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, October 09, 2014

Cost to Build the Third Pelham Bridge in 1869 and 1870

On March 6, 1812, the New York State Legislature enacted a statute incorporating the "Eastchester Bridge Company" to build a bridge over the Hutchinson River where it empties into Eastchester Bay.  The bridge was built shortly afterward and is believed to have been completed by about 1815. In 1817, the Westchester and Pelham Turnpike Company was incorporated to construct a turnpike from the causeway at Westchester to the bridge.  That bridge came to be known as "Pelham Bridge" -- the name it bears today. 

Even in its first iteration, Pelham Bridge included a draw to permit ships to pass.  Within its first few years, the first Pelham Bridge was destroyed by a storm.  On April 12, 1816, the company was authorized by the Legislature to sell its property and toll franchise for a period of forty-five years.  The second bridge was built in 1834 by George Rapelje, with the right to charge tolls for a period of thirty years, but the supervisors of Westchester County purchased the bridge in 1860 and made it free. 

The bridge was replaced with an iron bridge constructed in 1869-1870. That bridge, in turn, was replaced by the present larger bridge, opened by the New York City Department of Bridges on October 15, 1908.

Review of the proceedings of the Board of Supervisors for the County of Westchester for the year 1871 have revealed the cost to construct the iron Pelham Bridge that was constructed in 1869-1870.  

On December 27, 1871, the Committee on Roads and Bridges issued a report to the Westchester County Board of Supervisors in which the Committee summarizes its examination of the amounts expended to construct the iron Pelham Bridge in 1869-1870.  According to the report, the cost to construct the substructure of the bridge was $15,384.14.  The cost to construct the superstructure of the bridge was $9,055.00 for a total construction cost of $24,439.14.  This amount would be the rough equivalent of about $443,766 in 2013 dollars.

The cost to construct the iron Pelham Bridge were funded through the sale of bonds.  Authorized by an Act of the New York State Legislature passed May 5, 1870, $30,000 worth of bonds were issued to permit bonds sales to fund the project.  

The text of the full report appears immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.  Thereafter is a brief report referencing the issuance of $30,000 worth of bonds to fund the costs (and a citation to the source).  At the end of today's posting I have included links to previous articles about the Pelham Bridge.

Detail from Engraving Published in 1884
Showing Old Iron Pelham Bridge.
CHARLES GRAHAM.", Harper's Weekly, Vol. XXVIII,
No. 1442, 1884, pp. 514 & 521.
Note that the iron arches of the bridge are visible
in the distance on the right edge of the image.

"Mr. TEED, fro Committee on Roads and Bridges, to which was referred the report of the Commissioners of Pelham Bridge, presented the following report thereon, which was adopted:

To the Board of Supervisors:

The undersigned Committee, to which was referred the supplementary report of the Commissioners for the rebuilding of Pelham Bridge, adopted at the session of 1869, respectfully report:

That they have given the subject a careful examination, and after hearing explanations appertaining to vouchers, presented to us by said Commission, have arrived at the following conclusions:  [Page 415 / Page 416]

1st.  That the amount received by the said Commission from County Treasurer is $24,500, and expended as per vouchers presented, as follows, to wit:  

On Substructure...............................$15,384.14
" Superstructure...............................    9,055.00

making in all expended by said Commission, as above stated, $24,439.14 (not including a large amount of bills now in the hands of the Judiciary Committee for examination, for materials, &c., furnished for Pelham Bridge under said old Commission, leaving a balance in the hands of said old Commission, leaving a balance in the hands of said Commission of $60.86, which amount has been paid in to the County Treasurer, as per voucher presented with this report.

We also present to the Board a certificate given by said Committee to Benjamin Hegeman, as Treasurer of said Commission, for $5,500, on County Treasurer, bearing date Nov. 26th, 1870, which was not duly honored in consequence of there being no Chairman of the Board of Supervisors authorized to act, in pursuance of a resolution of said Board and of a special Act of the Legislature authorizing the Board of Supervisors to issue bonds for the rebuilding of Pelham Bridge, which said certificate, bearing date as aforesaid, was included in the report of the Committee on Roads and Bridges of last year on report of Pelham Bridge Commission; which said certificate we now present to your Honorable Body, and recommend that the Chairman be authorized to destroy the same forthwith in the presence of the Board.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Dated Dec. 27, 1871.

