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, July 16, 2009

Village of Pelham Trustees Grant Franchise Necessary for the Pelham Manor Trolley that Inspired the Toonerville Trolley

Below is the text of an article published in 1898 describing a decision by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Pelham (i.e., Pelham Heights, not today's Village of Pelham) to grant a franchise to the Union Electric Railway Company to operate a trolley line through the village.  Based on the specified roads, the franchise grant clearly relates to the Pelham Manor Trolley Line that inspired Fontaine Fox to create the Toonerville Trolley that appeared in his famed "Toonerville Folks" comic strip for nearly a half century.  Beneath the text is a citation to its source.

"A Franchise Granted in Pelham.

The Board of Trustees of the Village of Pelham held a meeting last Saturday evening [March 5, 1898] at the residence of Mr. Ralph K. Hubbard on Pelham Heights.  The most important business transacted was the granting of a franchise to the Union Electric Railway Company to operate an electric road from the corner of Wolf's Lane and Third street, (where its route at present turns to go to North Pelham down Wolf's Lane to the Boston Post Road and up the Boston Post Road as far as Pelhamdale avenue.  For the balance of the Post Road the Union Company has a franchise from the Pelham Manor authorities.

The conditions of the franchise are that the tracks shall be laid and cars running within six months and that cars shall meet all the trains on the New Haven Railroad at Pelham and all those on the Harlem River Branch at Pelham Manor station.

Messrs. I.C. Hill and Alexander Kennedy, the Citizens' Committee on trolley extensions appointed by the North Pelham trustees, attended the meeting.  Mr. John Maher, president of the Union Road, was also present and stated that he thought if it were found feasible to do so, the line of the company would be extended to the northern to the northern boundary of North Pelham in the near future."

Source:  A Franchise Granted in Pelham, The Chronicle, Mar. 11, 1898, p. 3, col. 3.

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