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.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Early History of Colonial Elementary School: The Battle in 1925 Regarding How to Deal with Colonial School and Other Pelham Schools - Part I

Today's posting is the first of a two-part series.  See

Fri., Sep. 18, 2015:  Early History of Colonial Elementary School: The Battle in 1925 Regarding How to Deal with Colonial School and Other Pelham Schools - Part I.

Mon., Sep. 21, 2015:  Early History of Colonial Elementary School: The Battle in 1925 Regarding How to Deal with Colonial School and Other Pelham Schools - Part II.

Pelhamites were mad and weren't going to take it anymore.  As the Roaring Twenties progressed, the population of the Town exploded.  Pelham's school facilities were not keeping up.  They were bursting at the seams.  The overcrowding was so bad because so many students from Pelhamwood and North Pelham were being crammed into the Siwanoy School that the School District was running two shortened sessions of school each day at Siwanoy.  They called it "double-time instruction," "part-time instruction," and half-time instruction."  Pelham Manor parents called it "unacceptable."  

Pelham Manor parents were angry because elementary students from North Pelham and Pelham Heights were crowded into Pelham Manor's Siwanoy School.  Pelham Heights and North Pelham parents were angry because the Hutchinson School and the tiny four-room Colonial School could not handle all the students from North Pelham and the Heights.  No one could agree, however, where new schools should be built.    

The School Board stirred the pot in 1924 when it issued a report issued concluding that the tiny four-room Colonial School that once stood where today's Colonial Elementary School stands was "unfit" and "not properly located."  The report favored abandonment of the four-room schoolhouse and building another school building elsewhere in Pelham Heights.

First Colonial School that Stood on the Site of
Today's Colonial Elementary School in an Undated
Photograph, Circa 1905.  Source:  Pelham Union
Free School District No. 1, [Untitled History of District
Schools], p. 4 [Unnumbered Pages], Visited May 10, 2015.
NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

To make matters worse, by the early 1920s the 1918 annex to the first Colonial School, a converted residence located at 105 Boulevard, had been condemned as an inadequate facility by the State Board of Education and was closed.  Pelham Heights could not fit all its students into the tiny Colonial School that stood on the site of today's Colonial Elementary School.  Yet, local residents opposed any efforts to expand or replace that tiny school.  Boulevard residents and other nearby residents said they would file a lawsuit to block any effort to replace the condemned 1918 annex to the first Colonial School with a new school building.  They cited deed covenants that restricted land use along the Boulevard to residences.

1918 Annex to First Colonial School, a Residence
Located at 105 Boulevard.  Source:  Pelham Union
Free School District No. 1, [Untitled History of District
Schools], p. 4 [Unnumbered Pages], Visited May 10, 2015.
NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

Petitions and counter-petitions were flying.  Circular letters were making the rounds.  Accusations of lies and misleading misconduct were rampant.  Threats to involve New York State governmental authorities were lobbed.  Things were getting ugly in Pelham.  

The School Board was caught between a rock and a hard place.  Any choice it made regarding the expansion of any school or the site for construction of any new school was bound to upset legions of residents.  At first it felt it had no choice.  It called for voters to decide the matters in a referendum.  

Such a special referendum, however, did not satisfy the School Board's critics.  There simply was no agreement among Pelhamites regarding how best to add capacity to the School District's educational facilities.  Nevertheless, during the evening of Tuesday, March 24, 1925, the School Board voted to call a special election of school voters of the district on Monday, April 20th at 8:15 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium to approve three propositions recommended for adoption by the Board.  Those three propositions were:

1.  To purchase additional land adjoining the present Colonial School site on Pelhamdale Avenue, Pelham Heights, at a cost not to exceed $37,000.

2.  To demolish the present Colonial School and erect a new 12-room elementary school building on the enlarged site at a cost not to exceed $285,000.

3. To secure a site in North Pelham on Sixth street between Third and Fourth Avenues for the erection of a school at some future time, the cost of the site not to exceed $65,000.   

Pelham and its leaders had allowed the School District to get itself into a tight spot.  Pelham needed new facilities immediately.  Everywhere the School Board turned, however, in its efforts to find a site on which to build new facilities, local protests erupted and threatened litigation raised the prospect of years of delay before construction could begin -- years of delay that the children of the Town of Pelham could not afford.  The School Board concluded that the quickest path of least resistance to alleviate some pain would be to expand the Colonial School on its then-present site.  (Efforts already were underway to expand the Hutchinson School.)  It was hoped that the expansions of the Hutchinson School and Colonial School would allow the District to move students out of Siwanoy School to alleviate the overcrowding there.

