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.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Burglars Blow the Safe at the Pelham Manor Post Office in 1894

During the late 19th century, the Pelham Manor Depot stood at the end of the Esplanade where I-95 now passes. The Depot served passengers on the Branch Line, most of whom commuted to work in New York City. Inside the Depot was the Village Post Office.

On September 25, 1894, the residents of the sleepy little Village were shaken from their beds by a loud explosion at 2:00 a.m. Burglars had entered the railroad station and used explosives to blow the safe. The article below describes what transpired.




The residents in the neighborhood of Pelham Manor were awakened by a loud explosion about 2 o'clock yesterday morning which shook the surrounding houses. Investigation showed that burglars had broken into the postoffice and blown open the safe. Pelham Manor is about three miles from New-Rochelle, on the Harlem River branch of the New-Haven and Hartford Railroad. The postoffice was situated in the railroad station. Joseph English is the postmaster. Two night watchmen were patroling the village about half a mile from the station when they heard the explosion. One of them hurried to the house of the baggagemaster, Skinner, and the latter, in company with the watchman, went to the house of Postmaster English and aroused him. The three men then went down to the railroad station and found the postoffic a complete wreck. The heavy iron safe, in which there were stamps worth $950, was wrecked. The door of the ticket office of the station was torn from its hinges and the walls were shattered by the force of the explosion. It seemed that the combination of the safe had first been drilled and then a fuse inserted.

The burglars had fled, after securing nearly $1,000, before the postmaster and the baggagemaster arrived. The railroad station is a frame structure, and it is thought strange that the whole building was not wrecked. Postmaster English uses one part of the building as a coal and wood office, and N. J. Donion another part as a real-estate office. The other rooms of the building are used for the post-office and for railroad purposes. This is the seventh time the postoffice has been robbed. The burglars are supposed to have escaped to New-York on the early morning train."

Source: The Safe Blown Open, New-York Tribune, Sep. 26, 1894, p. 1, col. 3.

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