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, June 17, 2014

1875 Real Estate Sales Brochure for New Suburb of Pelham Manor Being Marketed by the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association

During the 1870's, real estate speculators who owned lands in the area of today's Village of Pelham Manor began to dream big.  They formed the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association to develop a first class, elegant suburban respite from the vagaries of the giant metropolis nearby.  Their plans were grandiose.  They developed an Esplanade "in the center of which rows of trees are left standing with such care as to give it the appearance of one of the drives in the famous Bois de Boulogne." 

They placed the center of the new development at the location we know today as Four Corners.  In 1875, they had a grand plan to build a magnificent church at the corner.  Indeed, a real estate brochure published in 1875 before the area was built included a pen and ink sketch of the planned church and a planned residence nearby.  Both were depicted as nearly palatial structures worthy of any cosmopolitan center in the world -- and both a far cry from what actually was built in the next several years.

That real estate brochure covered many of the communities that were beginning to arise along the so-called branch line during the 1870's.  The brochure devoted a substantial portion of its content, however, to the new development of Pelham Manor.  The advertisements, including home-builders' ads for new homes in the Pelham Manor area, are quite stunning.  Most are included below, with a transcription of the text of the brochure that relates to Pelham Manor.

I have written on numerous occasions about the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association, as well as the development of the suburb that came to be known as Pelham Manor.  See the end of this article for a lengthy list of such postings with links to each.


(10 miles; 14 trains daily.  Time, 21 min.)

Here we find ourselves in the centre of the most romantic and historic scenes which the entire County of Westchester affords.  Upon alighting, we are at first struck with the size, finish and completeness of the depot erected at this point, in anticipation of the growth which is destined at no distant day to make the surrounding property one of the most thickly settled suburban regions of New York.  This avenue which here intersects the railroad is Pelhamdale Avenue, leading on the one hand to Pelhamville Depot on the main line, about one mile distant (see page 17), and, on the other, past the historic Pelham church and Priory to the picturesque, villa-lined shore of the Sound, beyond.  The drive in either direction is replete with beauty and interest.  First let us take a view of the latter.  Our way lies through a leafy avenue, resonant with the warbling of birds, and fresh, cool,
*  See description of Pelhamville, on page 17.

[Page 34 / Page 35]

and shaded even in the warmest of summer days.  On our left is a gently rising ground terminating in an elevation known as Mount Tom, and which gives its name to this section, of which it is a part, owned by the Pelham Manor and Huguenot Heights Association.  On our right for a distance of 1000 feet from the railroad, lies a portion of the Sound View Division of the same property, and beyond that, on the same side, we come to the Priory grounds.

[Page 35 / Page 36]

Pelham Priory, formerly the residence of the Rev. Rob't Bolton, and for many years past famous throughout the land as an institution of learning for young ladies, under the management of the Misses Bolton, his sisters, is a spot which for picturesque loveliness appeals to every admirer of the beautiful in landscape scenery.  'The house,' truly says the historian, 'which is of stone, affords a good specimen of the old English style, and accords well with its romantic situation.  The building has two towers, affording splendid water views in which wood and water are beautifully blended.  The interior arrangments correspond with the style of the house, and carry the mid back to days of old,' while the surrounding groves, lawns and meadowlands make up a charming piece of landscape, reminding one of the ancestral parks of England.  The Priory grounds extend on the east to the Sea-Side Boulevard, skirting the shore of the Sound, and in the angle formed by the intersection of Pelhamdale Avenue with that thoroughfare, stands the quaint little Pelham (Prot. Episcopal) church, a neat Gothic edifice of stone, erected in 1843, and consecrated in October of that

[Page 36 / Page 37]

year by the name of Christ Church, Pelham.  The bell, of Spanish manufacture, was presented to the church by Lydig Suydam, Esq., and the chancel window is a beautiful specimen of stained glass, designed by a member of the Bolton family, and representing the adoration of the Magi.

