More on Pelham's Summer Resort and Amusement Park Known as Belden Point
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During the early 1890s, William J. Belden of City Island in the Town of Pelham oversaw a summer resort and amusement park on his Belden Point property located at the southern tip of City Island. William Belden was a financier and real estate developer who clearly was a rather shady character. Last Friday, I wrote about Belden Point and its brief time as a summer resort in the Town of Pelham. See Fri., Sep. 09, 2016: An Illuminating Excursion to Belden Point in Pelham in 1892. Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog provides more information about the summer resort in the Town of Pelham once known as Belden Point.
For a few months before the summer of 1891 began, William J. Belden of City Island worked tirelessly to transform his summer home, known as "The Mansion," and its surrounding grounds at Belden Point on City Island into a summer resort. Belden Point stood on a graceful rise of ground at the southern tip of the island with spectacular views of Long Island Sound and portions of the mainland. During those early months of 1891, Belden turned his summer home into a French restaurant. He had "large well-arranged buildings containing bowling alleys and billiard tables" constructed on the grounds. He also erected swings and merry-go-rounds for children.
On June 6, 1891, William Belden invited about one hundred friends and a dozen news reporters to Belden Point. He chartered the steamer Morrisania for the occasion and brought the large entourage to Belden Point for a brief "dry run" of the new resort.
The Morrisania left the foot of East 130th Street at 2:00 p.m. that day and arrived at the Belden Point dock an hour later. For three hours, Belden and his group enjoyed the new resort facilities on Belden Point. The group "enjoyed an excellent repast in the main pavilion." The group then returned to New York City at 7:00 p.m. The dry run had been a success. The new resort would open to the public for the first time one week later.
Belden Point was a new "summer resort" located in Pelham intended to serve the New York City region. It opened to the public for the first time on Saturday, June 13, 1891. The resort operated for a three-month summer season during which steamboats departed from various docks in the New York City region and returned from Belden Point with the last steamboat departing the point when the resort closed each night at 10:00 p.m.
The June 18, 1891 advertisement that appears immediately below, followed by a transcription of its text to facilitate search, sheds a great deal of light on Beldon Point only a few days after the Pelham resort first opened. For example, when the resort first opened, the restaurant in the main pavilion was a French restaurant run by a Parisian known as "Chef Voyer." Chef Voyer ran the large kitchens of a number of summer resorts in the region and even became the chef in charge of the kitchen in the new College Commons of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 1913. See "THE COLLEGE COMMONS," The Bates Student [Lewiston, ME], Oct. 9, 1913, Vol. XLI, No. 22, p. 153 (Lewiston, ME: Bates College, 1913).
As the advertisement makes clear, there was music at the resort by Lieboldt's Military Band and Orchestra from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. when the resort closed each evening during the season. Additional music was offered by Frank Taft who played a massive organ previously installed in "The Mansion," the massive home that stood at Belden Point that became a French restaurant on the site.
As the advertisement also makes clear, when the resort first opened, steamboat excursion tickets for the round trip to Belden Point cost 35 cents. They cost 20 cents for children under twelve.
"BELDEN POINT, LONG ISLAND SOUND, OPENED SATURDAY, JUNE 13.
The coolest and most delightful resort in the vicinity; boating, bathing, bowling, fishing, and all first-class amusements. Music from 11 A.M. to 10 P.M. by Lieboldt's Military Band and Orchestra; magnificent organ played by Prof. Frank Taft, &c. French restaurant by Voyer, from Paris; clambake by Marsh, from Rocky Point. A drive of twelve miles from Harlem Bridge, via Southern Boulevard, or take steamers from Bridge pier, Brooklyn, at 9:30, 11:30 A.M., 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:40 P.M., landing at Broome st. fifteen minutes later, and East 31st st. half hour later. Excursion tickets, 35 cents; children under 12, 20 cents. Boats also leave 130th st. Harlem River 10 A.M., 1, 3:30, and 6:30 P.M. On Sundays from Harlem River boats leave every hour from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. Last boat leaves Belden Point 10 P.M."
