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, February 27, 2014

More About the Fabled "No-Man's Land" of Pelham Manor: A Tiny Strip of New York City

I have written before of the strip of land in Pelham Manor known as "No-Man's Land," saying:  

"Sandwiched between the southern boundary of the Village of Pelham Manor in the Town of Pelham and the northern boundary of Pelham Bay Park is a tiny strip of land only 250 feet wide that long has been known as "no-man's land". While the phrase may evoke images of a forsaken strip that no one wishes to frequent, nothing could be further from the truth.

No-man's land is a long strip of land made up of about thirty-five properties that sit in the Bronx. Because they are separated from other Bronx residential areas by Pelham Bay Park, however, they derive many of the amenities of the suburban lifestyle offered by the lovely Village of Pelham Manor. For example, the children of homeowners located on the strip attend schools in Pelham Manor. Yet, the lucky homeowners who live on this strip pay modest New York City property taxes (at least when compared with property taxes in Pelham)."

For more about this interesting strip of land, see:  Mon., Dec. 5, 2005:  The Fabled "No-Man's Land" of Pelham Manor:  A Tiny Strip of New York City.  

1899 Map by John Fairchild Showing Beech Tree Lane
Section of Pelham. White Strip Extending from
Lower Left to Upper Right with Words "New York City"
Shows Portion of No-Man's Land That, Today,
Includes Elm Tree Lane.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes an article that appeared in The Pelham Sun published on May 3, 1945.  The article noted that there was alarm in Pelham Manor and among the members of the Village Board of Trustees after local developers acquired a portion of "No-Man's Land" on the New York City side of Elm Tree Lane and planned to develop it with "a number of small houses of 50-foot lots."  The Village Trustees "expressed concern at the loss of realty values that would follow the erection of any such proposed houses and the loss of tax revenue which would ensue."  Those concerns, with hindsight, certainly seem to have been exaggerated.

Below is a transcription of the text of the article, followed by a citation to its source.

Have No Control Over Building on New York Side of Elm Tree Lane Where Unwelcome Development Threatens.

The announcement last week that a group of investors headed by Chester Warm of the Warm Oil and Coal Co., of Pelham Manor, had purchased a tract of land on the New York City side of Elm Tree Lane and propose to develop it with a number of small houses of 50-foot lots, had a sequel this week.

Arthur Zerbey, who resides on Beach [sic] Tree lane in the immediate vicinity of the proposed development, sent to the Pelham Sun office a letter which he had received from Edward J. Hamberger a realty operator of Yonkers.  Mr. Hamberger is Mr. Warm's cousin.  The communication set forth that the purpose of the syndicate purchase of land on Elm Tree Lane is to develop it 'into small plots' and continued:  'We are, however, giving the people in the immediate vicinity . . . the opportunity of making first purchase.'  Other property owners in the highly restricted residential vicinity received similar letters.

The Pelham Sun is informed that village officials have been called into conference on the matter.  They have expressed concern at the loss of realty values that would follow the erection of any such proposed small houses and the loss of tax revenue which would ensue.  Two of the village officials have agreed to follow up the developments.  

The tract on which the proposed small houses are to be erected adjoins the property on which the coal company has its pockets."

Source:  Proposed Small House Building Alarms Trustees, The Pelham Sun, May 3, 1945, p. 1, col. 1.  

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