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.

Friday, January 29, 2010

News of Pelham, City Island and Pelhamville Reported on September 5, 1884

The September 5, 1884 issue of The Chronicle, published in Mount Vernon, New York, included news columns reporting on developments in Pelham and City Island and in Pelhamville.  The two news columns are transcribed below, each followed by a citation to its source.


Mr. William Vickery, accompanied by Mr. John Bowman, went to Mattewan, back of Newburgh, last Tuesday.  Mr. Vickery is in poor health, and thinks a change of air will do him good.

The third annual summer-nights hop of the Bartow Association, will take place at Secord's pavilion, on Tuesday evening, the 23rd inst.  The names of the officers of the association, Mr. M. Hogan being president, should be quite a sufficient guarantee that this will be a recherche affair.

John A. Reiley, a compositor on the New York Star, while walking along the old Boston road through Pelham Manor, on Tuesday last, was overcome with the heat when opposite the residence of Mr. James Morgan.  Reiley was picked up unconscious and cared for by Mr. Morgan.  He recovered consciousness in about two hours, when he was taken to the depot and put on board a train for New York.

The disaffection produced in the Democratic ranks on City Island, last spring, appears to be having an effect now.  The two factions, although pronouncing themselves solid for Cleveland and Hendricks, will not unite in the organization of a club.  Several attempts have been made, but with no result.  If the City Island democrats do not hurry up, Bartow will capture the honors, for a club is to be organized there the latter part of this month.

Mr. John B. Colford is making haste slowly with the preparations of the Country Club's race-course, near Bartow.  Fences have been removed in some instances, and raised in others; hedges and ditches are being prepared and the grand stand is nearly completed.  There seems to be, at present, no doubt but that everything will be in readiness by the time fixed for the opening of the races, October 1st next.  The members of the Country Club will soon return from their summer tours, after which polo will be the attraction every Monday and Saturday.  The indications are that this place will be exceedingly attractive this fall.

A party of about 35, who left City Island with the Trinity M.E. Church excursionists, on the 3rd inst., had quite an experience before they got back to their homes.  While sight seeing at Coney Island it did not occur to them to consult their timepieces; the consequence was that when they arrived at Locust Grove, where they were to take the boat for home, they were left, by just five minutes.  Thinking that with steam and horsecars, they could overtake the boat at Pike street, New York, the attempt was made, but proved a failure.  The elevated and Harlem River Branch roads brought them finally to Bartow where another disappointment was in store.  There was only one stage at the depot, and the majority of the party had to tramp through the dust and over stones and hillocks, to City Island."

Source:  Pelham and City Island, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Sep. 5, 1884, p. ?, col. 2 (no page number or issue date is printed on the single newspaper page that is available, but textual references strongly suggest the page was published on Sep. 5, 1884).


Mr. William Braidwood, Jr., is about to erect a house in Pelhamville.

A sidewalk is to be laid from the railroad depot to the school.  It was begun yesterday.

Through the energy of Mr. Delcombie, four more lamps are to be added to those already erected.

Mr. Henderson has purchased a lot from Mr. George Pearson, and commenced the erection of a house thereon. 

Four new houses in addition to those now in course of erection, are to be constructed next spring. 

Mrs. O'Maley has sold several acres of land, to two gentlemen from New York, and they contemplate putting up several dwellings.

Mr. I.C. Hill has sold his house and lot, to Mr. Buxton, of Stamford, and has commenced the erection of a house, on Third avenue, corner Second street.  The new building will be 22x23 feet, with six-foot extension.

Colonel Richard Lathers has generously agreed to donate to the Pelhamville Improvement Association, a sufficient number of shade trees to set out along all the streets and avenues, where needed.

On Tuesday evening next, a concert will be given, in the Union Chapel, Pelhamville, for the benefit of the Church of the Redeemer of that place.  Admission, 35 cents.  A quartette of young ladies known as the Meiggs Quartette, will sing, as will also Mrs. Abbott the soprano and Prof. C. L. Praeger will play the zither.  The milke train will stop at Pelhamville on that evening.

Since the erection of street lamps in Pelhamville, the place has taken quite a boom.  Other improvements are making daily, and to the Pelhamville Improvement Association should the credit be given.  A few live men in any community can start a boom, and once started it will keep going.  This place has now got a boom and will undoubtedly keep on untill [sic] it ranks favorably with its sister villages."

Source:  Pelhamville, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Sep. 5, 1884, p. ?, col. 5 (no page number or issue date is printed on the single newspaper page that is available, but textual references strongly suggest the page was published on Sep. 5, 1884).

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

News About Pelham Manor and Pelhamville in 1895 - Lighting Districts, Gas for the Village, Baseball and More

On May 23, 1895, a newspaper published in Mount Vernon, The Chronicle, published one of its regular news columns on "Our Nearby Neighbors" reporting developments in Pelhamville and Pelham Manor.  I have reviewed many, many such news reports.  This particular column contains a number of interesting reports of historical interest juxtaposed with gossip tidbits of interest to neighbors in the tiny community at the time, so I have transcribed it in its entirety.


The Chronicle may be obtained in Pelhamville and vicinity from Master Fred L. Anderson who will deliver it at residence.


Miss Edith Ward of Oakland Cal. is the guest of her uncle, Mr. Peter Ward of Chester Park.

The broken windows and door in Mrs. C. W. Meinecke's former home which were recently damaged by her are being replaced with new ones.  Mr. J. K. Archibald of New York City is doing the work. 

Supervisor Dennis Beach has presented the Relief Hook and Ladder Co. with three handsome pictures.  They are prettily framed and adorn the walls of the company's rooms.

Richard Marvel, the infant son of Mr. and Mrs. P. Marvel of Fourth avenue, died last Saturday afternoon of membranous croup.  The funeral services were held last Monday afternoon.

Mr. Caleb Nash formly [formerly] of New Rochelle has rented one of the houses owned by W. H. Bard on Fourth avenue near Fourth street.

A meeting of the residents of Pelhamville was called last Monday night at the Court House for the purpose of forming a lighting district.  The meeting was called to order at about 8:15 by Judge G. L. Karbach.  This gentleman was made chairman and Mr. I. C. Hill acted as secretary.  A vote was taken on the question of whether we should introduce streetlights into the village or not and the result showed a majority in favor of the plan.  A committee was then appointed by the chair to take the necessary steps toward organizing a Lighting District.  The committee consists of Messrs. William H. Sparks, Edward A. Schwartz, Philip Godfrey, O. Stretzel and M. Woods.

Meetings are to be held every Friday night commencing to-morrow evening at the chapel of the of the Church of the Redeemer for the confirmation class.

To-day being Ascension Day services were held in the morning at the Episcopal church.

The base ball nine, William J. Evert Jr. captain has arranged to play with Captain Paulus Taylor's team from Mount Vernon on Decoration Day.  The game will tak place on Brickner's grounds.

