property owners of his town were prepared to tender the right of way.

A committee was then appointed on the part of the town of Westchester, to confer with similar bodies in behalf of the towns of Pelham and West Farms, to obtain the right of way for the contemplated railroad through those towns."

Source: Harlem River and Portchester Railroad, N.Y. Herald, Jun. 1, 1870, p. 6, col. 3.

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