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.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Plans in 1879 to Sell the Tiny Prospect Hill Schoolhouse in Pelham and Use the Proceeds for a New Schoolhouse

The remnants of a tiny one-room schoolhouse known as the Prospect Hill Schoolhouse still stand on today's Split Rock Road.  The structure has been incorporated into the residence that stands at 982 Split Rock Road.  According to a publication issued in 1976:

"In 1840, John Hunter, who owned the land just to the southeast of Prospect Hill, deeded a small corner of his land on the border to the town of Pelham for the purpose of building a school.  In 1866, for some reason, the town purchased part of Lot 51 from Terrance Malloy and moved the school to that site, which is now the front part of the main center section of 982 Split Rock Road.  It has been said that the reason for the removal of the school was that Hunter wished to enlarge his racetrack.  However, research has shown that his track was further south, nearer Throg's Neck.  Also, the configuration of the land at that spot would not have lent itself to the requirements of a racetrack." 

Source: The Junior League of Pelham, Inc., A Glance at the Past: Pelham's Growth From 1775-1975 p. 14 (The Junior League of Pelham, Inc. Sept. 1976) (Pamphlet associated with accompanying map; 32 pp. including Map Bibliography, Manuscript Bibliography and illustrations by Hedy Klein).

Prospect Hill Schoolhouse in an Undated Photograph.
Image Courtesy of the Office of the Historian of the Town of Pelham.

982 Split Rock Road Which Incorporates the Old Prospect
Hill Schoolhouse.  Photograph by the Author, 2004.

As early as 1879, the Board of Education of the Union Free School District No. 1 of the Town of Pelham formulated a plan to replace the tiny one-room schoolhouse in Pelham Manor known as the Prospect Hill Schoolhouse.  

In 1879, the School District petitioned the Westchester County Board of Supervisors to permit it to sell the Prospect Hill Schoolhouse and the land on which it stood along Split Rock Road and to permit it to use the proceeds of the sale to purchase "other lands for the site of their school-house, and to the erection of necessary buildings therein."  

On December 22, 1879, Odle Close (a member of the Judiciary Committee of the Westchester County Board of Supervisors) presented to the Board of Supervisors on behalf of the Judiciary Committee a report recommending that the School Board's petition be granted and that authority to sell the schoolhouse and land be given.

A copy of the brief report is transcribed immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.

"MONDAY, Dec. 22, 1879.

The Board met pursuant to adjournment,
The Chairman and a quorum of members present.
The minutes of December 18th were read and approved.
Mr. Close, from the Committee on Judiciary, presented the following report, which was laid over:

To the Board of Supervisors:

The Judiciary Committee, to whom was referred the petition of the Board of Education of School District of the town of Pelham, for leave and authority to sell lands, and buildings thereon, now owned by and occupied by said district, situated on Prospect Hill, and known as Prospect Hill School-house; and for leave to apply the proceeds of such sale to the purchase of other lands for the site of their school-house, and to the erection of necessary buildings therein, respectfully report, that they have examined the matter so referred, and recommend that such leave and authority be granted.

Respectfully submitted,
ODLE CLOSE,               )
D. W. TRAVIS,               }  Judiciary Committee.
M. BANTA,                     )
H. D. PHELPS,              )

Source:  Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of Westchester County, N. Y., Session of 1879, Together With Proceedings at a Special Meeting, Held June 17th, 1879, and a Special Meeting, Held June 23d, 1879, p. 224 (White Plains, NY:  The Westchester News, 1879).

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