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, January 28, 2015

Pelham Manor Resident Pushed for Removal of the Causeway from Shore Road to Hunter's Island in 1902

As early as 1902, a Pelham Manor resident named Frederick H. Allen was an aggressive advocate for removal of the stone causeway that connected Hunter's Island to the mainland at today's Shore Road.  Allen advocated in favor of removing the causeway to open a raceway course for local crews operating principally out of the New York Athletic Club boathouse on Travers Island.  Allen urged that the project be completed in an effort to attract the National Regatta to New York City.

In connection with efforts to encourage the New York City Park Department to create the raceway by removing the Hunter's Island causeway, Allen released a statement to The New York Herald that was published on June 15, 1902.  In that fascinating statement, Allen could not contain himself.  He revealed what plainly were his underlying motives for supporting the removal of the causeway.

He noted that in recent years the "bay" in the midst of Hunter's Island, Travers Island, and Glen Island had begun to fill with deposits that led to massive mud flats at low tide and that such deposits would not occur if the causeway were removed and the tides were allowed to "sweep" this "bay".  In his statement, he noted that the mud flats were "a great detriment, from a point of view of looks" and were a "menace from the point of view of health."

Frederick H. Allen, of course, was the owner of the Bolton Priory in Pelham Manor -- a beautiful and towering stone mansion that looked out directly on the ugly mud flats created at low tide that Allen believed were a "menace from the point of view of health" . . . . 

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes the text of an article about Mr. Allen's efforts to have the causeway removed.  The article included Allen's statement as well.

Detail from 1905 Map Showing Area Addressed in Frederick H.
Allen's Statement Including the Stone Causeway Leading to Hunter's Island.
of the Bronx Easterly of the Bronx River" (1905) (Lionel Pincus and
Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library).
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

Waterway Skirting Travers Island May Be Improved by Park Department.

New York city is likely to have another rowing course within its limits which promises to eclipse the picturesqueness any in the United States, as well as present to devotees of aquatic sports a waterway practically unaffected by strong tides.

The scene of the new Mecca for competitive and pleasure loving oarsmen will be adjacent to the new Sound driveway, which will skirt Pelham Bay Park and Travers Island, the beautiful country home of the New York Athletic Club.

Mr. Frederick H. Allen, a resident of Pelham Manor and former 'cox' of Harvard crews, who has been especially active toward the accomplishment of the scheme for the betterment of the waterway, is authority for the statement that John E. Eustis, Park Commissioner for the Bronx, has given every encouragement toward the furtherance of the new course.  Mr. Eustis is an old Cornell oarsman.  

In connection with this project, Mr. Allen made the following statement: --


'Since the solid stone causeway has been built connecting Hunter's Island with the mainland, the bay, which is formed by Hunter's Island, the mainland, Travers Island and Glen Island, has been rapidly filling up with mud and filth deposited at high water.  Formerly, and prior to the building of the causeway, there was a sweep for the tide through this bay, which has now been made into a sort of pocket.  

'Ten or twelve years ago it was possible to row at low tide up to the causeway, but not for at least a third of a mile the mud flats merge at low water.  This is not only a great detriment, from a point of view of looks, to the Park lands and other adjoining property, but also a menace from the point of view of health.

'If the Park Commissioners would remove the causeway and replace it with a bridge, the action of the tide, having a free passageway between Hunter's Island and the mainland, would rapidly wash out the accumulated deposit and make the whole neighborhood more attractive and healthy.

'Plans have been drawn up by the engineer of the Park Commissioner for a Sound driveway along the borders of the park.  The beauty of this drive would be materially improved by the opening of the causeway, as the mud flats would gradually disappear by the action of the tide.  The removal of the causeway would also give a stretch of about three miles for the rowboats of the New York Athletic Club.  The boat races along the line of this shore road would be a very attractive feature of the park and very popular among the people.

'The effort to have the causeway removed is to be thoroughly recommended, and, while for the present an inexpensive bridge is all that is needed, in years to come a very attractive feature in the park landscape would be made by the building of a picturesque and handsome bridge.'

It will be possible for four eight oared crews to row abreast under the proposed new bridge.  With the completion of the new course a bid will be made for the National regatta, which occurs this summer on Lake Quinsigamond, Mass."

Source:  NEW COURSE FOR LOCAL OARSMEN, The New York Herald, Jun. 15, 1902, p. 2, col. 4.  

*          *          *          *          *

I have written about Frederick H. Allen on a number of occasions.  See:

Wed., Dec. 12, 2007:  Another Biography of Frederick Hobbes Allen, President of Pelham Manor and Owner of Bolton Priory in the Early 20th Century.

Thu., Mar. 1, 2007:  Biographical Data Regarding Frederick Hobbes Allen, President of Pelham Manor and Owner of Bolton Priory in the Early 20th Century

Tue., May 3, 2005:  Colonel Frederick Hobbes Allen, An Owner of Bolton Priory in Pelham Manor.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home