 And now, arrived at the Sea-Side Boulevard we may follow it either to the right or the left, as inclination prompts.  To the right, it leads us along the Sound to Pelham Bay and the bridge and favorite fishing grounds which we saw at Bay Chester, affording at every point a magnificent view of the water and the Long Island shore beyond.  Here we cross the easterly limit of the Sound View Division of the Pelham Manor Association's property, extending down to the water's edge; and just beyond we pass the mammoth stone pillars marking the entrance to Hunter's Island, the princely estate of Mr. Alvin Higgins.  Retracing our steps and following the Boulevard once more to the northward, we pass on the one side a succession of pleasant residences, and on the left a charming series of water views, including Sheffield and Locust Islands, the Neptune House and Davenport's Neck beyond.  Here, on any fine summer afternoon, one finds a throng of fashionable equipages, and recognizes among their

[Page 37 / Page 38]

occupants many of New York's wealthiest and most prominent citizens, summer residents of Pelham Manor or the neighboring town of New Rochelle, who find here, amid an healthful atmosphere and superb scenery, all the requisites for a delightful Home on the Sound.

Nor is the locality devoid of revolutionary interest.  'The British grenadiers and light infantry,' says Stedman, 'landed October 18th, 1776, on Pell's Point, ten days before the battle of White Plains.  The Hessians under Knyphausen landed on Davenport's Neck.'  Three or four American regiments advanced and attacked the former party from behind a stone fence, and a sharp action ensued, resulting in the retirement of the Americans with thirty or forty killed or wounded [sic].  The British, whose loss was not known, then advanced almost to New Rochelle, where they halted.  Mementos of this engagement, such as balls and brass ornaments, are frequently found on the heights of Pelham.  'Near the residence of James Hay, Esq.,' says Bolton, 'part of a solder's belt was discovered marked '16th Regiment.''

But we have yet much to see at Pelham Manor; so, retracing our way through Pelhamdale Avenue past the Priory grounds, and 'Allwood,' the handsome estate of Mr. C. J. Stephens, located directly opposite, we find ourselves once more at the depot, and still further on reach the Boston Boulevard, the direct line of turnpike road and formerly the mail route between Gotham and the Hub.  Here we are, in the very centre of the Pelham Manor and Huguenot Heights Association's choicest property.

Upon this first corner to our left is to stand the new Huguenot Forest Church, a handsome architectural structure to be erected this season as a memorial to the tried and true French Protestants who by hundreds originally settled in this and the adjacent region.  This edifice will be under the pastoral charge of the Rev'd C. E. Lord, D. D., late of the

[Page 38 / First Unnumbered Page Following Page 38]

[First Unnumbered Page Following Page 38 / Second Unnumbered Page Following Page 38]

[Second Unnumbered Page Following Page 38 / Third Unnumbered Page Following Page 38]

[Page of miscellaneous advertising not related to Pelham Manor omitted]

[Third Unnumbered Page Following Page 38 / Fourth Unnumbered Page Following Page 38]

[Fourth Unnumbered Page Following Page 38 / Page 39]

Boston Presbytery, and beside being in itself an interesting memento of the historic associations of the spot, cannot but prove a great convenience, as well, to neighboring residents.  About it stands a noble grove of ancestral chestnuts, giving to this division of the estate its name of the Chestnut Grove Division.  And here it is that the owners have projected some of their most extensive improvements, by opening an Avenue or Esplanade on each side, and in the center of which rows of trees are left standing with such care as to give it the appearance of one of the drives in the famous Bois de Boulogne.  By this means some of the choicest building sites offered anywhere about New York are put in the market, and, appreciating this, the owners are erecting thereon a number of beautifully modeled, substantial dwellings, views of one or two of which will be found presented in these pages.