It is understood that Chief of the Fire Department, B. P. Crewell has exchanged his residence and grounds on Terrace Hill for Brooklyn property.

Mr. M. F. Brickner and family are now residing in Professor Madorn's house on Second avenue.

The trustees of Pelham Manor have signed a contract with the Eastchester Gas Light Company to furnish their village with gas. 

The people of Pelham Manor who have recently expended about $56,000 for street improvements are now complaining that in return for the amount spent theyy have only about two thirds of their throughfares [sic] improved and that most of these are outlying roads, a number of which lead to Pelhamville.

Mrs. Mary Jessie Meinecke a former resident of this village was sentenced on Tuesday to ten days imprisonment by Justices Hogan, Meade and Martin in the Court of Special Sessions for having on May 2d sent Mrs. Ella Lawless who is employed in Mr. Meinecke's wholesale drug store, a threatening and abusive letter.  Mrs. Meinecke's lawyer pleaded for her four little children and the Court in imposing the sentence said that it took all the circumstances into consideration.  It was just two days after sending this letter that Mrs. Meinecke demolished a number of windows and the front door in her former home in this place.

'Mr. Edwards and family have recently become residents of Pelhamville.  They are ensconced in a 'Bard' cottage on Fourth avenue.

Congressman Ben L. Fairchild had a 'christening' at his home on Pelham Heights last Monday evening.  The ceremony was performed upon his little son who is now known as Master Francis Cromby Fairchild.

The Alpha Social Club met last Friday evening with Mr. Robert Scott on Fifth avenue.  It was the last meeting of the season and the greater part of it was given up to business.

Two may parties are being arranged for, to be held on Decoration Day."

Source:  Our Nearby Neighbors - Pelhamville, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], May 23, 1895, p. 4, col. 1.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Photographs of Exterior and Interior of 146 Third Avenue in Pelham During 1890s or Early 1900s

I recently received two beautiful photographs of the home located at 146 Third Avenue near the southeast corner of Third Avenue and Third Street in the Village of Pelham.  The photographs depict the exterior and the interior of the home as it looked in the 1890s or early 1900s.  The interior photograph is particularly notable because photographs of the interiors of Pelham homes at that time are extremely rare.

The photographs are reproduced below with the kind permission of the current owners of the home, Gayle and Everett Potter.  Today the exterior of the home looks much like the exterior photograph below. 

According to the owners, the house was built in 1889.  The photographs were provided to them by the previous home owners, the Sandvik/Swanson family who lived in the home from 1954 to 1990. 

The interior photograph that appears immediately below depicts the dining room mantlepiece and stove which are no longer there.  The exterior photograph includes two unidentified women and a group of four children standing in front of the home.

Interior of 146 Third Avenue, Pelham, NY, in Undated Photograph.

Exterior of 146 Third Avenue, Pelham, NY in Undated Photograph.

Hopefully I will be able to discover more about the history of the home!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1887 Election of the Board of Directors of The City Island and Pelham Park Horse Railroad Company

I have written before about the "horse railroad" that once ran from Bartow station on the branch line to City Island in the Town of Pelham.  See, e.g., Tue., September 1, 2009:  Pelham News on February 29, 1884 Including Talk of Constructing a New Horse Railroad from Bartow to City Island.  

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes a brief reference published in 1887 about the election of the board of directors of "The City Island and Pelham Park Horse Railroad Company".  The excerpt appears below.

"--The City Island and Pelham Park horse railroad company held a meeting on Wednesday week [sic] and elected the following Board of Directors:  Howard Nott Potter, E.N. Anable, John B. Minter, Henry D. Carey, W. R. Lamberton, Geo. W. Sembler, J. Ralph Bunelt.  The Board then elected the following:  W. R. Lamberton, President; E.N. Anable, Secretary and Treasurer; Henry D. Carey, Superintendent.  The fare is ten cents each way.  From Bartow depot to the extreme end of the route is three miles.  The road is well patronized and a great convenience.  Record."

 Source:  Local News, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jun. 18, 1887, p. ?, col. 3 (no page number is printed on the newspaper page).

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Another Account of the 1879 Home Invasion Robbery of the Old Stone House in Pelhamville

I have written before of the traumatic 1879 home invasion robbery of Mrs. Mary Parrish in the Old Stone House that still stands at 463 First Avenue in the Village of Pelham (photo below).  See Wed., October 14, 2009:  1879 News Account Provides Additional Basis for Some Facts Underlying Ghost Story of Old Stone House in Pelhamville.  The robbery forms a part of the ghost story that long has been told about the home.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes another local newspaper article published in 1879 about the robbery at the Old Stone House.


A rather mysterious burglary took place Wednesday morning in Pelhamville.  The circumstances are so peculiar as to puzzle most of the inhabitants of that village.  The victim of the crime is Mrs. Mary Parrish, a widow about seventy years old, who lives entirely alone in a stone house, and is reputed to be the possessor of a considerable sum of ready money.  Quite recently she had at least $600 in her purse.  Whether this was still in her possession at the time of the burglary cannot be ascertained.  It is known that she had a large amount of Adams Express stock.  Putting this and that together, the residents of Pelhamville infer a good deal in the way of conspiracy and interested motives.

Mrs. Parish [sic], according to her own statement, awoke at one o'clock Wednesday morning, in her bedroom, on the first floor of her house, to hear a sound of prying at her door, which speedily opened, revealing the form of a strange man, who wore a mask.  She was utterly alone, and knew that, although the nearest neighbor was not more than a hundred yards distant, it would probably be fatal to her to cry out.  The burglar held up a warning hand and said, in a hoarse whisper, 'Now, keep quiet, old lady; don't be afraid; we're not going to hurt  you so long as you don't give no alarm.'  Then he stepped into the room and two other men followed him.  She describes them all as rather small in stature, but further than that fact she remembers nothing of their appearance, terror seeming to be the only impression of the affair remaining upon her mind.  All their faces were masked.  She heard them address each other by the numbers 1, 2 and 2 [sic].  The others repeated that they did not wish to harm her; they only wanted her money.  Then they commanded her to rise up from her bed, and proceeded to rip it open. 

'You have some bonds,' asked the man who seemed to lead the party, 'where are they!'

Mrs. Parrish strenuously denied that she possessed any bonds, but without convincing the robbers, who told her to go with them into the dining room.  Meanwhile one of them had seized a satchel which she kept in her room, and had torn it open, not even attempting, in his eagerness or haste, to unlatch it, although it was not locked.  His manner led her to believe that he knew she was in the habit of using it as a receptacle for some of her valuables.  He was not disappointed, for he found there $100 in money and several documents.  The latter, however, were of no use to anyone, excepting herself.  In the dining room the carpet was taken up, the drawers of the buffet and tables were forced open and the closets were ransacked.  The other rooms in the house were visited by them, with herself as an unwilling companion, and they were left in the direst confusion.  She was repeatedly questioned, with profane threads, in regard to her bonds, but she steadfastly denied that she had any securities of that character.