Shortly after Belden Point first opened on June 13, Belden tried to whip up interest in the new resort that competed with other established summer resorts such as Coney Island and Starin's Glen Island. For example, he worked with The New York Press, a New York City newspaper, to offer free excursion passes for free excursion trips on steamboats to and from Belden Point on Tuesdays. The free passes were printed in editions of The New York Press. An image of one such pass appears immediately below.
In addition to the free excursion passes, The New York Press offered special "Fete Days" at various local resorts including Belden Point. One such event was held at Belden Point on Tuesday, July 21, 1891. The day was a smashing success. More than 5,000 visitors thronged the grounds of Belden Point. Indeed, the first steamboat that departed for Belden Point early that day was limited to 1,000 passengers. Once full, it had to leave 300 people at the dock. Other steamboats were just as crowded for much of the day.
The crowds enjoyed the grounds of Belden Point as much as the amusements, rides, billiards, bowling, and more. One account of the July 21 "Fete Day" stated:
"it is now a superb shore park, with excellent facilities for boating and bathing and the enjoyment of a day in the open air. A well equipped military band gives a daily concert in the main pavilion, and a superior restaurant is located in what was formerly the Belden homestead. The specialty in the line of creature comforts is a clambake and a shore dinner served in the Rocky Point style."
Although The New York Press hosted quite a number of "Fete Days" during the summer of 1891, there is a brief account of another successful such day at Belden Point on September 2, 1891. According to that account:
"The beautiful grounds of Belden Point was thronged with about 3,000 PRESS excursionists yesterday, who took advantage of the charming day. At 2 o'clock the concert was opened by an organ solo by Frank Taft, and a piano solo by Miss Henrietta Markstein. James Gordon Emmons kept the audience in roars of laughter by his clever selections, while Professor J. J. Harvey's selections on the piccolo were applauded to the echo. Arthur Temme, the violinist, was warmly greeted. . . ."
This brief description of the festivities on September 2, 1891 sheds a lot of light on the Belden Point resort that season. Music clearly was an important part of the Belden Point experience. Miss Henrietta Markstein was a well-known Harlem music teacher who lived at 123 East 116th Street. She became a renowned pianist and music composer. Frank Taft was described in 1893 as "one of America's most capable organ soloists." He traveled the country giving organ concerts and also played for a number of churches and synagogues in Manhattan including Beth-El Synagogue (Fifth Avenue and East 76th Street). Arthur Temme was a violinist with The Bijou Concert trio in New York and at the age of 17 made his debut as a soloist with the new York Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Additionally, James Gordon Emmons was a noted author, poet, humorist, and lecturer during the 1890s. Clearly William J. Belden was turning to some of the best available in the region to provide musical and other entertainment.
After the close of the 1891 summer resort season at Belden Point, there seems to have been an unusual -- or at least, for now, inexplicable -- financial transaction involving Belden Point. Although Belden bought the property reportedly for $30,000 and, as will be shown below, later it was sold at auction for $15,000, the property reportedly was sold in the interim to "Belden Point Company" for $200,000. According to one report published in 1896, Belden transferred the property to the Belden Point Company, "receiving stock in the company, but no cash in payment."
The second summer season of the Belden Point resort began on June 19, 1892. Though hopes may have been high for the season, one newspaper account noted that "on account of the people in charge [of Belden Point] being comparatively ignorant of the summer excursion business, the place was not a rousing success" during its first season.
One reason for hope as the second season of the resort began was the fact that the Iron Steamboat Company, an important steamboat transportation company for the New York City region, selected Belden Point as "one of its objective points." During the 1892 summer resort season, the Iron Steamboat Company ran countless newspaper advertisements touting its frequent steamboat trips to and from Belden Point.
It appears that William J. Belden also made some significant changes at Belden Point for the 1892 season. He engaged a new band, the "Old Guard Band," to perform at the resort. He "rented" the restaurant franchise at the resort to George Murray. George Murray was a noted New York City restaurateur noted for his wildly-successful restaurant named "Sherwood" on Fifth Avenue.
Though Belden Point presented itself as a family resort, it seems that at least one of the "amusements" offered during both the 1891 and 1892 summer resort seasons at the "amusement park" was considered, by some, as unsavory. Indeed, The Evening Telegraph of New York City called for the removal of what it called the "Wheel of Fortune" at Belden Point during both the 1891 season and the 1892 season. Presumably the "Wheel of Fortune" was some form of amusement akin to a roulette wheel designed to take the money of gullible excursionists. Most notably, it was located "near the steamboat landing" both seasons.
