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, February 04, 2009

Pelham Has Second Thoughts in 1887 About the Proposal To Create Pelham Bay Park

During the 19th century, as the proposal for New York City to a new park to be named Pelham Bay Park gained momentum, Pelham residents initially supported the idea. Reports at the time make clear, however, that Pelham's support for the proposal waned.

An interesting, though brief, article that appeared in the March 25, 1887 issue of The Sun published in New York City clarifies an important reason for the change in sentiment in Pelham. Town residents realized that because the park lands would not be subject to taxation, taxes on the rest of the Town of Pelham would double as a consequence of the removal of lands from the Town's tax rolls. Below is the text of that brief article.

"Pelham as Sick of the Park as We Are.

A delegation of officials and residents of the town of Pelham, introduced by Dr. John A. Hardenbrook, called upon Mayor Hewitt yesterday, and urged the propriety of amending the scheme for the new uptown parks by taking off the park situated in the town of Pelham. Mayor Hewitt received them graciously, and said:

'I am glad to meet you. I appreciate the situation. I think it was outrageous for the Legislature to pass the bill compelling the city of New York to buy a park eight miles from Harlem River Bridge, and compelling the taxpayers to pay for it. I am opposed to such special legislation, and I will cheerfully cooperate with you to recommend its repeal. I will forward your request to the Common Council at its meeting next Tuesday.'

Pelham got very tired of the park scheme when it discovered that the park lands would not be subject to taxation, and that taxes on the rest of the town for local purposes would, therefore, be doubled."

Source: Pelham as Sick of the Park as We Are, The Sun, Mar. 25, 1887, p. 4, col. 3.

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