On April 20, 1925, Pelham voters went to the polls.  What happened next shocked the School Board and the entire Town.  To learn more, see Part II of this post scheduled for Monday, September 18.

Today's Colonial Elementary School, Shown
in April 2012.  NOTE:  Click on Image To Enlarge.

*          *          *          *          *

"Hostile Sentiment Against Purchase Of Boulevard For New School; Many Favor Building On Fourth Avenue
Petition From North Pelham Residents to be Presented to Board of Education -- Report of Buildings and Grounds Committee to be Presented Next Week.

Residents of the Boulevard are up in arms against the proposal of the Board of Education to acquire property on the Boulevard for the rebuilding of Colonial School, and an active fight for the preservation of covenants which restrict Boulevard property to residential development will be made if further plans are put forth by the school board.  Legal aid is being invoked to take up the cudgels for those homeowners adjacent to the site of the proposed new school for the preservation of their property rights.  

In North Pelham a corps of active workers will present to the Board of Education next week a petition with several hundred signatures which calls for a school to be erected on a site at Fourth Avenue and Second Street, North Pelham.  No objections have been raised by owners of adjacent property.  

The building and grounds committee of the Board of Education will make a report shortly which will contain recommendations regarding new school sites.

The following letter has been forwarded to the Board by Howard Davis of Pelham Heights:


'A committee of representative citizens of North Pelham, who have evidently made a careful survey and close study of the school situation, have formulated and presented to the Board of Education a plan which, if adopted, will afford a practical solution of the school problem.

'They request the submission to the voters of the following proposition:

'To rescind the action of the District in appropriating $265,000 for an

(Continued on page 10)

Hostile Sentiment Against Purchase Of Boulevard Property
(Continued from page 1)

addition to Hutchinson School.

'To acquire a site on Second Street, North Pelham, extending from Third to Fourth Avenues, about 200 feet by 500 feet.

'To erect thereon a school unit in the immediate future.

'To acquire a site at Sixth Street for future use.

'At a meeting last Sunday of a group of Pelham residents, I was requested to inform you that they endorse the plan as outlined for the following reasons among others:

'Approximately one half the population of the School District resides in North Pelham, and the proposed new school would be located where most convenient and most needed.  

'The proposed sites are removed from the main arteries of traffice and afford greater safety to the school children than would schools placed where traffic is heavy.

'Ample space for playgrounds for the children would be provided whereas the playground space at Hutchinson School is universally admitted to be wholly inadequate and would be practically eliminated by an addition to the school building and by the widening of the street, if the proposed plan for widening be carried out.

'The new school building, as proposed, could be built without delay and while Hutchinson School is being operated.  The addition to Hutchinson would have to await the closing of the school.

'The $265,000 heretofore appropriated for an addition to Hutchinson School would, if used to carry out the plan outlined, go far toward covering the expense involved, would provide facilities at an earliest date, would satisfy the just demands of 50% of the population, and would be in the interest of proper economy.'"

Source:  Hostile Sentiment Against Purchase Of Boulevard For New School; Many Favor Building On Fourth Avenue, The Pelham Sun, Feb. 27, 1925, Vol. 15, No. 52, p. 1, cols. 1-2p. 10, col. 8.  

"Three Propositions On School Sites; Problems To Be Put To Electors; Big Delegation Attends School Board
Two Petitions Before Board Call For New School In North Pelham -- Col. L'Esperance Demands Full Time For Manor Children by Removing Children of Heights and North Pelham Who Are Causing Overcrowded Conditions In Manor School.
Circular Letter Sent Out By Committee of Board Is Excoriated -- President Thompson Promises To Put Matter To People And Keep Public Well Informed Of All Actions of Board

More than fifty prominent residents of the Pelhams attended the meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday night to express their opinions on the various plans projected for solving the part-time school situation by the erection of an additional elementary school and the purchase of land for future school sites.

Two petitions were presented calling for a new school in North Pelham.  One with over 300 signatures advocated the erection of a building at Second Street on a plot of land extending from Third to Fourth Avenues.  This petition was supported by a letter sent to the Board by Howard Davis of Pelham Heights.  The second with 112 signatures sponsored by Edward Rieger of Third Avenue, urged the selection of a site east of Fifth Avenue.  

