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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Town of Pelham Erected Historic Sign Posts in 1925

The Town of Pelham always has had an abiding respect for its ancient history.  The Town affirmed this respect in 1925 when it erected historic sign posts to commemorate historic roadways that cross Pelham.

The signs were designed by famed illustrator and graphic design artist Edward Penfield and were executed, after his death, by another important artist named Remington Schuyler.  The Town of Pelham worked with the Town Historian, the artists, the Village of Pelham Manor, the Village of Pelham Manor Streets Department, and the Village of Pelham Manor Fire Department (which hung the signs).  

Though no images of the signs have yet been located, Pelham residents loved the signs and soon treated them with near landmark status.  Nine years later, however, when the signs required replacement at the height of the Great Depression, they were quietly removed, never to be replaced.  

At about the same time that Pelham erected its historic signs, the City of New Rochelle did the same thing.  Unlike Pelham, however, New Rochelle has lovingly preserved the historic signs that it erected during the 1920's to mark the boundaries of New Rochelle where each major roadway enters.  I have written about New Rochelle's signs twice before.  See:

Mon., Nov. 14, 2005:  Historic Signs Mark Pelham's Border with New Rochelle.

Thu., Jun. 15, 2006:  Repainting of Historic Signs Marking New Rochelle's Borders, Including Those With Pelham, Temporarily Halted.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes an article published shortly after the historic sign posts were erected.  The text is followed by a citation to the source.

Historic Sign Placed by City of New Rochelle at About the Same Time
the Town of Pelham Erected Five Signs Marking Historic Highways in the Town.
The New Rochelle Sign Reads "New Rochelle Rich in History" and Was
Designed by Famed American Artist Norman Rockwell.  Source:  Photograph
by the Author, Taken in 2005.  This Sign and Others Like It Were Restored
and Re-Hung by New Rochelle on New Signposts in 2006 and 2007.

"Five Sign Posts Marking Pelham's Historic Highways Erected During Past Week
Painting and Erecting Of Posts Done Through Courtesy of Pelham Manor Trustees -- Designs Made By Late Edward Penfield.

'Pelham Landmarks,' by Joan Elizabeth Secor, town historian, published by the town of Pelham on the occasion of the dedication of the Pelham Memorial Park, May 30, 1924 has borne its first fruit.  Five sign posts designed by Edward Penfield have been erected marking Historic Highways.  It is hoped that the work started by Mrs. Secor will be continued until all the old highways are marked and also other spots of historic importance.

The Boy Scouts Log Cabin in Hutchinson Parkway will be under the old dead chestnut tree where Lord Howe watched the Battle of Pelham Heights.  This old tree will be repaired and presented by the Westchester Parkway Commission.

The Boy Scouts will see that it is suitably marked.

Later in the spring the Boy Scouts will hold a pageant and demonstration at their log cabin where will be enacted the Signing of the Treaty between Lord Pell and the Seawanoy Indians -- and perhaps the Anne Hutchinson episode.

It is hoped the Drama Section of the Manor Club will cooperate, furnishing suitable elegant ladies and gentlemen of Lord Pell's household.

In this way a yearly Pageant of Pelham Town may be begun and grow into something, which in its way will have a far reaching influence towards developing an understanding and appreciation of the ground made historic in the early history of this town.

Five Sign Boards

Titles for the five sign boards marking Historical Highways in Pelham Township were planned by Mrs. Joan Elizabeth Secor, Town Historian, William R. Montgomery edited the titles.  The signs were designed by Edward Penfield and executed by Remington Schuyler.

The painting and erecting of the posts was done through the courtesy of the Board of Trustees of Pelham Manor, by the Village Street and Fire Departments.  The cost of the signs was appropriated by the Town Board of Pelham.  

Sign No. 1 is located on the Boston Post Road at the New York entrance to Pelham Manor and bears this legend:  'Boston Turnpike.  This Road was opened in 1800 as a Toll.  Pelham Township.'

Sign No. 2, located on Boston Post Road at New Rochelle - Pelham line, bears the same legend as No. 1.

Sign No. 3, at the corner of Split Rock Road and Boston Post Road bears the legend, 'Split Rock Road.  Originally an Indian Trail.  Formerly Ann Hoeck Road, Anne Hutchinson Lane, Pelham Township.'

Sign No. 4, at corner of Wolf's Lane and Boston Road bears the legend, "Wolf's Lane.  Originally an Indian Trail.  Formerly Pell's Lane, Pelham Township.'

Sign No. 5, located at the intersection of Colonial avenue and Pelhamdale avenue, bears the legend, 'Colonial avenue, Kings Highway.  Old Boston Post Road.  Formerly Westchester Park.  Oldest Road in Westchester County.  'Sakerah' the 'Shore Path' of the Seawanoy Indians.  Pelham Township.'

The next historic incident which should be commemorated is the Battle of Pelham, which occurs October 18th next."

Source:  Five Sign Posts Marking Pelham's Historic Highways Erected During Past Week, The Pelham Sun, May 1, 1925, Vol. 16, No. 9, p. 6, cols. 1-2.

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