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.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

August 1896 Description of Cycle Route to Travers Island in Pelham Manor

The August 1896 issue of the New York Athletic Club Journal contained an interesting description of the cycle route from the Club's Cycle House to Travers Island in Pelham Manor. The description is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.


FROM the Cycle House we wheel up the Boulevard to 106th Street, then east to Central Park, emerge from the Park at 110th Street, and follow Seventh Avenue to 116th Street; we then turn to the left upon St. Nicholas Avenue, and make a long, gradual ascent over smooth macadam to 161st Street. Taking the west fork, we cross the cable-road into the Kingsbridge road, traverse Washington Heights, turn in at Christ's Hotel and cross Washington Bridge. Leaving the bridge, we turn to the left, pass the Ogden estate, swing to the right through Featherbed Lane, shaded with oaks and elms, then turn to the left on the Macomb's Dam road, where, at the top of the hill, we pass on the left the old stone mansion of the Morrises; then down the hill and by 'Fairlawn' and the Berkeley Oval. Now the way leads up a slight hill, through a bower of trees, and presently brings us to the Fordham Landing road, where we turn to the right, over the aqueduct, cross Jerome Avenue, and run down hill to Fordham. Crossing the sunken tracks of the Harlem Railroad we go out Pelham Avenue, passing, on the left, the extensive grounds of St. John's College. Now comes a gradual ascent, and then a race down the hill, across the Southern Boulevard and the bridge over the Bronx. To the left lies Bronx Park, with the Lorillard mansion and the old snuff mill close by. Proceeding over a slight rise, we find that the road forks. The branch to the left leads to the park; the right fork, which we follow, leads over the hill and through the small settlement of Bronxdale, were we cross the old Boston road and keep straight out, fllowing the trolley-line to Mt. Vernon as far as Morris Park, where the track bends sharply to the right, toward West Famrs. Leaving the rails, we keep straight on by the handsome race track, down the hill under the New Haven Railroad, and turn to the left into Westchester, following the street-car line on Westchester Avenue straight into the village, which has little to detain us except the beautiful shaded old graveyard around the handsome church.

Leaving Westchester Village we follow the main street on the bridge crossing Westchester Creek, then turn to the left where the road branches.

Beyond Westchester Creek our route (the Pelham road) makes a gradual ascent of a bluff, skirting the broad salt-meadows along the creek verge.

A short distance farther, where the road turns, there stands a wayside inn, built in 1753. We bear to the right beyond this relic of colonial good cheer, and up over the hill through a little settlement, and then enter Pelham Bay Park. From here on through the Park the road has been broadened and improved as 'Pelham Parkway;' beyond the Park the Pelham road resumes its name. The Parkway is now in fine condition, and offers good wheeling; it leads us rapidly across a stretch of shoreland, then up a slight hill, and down on the Pelham Bay bridge.

We wheel along a shady avenue through Bartow, where a road leads to the right to City Island and to pretty spots along the shore of Pelham Bay Park.

Beyond Bartow, which is ensconced in large woods, comes another bit of salt-meadow where, to the right we catch a distant view of Long Island Sound; and after that a rising stretch, where the riding is not more than passable among park improvements, until we reach the stone-pillared entrance to Hunter Island, now a part of the Park, but not long ago the homestead of an old family, who had here a finely cultivate estate.

The road now bends to the left down into a little dell, then around and up a slight hill to Pelham Priory, deep among the trees, opposite which is the entrance to Travers Island."

Source: Yard, Wilson R., Cycle Route to Travers Island, New York Athletic Club Journal, Vol. V, No. 5, p. 5 (Aug. 1896).

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