'Have you a Bible?' they then asked her.

'Yes,' was her response. 

'Then get it,' said the leader.

The Bible was produced, and the villains administered to her in the very words of the court form, an oath to the effect that, in declaring she had no convertible securities, she told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  She could not be shaken in her denial.  The robbers, evidently much disappointed, led her back to her bedroom.  Here they laid her upon the bed and tied her limbs to the bedposts.  They told her to beward of making any noise, and threatened to return immediately if she gave an alarm before they had been gone a sufficient time to render certain their escape.

The time which they spent in the house was about two hours.  They made their exit through the front door, locking it and throwing the key away.  It was found in the morning underneath an evergreen shrub in the yard.

Early in the morning, Mrs. George Pearson, a neighbor, received a message from Mrs. Parrish that she desired to see her.  On going to the house Mr. and Mrs. Pearson were met at the door by Mrs. Clark, the wife of the Postmaster of the village.  They entered and found Mrs. Parrish in a most excited state.  When asked how she had gotten loose from her bonds after the departure of the burglars Mrs. Parrish said she did not know, and nothing at all could be learned from her on this point.  This reply was so inconsistent with her statement that she had been tied by the burglars that it has caused a good deal of wonder among her neighbors.  Many of them, however, seize the occasion to declare that they have for a long time suspected her of being unsound in mind on certain subjects, and that she has of late read and talked a great deal about the murder of Mrs. Hull.  They hint, therefore, that the whole occurrence as related by her may be as illusion, the result of monomania.  Not only does the circumstance of the binding remind one strongly of the Hull tragedy, but a candle, half consumed, which was found in her room and which, according to her, was used by the robbers, forms another singular coincidence.

Simultaneously with the discovery of the robbery of Mrs. Parrish it was learned that the Episcopal church had also been robbed. The thieves took a roll of a hundred yards of carpet that had just been presented by Pelham Priory of which this church is a mission.  The ladies of the church had just completed the weary task of sewing this carpet preparatory to putting it down.  The school room was also broken into, but nothing was taken.  Whether the robbers of the church and of Mrs. Parrish are the same is not known.  The church is in an opposite direction from that which the robbers took when they left Mrs. Parrish's house, but possibly they robbed the church before they went there."

Source:  Burglaries in Pelhamville, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Fri., July 18, 1879, p. ?, col. 1 (newspaper page does not have a page number printed on the page).

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Friday, January 22, 2010

1884 Account of Early Origins of Horse Railroad Between Bartow Station and City Island

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a horse-drawn car line ran from the Bartow Station on the Branch Line to City Island.  An image of one of the horse-drawn cars taken from an early 20th century post card appears immediately below.

 Occasionally I have written about the "horse railroad" that once carried passengers between Bartow Station and City Island.  See, e.g.

Tue., September 1, 2009:  Pelham News on February 29, 1884 Including Talk of Constructing a New Horse Railroad from Bartow to City Island

Wed., December 2, 2009:  Accident on Horse-Car of the Pelham Park Railroad Line in 1889

 Thu., December 31, 2009:  1887 Election of the Board of Directors of The City Island and Pelham Park Horse Railroad Company

Mon., January 4, 2010:  1888 Local News Account Describes Altercation on the Horse Railroad Running from Bartow Station to City Island

The horse-drawn trolley car system was so successful in its early years that the Town of Pelham even contemplated building another such line in early 1890 that would have run essentially along the route later taken by the electric trolley known as the Pelham Manor Trolley that inspired Fontaine Fox to create the Toonerville Trolley.  See Mon., February 6, 2006:  Plans to Create a Horse-Drawn Trolley Car System in Pelham in Early 1890.

Today's Historic Pelham blog posting transcribes a brief description of the early origins of the horse railroad that ran between Bartow Station and City Island.  The account appeared in an issue of the New-Rochelle Pioneer published in December 1884.

"--A short time ago the Pelham Park R. R. Co., and the City Island R. R. Co., was incorporated for the purpose of building a railroad from Bartow to City Island.  For the sake of greater convenience in legal matters the road was divided into two parts, the first named company agreeing to build the part on the main land, and the City Island Company the part on the Island, it being understood that the two roads should be consolidated after their completion.  Both companies readily obtained the consents of the Commissioners of Highways to the construction of their roads, and the City Island Company also obtained the consents of a large majority of the property owners along its line.  The Pelham Park Company was, however, unable to obtain the consents of the requisite number of the property owners along its division of the road, and it accordingly appealed on Monday last to the General Term of the Supreme Court, in Brooklyn, for the appointment of Commissioners to determine whether its road was necessary and should be built notwithstanding the objections of the property owners.  At the hearing the company was represented by W. R. Lamberton, of Pelham Manor, and the property owners by Chas. D. Burrill of Bartow, Miller, Peekhouse & Dixon, of New York and others.  The opposition to the motion was based upon alleged defects in the moving papers and in the incorporation of the company, on the unconstitutionality of the statute under which the company was incorporated, and on the law prohibiting the construction of a railroad in a public park.  Various other objections were also made.  The court reserved its decision at the time, but on the following day decided in favor of the company, and appointed Elisha Horton, Arthur J. Burns and Stephen D. Horton as Commissioners.  This decision, it would seem, finally settles the question of a railroad to City Island, as there appears to be no doubt in regards to its necessity.  City Island now contains over 1500 inhabitants, and has the distinction of being the only place of its size in the United States without the convenience of a railroad, and this fact is the more remarkable because of the close proximity of the Island to New York City.  With the completion of the new road it is expected that the Island will have a regular 'boom,' and will become within a few years the most popular summer resort in the neighborhood of New York.  It has every advantage in the way of location; and all it now needs is a convenient means of communication with the metropolis."

Source:  [Untitled], New-Rochelle Pioneer, Dec. ?, 1884, p. ?, col. 2 (newspaper page fragment contains no issue date or page number, but text references on the page make clear it was published between Dec. 1, 1884 and Dec. 14, 1884; digital copy of page fragment in files of the author).

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another Brief Account of the January 1, 1883 Annual Meeting of the Pelham Manor Protective Club

I previously have written about the Pelham Manor Protective Club including an account of its January 1, 1883 annual meeting.  See:

Thursday, September 24, 2009:  Brief Newspaper Account of the January 1, 1883 Annual Meeting of the Pelham Manor Protective Club.

Friday, April 3, 2009:  Biography and Photograph of Henry Beidleman Bascom Stapler, an Active Member of the Pelham Manor Protective Club in its Latter Years.

Friday, November 16, 2007:  Photograph and Biography of William E. Barnett, a Founding Member of the Pelham Manor Protective Club.

