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.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mystery Solved - Pelham Town Hall That Once Stood On Shore Road Was Used as a School

For years I have struggled to resolve a mystery surrounding Pelham's Town Hall that once stood on Shore Road.  An engraving showing that little brick building with its tower appears below.

Many secondary authorities referenced the building as a school.  Reliable primary sources indicated that the building was built to serve as Town Hall.  I could find no reliable source indicating that the building was used as a school.  Yet, there are many, many references indicating it was used as a school.  The structure was razed in the 1950s.

I have now located a brief reference in a newspaper published on February 8, 1884 that explains the situation.  It turns out that the Town Clerk reportedly did not like the office space and moved to a location on City Island.  The Town Supervisor soon followed.  With the space unused, a decision was made to use the building as a school.  Below is the newspaper item quoted in its entirety.


All who know the people of the town of Pelham, know that they have an admiration for truth, honesty and justice, and an instinctive hatred of meanness, dishonesty, falsity and unfair dealing.

At a meeting of the People's Association of the town of Pelham, lately, a notice was presented, which called for a meeting of the people of the town of Pelham, on or about the 16th of December, 1883, to be held in the so called lock-up on City Island, at 7-1/2 o'clock, P.M.  It is well known that we have a neat little town-hall, which the taxpayers made a liberal appropriation to build, for the especial transaction of all town business; but conveniency developed itself, and the Town Clerk located his office in a corner of said lock-up; our Supervisor followed suit, and the town-hall is consequently ignored, and the lock-up on City Island turned into a town-hall, for the convenience of our Town Clerk and Supervisor, and our town-hall into a school-house.  What we would like to know is, why was a town meeting called by Supervisor Hyatt at such an hour of the night?  He well knows its illegality.  All special town meetings, in order to be legal, should be held between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M.  Our town business must be investigated, and very soon, or the town may be irredeemably sunk in debt.


Source:  Information Wanted, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Feb. 8, 1884, p. ?, col. 5 (page number not printed on newspaper page).

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