In any event, clearly the second summer season of the Belden Point resort in Pelham began with new attractions. Perhaps as a consequence, the regular round trip fare increased in 1892 from the first season's 35 cents fare to 40 cents. Among other attractions offered in the second season were: "magnificent lawns and trees, mammoth pavilions, superb toboggan slide, two carousels, swings, razzle dazzle, shooting galleries, six bowling alleys and billiard tables, photograph galleries, boating, salt water bathing, &c. Genuine Rhode Island Clam Bake. Restaurants at reasonable prices; also a fine dairy, and every convenience for comfort and amusement."
In a readily apparent effort to drum up interest in the resort, during the 1892 season William J. Belden worked with The Evening World of New York City to support the newspaper's "Sick Babies' Fund." I have written about that initiative as well as the first such outing held that season on July 22, 1892. See Fri., Sep. 09, 2016: An Illuminating Excursion to Belden Point in Pelham in 1892. There was, however, a series of such outings at Belden Point during the 1892 summer season. Newspaper articles describing those various outings appear below.
At nearly the close of the 1892 summer resort season, on September 22, 1892, the financial world seems to have come crashing down on William J. Belden, proprietor of Belden Point on City Island in the Town of Pelham. One of Belden's many, many creditors obtained a judgment in New York Supreme Court against Belden for $661 (the equivalent of roughly $23,250 in today's dollars). Four years later, The Wall Street Journal reported that the creditor "never could collect it." Thereafter, William J. Belden and his properties were place in receivership.
By 1896, William J. Belden was in the worst financial difficulty of his life. Various reports made clear his desperate straits. According to one:
"Mr. Belden was examined recently in supplementary proceedings and testified that he has no assets whatever now, not even a watch and chain; he boards with a married daughter, and his brother, Dr. Belden of Arizona, furnishes him money for his personal expenses."
Another report at the time stated:
"William Belden, formerly the wealthy Wall street operator, and proprietor of Belden Point, City Island, testified recently in examination in supplementary proceedings that he has no estate whatever, not even a watch and chain; boards with a married daughter, and that his brother furnishes him money for his personal expenses. Belden Point, sold for stock in 1891, has been foreclosed."
Things seemed to spiral out of control for William J. Belden after that. Barbara Dolensek of City Island has studied Belden's life. In a recent article in The Island Current published on City Island, she wrote:
"Whatever Happened to William Belden?
It has long been a mystery to me why William Belden, whose infamous exploits were fully covered in the New York Times, managed to disappear without a trace or an obituary. Belden had been a partner of Jay Gould in the Black Friday financial panic of 1869, which was tantamount to a Bernie Madoff scandal at the time, and he was a pretty unpleasant character all around. He accused his mistress of trying to shoot him when (unarmed) she asked him to help support their child; he was arrested for assaulting a ship's carpenter who tried to get him to pay a bill; his yacht ran down and sank a steamboat on the Hudson River for which he refused to pay damages, and then he cheated his mentally ill brother out of many thousands of dollars.
At some point during the late 1890s William Belden sold Belden Point, which he had developed as a tourist destination, to the railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington, who died in 1900. Belden was unable to recover the property from the Huntington estate, and in 1911 he was forced to pay $44,000 to his brother's heirs. The final journalistic word on Belden appeared on Feb. 12, 1915, when the Hartford (CT) Republican reported that Belden had been sent to the poorhouse after a judge found him guilty of 'soliciting alms in the streets.' A fitting end to an ignoble career."
Source: Dolensek, Barbara, CITY ISLAND MYSTERIES AND LEGENDS, The Island Current, May 2011, p. 5, cols. 3-4.
* * * * *
The most delightful resort in the vicinity. Boating, Fishing, Carousels, Amusements and Recreations. Popular Concerts by Lieboldt's Military Band and Orchestra. Restaurant by Voyer of Paris. Clambake by Marsh of Rocky Point. A drive of 12 miles from Harlem Bridge.
FAST STEAMERS LEAVE
Bridge pier, Brooklyn.
