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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A 1910 Real Estate Puff Piece About "The Pelhams" -- Description of the Attractions of the Three Villages of the Pelhams Published in 1910

In 1910, the Town of Pelham and the three Villages within the town were on the cusp of tremendous growth.  The population of the Town was about 2,500.  The New York, Westchester & Boston Railway was about to open a line through North Pelham.  Additionally, that Village was about to construct a new sewer system.  The new development of Pelhamwood was being planned and constructed.  Pelham Manor and Pelham Heights were expanding.  The local trolley system was being expanded.  In short, the entire Town of Pelham was on a trajectory of growth.

Real estate developers were touting the benefits of the area:  its beauty, its convenience, its healthfulness, and the attractiveness of a suburban lifestyle.  In 1910, an extensive real estate puff piece appeared in The Daily Argus published in Mount Vernon.  The article comprises a fascinating snapshot of the three villages and the Town at a moment in time when growth was set to explode.  Thus, today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes the text of the entire article and provides several of the images that appeared with the article.  


North Pelham, Feb. 9.--The town of Pelham, which includes the three villages of North Pelham, Pelham and Pelham Manor, familiarly known as 'The Pelhams,' constitutes another one of those delightful suburban residential sections of Westchester county.  It has a population of about 2,500, and is located half way between the cities of Mount Vernon and New Rochelle on the main line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad.  The extreme easterly section of the town, comprising the village of Pelham Manor, overlooks Long Island Sound.  [Through] this village also runs the Harlem River division of the New Haven railroad system.  

Beautifully situated as it is with attractive streets, fine residences, excellent railroad and trolley facilities, a modern school system and well protected by up-to-date police and fire departments, Pelham offers every inducement to the commuter to locate in this part of the county, away from the bustle and dust of the city.

As one leaves the train at the North Pelham station, he will noticeto the right the attractive residential section of Pelham Heights, where the houses are half hidden from view by beautiful shade trees and are constructed for the most part on eminences of rock.

Directly opposite Pelham Heights he will see North Pelham and its recently developed section, which has been converted into a park, and where it is said some fifty new houses will be erected the coming year.

The three villages are a credit to the county.  North Pelham is populated for the most part by commuters, as are Pelham Heights and Pelham Manor.  The houses are not as costly in their construction as are those of the other two villages, but they are well built and attractive in appearance.  New residences are continually being built.  North Pelham is growing rapidly.  

The Lyceum, North Pelham.

Unlike the other two villages with the exception of a part of Pelham, the village of North Pelham contains a main business thoroughfare.  On this street are the Lyman block, near the passenger station; the new town hall, which has just been completed, and the new fire headquarters, and several brick buildings and apartment houses.

One of the pretty residential sections of the village of North Pelham is Chester Park, which has witnessed during the past few years much development.

From a real estate standpoint, the important features for the village of North Pelham the past year were the construction of and completion of the new town hall, which is a concrete building with attractive architectural features, and the completion of the Pelham club house and Masonic hall, the dedication of which took place last November.  Several new houses have been erected in the village.  

North Pelham has two lodges, one of which is Winyah Lodge of Masons, while the other is an order of Red Men, instituted a few months ago.

The village of Pelham contains that restricted and beautiful residential section known as Pelham Heights, which is also rapidly growing.  A writer describes the place as follows:  'Pelham Heights grew not with a boom, but with the right kind of houses and residents.  Before a plot was offered for sale, a complete sewerage system was constructed, with trunk line sewer to tide water.  A separate drainage system was also provided.  Streets and avenues were macadamized; gas, water and electric light were introduced.  The unprecedented situation thus created, a village with every improvement but free from debt, soon attracted the attention of adjoining localities.  In the Mount Vernon papers editorials appeared advocating annexation and the mayor of the city recommended annexation in official communications to the board of aldermen.  Pelham Manor sought also to include Pelham Heights within its boundaries.  Pelham Heights has now a population of some 500 or more.  Restrictions apply not only to the building lots, but also to the streets and avenues in Pelham constructed by Mr. Fairchild's company, the Pelham Heights company, have been dedicated to the billage as parkways with restrictions forbidding nuisances.  These restrictions are perpetual and the right to enforce them belongs to every abutting property owner.

The other village in the town is that of Pelham Manor.  This, too, is a residential municipality.  The residences are possibly a little more pretentious than those in the Heights, as the plots are much larger.  The streets are wider and in some places are boulevards.  The two most important streets are the Pelhamdale avenue and the Esplanade, along which there are many beautiful residences.  Pelham Manor has a well constructed village hall, which houses the street, fire and police departments and contains offices for the village officials.

Public School No. 1, North Pelham.

The town of Pelham has a number of social organizations and clubs.  The most important in the village of North Pelham are the Pelham club, which owns its buildings and holds every year many important social functions.  Then there are smaller clubs in the village, such as the Tuesday club and the Mezercon Social Club, organizations composed of ladies.