An accompanying letter stated that many of the signers of the first petition did not know that they were signing for the Second Street site, but believed they were advocating a new school in North Pelham.  Louis Sigloch, champion of the first petition, denied this stating that every signer had been properly informed of the contents of the petition which was sent around by the Citizens' School Committee of North Pelham.  Harold Penny of Pelhamwood presented many additional signatures to the first petition.  This has already been printed in The Sun.  Rieger's petition set forth that the Fourth Street site was unde-

(Continued on Page 2)

Three Propositions On School Sites
(Continued From Page One)

sirable as it is only two blocks removed from another school and Pelhamwood children would have to cross Fifth Avenue and encounter traffic dangers to get there.

Constructive Suggestions Welcomed

R. C. Buttolph remonstrated with Louis Sigloch claiming that he as owner of a property which might be condemned for Second Street school site he should have been consulted.  Sigloch stated that a mass meeting was held and circulars distributed throughout the village and articles had appeared in The Sun.

President Thompson stated that petitions and letters presented showed a diversity of opinions, but all would be given careful consideration by the Board.  He welcomed any constructive suggestions.

Louis Sigloch, who is building code commissioner of North Pelham, then took issue with Chairman Elliott of the building and grounds committee over a circular letter which was sent out by the committee to parents in Pelham Heights asking whether they preferred a school building on the present Colonial School site or to send their children to North Pelham.  The circular referred to North Pelham Citizens' School Committee as an unauthorized committee, which was recommending a new school in North Pelham.  'Where did the building and grounds committee get that stuff about unauthorized committee?  Did you make inquiry?' demanded Sigloch.

Chairman Elliott admitted that the committee had not been very diligent in its inquiry, which caused Sigloch to remark that the letter was conducive to the growth of sectionalism, sacrificed principles, and was un-American, especially as it was delivered by the school children.

Mr. Dench -- How did the committee arrive at the fact that the children would have to go to North Pelham?

Chairman Elliott -- When Siwanoy is completed we shall still need four more rooms and the surplus must be sent to a new school.   Sending out circulars to the parents seemed to be the most effective method of obtaining an expression of their opinion.  Our committee is looking for enlightenment.  The fact that a few men obtain a large number of signatures does not appoint them a committee.

Edward Dillon -- I modified Mr. Elliott that the North Pelham committee was personally appointed at a meeting of the residents of North Pelham at the Town Hall.

Pelham Manor's Claim

Judge L'Esperance stated that he appeared for Pelham Manor, the section of the school district which paid 53 per cent of the taxes.  He insisted that the Board eliminate the double time in Siwanoy School by sending to Hutchinson School those pupils in Siwanoy who came fro Pelhamwood and North Pelham.  'Our children are forced out of their seats by children coming from a mile away.'  In support of his demand he cited official figures to show where the school pupils originated, claiming 31 from North Pelham were now in Siwanoy School and 93 from Pelham Heights.  

Clair Fairbank of Pelham Manor stated that the excess of school population existed chiefly in North Pelham, Hutchinson School having a capacity of 260, whereas the school population was 388; Pelham Manor had 271 grade pupils in Siwanoy and 39 in Colonial School; the enlarged Siwanoy would have a seating capacity of 350 pupils, the inference being that Siwanoy School when complete would be adequate for Pelham Manor.  'When the high school is complete next December its accommodation will be for 900 pupils; its present attendance is 550, which will leave 350 vacant seats.  What are you going to do with them asked Mr. Fairbank.

President Thompson -- We did not build for next December, but for several years.

John E. Fetzer wanted to know if the Board had arrived at any decision as to the sentiment in Pelham Heights as the result of sending out the circular letter. 

Mr. Ellliott -- Replies received indicate that 113 are in favor of going to Colonial School; of 13 others, some were willing to go to North Pelham and others were neutral.  More replies are yet to come in.  The Board believes it best to enlarge Colonial School.

Mr. Fetzer maintained that the circular was unfair and not to the point and suggest that the replies be consigned to the waste basket.

Mr. Carmichael said he believed that Pelham Heights did not want a large school on Pelhamdale Avenue.

Louis Sigloch stated that the North Pelham Citizens' School Committee [illegible] the petition with over 390 signatures 'If the new school is built, all North Pelham children can go there.  If the Board will take our plan and place it before the people it will find the sentiment that will put it over and solve your school problem.'

School Trustee Townsend -- Major L'Esperance does not want Pelham children in Pelham Manor schools; Mr. Sigloch wants a new school in North Pelham; Pelham Heights children will not go there; and Mr. Carmichael does not want a school in Pelham.  What are we to do with the Pelham children?

Howard Davis -- It seems that the surplus space in the High School should be used for taking care of the surplus of Heights children.