31st-st., E.R., [East River]
12 a.m. [sic; 12 noon]
Also, From Harlem River, 130th-st., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Saturdays every hour from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; last boat leaves Belden Point 10 p.m.
Excursion tickets, 35c. Children under 12, 20 cents."
"BELDEN POINT ON THE SOUND.
BOATING. FISHING. BATHING. RESTAURANT UNEXCELLED.
RHODE ISLAND SHORE DINNERS.
Boats leave Brooklyn Bridge pier 10 A.M. 2 and 6 P.M. Broome St. 10:15 A.M., 2:15 and 6:15 P.M. East 31st St. 10:30 A.M., 2:30 and 6:30 P.M. 130th St., 3d Av., 10 and 11 A. M., 1, 2, 3:30, 5, 6:30, 8 P.M. Sunday boats leave every hour from 9 A.M.
Last boat leaves Belden Point 10 P.M.
Military band. Grand organ concerts by Frank Taft.
Excursion tickets, 35 cents. Children under 12 years, 20 cents"
"IRON STEAMBOAT COMPANY.
DAILY TRIPS TO BELDEN POINT, THE BEAUTIFUL DAY RESORT ON LONG ISLAND SOUND.
BRIDGE DOCK, BROOKLYN, 9:15, 11:15 A.M.; 1:15, 3:15, 5:15 and 7:15 P.M.
THIRTY-FIRST ST. E. R., 9:40, 11:40 A.M.; 1:40, 3:40, 5:40 and 7:40 P.M.
RETURNING, LEAVE BELDEN POINT, 11 A.M.; 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00 and 9:00 P.M.
EXCURSION FARE, 40 CENTS.
Extra trips on Sundays from Pier (new) No. 1, at 10:00 A.M., and 2:00 and 6:00 P.M.; fifteen minutes later from Bridge Dock, and forty minutes later from Thirty-first at, East River."
* * * * *
"A NEW SUMMER RESORT.
OPENING OF MR. BELDEN'S PLEASURE GROUNDS ON CITY ISLAND.
For the last few months Mr. William Belden has been engaged in transforming his private residence and grounds on City Island, at the entrance to Long Island Sound, into one of the most beautiful public Summer resorts to be found within an hour's ride of the city.
Belden Point, as the resort is to be called, is on a graceful rise of ground jutting into the Sound from the New-York shores. It covers about ten acres For the last fifteen years Mr. Belden has kept it in the most perfect order. His summer residence has been turned into a French restaurant, and large well-arranged buildings containing bowling alleys and billiard tables have been erected, and swings and merry-go-rounds introduced for the children.
Yesterday Mr. Belden entertained a hundred of his friends and a dozen members of the press with a special excursion to the new resort. The steamer Morrisania, which had been chartered for the occasion, left the foot of East One Hundred and Thirtieth street at 2 P.M. and arrived at Belden Point an hour later. For three hours the beautiful spot was inspected, and the city was reached again at 7 o'clock.
The new resort will be opened to the public on Saturday, and on that day and every week day thereafter during the Summer the steamers Gov. Safford, Morrisania, Shady Side, and Harlem will make hourly trips from the Bridge Wharf, Brooklyn side, and from the Broome Street, East Thirty-first Street wharves. Half-hourly trips will be made on Sundays from 11 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Leiboldt's Band will furnish music during the season, and a great attraction will be an immense ten-thousand-dollar pipe organ, which will be in charge of Mr. Frank Taft. An artificial beach has been constructed for bathing."
Source: A NEW SUMMER RESORT -- OPENING OF MR. BELDEN'S PLEASURE GROUNDS ON CITY ISLAND, N.Y. Times, Jun. 7, 1891, p. 5, col. 2 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"A NEW SUMMER RESORT.
Belden Point is the name of a new summer resort, which will be opened Saturday, tomorrow. New York has many beautiful public out-of-door resorts in its vicinity, but a handsomer one than Belden is not [to] be found among the many attractive places along the sound. Last week a number of ladies and gentlemen, upon the invitation of Mr. William Belden, visited the place and enjoyed an excellent repast in the main pavilion.
One of the pleasantest incidents of a trip to Belden Point will be the sail up the sound for over an hour. There will be concerts at Belden Point afternoon and evenings in the large pavilion near the water's edge. Organ recitals, on the handsome organ, will also be given every day. Among other attractions will be a bowling alley and bathing houses."
