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, July 22, 2015

More Pelham Trivia

How well do you know the Town of Pelham?  Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog poses a handful of trivia questions to test your knowledge of your hometown.  I have posted such trivia teasers before.  See Thu., Nov. 06, 2014:  Historic Pelham Trivia Test: One of the World's Most Difficult Exams!

Question 1:  The Manor of Pelham once covered an area much larger than today's Town of Pelham.  Where within that area did the United States Government, at the height of the Cold War, construct and operate Nike nuclear missile silos controlled by radar from Fort Slocum on David's Island?

Question 2:  What longstanding Pelham institution's members, as of 2004, had earned 118 Olympic Gold Medals, more than all but four nations of the world at that time?

Question 3:  What famous United States Supreme Court Justice had a daughter who lived in the Village of Pelham Manor and was a frequent visitor to the Town of Pelham?

Question 4:  The Baldwin Apple is a bright red, good quality winter apple that, for many years, was the most popular apple in New York, in New England, and for export from the United States.  The origins of the apple long have been in dispute and various locales lay claim to its source.  What are Pelham's purported connections to the Baldwin Apple?

Question 5:  What part of the Manor of Pelham that once was within the Town of Pelham was used as a prisoner of war camp during World War II to house Italian prisoners of war?

Question 6:  On June 1, 1943, the United States Government leased space within the Town of Pelham to permit the opening of a gunnery school for the Royal Norwegian Navy.  The move was necessary to assist Norwegian Naval vessels and sailors who were away at sea when Germany occupied Norway and they were unable to return home.  Where in Pelham was the gunnery school located?

Question 7:  On Wednesday, September 21, 1938, four students from Pelham Memorial High School became heroes by plunging into high flood waters caused by the "Hurricane of 1938" also known as the "Long Island Express" to save members of a local church who were trapped by the waters in the church.  Which church?


Answer to Question 1:  Nike nuclear missile silos, now decommissioned, once were fully functional on Hart Island, also once known as Spectacle Island and Little Minneford Island, just off the shores of City Island.  Hart Island was part of Pelham, though acquired by New York City in 1868, until New York City annexed the area (including Hart Island) in the mid-1890s.

Answer to Question 2:  As of 2004, members of the New York Athletic Club, which maintains a massive club facility on Travers Island in Pelham Manor (with a portion lying within the City of New Rochelle), had earned 118 Olympic gold medals.

Answer to Question 3:  Former U.S. Treasury Secretary and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Salmon P. Chase had a daughter who married William S. Hoyt who, in turn, leased a home that once stood on the site of the tennis house on today's Travers Island.  Supreme Court Justice Chase was a frequent visitor to Pelham and his daughter's lovely home on Travers Island.  

Answer to Question 4:  Pelham's purported connections to the Baldwin Apple are fascinating.  According to longstanding but undocumented local tradition, Colonel Loammi Baldwin, while commanding one of the American regiments that took part in the Battle of Pelham, noticed some spectacular apple orchards in the area.  When the Revolutionary War was over, he purportedly obtained some of the trees, took them to his home in Woburn, Massachusetts (where he was a widely-respected horticulturist) and developed the Baldwin Apple.

Answer to Question 5:  During a portion of World War II, a prisoner of war camp for Italian prisoners of war stood on a portion of Hart Island.  In 1868, the Hunter family sold Hart Island to New York City.  Technically, the island remained part of the Town of Pelham until the area was annexed by New York City in the mid-1890s.

Answer to Question 6:  On June 1, 1943, the United States Government leased Travers Island in the Village of Pelham Manor from the New York Athletic Club and made the island available to the Royal Norwegian Navy which used it as a gunnery school until 1946 when the NYAC regained possession of the island and its club.

Answer to Question 7:  When the "Great Hurricane of 1938" struck Pelham late in the afternoon of September 21, 1938, members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist were inside their church building.  Today, that building houses the Town of Pelham Public Library.  The massive storm surge caused by the hurricane swept up the Hutchinson River and overflowed the banks, spilling onto Colonial Avenue and Wolfs Lane.  The surge submerged the entire area including cars parked along local streets.  The church members were trapped inside the church.  The water rose quickly to a depth of more than six feet within the church basement as water cascaded through the basement windows.  As the waters continued to rise, a few church members gathered on the steps of the building and shouted for help.  According to one news account, four boys from Pelham Memorial High School heard the cries and plunged into the waters, carrying church members who asked for help to nearby high ground.  

Order a Copy of "Thomas Pell and the Legend of the Pell Treaty Oak."  

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