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, March 12, 2009

The Reason the White Hotel was Shut Down and Split from One Building Into Two Cottages

Two similar-looking buildings sit side-by-side at 303 Wolfs Lane and 307 Wolfs Lane. Their similarities are no coincidence. They once were part of the same building, the White Hotel.

The White Hotel was a "hostelry" built in about 1870. By the late 1890s, New York communities including Pelham were wrestling with the issue of voting to be "wet" or "dry" communities -- that is, communities that allow the serving of alcohol in saloon establishments versus those that refuse to allow. The White Hotel became embroiled in the controversy during a brief time when Pelham voted to allow saloons. It became such a "notorious" establishment that it was shut down. The building later was split in two with the north half becoming 307 Wolfs Lane and the south half becoming 303 Wolfs Lane.

Below is a brief newspaper reference to the circumstances that led to the splitting up of the hotel. Also are photographs of the two buildings as they have appeared in recent years.

307 Wolfs Lane

303 Wolfs Lane


A special election is to be held in the town of Pelham on next Tuesday to vote on local option. In 1896 the town voted no license. In 1898 the saloon-keepers won, and as one of the results the White Hotel sprang up. It was conducted in such a notorious manner that the State Excise Board cancelled the license of its proprietor. The hotel is now to be cut in two and remodelled into cottages."

Source: Pelham, New-York Tribune, Mar. 25, 1900, p. 12, col. 2.

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