Trustee Townsend -- It has been considered, but the Board was severely assailed last year for bringing junior and senior hight into the same building.

Mr. Davis -- This is only one step removed.  I am against junior high but I would favor this in the emergency.  

Trustee Townsend -- Don't you think we should have any further school expansion in Pelham Heights?

Several Voices -- No.

President Thompson -- Isn't it possible to crystallize the sentiment of this meeting.

Judge L'Esperance asked the Board to go on record as to what it was doing, and intended to do, so that the taxpayers 'will get this subject right.'  'I am fully aware that the Education Law allows your Board to pick out a site without considering the public.'

President Thompson pointed out the difficulty of a position where the Board had petitions and counter petitions, and suggested that propositions be placed before the school electors as follows:

1.  Shall the voters now recede from their action of a year ago, appropriating money for the enlargement of Hutchinson School?

2.  Shall a site be purchased on Second Street, North Pelham, and a new school erected thereon?

3.  Shall an additional school site in North Pelham be purchased in the neighborhood of Sixth Street?

'Would that be the sense of the meeting?' asked the chairman.

Mr. R. M. Stern of Pelham Heights said what was wanted was schools cut to fit localities, not localities cut to fit schools.  'North Pelham, Pelham Manor and Pelham Heights should be served by schools in their own neighborhood.  There is a fairly well crystallized sentiment for this and the Board can draw that inference.'

Clair Fairbank presented a motion that it is the consensus of this meeting that the Board present to the voters the propositions outlined by the people.

President Thompson reminded the meeting that another way of determining the location of schools might be taken by the State Board of Education which would conduct a survey of the district and 'select a site for us.'

Trustee Townsend -- I can't get away from the feeling that we are not treating the districts exactly alike.  If Pelham Manor and North Pelham demand school accommodation, why are not the Pelham Heights children entitled to similar buildings, with gymnasiums, etc.  The object seems to be to get rid of the school.

William Dench advocated the use of surplus space in the enlarged High School for the accommodation of surplus grade school pupils of Pelham Heights.

School Superintendent Arnold stated that if the 31 North Pelham children were taken out of Siwanoy it [illegible] of pupils but of grades.  If all schools had full numbers the problem would be easy.'  He pointed out that 250 seats did not mean that 250 pupils would be taken care of, as some of the grades had only 20 pupils, where seating accommodations would take care of 36.  Pelham children could not all be taken into the four-room Colonial School, as there were 13 grades and he doubted if Pelham Heights would be satisfied to have its children educated under conditions which would necessitate two and more grades in one room.

Mr. Dench -- We certainly need a school in North Pelham.  Let's do it a step at a time.  Build a school there and when the time comes that it is needed Pelham will have a school.  

Judge L'Esperance again voiced his insistence that full-time schooling be provided for Pelham Manor children.  'If not your Board may be confronted with a Soviet condition where the people will demand an accounting of your stewardship.'

Referring to the need of a school in North Pelham Superintendent Arnold stated that if all Pelhamwood children were taken out of Siwanoy School and placed in Hutchinson, that school would not be overcrowded.

President Thompson closed the meeting by assuring those present that they would be kept fully informed as to the work and plans of the building and grounds committee for school expansion."

Source:  Three Propositions On School Sites; Problems To Be Put To Electors; Big Delegation Attends School Board, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 6, 1925, Vol, 16, No. 1, p. 1, cols. 6-7 & p. 2, cols. 3-5.  

"Pelhamwood Association Has Lively Meeting In Discussion Of Schools
Duane R. Dills Chairman Of School Committee Resigns And Threatens To Invoke Aid Of State Department When Association Takes No Action On Recommendation To Appeal To Albany To Solve School Situation.

Consideration of a report from its school committee was the chief business before a meeting of about fifty members of Pelhamwood Association on Wednesday night.

Duane R. Dills, chairman of the school committee presented a lengthy report which recommended abandonment of consideration of all projected school sites and the forcing through by aid of the State Department of Education of the First Street site, which has been abandoned by the Board of Education.  He claimed it to be the logical site for the district to be served and scoffed at the idea that legal obstacles could be interposed to present its acquirement as a school site.  He also quoted from a report issued by the school board a year ago which declared Colonial school unfit and not properly located and favoring its abandonment for another site in Pelham Heights.  

A hot discussion followed showing marked division of opinion, Treasurer P. E. Bacas finally getting through a resolution that in view of the fact that only one-third of the membership was present no action should be taken.