Thursday, February 15, 2007:  Text of January 1, 1885 Annual Report of the Pelham Manor Protective Club.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006:  The Pelham Manor Protective Club Flexed its Muscles in the 1886 Town Elections.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006: 1890 Circular of The Pelham Manor Protective Club on Lamp Lighting

Wednesday, February 23, 2005: The Westchester County Historical Society Acquires Records of The Pelham Manor Protective Club from Dealer in Tarrytown, NY

Monday, January 23, 2006: The Beginnings of Organized Fire Fighting in Pelham Manor?

Today's posting transcribes another brief newspaper account of the January 1, 1883 annual meeting of the Pelham Manor Protective Club that appeared in the January 6, 1883 issue of the New Rochelle Pioneer.

 "Annual Meeting.

The annual meeting of the Pelham Manor Protective Club, was held at the residence of Mr. George H. Reynolds New Year's day.  A large number of gentlemen residing at the Manor were present, besides many invited guests.  Among those from New Rochelle, were Col. Richard Lathers, Mr. E. D. Griggs and Charles H. Roosevelt; also, Superintendent William H. Stevenson, of the New Haven Railroad, and Mr. Silas Witherbee, of New York were present.  After business matters relating to the Club were finished, a bountiful repast by the generous host was fully enjoyed.  The Protective Club is a live organization, accomplishing the purpose for which it was organized, and doing much to promote good order in the Manor, and helping to make it one of the most desirable country resorts adjoining New York city."

Source:  Annual Meeting, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jan. 6, 1883, p. 2, col. 2 (the page number has been surmised and may not be accurate; the above-quoted item appears on a single newspaper page that reflects no page number).

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pelhamville Bicentennial Celebration in 1894

On July 4, 1894, the tiny little hamlet of Pehamville celebrated the bicentennial of its "settlement".  There were fireworks, orations and more.

Oddly enough, I have yet to identify what the little hamlet considered to be its initial settlement in 1694. . . . . . .

Below is a brief reference to the celebration that appeared in the July 5, 1894 issue of the New-York Tribune.


Pelhamville yesterday celebrated the two-hundredth anniversary of its settlement.  There were orations, music and games in the day, and the evening was devoted to a display of fireworks and to other amusements.  Hundreds of people from the surrounding towns and cities took part."

Source:  Pelhamville, New-York Tribune, Jul. 5, 1894, p. 12, col. 1.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pelham to New York City in 1888: "You Should Pay Taxes"!

In 1888, the Town of Pelham was feeling economic pain.  It was buckling under bonded debt. Additionally, the City of New York had recently acquired 1,700 acres within the Town of Pelham to form Pelham Bay Park and successfully lobbied legislators to enact legislation exempting it from the payment of property taxes to the Town of Pelham.  Town Supervisor W. R. Lamberton cried foul and wrote to New York City Mayor Abram S. Hewitt pleading for the City to rectify the situation.  A brief article about the letter appeared in the February 5, 1888 issue of The Sun published in New York City.  The article is quoted below.

"Rough on Pelham, But Must We Pay for It?

The City of New York insisted that if it had got to buy 1,700 acres of the town of Pelham for a park that it didn't want, at least it should not be compelled to pay taxes to the town of Pelham on the land.  It got this condition enacted into the law. 

Now W. R. Lamberton writes to Mayor Hewitt asking him to support a bill introduced in the Assembly providing for the continued taxation at the present assessed value new parks laid out outside of the city.  He puts his plea on the ground that otherwise the tax rate of Pelham, which town has only 1,300 acres left, will be raised to six per cent, and that will bankrupt the town, which has already a flourishing bonded debt. 

Mr. Lamberton does not say that the city is responsible for the unfortunate condition of the town, but he says that the city is rich, or, as he puts it:

'Do you think it right to aid in oppressing the poor fishermen of City Island and the day laborers of Pelhamville, and in destroying the values of their little homes merely to save New York 1-800 of 1 percent, in the New York city tax rate?'

The 1,700 acres are assessed at $500,000, and the rest of Pelham $700,000.  Mr. Lamberton says that the town never encouraged the park scheme."

Source:  Rough on Pelham, But Must We Pay for It?, The Sun [New York, NY], Feb. 5, 1888, p. 11, col. 6.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Photograph of Town Hall on Fifth Avenue Published in 1913

Below is an interesting photograph of Pelham Town Hall on Fifth Avenue in 1913. The photograph appeared in the December 20, 1913 issue of The Pelham Sun.  A citation to its source appears beneath the photograph.

Source:  The Town Hall, North Pelham, The Pelham Sun, Vol. 4, No. 41, Dec. 20, 1913, p. 12, col. 6 (newspaper page in the collections of the Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham, NY; digital copy in author's files).

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Photograph of Augustine C. McGuire, President of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the First District Fire Department in 1913

I recently posted to the Historic Pelham Blog the text of a report issued in 1913 by Augustine C. McGuire, President of the Board of Fire Commissioners.  See:

Thu., August 6, 2009:  Brief History of the Fire Department in the Village of North Pelham Published in 1913.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog contains an image of Augustine C. McGuire published in The Pelham Sun in 1913.  The newspaper page that contains the image is in the collection of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham.  The newspaper page is undated, but contains text references indicating that it was published between September 6, 1913 and December 31, 1913.  The image appears below, followed by a citation to its source.

Source:  Dr. A. C. McGuire, President Fire Board, First Dist., The Pelham Sun, 1913, p. 2, col. 7 (undated newspaper page in the collections of the Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham, NY; digital copy in author's files; references in text indicate page was published between Sep. 6, 1913 and Dec. 31, 1913).

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

1913 Report of the Firemen's Benevolent Association in Pelham

An early issue of The Pelham Sun published in early 1913 included a report on the Firemen's Benevolent Association.  The report included a brief history of the founding of the Association and was accompanied by an engraving of a fireman using a megaphone at a fire.  The engraving appears immediately below, followed by the text of the report and a citation to their source.

"Firemen's Benevolent Ass'n.

In the beginning of the year 1911, several of the leading spirits in firemanic matters, active and exempt, in the Town of Pelham, having discussed the advisability of forming an organization for benevolent purposes, also to stimulate the growth of social amenities among the firemen, and to protect and advance their interests, called a meeting at Firemen's Hall, in the first fire district, on January 21, 1911, which was largely attended, and elected the following to serve as officers:  D. McIvor McLoughran, Chairman; P. W. O'Malley, Secretary; Frank Chaloux, Treasurer; William Edinger and William B. Lyon, Committee on Ways and Means.

The first annual meeting of the association was held May 8, 1911, and a Board of Trustees were elected to serve for the ensuing year, namely:  D. McIvor Loughran, Frank Chaloux, William B. Lyon, P. W. O'Malley, William Edinger, L. James Buchanan, William H. McDonald, Frederick W. Hurttig, John B. Clegg.