Source: A NEW SUMMER RESORT, The Jewish Messenger, Jun. 12, 1891, p. 9, col. 4.
"FETE DAYS FOR 'PRESS' READERS
This Week There Will Be Four Free Excursions.
On Monday and Wednesday the Programme Offers South Beach; Tuesday, Belden Point and on Thursday, North Beach.
When THE PRESS first resolved upon its scheme of summer outings, even the projectors had no adequate comprehension of their necessity or the vast number of people who would seek the refreshing sea breezes but for the drain on their purses. The scheme was inaugurated last week, and was successful beyond all expectations. Each reader of THE SUNDAY PRESS became entitled to fre passage to and from two popular watering places, and the number of those who took advantage of THE PRESS' enterprise surprised the managers of the steamboats which carried the crowds and the hotel keepers who catered to their wants. There will be a palpable falling off in the winter's doctor's bills in each household where THE PRESS has come to be regarded as the family Mentor, and so satisfactory were the results of the first experiment that it has been determined to continue them weekly upon a progressively increasing scale.
THIS WEEK'S OUTINGS.
The programme of this week's outings provided for four excursions. Monday and Wednesday holders of the coupons clipped from to-day's issue of THE PRESS will be taken to South Beach, S. I., and returned to the city safe and sound. Belden Point has been selected for the Tuesday excursion, and North Beach will hold the last contingent of this week's PRESS visitors.
With the pleasure to be found at these resorts most readers are already familiar. The steamer Thomas A. Morgan will carry THE PRESS excursionists to and from South Beach. Every preparation has been made for the reception and entertainment of the visitors, and there will be no danger from overcrowding, nor will the culinary resources of this famous resort be overtaxed.
Belden Point, the aim of the Tuesday outing, although comparatively unknown at present, is on account of its unusual facilities destined to become equally as popular as Coney Island. It is delightfully situated on the Sound, and the proprietor, William J. Belden, has developed its resources until it is now a superb shore park, with excellent facilities for boating and bathing and the enjoyment of a day in the open air. A well equipped military band gives a daily concert in the main pavilion, and a superior restaurant is located in what was formerly the Belden homestead. The specialty in the line of creature comforts is a clambake and a shore dinner served in the Rocky Point style. The Belden Point boats ply almost hourly during both day and evening. Brooklynites are taken from the Bridge pier by the City of Jacksonville. . . ."
Source: FETE DAYS FOR "PRESS" READERS -- This Week There Will Be Four Free Excursions -- On Monday and Wednesday the Programme Offers South Beach; Tuesday, Belden Point and on Thursday, North Beach, The New York Press, Jul. 19, 1891, p. 2, cols. 3-4.
"'PRESS' COUPONS FREELY USED
Five Thousand People Taken to Belden Point Yesterday.
The Crush So Great That Some of the Excursionists Could not Embark on the Earlier Boats -- Other Trips of This Week
The popularity of THE PRESS' plan of free excursions for its readers seems like that of THE PRESS itself -- to increase as it becomes better known. Yesterday's outing to Belden Point was the most successful yet held, over 5,000 people availing themselves of the opportunity to visit that charming resort. The capacity of the steamers was taxed to the utmost to accommodate the throngs who early began gathering at the different points of embarkation. On the first morning trip from this city, the City of Jacksonville, which is allowed to carry 1,000 passengers, was compelled to leave fully 300 excursionists on the dock at the foot of East Thirty-first street to await the next boat.
The Governor Safford and Fort Lee, leaving from Harlem, were almost as much crowded, and continued to be so on every outward trip until well into the afternoon. So great was the throng that the remark was forced from Captain Shaw of the City of Jacksonvile that 'If THE PRESS gives a few more of these excursions all the steamboats in New York harbor won't be enough to carry the crowds who will want to go.'
At Belden Point such gayety as yesterday's is unparalleled by any previous work day. The excursionists fairly took possession of this beautiful resort. Its pavilions, promenades and lawns were dotted with gay costumes and bright colors. The presence of children, little and big, has previously been a feature of these excursions, but yesterday the youngsters were out in even fuller force than usual. Despite the large numbers of excursionists the day passed off without a mishap or a hitch. Today those who hold THE SUNDAY PRESS coupons will have the opportunity for the second time this week of visiting South Beach, and a large crowd is expected. To-morrow North Beach, where so many enjoyed themselves last week, will be the point visited. . . ."
