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, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Trolley Accident Near Chester Park in North Pelham in 1908

Christmas Eve in 1908 was not particularly joyous for a number of people hurt in a trolley car accident late that evening near Chester Park in North Pelham.  Luckily, however, only a single passenger was on board at the time so a major disaster was averted. 

A story about the accident appeared a few days later in the New Rochelle Pioneer.  The text of that story is transcribed below.


North Pelham, Dec. 24. -- Due to the fact that all the passengers had previously left the car, with the exception of one man, an accident which might have been attended by a loss of life, was averted in this village Tuesday night, about 11 o'clock, when a Webster avenue trolley car dashed down the hill on Mayflower avenue, and after jumping the curve at the base of the hill opposite Chester Park, crashed into a stone pillar near the entrance to the park.  The occupants of the car were injured.  The car was badly damaged, the front vestibule being demolished, many of the window panes smashed, while a part of the floor was ripped from its fastenings.  Those sustaining injuries were as follows:

Motorman Dennis Barrett, 232 Huguenot street, New Rochelle, shoulder cut.

Conductor Harry Chenoweth, New Rochelle, left knee injured.

Richard L. Vaughan, of North Pelham, badly shaken up and right foot sprained.

There are two reports as to how the accident occurred.  One is that the motorman lost control of his car while it was descending Mayflower avenue, and on account of the icy condition of the rails during the storm which was in progress at the time, could not make the brakes work.

The other report, which is the one given by Richard Vaughan, is that the motorman did not turn off the power while the car was descending the hill. -- Mt. Vernon Argus."

Source:  Trolley Accident Hurts 3, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jan. 2, 1909, p. ?, col. 2 (the page number is not printed on the newspaper page).

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