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, July 19, 2016

Village of Pelham (Pelham Heights) Bought the Last Property in 1950 to Complete Today's Wolfs Lane Park

Wolfs Lane Park is a beautiful village park on the east side of Wolfs Lane extending from First Street to Boulevard in the neighborhood of Pelham Heights in the Village of Pelham.  In addition to offering a lovely park for Pelham residents, the little oasis was intended as a buffer between the commercial district along the west side of Wolfs Lane and the quiet residential streets of Pelham Heights extending between First Street and Boulevard.

The park long was known as "Pelham Heights Park" because it is entirely located within Pelham Heights.  See, e.g., THE SITUATION, The Pelham Sun, May 19, 1933, p. 2, cols. 1-2 ("If you are in the habit of taking exercise walks, and wish to walk amid pleasant surroundings, include in your route the Pelham Heights Park along Wolf's lane.").

As early as 1914, the Village of Pelham (today's Pelham Heights) was engaged in efforts to assemble plots to develop park land.  That year, for example, the Village of Pelham scheduled a referendum for voters to authorize issuance of bonds to purchase land along 1st Street between Corlies Avenue and Pelhamdale Avenue not only for recreational purposes, but also to serve as a buffer between the New Haven Line railroad tracks and the residences in Pelham Heights.  See Pelham Heights -- Park Referendum, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jul. 15, 1914, p. 7, col. 1.   

In 1925, there was a major project to widen Wolfs Lane in the area along today's Wolfs Lane Park.  As the project was being completed, the local newspaper reported as follows:  "Wolf's lane, particularly now that it is widened, presents business opportunities that will probably result in the creation of  long 'white way' through this village, continuing on into Fifth avenue, in North Pelham."  See Further Progress On Widening of Wolf's Lane, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Sep. 24, 1925, p. 18, col. 3.  Comments such as these seem later to have prompted local leaders to move toward assembling plots on the east side of Wolfs Lane to serve as a buffer between the planned commercial district along Wolfs Lane.

To create Wolfs Lane Park, however, the Village of Pelham (Pelham Heights) had to assemble a number of parcels that made up the property.  The last property bought by Pelham Heights to complete an extension of the Park between 1st Street and Boulevard was a home that stood at 228 Wolfs Lane owned by Mr. and Mrs. Marvin L. Griffith.  That home once was located roughly across the street from today's Villagio Ristorante and Pizzeria at 229 Wolfs Lane.

The Village acquired that property in November 1950 for $18,800, long after the establishment of Wolfs Lane Park.  In addition to a $1,600 down payment, at the time the Village also paid $2,700 due to a budget surplus, leaving $14,500 due over the following two years.  See Pelham Heights Shows Finance Gain Despite Cash Shrinkage, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Mar. 8, 1951, p. 3, cols. 5-6.  

The Village did not move or tear down the building immediately.  For a time, a proposal to move the building across Wolfs Lane and use it as a Teen Recreation Center for the youth of Pelham.  Nothing, however, came of that proposal.  See Teen-Age Recreation Center Site On Wolf's Lane Debated, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Apr. 3, 1951, p. 3, cols. 3-4

Shortly after acquiring the home, the Village agreed to allow the tenants to remain on a month-to-month basis.  The village also rented the second floor of the house for use by a Civil Defense organization that served all three villages as the Cold War intensified, at least until 1953.  See Pelham Village Board Studies Proposed New Traffic Light, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Jun. 20, 1951, Second Section, p. 3, cols. 3-4.  

Within a few years, the home at 228 Wolfs Lane was gone and the entirety of lots between 1st Street and Boulevard had been cleared to make way for Wolfs Lane Park as we know it today.

For the last three years the Village of Pelham and its residents have been working hard to redesign the park in a way that would allow its use in a more dynamic way.  A portion of the redesign is being funded by a $647,000 grant facilitated by State Senator Jeffrey Klein from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), New York State's facilities finance and construction authority.  As part of the redesign, a new, recently-completed children's play space designated "Woodland Park" has been donated by the Junior League of Pelham.