Source: "PRESS" COUPONS FREELY USED -- Five Thousand People Taken to Belden Point Yesterday -- The Crush So Great That Some of the Excursionists Could not Embark on the Earlier Boats -- Other Trips of This Week, The New York Press, Jul. 22, 1891, p. 2, col. 5.
"THEATER AND SEASHORE. . . .
The beautiful grounds of Belden Point was thronged with about 3,000 PRESS excursionists yesterday, who took advantage of the charming day. At 2 o'clock the concert was opened by an organ solo by Frank Taft, and a piano solo by Miss Henrietta Markstein. James Gordon Emmons kept the audience in roars of laughter by his clever selections, while Professor J. J. Harvey's selections on the piccolo were applauded to the echo. Arthur Temme, the violinist, was warmly greeted. . . ."
Source: THEATER AND SEASHORE, The New York Press, Sep 3, 1891, p. 5, col. 3.
"BELDEN POINT PURCHASED. -- The Belden Point Company has purchased Belden Point Company has purchased Belden Point on the Sound, for $200,000."
Source: BELDEN POINT PURCHASED, The Yonkers Statesman, Oct. 22, 1891, Vol. VIII, No. 2437, p. 4, col. 3.
"BELDEN POINT ON THE SOUND.
The season at Belden Point, on the sound, the new summer resort which has suddenly grown into great popular favor, will open to-morrow. Boats of the Iron steamboat company will make trips at 9:15 A.M., 11:15 A.M., 1:15 P.M., 3:15 P.M., 5:15 P.M. and 7:15 P.M. from the bridge dock, the entrance to which joins the Fulton ferry house and the Union L. railroad."
Source: BELDEN POINT ON THE SOUND, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jun. 18, 1892, p. 1, col. 5 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"IN THE GREAT HOTELS
Busy Times at the Summer and Seaside Resorts. . . .
George Murray, of the Sherwood, this city, has leased the restaurant at Belden Point, Long Island Sound. Last year was the first for Belden Point, and on account of the people in charge being comparatively ignorant of the summer excursion business the place was not a rousing success. It was for no fault of the place, for a more delightful public resort does not exist in the neighborhood of New York city. The place was at one time the private country residence of William Belden, a former partner of Jay Gould and 'Jim' Fisk, and many signs of a palatial summer home still abound. This year the Iron Steamboat Company selected the place as one of its objective points, the Old Guard Band has been engaged and Belden has rented the restaurant privilege to George Murray. So this year the place starts out under very bright auspices. Mr. Murray's reputation as a caterer is excellent, and the restaurant is sure to be first class. But there are two things that Messrs. Belden and Murray should attend to at once. The band selections should be longer, and the wheel of 'fortune' near the steamboat landing put a stop to. The TELEGRAM had occasion last year to complain of the wheel. It is the only unpleasant feature about the place. . . ."
Source: IN THE GREAT HOTELS -- Busy Times at the Summer and Seaside Resorts, The Evening Telegram [NY, NY], Jun. 25, 1892, p. 4, col. 4.
"We call attention to the announcement of the opening of Belden Point this season as a summer resort. Mr. Belden has added a number of costly attractions and proposes to keep everything up to a high standard in the way of amusements, eating and drinking. The best of order, the finest music, and every pleasurable attraction possible at a watering-place are here provided."
Source: [Untitled], The Eastern State Journal [White Plains, NY], Jul. 2, 1892, Vol. XLVIII, No. 14, p. 2, col. 1.
"BELDEN POINT. -- This delightfully cool summer resort is situated on Long Island Sound, fifteen miles from New York city. It is a part of Westchester county and was formerly known as part of City Island. The Iron Steamboat Co. will run boats regularly from Pier 1, North River, Bridge Dock, Brooklyn, and foot East 31st St., New York, for 40 cents the round trip. The attractions are magnificent lawns and trees, mammoth pavilions, superb toboggan slide, two carousels, swings, razzle dazzle, shooting galleries, six bowling alleys and billiard tables, photograph galleries, boating, salt water bathing, &c. Genuine Rhode Island Clam Bake. Restaurants at reasonable prices; also a fine dairy, and every convenience for comfort and amusement; also free admission to two grand concerts daily, by Hall's Old Guard Band and a mammoth organ played by Frank Taft. Such is Belden Point, which every citizen of Westchester County should visit."