The year 1911 was a successful one.  Additional members were added to the roll and finances were increased. 

The year 1912 opened under auspicious conditions.  The first annual ball of the association took place at Firemen's Hall on January 5th, and was known as 'Ye Olden Tyme Barn Dance,' the Master of Ceremonies being Brother John H. Young.  The affair was a most enjoyable one and proved a financial success.

On January 8th the second annual meeting of the association took place, and the following Trustees were elected:  For three years - D. McIvor Loughran, Wm. Edinger, P. W. O'Malley; for two years - Wm. B. Lyon, Frank Chaloux, John B. Clegg; for one year - Wm. H. McDonald, F. W. Hurttig, D. L. O'Leary.

On February 20, 1912, the certificate of incorporation was filed and recorded in the office of the Secretary of State, at Albany.  That year at the county games held at the fair grounds at White Plains, the association jumped to first place in athletic prowess, its team winning the greatest number of events, thereby securing the point trophy cup, -- a beautiful specimen of the silversmith's art, as well as the greatest number of medals and badges.  During the same year, the association's baseball team captured the trophy presented by John T. Logan.

The year 1913 now drawing to a close, will long be remembered by those interested in the affairs of the association, as a history-making epoch.

The third annual meeting took place at Firemen's Hall January 13, 1913.

This was the first year of the organization under the incorporation act, and the Trustees under same became a Board of Directors.  The following were elected to serve as such for a term of three years:  Daniel L. O'Leary, William H. McDonald, Frederick W. Hurttig.

On March 28, the second annual ball (calico dance) of the association took place under the able floor management of Brother Albert W. Monroe, the genial first deputy chief.  This also was a success financially and up to the standard already set by the affair of the previous year.

During this year the association became active in legislation, an appeal having been made to the firemen of Westchester County to appear before the Legislature and urge the passage of the 'Bovie bill,' an act authorizing payments to injured, or representatives of deceased volunteer firemen of the County of Westchester.

The President of the association appeared before the Senate Committee with other firemen throughout the county.  Subsequently at the hearing before the Governor, the following were present on behalf of the First Fire District:  Peter Ceder, President of North Pelham; ex-Chief Joseph Lyon, Liberty Engine and Hose Company No. 1; Charles W. Foster, President Relief Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, and D. McIvor Loughran, President of the association, armed with resolutions from the Village Board, Town Board, the several civic organizations and firemanic bodies in the Town of Pelham, endorsing the bill urging the Governor to sign same.

This bill being an important measure pertaining to volunteer firemen in the County of Westchester, received the Governor's signature, and became a law on April 1, being Chapter 150 of the Laws of 1913.

In the month of July the association had as its guests the Westchester County Volunteer Firemen's Association, who held its half-yearly meeting at Firemen's Hall.  The association was assisted by the several fire companies in the district.  It was largely attended, and proved of much interest to the firemen of the town.  A luncheon was served.  The committee in charge were Captains Dollny, Whalen and Deuscher.

During this year the association participated in the county games held at Rye Beach, September 6th, and maintained its position of first place in athletic honors, by capturing the greatest number of events.  One of the features of this meet was the hook and ladder race won by the Reliefs of Pelham, breaking all previous records.

There are now on the rolls of the association upwards of one hundred members and finances in the sum of four figures.  The association hopes to have its best report at the next annual meeting in Firemen's Hall, January 12, 1014.  Directors meetings are held on the second Friday of each month.

Qualifications for membership in the organization are as follows:  A fireman who is a member in good standing in any of the several fire companies within the corporate limits of the town, or an exempt firemen who has served his time in the Town of Pelham.

The initiation fee is $5.00 and the dues are $20 yearly, payable at the January meeting.  The objects of the association, as stated in the charter, are to voluntarily afford relief and assistance to indigent, needy, sick and disabled firemen, and to furnish and give assistance voluntarily to any families of any sick, needy, disabled or indigent firemen within the territory of the operations of this corporation, and to promote social and friendly intercourse among the members and firemen in the territory of the operations of said association, and to associate together for the benevolent and charitable purposes and principles hereinbefore set forth, and for such purposes to purchase, take, hold transfer and convey real and personal property.

The benefits are $100, payable at the death of any member from any cause whatever.  In addition, the association agrees to pay any active fireman who may be laid up sick from performing his duties at a fire, the sum of $8.00 per week for a period not to exceed twelve weeks, upon presentation of a doctor's certificate.

The following are the present officers of the association:  D. McIvor Loughran, President; Frank Chaloux, First Vice-President; John B. Clegg, Second Vice-President; Patrick W. O'Malley, Recording Secretary; Daniel L. O'Leary, Financial Secretary; William Edinger, Treasurer; William H. McDonald, Corresponding Secretary; William B. Lyon, Trustee; Frederic W. Hurttig, Trustee; John Gruber, Sergeant-at-Arms.  Auditing Committee -- August W. Schmidt, Chairman; William J. Griffin, Frederick W. Hurttig.

The association is well represented by its members in the county and state organizations, viz:  The Firemen's Association, State of New York; The Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association; The Southern Volunteer Firemen's Association, and The Westchester County Volunteer Firemen's Association."

Source:  Firemen's Benevolent Ass'n., The Pelham Sun, Vol. 4, No. 41, Dec. 20, 1913, p. 2, col. 3 (newspaper page in the collections of the Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham, NY; digital copy in author's files).

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Celebration to Lay the Cornerstone of the New Pelham Memorial High School Building on October 18, 1919

On October 18, 1919, the residents of Pelham held a day-long "whole-hearted celebration" to honor Pelham residents who fought -- and who died -- during the recently-ended World War I.  Among the many festivities of the day was the laying of the corner stone of the new "Memorial High School" building being constructed in the memory of "fallen heroes".

The Men's Club of the Pelhams sponsored the day-long celebration and printed posters to advertise the event.  The choice for the date of the event -- October 18 -- was no accident.  That date was the anniversary of the Battle of Pelham, October 18, 1776, during the Revolutionary War.  An image of the poster appears immediately below, followed by a transcription of its text for search purposes.

Saturday, Oct., 18th, 1919 -- Afternoon and Evening
(Under the Direction of the Men's Club of the Pelhams)

Pelham welcomes home her own!  Parade and Pageant through all the villages.  Dedication of Roosevelt Field (School grounds) -- Flag raising and children's Exercises -- Tribute to fallen heroes -- Address by Major General Leonard A. Wood..  Laying of the Corner Stone of the Memorial High School -- Victory Dinner to soldiers and sailors -- Outdoor evening Carnival -- Band concert -- Fireworks.  Feature dances -- Plenty of Jazz and dancing for everybody.

An All-Pelham whole-hearted celebration to express our gratitude to the Pelham men who fought and the Pelham men who died.