Mr. Dills thereupon tendered his resignation from the committee which was accepted.  He afterward issued a statement declaring that his action was to relieve the association of embarrassment which might be caused by his intention to carry to the State Board of Education the fight against what he termed was a political organization in Pelham Heights which was seeking to compel the school board to put a school in North Pelham.  He criticized the board of Education for failing to present a reasonable proposition to the voters stating it is a victim of its own blunders.

President Clemenson left the chair to take the floor in support of Mr. Dills, urging petition to State Department of Education which would solve the problem on the basis of the district to be served.

Dr. Kennedy former member of the faculty of University of Pennsylvania, recommended passing to the State Department the solution of the school problem in view of the fact that there were so many divergent ideas.

School Trustee Robert Shaw told of the several petitions and counter petitions which had been presented

(Continued on page 10)

Pelhamwood Assn. Has Lively Meeting
(Continued from page 1)

to the Board of Education, stating that it had endeavored to get the wish of the people, and was trying to solve the school problem in a sound, sensible and economical manner.  The Board would not recommend the Fourth avenue site, but would recommend purchase of land on Sixth street for a school, for the future.  The enlargement of Hutchinson school approved last would be modified if the Sixth street site is purchased.  First street site was abandoned when legal difficulties arose which threatened to delay acquisition for several years and forced a return to the enlargement of Colonial school as the most sound proposition.  He urged support of the Board of Education stating that delay meant increased cost in the future.  

Village Trustee Dillon opposed the First street site stating it unwise to force a fight on Pelham where they did not want a school erected, and criticized the school committee for publishing its report and putting a fight on the association's hands without consulting it first.  

Harold D. Penny characterized the proposed expenditure of $265,000 on Hutchinson school enlargement as a waste of money claiming that a new school could be built on Fourth avenue with that money, and solve the question economically.  He hoped that the Board of Education would put up the Fourth avenue site to the people and not load it with a lot of figures tending to kill it.  He objected to sending a petition to the State Department.  'If that is done Board can send all the children to Hutchinson,' said Mr. Penny."

Source:  Pelhamwood Association Has Lively Meeting In Discussion Of Schools -- Duane R. Dills Chairman Of School Committee Resigns And Threatens To Invoke Aid Of State Department When Association Takes No Action On Recommendation To Appeal To Albany To Solve School Situation, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 20, 1925, Vol. 16, No. 3, p. 1, cols. 1-2p. 10, cols. 6-7

"School Board Acts:  Recommends New Colonial School And Site In North Pelham; Petitions For Other Sites Declared Unsuitable To Solve Problem
Report of Building Committee Says New Colonial School Necessary to Solve Congestion in That District Where Part Time Schooling Is Now In Effect -- New School In North Pelham Would Not Aid Congestion In Heights And Manor?
Duane R. Dills Presents Numerously Signed Petition Demanding That First Street Site, Previously Abandoned Be Acquired By Invoking Aid of State Department

At conclusion of a session which lasted until 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday the Board of Education adopted the report of its Building and Grounds Committee, presented by Chairman James Elliott and will call a special election of school voters of the district on Monday, April 20th at 8:15 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium to approve of the three propositions recommended.  They are:

1.  To purchase additional land adjoining the present Colonial School site on Pelhamdale Avenue, Pelham Heights, at a cost not to exceed $37,000.

2.  To demolish the present Colonial School and erect a new 12-room elementary school building on the enlarged site at a cost not to exceed $285,000.

3. To secure a site in North Pelham on Sixth street between Third and Fourth Avenues for the erection of a school at some future time, the cost of the site not to exceed $65,000.   

The Board had previously gone on record as willing to place before the voters a proposition calling for the erection of a new school on Fourth Avenue and Second Stret, North Pelham.  Their action followed the presentation by Louis C. Sigloch of North Pelham of a petition signed by over 300 names advocating that plan.  A petition objecting to the Fourth Avenue site, and others advocating sites on First Street, Pelham Heights; Highbrook Avenue; Pelhamwood; Harmon and Fifth Avenues; Pelhamwood were also received by the school board; the First Street, Pelham Heights petition was presented Monday night by Duane R. Dills of Pelhamwood; it bore 219 signatures; the Sigloch petition bore 335 and those against it on a counter petition numbered 112.

The Pelham Sun reprints in full the report of the building and grounds committee which outlines the reasons for rejection of the petitions presented.