Source: BELDEN POINT, The Eastern State Journal [White Plains, NY], Jul. 2, 1892, Vol. XLVIII, No. 14, p. 2, col.5.
"A DAY FOR THE BABIES.
The Little Ones Will Have an Outing at Belden Point.
A Pleasant Boat-Ride to and from the Sound Resort.
And a Good Day's Enjoyment in the Swings and Merry-Go-Rounds. . . .
The babies and their mothers are to have a day's outing at Belden Point to-morrow. This, through the kindness of Wm. Belden, proprietor of the resort, who came forward without suggestion or solicitation and offered the use of his grounds to the children whose condition brings them under the care of THE EVENING WORLD's Sick Babies' Fund. Mr. Belden said it was his desire to entertain as many little ones, with their mothers, as THE EVENING WORLD cared to send. He will furnish lunches for all, and every means of enjoyment at the Point will be placed at the disposal of the wee guests and their escorts.
The Iron Steamboat Company supplemented Mr. Belden's kindness with an offer to furnish tickets gratis for the excursion. The tickets for to-morrow's outing have been placed in the hands of the Sick Babies' Fund doctors who will distribute them to-day. Each ticket is good for a boat ride to and from Belden Point for a child and its mother. The bits of pasteboard will be welcomed as so many boons by women who have ailing children.
It will take the gasping little ones out of their prisons of brick and mortar and give them the freedom of one of nature's loveliest spots. Their dimming eyes will be new-lit with the glories of their novel surroundings, and the beautiful breezes from Long Island Sound will revive the activity of their little lungs and perhaps replant roses in their fading cheeks. There is no doubt about the benefit which this day beside the water in a place which has all the attractions of a Summer resort and all the health-giving and strength-restoring qualities that should belong to such a resort will bring to the babies, and it will be an interval of refreshment for the worried and tired mothers, too.
Belden Point is a most attractive spot. It is a projection of Long Island [sic], almost opposite New Rochelle [sic]. There is a lovely sweep of water around, and the picture that is offered to the eye from its shores is really beautiful. Mr. Belden has assisted nature in rendering the resort a positive delight. He has spent much money in beautifying the Point and has given it all the accessories for popular amusement that could be desired. There are merry-go-rounds, razzle-dazzles, swings in plenty, rattling toboggan slides -- Indeed, no feature that would be looked for a place that is designed for the entertainment of the people is omitted. It equals Coney Island in the number and variety of its means of enjoyment. Then there is Hall's Old Guard Band, which gives afternoon and evening concerts, playing the latest and best music and making the hours glide by on the wings of melody.
The boat-ride to Belden Point must not be forgotten. It is a pleasant trip up the East River, past points of local interest and along the prettiest portion of the Sound. Iron steamboats leave every two hours from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M., starting from Bridge Dock, Brooklyn; East Thirty-first street and East One Hundred and Twentieth street. The boat on which the babies and their mothers will be received to-morrow morning will leave the Thirty-first street dock, East River, at 9.40 o'clock, and Mr. Belden's guests will have the whole day at the Point, returning to New York at sundown. Tickets, it must be remembered, will be distributed by Sick Babies' Fund doctors, and only those receiving tickets from the doctors are entitled to the privileges of this day a free outing."
Source: A DAY FOR THE BABIES -- The Little Ones Will Have an Outing at Belden Point -- A Pleasant Boat-Ride to and from the Sound Resort -- And a Good Day's Enjoyment in the Swings and Merry-Go-Rounds, The Evening World [NY, NY], Jul. 21, 1892, p. 4, col. 4 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"BABIES AT BELDEN POINT.
Little Mothers and Their Pets Have an Outing at This Resort.
The weary little mothers had another outing for themselves and their babies at Belden Point yesterday. An EVENING WORLD Sick Babies' Fund doctor went along and looked out for the health of the little ones. Mothers and children found in the trip a happy escape from the seething wails of the crowded streets in which they live, and the sea breezes that came to their fevered foreheads were welcome and refreshing.