2.30  Parade starts at Map factory in North Pelham and proceeds down Fifth Avenue, North Pelham, under N.Y., N.H. & H. Railroad bridge to First Street, Pelham; thence east on Pelhamdale Avenue passing reviewing stand (located on south side of Pelhamdale Avenue opposite Witherbee) to Boston Post Road to Esplanade; thence east on right drive to Manor Club; thence returning west on north drive to Boston Post Road; thence to Pelhamdale Avenue, and thence west on Pelhamdale to Colonial Avenue and Roosevelt Field--the site of the New Memorial High School.

Parade will be preceded by a detail of the Police of the Pelhams, who will be immediately followed by Grand Marshall John C. Hazen, Major Fisher, Chief of Staff, Spanish War Veterans, and Civil War Veterans, aides.

Military Band.

Next in line will be Col. Wm. B. Baker, Aides, Lt.-Col. David A. L'Esperance, Jr., Chief of Staff, Lt.-Commander Frederick H. Allen, U.S.N.R.C., and 1st Lt. James B. Walker, Adjutant, followed by the men and women of the various over seas War Services.

Next in line will be the Pelham service men of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

Next the Boy Scouts and six hundred school children.

Home Defense Corps, under Lt. H.M. Myrick, will act as Honorary escort to Guests of Honor and invited guests.

Line of march will be appropriately decorated.

3.00  Parade will be reviewed at reviewing stand on Pelhamdale Avenue in front of Siwonoy [sic] School.

3.30  Unveiling of Memorial Tablet -- Flag raising -- Twenty-one gun and aerial salute to the flag -- Designation of Athletic grounds as Roosevelt Field -- Flag salute and School Children's Exercises -- Floral tribute to fallen soldiers -- Laying of corner stone of Memorial High School by Hon. Charles G. F. Wahle -- Address by Major General Wood -- Hon. Benj. L. Fairchild will be Master of Ceremonies.  (Further details of program and exercises with words of songs will be issued on the grounds.)

5.30  Victory Dinner donated and served by the Ladies of the Pelhams to Service men only, at the Pelham Country Club.

George Chappel with his seven-piece jazz band and Troupe of entertainers will hold forth -- War songs -- No speeches -- Something doing every second.

7.45  Elaborate fireworks at Roosevelt Field (Memorial High School Grounds) staged and managed by Paine, including exhibition of star shells and U.S. Army service lights as used by our fighters in France -- Trench shells, with search lights -- Mimic trench warfare and explosion of mine -- Forty-eight startling and dramatic features ending with patriotic set piece -- Forty-five minutes of sensational thrills.  The crowd will then proceed, led by the band to . . .

8.30  . . . the Esplanade where the evening festivities will be continued at a point opposite Mrs. Black's lawn.  Be on hand early to hear one thousand school children sing.  Military band will accompany.

8.45  Dance of Victory by Teddy Weidhaas -- Dance of Peace by Anna Hollister -- Processional Dance of the Allied Nations -- Folk dance of the National Colors by the children in costume.

9.30  Paul Jones and general dancing for everybody!

Should the weather in the evening be rainy and the street unsuitable for dancing, the Firemen's Hall, North Pelham, will be thrown open for general dancing.

Volunteer automobiles and busses [sic] for the service of everyone will run from Town Hall on Fifth Avenue to Roosevelt Field and the Esplanade, beginning at 7:30 P.M.

It is hoped that every house in the Pelhams will be decorated.

Everybody Come -- Do honor to our heroes and keep alive the spirit of America."

Source:  Pelham's Big Day, Poster in the Collections of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Architectural Rendering of the Fifth Avenue Station of the New York, Westchester & Boston Railroad in North Pelham Published in 1913

Once known as the "Million-Dollar-a-Mile Railroad" because it was so expensive to build, the New York, Westchester & Boston Railroad once crossed the Village of North Pelham.  Opened in 1912, the Railroad reportedly never made a profit and closed in 1937.

There was an interesting train station and giant overpass that carried trains across Fifth Avenue in the Village of North Pelham.  In 1913, The Pelham Sun published a copy of the architectural rendering of the new train station.  An image of that rendering appears immediately below.

Source:  Fifth Avenue Station, North Pelham, N.Y., W. & B. R. R., The Pelham Sun, 1913, p. 11, col. 6 (undated newspaper page in the collections of the Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham, NY; digital copy in author's files).

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Monday, January 11, 2010

The First Pelham Country Club's Plans for a July 4, 1898 Opening of its New Nine-Hole Golf Course Accessible by a New Trolley Line

There once was another "Pelham Country Club" that pre-dated the club now known by that name.  The first Pelham Country Club was organized during a meeting held on May 12, 1898.  It quickly developed a small nine-hole golf course on land it leased in Pelham.  In 1904, the Pelham Country Club secured land to open a larger course in New Rochelle.  The Club subsequently evolved into The Wykagyl Country Club.

To read a little more about the Club, see

Thursday, November 26, 2009:  The First "Pelham Country Club" Established in 1898 Built a Nine-Hole Golf Course in Pelham in 1898

Thursday, October 1, 2009:  Pelham Country Club Secures Land for New Golf Course in 1904

It turns out that after its establishment, the Pelham Country Club planned to open six holes of a nine-hole golf course by July 4, 1898.  It failed to make that deadline, instead opening the small course in the fall of that year. 

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes a very brief reference to the Club's plans to open the course by July 4, 1898 that appeared in the June 28, 1898 issue of the New-York Daily Tribune.


The Pelham Country Club plans to open the new course on July 4.  By that day it is expected that six holes will be in good playable condition, and the full nine holes shortly afterward.  The links may be reached from Pelham Manor, by the new trolley line, which will soon run past the grounds on the Boston Post Road.  The new extensions of the trolley system between Mount Vernon and New-Rochelle will make the links convenient for residents in those places.  The membership is limited to one hundred.  G. K. Perry, the secretary, Pelham, N. Y., will be pleased to answer any inquiries."

Source:  Notes of the Golf Links, New-York Daily Tribune, Jun. 28, 1898, p. 6, col. 2.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Pelham Manor Police Officer Catches a Burglar Red-Handed on Monterey Avenue in 1910

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During the summer of 1910, a Pelham Manor police officer patrolling the area near Monterey Avenue caught a burglar red-handed as the man tried to pry open the window of the home of Miss Edith Haywood on that street.  It turned out that the man had been involved in a string of local burglaries.  The following article describes the events that transpired that evening.

Pelham Manor Police Nab Arthur Tilford Trying to Enter House.

