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.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Laying Out Of Pelham Avenue in 1869

During the late 1860s, efforts were underway to shorten the distance to travel between Fordham and City Island.  One of those efforts involved the development of the roadway we know now as Pelham Avenue.  Commissioners were appointed to lay out the roadway.  Additional Commissioners of Estimate and Assessment were appointed to arrange rights of way, surveys and working the road.  Additionally, arrangements were made a short time later to open and grade the Eastern Boulevard from Pelham Bridge to the junction of Southern Boulevard and Leggett's Lane.  Slowly, roadways to shorten the distance to Pelham were being built.  Brief articles concerning these matter appeared in The New York Times.  The text of a few such articles appears below, each followed by a citation to its source.

"Westchester County.

Pelham-avenue, now being laid out, and opened from Pelham bridge to the railroad depot at Fordham, will be 100 feet wide, and the Commissioners have decided to lay out a sidewalk on each side twenty feet wide; and also contemplate obtaining authority to plant shade trees along the centre of each sidewalk, and form a sloping lawn on the sidewalk between the shade trees and the gutter or edge of the carriage road.  The distance between Fordham and Pelham bridge by the present circuitous route is about seven miles, while by the new avenue, it will be less than three miles, and will also open a new, and much shorter route to City Island."

Source:  Westchester County, N.Y. Times, Jun. 23, 1869, p. 2.

"More Westchester Avenues.

The Commissioners appointed to lay out, open and grade a new boulevard between Fordham and Pelham Bridge, also the Commissioners of Estimate and Assessment in the matter, met on Tuesday last, inspected the proposed route and approved of the same.  Although the length of the new avenue will be only about five miles, it will render accessible 5,000 acres of land which is at present completely isolated.  The new boulevard is expected to add much to the wealth of the towns through which it will pass.  The Commissioners are authorized to expend $20,000 per mile for right of way, surveys and working the road, but as it will cross a long marsh, it is thought that $40,000 per mile will be required for the construction of a substantial and smooth road."

Source:  More Westchester Avenues, N.Y. Times, Sep. 2, 1869, p. 8.


The contract for opening and grading the Eastern Boulevard from Pelham Bridge to the junction of the Southern Boulevard and Leggett's-lane, a distance of about five miles, has been awarded to Messrs. M. & T. DUNN, who are to complete the work by the 1st day of May, 1871.  It is estimated that it will cost $20,000, which will make the cost of the entire improvement $100,000."

Source:  Westchester County, N.Y. Times, May 8, 1870, p. 8.

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