George W. Lahey, village president of Pelham, expressed disapproval of the plan of the school board.  To a Sun man he said 'I am directly opposed to taking any more land off the tax rolls.  Of 235 acres which comprise Pelham [i.e., the Heights], the school board has nearly eight acres already.  At the high school there are tennis courts and a running track which could be available for the erection of an elementary school.  It is unnecessary to tear down good property when so much unimproved land is available.'

Louis C. Sigloch expresses his opinion of the plan in the correspondence columns of the editorial page.  Edward G. Clemenson, active worker for consideration of the First Street site in Pelham Heights stated that he would defer his opinion until he had read the plan presented by the bulding and grounds committee.  

Speaking of the report, Chairman Elliott said to a Sun man: 'It is the most satisfactory way which we can devise of solving the part-time instruction problem.  We plan to erect a new school where it is most needed and where it will ensure every pupil being provided with a seat.  Parents are tired of this half-time instruction which is now in effect and look to us to solve it.  I think our plan will get the support of all people after a little thought is given to it.'

The report of the building and grounds committee in full is as follows:

(Continued on Page 6)

School Board Acts And Recommends New Colonial School And N. Pelham Site
(Continued from page 1)

March 23, 1925

At the District meeting held March 1, 1924, the Board of Education presented a carefully considered plan to provide adequate school accommodations for the entire District.  That portion of the plan which provided for the acquisition of a new site and twelve-room building for the Colonial School on what is known as the 'Norman' property on Pelhamdale Avenue, Second Street and Highbrook Ave. in Pelham Heights, was defeated by vote of the District.  Thus the plan was left incomplete.  

The principal ground of opposition that developed after the publication of the Board's proposition was that the use of this property for school purposes would violate, and perhaps break down, the restrictions applicable to property in that locality.  Litigation has been threatened if the Board should attempt to acquire restricted property.

Following the rejection of the 'Norman' site the board examined closely into the question of the availability of the property at the other end of the same block, known as the 'First Street site,' being the land lying between Pelhamdale and Highbrook Avenues north of the 'Highbrook Arms,' both including and excluding the park strip owned by the Village of Pelham on First Street.  Vigorous objection on the ground of possible violation of restrictions arose to this suggestion also.  The matter was further complicated by the fact that the purchase of the park strip would probably require a Village of Pelham vote and an act of the New York Legislature, and this, in view of the opposition which developed, seemed to make the difficulties insurmountable.  

The Board's legal counsel, after exhaustive study, advised that if condemnation proceedings should be instituted in a restricted area, every owner and lessee of property and every owner of a mortgage or other lien on property in the restricted area must be made a party to the condemnation proceedings and that the compensation awarded to such owners might amount in the aggregate to a considerable sum.  If the district should attempt to acquire such property by purchase, it might be compelled to defend actions brought by owners of other property in the restricted area to enjoin such purchase, or actions for damages for violation of the restrictions.  In either event, the litigation would be expensive, might involve the payment of a considerable sum as awards or damages in owners of other property, and might delay for several years the construction of a school house.  Following this advice the Board reluctantly decided that the site was not available.  

The Board next considered the enlargement of the present Colonial site by the purchase of three properties lying south of the present Colonial School, two on Pelhamdale Avenue and one on Highbrook Avenue.  After options had been obtained and the Board had the matter under consideration, the owners of the three properties lying north of the Colonial School, that is the block frontage on the Boulevard between Pelhamdale and Highbrook Avenues, came to your committee and offered to sell their properties at a price substantially less than that for which the Board could acquire the three properties south of the Colonial School.  This enlargement of the Colonial site appealed strongly to the the Board as it would place the school property at the end instead of the middle of the block.

Before the Boulevard property could be used for school purposes, it would require the exercise by the Pelham Heights Company of its reserved power to alter or modify the restrictions in what is known as the 'Pelham Heights section' of the Village of Pelham.  The Board made application to the Pelham Heights Company to modify the restrictions, as that company had already done in 1923 when the Board purchased certain lots on Pelhamdale Avenue.  It was advised that the Company would not exercise its right to grant the modifications without the consent of the adjacent owners, which consent the Company later informed the Board, such owners refused to give.  The Company further advised the Board that it would not release from restrictions any more lots on Pelhamdale Avenue, on on Highbrook Avenue, south of the present Colonial School.

The Committee, realizing the immediate need for more school facilities, has considered a number of proposed sites and made every effort to learn the wishes of the District.  The Committee has called together in meetings groups of patrons of the schools who represented the different sections of the District, for informal discussion and to obtain the best views possible of the general sentient of the District, toward school enlargement.  

It was admitted by everyone with whom we have been in touch that the District needed a new Elementary school but there were differences of opinion as to the location of the school.  