While attempting to force an entrance into the rear window of the residence of Miss Edith Haywood on Monterey avenue, Pelham Manor, about 8 o'clock Friday night.  Officer Savage caught a burglar, who, when he was brought to police headquarters in Pelham Manor, gave his name as Arthur Tilford, of New Rochelle.  He is twenty-one years of age, and is a chauffer during the day time.  He has been once convicted of burglary and twice of larceny.  He is also responsible for the burglary committed in the Haywood barn two weeks ago.  At first he denied it, but when Raymond Ricardo, chauffer for the Haywoods, identified a blue coat worn by Tilford, as his own property, the latter broke down and confessed and informed the police where he had disposed of the property. 

Officer Savage was shot last December, by a burglar, not far from the spot where he ran across Tilford last night.  He was walking along Monterey avenue, when he heard a noise which sounded to him like that of some person working at a window.  He walked across the grass and discovered Tilford trying to pry open the window opening into the kitchen, by means of a chisel.  Tilford did not know that the officer was near him until the latter placed his hand on his shoulder and pulled him to the ground.

Officer Savage brought his prisoner to headquarters and when Chief Marks saw him he recognized a blue serge coat which answered the description of the one Ricardo, the chauffer for the Haywoods, in Pelham Manor, had reported to him as stolen.

'Where did you get that coat?' the chief asked.

'Oh, that is my coat.  I have had it for two years,' was the answer.

Chief Marks took Tilford to New York to-day, and will have his picture taken there.  He was arraigned before Judge Kilvert on a charge of burglary and was remanded until Tuesday."

Source:  Trolley to Shore Road, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jul. 30, 1910, p. 3, col. 5.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Pelham Manor Police Establish Speed Traps on Shore Road in 1910 to Catch Those Traveling Faster than Fifteen Miles Per Hour

As the new-fangled automobile became increasingly popular in the earliest years of the 20th century, Pelham Manor Police struggled with the headache of speeders zipping along Shore Road from New York City on their way to the New York Athletic Club facility on Travers Island.  The Village responded by imposing a 15 mile per hour speed limit throughout the Village.  As speeding continued, the Village Police got tough.  They began establishing speed traps on Shore Road to catch those who violated the limit.

The article below describes the plans of the Pelham Manor Police to use speed traps to enforce the speed limit.

The police of Pelham Manor and several other Westchester County towns are about to start a vigorous crusade against violators of the automobile speed law.  In Pelham Manor Chief of Police Marks is going to see that drivers do not travel faster than fifteen miles an hour as provided by a village ordinance.  An unusual large number of machines pass through Pelham Manor as the N. Y. Athletic Club is located there and many New Yorkers use the Shore Road in traveling to the club house.  The police intend to place several traps on that road and a strict watch will be kept for all speeders.

Several years ago the police of Pelham Manor carried on a campaign against speeding and many arrests followed.  On some Sundays as many as twenty automobilists were arrested and fined.

Then the police and the officials of the village were threatened with suits, claiming that the officers had exceeded their authority and the crusade came to a standstill.

On August 1, however, the police of Pelham Manor will renew their efforts to prevent speeding within the village limits."

Source:  Trolley to Shore Road, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jul. 30, 1910, p. 3, col. 5.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

1909 Public Notice Regarding the Pelham Manor Trolley Line that Inspired the Toonerville Trolley of the Toonerville Folks Comic Strip

Below is an image of a public notice published in the July 19, 1909 issue of The Sun.  The notice indicates that the Westchester Electric Railroad Company made application to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Pelham Manor "to build, construct, maintain and operate a street surface railroad through, upon and along" specified roads in the Village.  Based on the specified roads, the notice 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 image is a transcription of the text of the notice, followed by a citation to its source.


PUBLIC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Westchester Electric Railroad Company, a corporation duly organized under the laws of the State of New York, for the purpose of building, constructing, maintaining and operating a street surface railroad in the village of Pelham Manor, Westchester county, New York, has made application to the Board of Trustees of said village to build, construct, maintain and operate a street surface railroad through, upon and along the following avenues, streets, roads and highways in the village of Pelham Manor, New York, namely:

First--From the junction of Pelhamdale avenue and the Old Boston Post Road southerly through and along Pelhamdale avenue to the Boston Turnpike, thence easterly through and along the Boston Turnpike to the boundary line of the city of New Rochelle; and also from the junction of Pelhamdale avenue with the Boston Turnpike southerly, through and along Pelhamdale avenue, to the bridge of the Harlem River Branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company.

Second--From said bridge of the Harlem River Branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company, through and along Pelhamdale avenue to the Shore Road, and thence easterly, through and along the Shore Road, and thence easterly, through and along the Shore Road to the boundary line of the city of New Rochelle.

Such application will be considered by said Board of Trustees on the 21st day of July, 1909, at 8 o'clock P.M., on that day, at the Village Hall in the Village of Pelham Manor, Westchester county, New York.

Dated, Pelham Manor, N.Y., June 26th, 1909.
By order of the Board of Trustees.
Village Clerk."

Source:  Public Notices, The Sun, Jul. 19, 1909, p. 9, col. 2.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

More on the Extension of the Pelham Manor Trolley Line in 1910 -- The Toonerville Trolley Line

The Pelham Manor trolley line inspired Fontaine Fox to create the Toonerville Trolley portrayed in his long-running "Toonverville Folks" comic strip.  Until Labor Day, 1910, that trolley line ended on Pelhamdale Avenue near today's Grant Avenue, only a few hundred feet from where the Pelham Manor Depot then stood on the Branch Line.

I recently have written about the opening of the extension of that line on September 5, 1910.  See:  Wed., December 30, 2009:  Opening of the Extension of the Pelham Manor Trolley Line in 1910 -- The Toonerville Trolley Line

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes an article published in the New Rochelle Pioneer on July 30, 1910 describing plans to construct and open the extension.  The text of that article appears below, followed by a citation to its source.


The extension of the Pelham Manor line of the Westchester Electric Railway will be in operation within two months, according to an announcement made by a railway official.

The running of this line will open up to Westchester County and New York another means of reaching Long Island Sound by trolley.  The poles were put up this week and just as soon as work is completed on the Split Rock road, the tracks will be laid on Pelhamdale avenue.  Superintendent Wheeler said:  'It all depends as to the time when they will complete the improvements on the Split Rock road.  That is the only other thoroughfare which can be used by people while we are doing our work.  The street is now practically closed and the company was requested not to begin laying the rails until the street was open.  As soon as it is open we will go ahead, and it will only be a matter of a few days when the extension will be ready for use.'

The Pelham Manor line ends now at a point near the bridge of the Harlem River railroad.  It is to be extended under the bridge down Pelhamdale avenue to the entrance to the grounds of the New York Athletic Club.--Pelham Sun."

Source:  Trolley to Shore Road, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jul. 30, 1910, p. 3, col. 5.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

1888 Local News Account Describes Altercation on the Horse Railroad Running from Bartow Station to City Island

An account of local news published in the May 1, 1888 issue of the Mount Vernon Chronicle included a number of interesting tidbits regarding developments in Pelham including an altercation that occurred on the horse-drawn trolley line that ran from Bartow Station to City Island.  The entire news article is transcribed below.