In Pelham Manor one finds the Pelham Manor golf club, which occupies a fine club house and has tennis courts and a golf course; the Pelman Manor club, which owns and occupies a pretty house on the Esplanade.  The New York Athletic Club, of course, has its buildings and grounds in the town of Pelham, in the village of Pelham Manor, just off the Shore Road.

There are five churches in the town of Pelham, as follows:  North Pelham -- Church of the Covenant, Congregational, Rev. Wayland Spaulding, pastor; Church of the Redeemer, Episcopal, REv. H. H. Brown, rector; St. Catherine's church, Catholic, Rev. Francis McNichol, pastor.  Pelham Manor -- Huguenot Presbyterian church, Rev. Lewis Gaston Leary, Ph. D., pastor; Christ Episcopal church,, Rev. A. F. Tenney, rector.  These churches are all well constructed buildings and attractive in their architectural effects.

There are two fire departments in the town.  One is that of the first fire district, which protects property in the villages of North Pelham and Pelham.  This department has three excellent pieces of apparatus, as follows:  A well equipped hose wagon; a modern engine and up-to-date truck.  A team of horses has recently been purchased by the fire commissioners of the first, fire district for the department.  The department is housed in its own building on Fifth avenue, between Third and Fourth streets.  The two companies are the Liberty Hose and Engine Company and the Relief Hook and Ladder Company.  The fire commissioners of the district are President Paul A. Heubner and Commissioners Michael J. Woods, former president of the board, Philip Godfrey, Frank Chalou and George Boldin.

The other department is in Pelham Manor.  The firemen there are wealthy commuters, but they are never afraid to turn out.  They have only a hose reel and truck.  The chief of the department is Village President W. P. Brown.

The town of Pelham is alternately Democratic and Republican in politics.  It has witnessed many 'hot' elections, and there have been many political upheavals in the town.  The board is now tied, the supervisor, Edgar C. Beecroft, who was re-elected last November, the town clerk and one justice of the peace being Democratic, while there are still three Republican justices of the peace in the board, two holdovers, Judges Kilvert and Karbach, and one elected, Wolcott Robbins.  The Democratic judge is J. F. Curnen, who was also elected last November.  

Congregational Church, North Pelham.

Politics does not play an important part in the life of the citizens of either Pelham or Pelham Manor in village matters.  Both parties agree on a ticket and the spring elections are as a rule a mere formality.  there have been ties at the election in Pelham when not more than 30 votes will be cast out of many more times that number of voters.  Last year, however, two tickets were in the field and there was a contest, but it was not along political lines.  The same conditions exist in Pelham Manor, and sometimes there is a contest there.

But the situation is far different in North Pelham.  That village may be justly called the hot-bed of politics in the town of Pelham.  Each spring there is always an exciting election, and this year there is every indication that there will be more excitement than ever.  The aggressive president of North Pelham is James Reilly, who has been elected twice on an Independent ticket, once against the combined tickets of the Republican and Democratic parties, and twice on the Republican ticket.  The trustees are David Lyon and Maus [sic].  The president of Pelham is S. N. White, and the chief executive of Pelham Manor is W. P. Brown, and the trustee is Lewis Francis.

The town of Pelham has just become a part of the postal system of the city of New York, and hereafter the two offices in Pelham Manor and North Pelham will be branches of the New York postoffice.  It is not known as yet how many carriers there will be in the town.  

The railroad and trolley facilities are up-to-date.  The Webster avenue trolley line connects the North Pelham line with New Rochelle directly; the North Pelham line connects with the city of Mount Vernon and all points south; the Pelham Manor cars connect with the New Rochelle line, which is operated through the village of Pelham Manor by the way of Pelhamdale avenue.  The main line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad passes through the town, the main station being located in North Pelham, while the Harlem River road goes through Pelham Manor.  A passenger station was recently completed there with subways and every modern convenience.  

There is but one important industry in the town of Pelham, and that is located in the village of North Pelham.  It is the Sanborne Map Co.  It employs several hundred persons and has a finely equipped plant at the extreme end of Fifth avenue, being located in modern concrete buildings, which were completed only three years ago.  A new industry, the Westchester County Brewing and Ice Company, is now being built.  

The future of the town from a real estate standpoint is most encouraging and promising.  Greaat developments are expected, and it is believed that during the next five years many fine residences will be erected.  The village of North Pelham is about to begin the construction of its sewer system, the completion of which will mean much for the growth of the village.

The New York, Westchester and Boston Railway extends through the villages of North Pelham, and the building of this line will also be the means of developing the villages and will increase the facilities for travel."

Source:  THE MANY ATTRACTIONS OF THE THREE VILLAGES AND THE TOWN OF PELHAM, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Feb. 9, 1910, p. 11, cols. 1-5.  

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