Your Committee hopes that the Board will keep clearly in mind this fact.  Many of those who have expressed their opinions to the Board and the Committee, apparently cannot or will not give it due consideration.  It is this, that the sections of the District where urgent need for school accommodations exist are the Village of Pelham, Pelhamwood and the northerly section of the Village of Pelham Manor.  While the Committee believes that reasonable consideration should be given to real estate restrictions and to the obvious fact that possibly most owners of residential property would prefer that a school house should not be placed directly adjacent to their properties, nevertheless it should be borper [sic] in mind that proper facilities for the education of the children of the District are imperative, and that, when all is said and done, an architecturally attractive school building for the use of the children of the residents of the immediate neighborhood will in general increase rather than diminish property values.

The Board on February 18, 1925, received a petition from residents of North Pelham carrying 335 signatures, submitted by a Citizen's School Committee of North Pelham, accopanied by a letter requesting the following:

1.  That the proposition for an addition to Hutchinson School adopted at the District Meeting held March 31, 1924, be rescinded.  

2.  That a new school site be secured on Sixth Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues, North Pelham.

3.  That a new school site be secured on Second Street between Third and Fourth Avenues, North Pelham.

4.  That a new school building be erected immediately on the latter site.

Following the receipt of the above petition, a second petition was received from residents of North Pelham, carrying 112 signatures, asking that no action be taken on the first petition.

At the meeting of the School Board on March 3, 1925, about sixty residents appeared before the Board and discussed the two petitions.  At the end of the meeting, a motion was made and carried that the Board be requested to submit propositions 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the petition mentioned above, to the voters of the District.  

Your Committee feels that it should clearly state its position in regard to the above propositions.  

1.  We believe it unwise to rescind the action of the District meeting of March 31, 1924, appropriating $260,000 for the construction of additions to the Hutchinson School for the following reasons:

While this school has never had any children on part time, several of the classes will shortly reach the point in size where they must of necessity be divided for proper instruction, requiring several additional classrooms to accommodate the additional number of classes.  Its gymnasium and assembly facilities are totally inadequate for the number of children now attending the school and the reasonable requirements of the community.

Our architects, at the request of the Board, have made preliminary plans for additions to the present Hutchinson School, and for incidental alterations in the gymnasium and auditorium, and for a new heating and ventilating system.  We think that these additions and alterations would meet the demands on this school for several years to come.

Due to an amendment of the Education Law passed since the meeting of March 31, 1924, the obligation on the District to maintain a Continuation School in North Pelham is very remote.  The authorized additions to the Hutchinson School were intended in part to provide such facilities.  Since the District is not now compelled to have a Continuation School, it is the opinion of this Committee that the repairs and enlargements of the Hutchinson school property which are now needed and for which the architects have made preliminary plans, can be effected at less cost than the amount appropriated by the District March 31, 1924, and this saving will be made if possible.  If this appropriation be rescinded, the District should know that a substantial appropriation must be made at an early date to provide for a new heating and ventilating system and other needed repairs to the present building.

II.  This Committee is opposed to the acquiring of all of th property on the Sixth Street site.  This tract is 268 feet on Sixth Street, 544 feet on Fourth Avenue, and 526 feet on third Avenue.  Our investigations indicate that it might cost at least $130,000.  In our opinion a smaller site would meet the future needs of the District.  A site which the Committee believes [illegible] this report.

III.  The Committee is opposed to acquiring the Second Street site.  The proposed property is not well located to serve the convenience of children who would use the school.  It is entirely too low and would require considerable filling to make it suitable for a school site with playground facilities.  This site bids fair to be exceedingly expensive because of the number of homes on the property; a majority of the owners have refused to sell their property to the School District and it would be necessary to acquire their property by condemnation.  Our investigations indicate that it might cost at least $145,000.

IV.  This Committee cannot recommend that a new school be built on the Second Street site, even if the site were suitable, because a school in this locality would not satisfactorily solve the congestion and give relief to part time instruction in grade schools to Pelham Manor and Pelham Heights.

Another petition has been received by the Board dated March 18, 1925, signed by about 229 voters, urging the Board to recommend to the District the acquisition of the First Street site referred to above, and that the District be not requested to designate a site unless said First street site be also submitted to the voters.  This Committee cannot recommend the submission of this site to the voters of the district for reasons already covered in this report.  