Governeur Morris has been confined to his house for the last two months with a severe rheumatic attack.  He is making a hard fight, notwithstanding he has stayed beyond his allotted time.

The New York Yacht Club are trying to secure the William Belden property.  If they succeed, they will move from Staten Island and make this place their headquarters.

It is about time that the question of incorporation was thoroughly agitated.  The feeling in the matter is pretty much all one way, but some one must move.  It will be a step in advance, and ought to be taken at once.

About 1,500 fishermen visited this rural summer resort, on Sunday last.  The Harlem branch is being unusually well patronized.  They may have to add still more trains, in order to accommodate the increasing demand.

Last Friday was lovely enough to be a blizzard precursor, and City Island and Pelham Bay bore evidence of Nature's good humor.  The lovely waters were thickly dotted with little craft, which were not 'floundering' aimlessly.

The school at Pelham Manor, of which Mr. DuMond is principal and Miss Edith Babcock associate, celebrated Arbor Day last Friday afternoon.  Appropriate songs and recitations were nicely rendered.  Short addresses were given by Reverends Higbee, Freeland and Patterson.  A fine maple tree was planted in the yard, the children conducting the ceremonies.  The children were much affected as this was the last day that their respected and beloved teacher, Miss Edith Babcock was to be with them, she having resigned her position there to take a place among the corps of teachers of the 5th avenue school Mount Vernon.

The great social event announced to come off on July 8, will be the recurring excursion of the Social Club.  The particulars will be fully made known in the near future.  A treat is in store for our Island neighbors, and their many friends in the surrounding towns.

Within the last week two weddings have been celebrated at City Island, viz., Wm Daton to Maria Ulmer, ceremony at the brides [sic] house, and Rochelle Horton to Ollie Sturges, Episcopal Rectory.

We are sorry to have to record the sad announcement of the death of Agnes Pell, daughter of Samuel Pell.  The deceased was a sister of Pelham's poplular Supervisor, and will be mourned by a large circle of friends.

There was considerable excitement stirred up at Bartow and City Island on Wednesday last, that has not altogether died out yet.  A party of about thirty car drivers came up from Harlem, to fish at City Island.  They boarded the horse car at Bartow.  In enforcing the rule lately adopted on the surface road, to collect fares before starting.  Baxter, the driver, claimed that several had not paid their fares and he refused to go on until they should do so.  Schneider, a Christopher street car driver, became impatient, threw Baxter off the car and took the reins himself.  Baxter was thrown off a second time.  He finally caught on behind, rode over to the Island and had Schneider arrested, the charge being for want of a better or worse, the detention of the U.S. mails.  He was permitted to go on the understanding that he would appear and stand trial.  He skipped in the meantime, but was afterward arrsested in New York city and brought back to the Island for trial."

Source:  Pelham and City Island, Mount Vernon Chronicle, May 1, 1888, p. ?, col. 3 (page number not printed on the newspaper page).

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Friday, January 01, 2010

1886 Dynamite Explosion in Baychester Kills Four and Shakes Residents of Bartow-on-the-Sound in Pelham

I have previously written about a massive explosion that occurred on April 5, 1890 at a dynamite works in Baychester that killed two workers and shook the countryside.  See Thursday, October 22, 2009:  Dynamite Explosion in 1890 Breaks Windows and Shakes Residents of Bartow-on-the-Sound in Pelham

It seems that the massive explosion was not the first at the dynamite works.  Another such explosion occurred four years before that when two squirrel hunters were told to leave the area and, in a huff, fired a shot into the works causing a massive explosion that killed four men.  It turns out that only a short time before that sad even, another explosion had occurred at the establishment.  The article below describes the event.

Four Victims of a Tremendous Explosion at Baychester.
Pieces of Charred Bodies Gathered in a Heap -- The Terrible Effect of an Angry Sportsman's Shot -- Heavy Damage to the Ditmer Dynamite Works.

NEW YORK, Sept. 30.--It is reported that the dynamite works at Baychester blew up this morning and that several persons were killed.  Baychester is on the Harlem railroad, eight miles from New York.


BARTOW, Sept. 30.--A terrific explosion occurred at the Ditmer powder works at Baychester, on the Harlem river branch of the New York and New Haven railroad, about 10 o'clock this morning, resulting in the instantaneous death of four men who were employed in the factory.  The explosion occurred in the packing house, a one-story frame building 20 by 30 feet in the centre of the grounds, and about 200, yards from the main factory, a large building near the water where the bulk of the giant powder and nitro-glycerine used in the new aqueduct works is manufactured.  The men were hard at work putting up and packing cartridges when suddenly the explosion occurred, shattering the building to splinters and blowing four men to fragments.  The exploding powder, of which there was a large quantity, shot up in the air as high as 50 feet and splinters of the building were blown a great distance.  The names of the men were Ernest Dralen, John Rusch, Max Shafbolt and Reinhart.  Nothing was left of them except fragments of their bodies.  Hands, legs, feet, arms, pieces of skulls, backbone and charred bits of flesh were scattered in every direction from 500 to 600 feet from the packing house.  Max Cruger, foreman of the works, says the explosion was caused by two fellows shooting into the building.  He was in the packing house and going out found two fellows who said they were shooting squirrels.  He says he threatened them with arrest and they became impudent.  As the explosion occurred the fellows were seen hurrying away.  H. R. Stansfield, superintendent of the Thorite powder company, near by, picked up a boxful of fragments of dead men and others assisted in the work and the remains were all put in a heap to await the action of the coroner.  One man had a family in Germany and the others were said to be single.


The main factory of the Ditmer works was nearly wrecked, one end being blown to pieces, exposing the interior.  After the explosion the lower timbers of the building took fire and burned fiercely.  A large tree near by was torn up by the roots and branches of other trees were blown away.  The ground for half a mile was strewn with fragments of the dead, splinters, packing paper, etc.  The violence of the explosion shook the houses in Bartow, across the creek from Baychester.  Many windows in Elliott's hotel at Pelham Bridge, over a mile away, were shattered.  Ditmore's blacksmith shop at Westchester shook like straw in the wind and the windows in many houses in the same village were shattered.  This is the second explosion that has occurred in these works this year, the one last winter blowing a man to fragments.  The window sashes and doors in the railroad station at Baychester, not far from the powder works, were blown to gragments and the windows in other houses were damaged, but happily no one was hurt.


NYACK, Sept. 30.--Just about 10 o'clock this morning a heavy shock resembling an earthquake startled the people here.  The shock is supposed to have been caused by a heavy explosion of dynamite somwhere."

Source:  Blown to Fragments, Albany Evening Journal, Vol. 57, No. 61,676, Sep. 30, 1886, p. 1, col. 4.

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