Diagnally opposite the site of the Huguenot Forest Church, the propsed New York, Westchester and Boston Railroad intersects the Boulevard and Avenue above mentioned, thus promising at some future day increased railway facilities.  Following Pelhamdale Avenue, and crossing in turn the old Boston Post Road, which also intersects the property, we traverse another of its grand divisions, known as Glen Mitchell, a splendid rolling tract, abounding in elevated villa sites, fine scenery, and some of the finest springs of clear water to be found anywhere.  To the northward of this division, again in turn is the Pleasant Ridge or Huguenot Heights Division, upon which we have previously looked out from the cars on the main line at Pelhamville (see page 17).  And, lo, sure enough, here we are again at Pelhamville Depot.  The drive across from Pelham Manor on the Harlem River Branch to Pelhamville on the main line is one of but a few moments, and in the triangle formed by the lines as they converge (as will be more distinctly seen from [Page 39 / Page 40] the map of the locality, herewith inserted by Messrs. Stephens Bros.), lies a great portion of the attractive property, which we have taken pleasure in minutely describing. 

In short, to those seeking Homes on the Sound, we would say, in all sincerity, do not choose until you have given Pelham Manor a careful inspection.  Its healthful soil and pure water, its scenery of landscape, woodland and waterfront, its drives and rambles, its quaint historic scenes, and its refined surroundings, demand for it the attention of every intending purchaser.

Beyond Pelham Manor, it is a ride of but a few moments to New Rochelle, where the Harlem River Branch connects with the main line, running thence straight to New Haven and points beyond.

(End of Harlem River Branch.  For description of New Rochelle, see page 18.)"

Source:  Homes on the Sound For New York Business Men:  A Description of the Region Contiguous to The Shore of Long Island Sound, Between New York and New Haven; also a Statement of the Inducements There Offered the New York Business Man for the Purchase of A Suburban Home Within Easy Reach of the City, pp. 34-40 (NY, NY:  George L. Catlin, 1875).

*          *          *          *          *

As noted about, I have written on numerous occasions about the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association, as well as the development of the suburb that came to be known as Pelham Manor. For examples, see:  

Fri., Feb. 21, 2014:  More About Edmund Gybbon Spilsbury Who Served as Engineer for the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association.

Wed., May 19, 2010:  Obituary of Charles J. Stephens of the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association

Tue., May 18, 2010:  1874 Newspaper Advertisement Touting Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association Real Estate.

Mon., May 17, 2010:  Jessup Family Members Tried in 1909 to Take Back Some of the Lands Conveyed to Form the Lands Developed by the Pelham Manor and Huguenot Heights Association.

Fri., May 14, 2010:  1885 Article on Alleged Failure to Develop Pelham Manor Said the Development "At Best Resembles the Collapse of a Wild Cat Land Scheme."

Wed., Nov. 11, 2009:  1874 Evening Telegram Advertisement for Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Development.

Mon., Mar. 2, 2009:  1884 Advertisement Placed by Charles J. Stephens of the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association Offering Home for Rent.

Tue., Jun. 20, 2006:  Mystery - A Lawsuit Filed Against the Dissolved Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association in 1915.

Mon., Jun. 12, 2006:  Early Deed of Land to the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association.

Tue., Apr. 18, 2006:  Prospectus Issued by the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association in 1874.

Thu., Dec. 22, 2005:  Area Planned for Development by The Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association in 1873.

Mon., Mar. 20, 2006:  Charles J. Stephens and Henry C. Stephens of the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association.

Mon., Mar. 27, 2006:  1057 Esplanade: One of the Original Homes Built by the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association.

Mon., May 8, 2006:  Edmund Gybbon Spilsbury Who Served as Engineer for the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association.

Wed., May 10, 2006:  Horace Crosby, the Civil Engineer Who Laid Out the Chestnut Grove Division for the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association in the 1870s.

Fri., May 26, 2006:  The 27th Conference on New York State History Will Include Presentation of Paper on Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association.

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