Two other news sites in North Pelham and the erection of new school buildings thereon have been suggested:  (1) the property of the Church of the Redeemer, situated between Fifth Avenue and Harmon Avenue; and (2) a property on Washington Avenue between Highbrook and Young Avenues, Pelhamwood.  Your Committee is of the opinion that site (1) is not large enough; that obstacles would be encountered in acquiring adjoining lots on Fifth Avenue, because they are public property; and that it would be dangerous and undesirable for other reasons to locate a school on so busy a thoroughfare as Fifth Avenue.  There are valid objections to the location of site (2).  It would be very expensive because it would be necessary to acquire five, and perhaps seven, modern houses and do much expensive grading.  This property is also in a restricted tract.  Therefore, your Committee is of the opinion that neither of these sites has sufficient merit to justify the submission to the District of propositions to acquire it and erect a school building thereon.

After thoroughly and fully considering all these propositions and in view of the diversity and conflict of opinion disclosed, and for the reasons hereinbefore given in this report, your Committee is of the opinion that it should recommend the submission by the Board of such propositions only as the Board itself deems to be suitable, available, practical, reasonably economical and best adapted to meet the present requirements and the pressing needs of the District.

We therefore make the following recommendations:

1.  The enlarging of the present Colonial site by securing three lots on Pelhamdale Avenue, south of and adjoining the present school property.

These lots, with the property now owned by the District, would give a plot of 205.26 feet on Pelhamdale Avenue and 175 feet on Highbrook Avenue.  There is one house on these three lots and the Board holds an option at  $25,500 for the purchase of the property.  The Committee is assured by the Board's counsel that no restrictions on this property prevent its use for school purposes.

The following is your counsel's report.

'In the opinion of the Board's counsel, the district may acquire lots Nos. 312, 314 and 316 which have a frontage of 84.20 feet on Pelhamdale Avenue and use the same for [illegible] buildings thereon without violating or procuring a modification of, any restrictions applicable to said lots.

'This is due to the following facts:  In 1923 when the Board purchased lots Nos. 302, 304, 306, 308 and 310 on Pelhamdale Avenue the Pelham Heights Company, in exercise of the right reserved to it in all its deeds, to modify restrictions, modified the restrictions against said lots Nos. 302, 304, 306, 308 and 310 so as to permit those lots to be used for school purposes and the erection and maintenance of a school building or buildings thereon.

'Said lots Nos. 312, 314 and 316 were conveyed by the Pelham Heights Company in 1909 by deed which contained said reserved right, and provided that if the Pelham Heights Co. should convey any lots therefore, then or thereafter owned by it on Pelhamdale Avenue with modified restrictions, or if 'in any other way' restrictions against lots on Pelhamdale Avenue should be modified or removed, such modification to such other lots should 'operate as a like modification' of the restrictions against said lots Nos. 312, 314 and 316.

'Therefore, the said modification of the restrictions against lots Nos. 302, 304, 306, 308 and 310 operated as a like modification of the restrictions against lots Nos. 312, 314 and 316, so as to permit them to be used for school purposes and for the erection of school buildings thereon.'

While this site was not the first choice of either the Committee or the Board, a year's consideration of all other suggested sites has convinced the Committee that the Colonial site is the most practicable under all the circumstances, and, from the standpoints of accessibility and economy and freedom from complications in acquisition, is the best site now available.  

In the Village of Pelham much has been said against the taking of taxable property for school purposes and thereby removing it from the tax rolls of the Village.  Your Committee does not recommend the acquisition of any more property than is necessary, and feels that the objection referred to should not prevent the acquisition of so small an amount of taxable property as these three lots represent.  All plans for new schools must be approved by the State Department of Education.  While a larger site has been recommended by experts and would doubtless be desirable, the Committee feels that under existing circumstances it would not be necessary to acquire more than these three lots.  The site thus enlarged would be sufficient for placing a [illegible] demolition of the present Colonial School building and the erection of a twelve-room Elementary School building on the enlarged site.

Elementary school children in Pelham Manor and Pelham Heights have now been on part time during four of the past six years.  The present enrollment in Hutchinson School totals 326 pupils; in the Siwanoy and Colonial Schools, 504 pupils.  The last two two buildings will not accommodate 504 pupils even when the additions to the Siwanoy School are completed.  These figures answer conclusively the question of where a new Element-  [Article ends at this point, apparently by mistake, with no further text.]" 

Source:  School Board Acts:  Recommends New Colonial School And Site In North Pelham; Petitions For Other Sites Declared Unsuitable To Solve Problem, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 27, 1925, Vol. 16, No. 4, p. 1, cols. 5-7 & p. 6, cols. 1-5.  

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