WM. E. TEED    )
THOS. LEARY   }  Committee on Roads and Bridges.

Source:  Mr. TEED, from Committee on Roads and Bridges in Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Westchester, For the Year 1871 -- Charles E. Johnson, Clerk, pp. 415-16 (NY, NY:  E. Wells Sackett, Stationer and Printer, 1872).

"Pelham Bridge Bonds.

In pursuance of an Act of the Legislature of the State of New York, passed May 5, 1870, providing for the issuing of Bonds by the County Treasurer and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for the building of Pelham Bridge, such Bonds have been issued in amount $30,000.

Amount due May 1, 1872..........$5,000.00
Interest due May 1, 1872..........   1,050.00
Interest due November 1, 1872.     875.00
Treasurer's Fees.......................        69.25

Pelham Bridge Bonds in Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Westchester, For the Year 1871 -- Charles E. Johnson, Clerk, p. 68 (NY, NY: E. Wells Sackett, Stationer and Printer, 1872).

*          *          *           *           *

Below are examples of previous postings that address the histories of the various Pelham Bridges that have spanned Eastchester Bay for the last two centuries.

Wed., Oct. 1, 2014:  Bridge Keepers of the Pelham Bridge from 1870 to 1872.

Mon., Jul. 21, 2014:  Image of the Second Pelham Bridge Built in 1834 From a Sketch Created in 1865.

Thu., Jul. 17, 2014:  Sabotage Brought Down the 70-Ton Draw Span of Pelham Bridge in 1908 and Delayed its Opening

Tue., Jun. 10, 2014: Construction of the Concrete Arch Pelham Bridge.

Mon., May 12, 2014: The March 6, 1812 New York Statute Authorizing Construction of the Pelham Bridge.

Tue., Sep. 22, 2009: Names of Early "Keepers of Pelham Bridge" Appointed by Westchester County.

Thu., Jan. 08, 2009: Another Brief History of The Pelham Bridge.

Thu., Jan. 1, 2009: A Brief History of Pelham Bridge.

Wed., Jan. 2, 2008: New York State Senate Report on Petition by Inhabitants of Westchester to Allow Construction of Toll Bridge Across Eastchester Creek in 1834.

Tue., Aug. 28, 2007: The Laying Out of Pelham Avenue From Fordham to Pelham Bridge in 1869.

Wed., Jul. 4, 2007: 1857 Real Estate Advertisement for Sale of the Pelham Bridge.

Fri., Jul. 22, 2007: 1857 Real Estate Advertisement for Sale of "Country Seat" at Pelham Bridge.

Fri., May 18, 2007: Celebration at Pelham Bridge in 1872.

Wed., May 16, 2007: Board of Supervisors of Westchester County Vote to Build New Iron Bridge to Replace Pelham Bridge in 1869.

Tue., May 15, 2007: The Owner of the Pelham Bridge Hotel Sold it for the Princely Sum of $22,000 in 1869.

Mon., May 14, 2007: Plans to Widen Shore Road in the Town of Pelham in 1869.

Fri., May 11, 2007: A Sad Attempted Suicide at Pelham Bridge in 1869.

Thu., Dec. 08, 2005: The First Stone Bridge Built Across Eastchester Creek in Pelham, 1814-1815.

Thu., Aug. 18, 2005: The Opening of the New Iron "Pelham Bridge" in 1871.

Tue., Aug. 9, 2005: Cock Fighting at Pelham Bridge in the 19th Century.

Thu., Jul. 21, 2005: Today's Remnants of the Bartow Station on the Branch Line Near City Island.

Tue., Jun. 28, 2005: The Hotel and Bar Room at Pelham Bridge.

Thu., Mar. 24, 2005: The Bartow Area of Pelham in the 19th Century: Where Was It?

Wed., Mar. 23, 2005: Prize Fighting at Pelham Bridge in 1884.

For more about the Pelham Bridge and its history, see Pelham Bridge, Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelham_Bridge (visited May 6, 2014).

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