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, January 29, 2015

R. Clifford Black of Black, Starr & Frost Bought the Martin J. Condon Mansion in 1913

One of the nation's most famous nineteenth century financiers and industrialists once lived in the Village of Pelham Manor in a mansion that rivaled the finest palatial residences in the nation.  His name was Martin J. Condon. 

For nearly four decades, Martin J. Condon served as president of the American Snuff Company.  Condon actually created two vast fortunes because, after creating his first fortune, he was adjudged a bankrupt in August 1912.  Consequently, he lost his lovely residence in Pelham Manor.  That massive home was razed during the Depression years. 

I have written about Martin J. Condon and his palatial Pelham residence before.  See: 

Tue., Sep. 16, 2014:  More Images of the Pelham Manor Residence of Martin J. Condon of the American Snuff Company.

Fri., Dec. 23, 2005:  The Pelham Manor Residence of Martin J. Condon of the American Snuff Company. (This posting includes a detail from a 1908 map showing where the mansion was located.)  

Fri., Jun. 23, 2006:  More About Martin J. Condon of the American Snuff Company Who Owned an Estate in Pelham Manor.

At the time of Martin J. Condon's bankruptcy, the bankruptcy receiver was Payson Mc L. Merrill of 481 5th Avenue in New York City.  The bankruptcy receiver was charged with responsibility for sale of Condon's assets including the massive mansion in Pelham Manor that cost more than $250,000 to construct (about $6 million in 2014 dollars).

R. Clifford Black, a member of famed Fifth Avenue jeweler Black Starr & Frost lived in Pelham Manor at the time.  Black acquired the Condon Mansion from the bankruptcy receiver for an undisclosed amount.  I have written about R. Clifford Black and other members of the Black family on a number of occasions.  See:

Fri., Aug. 01, 2014:  Obituary and Photograph of R. Clifford Black, a Prominent Pelham Manor Resident in the Early 20th Century.

Wed., Jun. 27, 2007:  Dissolution of Firm of Black, Starr & Frost and Reconstitution of the Firm as Corporation After Robert Clifford Black's Death. 

Thu., Sep. 28, 2006:  A Brief Biography of Mary Grace Witherbee Black of Pelham Manor. 

Tue., Apr. 11, 2006:  April 20, 1875 Marriage Certificate of Robert C. Black and Mary Grace Witherbee Black. 

Thu., Feb. 9, 2006:  Cortlandt W. Starr of Black Starr & Frost. 

Thu., Jun. 7, 2005: Obituaries of Robert C. Black and His Wife, Mary Grace Witherbee Black. 

Wed., Apr. 13, 2005: "The Dogwoods" - The Estate of Robert Clifford Black of Pelham Manor.

1912 Real Estate Advertisement Published in Country Life
Depicting the Pelham Manor Mansion of Martin J. Condon
for Sale by the Bankruptcy Receiver.  NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes a brief reference to the purchase of the Condon Mansion by R. Clifford Black in 1913.  The reference appeared in the Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide in 1913.  A full citation to the reference and a link to the digitized version appear immediately below.

"Rural and Suburban. . . . 

PELHAM MANOR, N. Y. -- R. Clifford Black, a member of the firm of Black, Starr & Frost, 48th st. and 5th av., has purchased from Payson Merrill, receiver for Martin J. Condon, Mr. Condon's residence.  The buildings on the property, which consists of about 5 1/2 acres, on the corner of the Esplanade and Boston Post road."

Source:  Rural and Suburban, Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, Jun. 21, 1913, p. 129, col. 2.  

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