To learn more about the proposed redesign of Wolfs Lane Park, see the following:

Wolfs Lane Park Redesign Master Plan (May 2016) (visited Jul. 2, 2016).

Wolfs Lane Park Redesign Detailed Drawings by Area (May 2016) (visited Jul. 2, 2016).

Wolfs Lane Park Redesign Timeline (visited Jul. 2, 2016).  

Saratoga Associates Presentation on Redesign of Wolfs Lane Park (Mar. 3, 2015) (visited Jul. 2, 2016).

Saratoga Associates Presentation on Redesign of Wolfs Lane Park (Oct. 21, 2014) (visited Jul. 2, 2016).

Village of Pelham, New York Wolfs Lane Park Redesign Page (visited Jul. 2, 2016).

Detail from 1914 Map Showing Area of Today's Wolfs
Lane Park.  Note that in 1914, Only One Home Stood
on the East Side of Wolfs Lane at About the Very Location
of 228 Wolfs Lane, the Last Structure Acquired by the 
Village of Pelham in November 1950 to Complete the Park.
Source:  "Pelham" in G. W. Bromley & Co., Atlas of Westchester
County, N.Y. Pocket, Desk and Automobile Edition, Vol. I,
pp. 124-25 (NY, NY:  G. W. Bromley & Co., 1914).

*          *          *          *          *

Below is the text of an article announcing the purchase of the last lot needed to complete the creation of Wolfs Lane Park.  It is followed by a citation and link to its source.  

"Pelham Buys Wolf's Lane Property For Park Extension


The last threat of possible encroachment by commercial ventures on the east side of Wolf's Lane was removed last night when the Village Board of Trustees arranged for the purchase of the sole remaining house along a stretch of land extending from First Street to the Boulevard.  The entire area will be set aside for a municipal park.  

The property, sold to the village for $16,000 by Mr. and Mrs. Marvin L. Griffith is located at 228 Wolf's Lane and the house, reported by Trustee Dudley Wilson to be in good condition, will be resold if possible.  Bids will be taken in the near future, the Board indicated.

A down payment of $1,600 has been made, with the balance of the purchase price to be paid when title is taken on or about Dec. 12, and the $14,000 balance will be financed by a capital note, one-half payable within one year and the remainder over the succeeding two years.

Tenants Must Move

Tenants now occupying the house in which Mr. and Mrs. Griffith lived until they moved to Pennsylvania a year ago, will be notified that they must vacate by July 1, the Board indicated.  The structure if sold will be moved to another site, and the land will provide for the extension of the park development started by the village some years ago.

The Board also discussed the possibility of creating a single assessment roll for the three villages, and sked Clifton Hadley, Village Attorney, to confer with Town Attorney Emanuel Schwartz.  Mayor Arthur Boal reported Pelham Manor had indicated its willingness to discuss the project if an entirely new assessment roll were prepared by a group of experts.

In a resolution directed to the New York State Liquor Authority, the Board opposed granting a liquor license to the Village restaurant at 105 Wolf's Lane, and urged the Authority to reject the application now pending.

Scout Program Set

Use of the Courtroom at Village Hall was granted to Boy Scout Troop 7 for a program on Dec. 6 upon the recommendation of Trustee Edward Freeman, and Trustee Wilson was given permission to use the room, for a weekly course in citizenship he will conduct for Boy Scouts beginning in January.  At least twenty Scouts have already signed up, he reported and the course will be of six weeks duration this year instead of three.

Walter Gruse, provisional chief of police, was appointed dog enumerator for the annual canine census to be conducted in December."

Source:  Pelham Buys Wolf's Lane Property For Park Extension, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Nov. 22, 1950, p. 5, cols. 4-5.  

Archive of the Historic Pelham Web Site.
Home Page of the Historic Pelham Blog.
Order a Copy of "Thomas Pell and the Legend of the Pell Treaty Oak." 

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home