Belden Point is one of the most agreeable summer-day spots on the face of the globe. Its natural attractions are many, and to these Proprietor Belden has added artificial features that enhance the beauty of the place. Through Mr. Belden's kindness the mothers and babies sent to his resort by THE EVENING WORLD were given the means of thoroughly enjoying themselves. They rode on the horses and toboggans free, and used the scups without cost [NOTE: scups were a type of exciting amusement park swings in the 19th century]; they had nice lunches served up for them, and in a variety of ways they were made to forget the trials and miseries left behind them in the big city. Everybody was happy, and the Point was crowded and gay with life all day.
This resort has quickly grown into popularity. It is in the Sound, near New Rochelle, and Iron Steamboats make trips there and back every two hours."
Source: BABIES AT BELDEN POINT -- Little Mothers and Their Pets Have an Outing at This Resort, The Evening World [NY, NY], Jul. 30, 1892, p. 2, col. 4 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"FRESH AIR AT BELDEN POINT.
Mothers and Babies Enjoy Another of 'The Evening World's' Outings.
THE EVENING WORLD's fourth excursion for weary mothers and their babes to beautiful Belden Point was given yesterday. There was the usual large attendance of women with children in arms or led by the hand, and to say that they enjoyed the pleasant ride on the Iron steamboat up the East River, past Blackwell's and the other islands and into the Sound, is simply to state the last in a very mild manner. They had a good time, too, at the Point, where Proprietor Belden had things so arranged that the mothers and babies spent a delightful day at the resort and seemed to get a great deal of good from the outing.
Belden Point is swept by refreshing breezes that were welcomed by the visitors. It is a picturesque spot and is equipped with all joys of pleasure-providing apparatus. It has merry-go-rounds, scups, toboggan slides -- everything in fact that is looked for at a popular resort. It is patronized by the best element of citizens. The Iron steamboats make trips there every two hours daily, as will be seen by reference to their advertisement in another column.
The mothers and babes will have another outing at the Point Friday. They will go on the boat that leaves the foot of East River at 9.25 A.M. and returns about sundown."
Source: FRESH AIR AT BELDEN POINT -- Mothers and Babies Enjoy Another of 'The Evening World's' Outings, The Evening World [NY, NY], Aug. 3, 1892, p. 2, col. 7 (Note: Paid subscription to access via this link).
"TIRED, BUT HAPPY MOTHERS.
Iron Steamboats Take Another Party to Belden Point.
Hundreds of worn and weary mothers in New York have enjoyed a day's outing at beautiful Belden Point and the invigorating sail up the East River and the Sound on the magnificent vessels of the Iron Steamboat Company, under the auspices of THE EVENING WORLD's Sick Baby Fund, and physicians and the health authorities alike realize the value of this important public service.
Another of these semi-weekly excursions took place yesterday -- a large party of tired mothers gathering on the pier at the foot of Thirty-first street, each accompanied by her youngest or most helpless babe. These humble excursions are not looked upon by the Iron Steamboat officials as charity passengers. They are treated with the utmost consideration and are made to enjoy the eleven-mile voyage to the fullest extent.
Belden Point, with its broad, green lawns and posy-beds; the row of giant silver poplars that skirts the shore and shades the visitor; the glorious panorama which the Sound always presents; the fleet of pleasure craft, fishing boats, passenger steamship palaces and freight vessels, with the green slopes of the Long Island shore for a background, makes a delightful resort for the tired women and their charges."
Source: TIRED, BUT HAPPY MOTHERS -- Iron Steamboats Take Another Party to Belden Point, The Evening World [NY, NY], Aug. 17, 1892, p. 4, col. 4 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"COUNTY NEWS. . .
-- Belden Point, at City Island went under the hammer for $15,000 Saturday. The property cost in the neighborhood of $30,000 six years ago."
Source: COUNTY NEWS, The Eastern State Journal [White Plains, NY], Nov. 25, 1893, Vol. XLIX, No. 35, p. 2, col. 4.
The Commercial Bulletin says: Judge Smyth of the Supreme Court has extended the receivership of John Crennan of New Rochelle, for William Belden, formerly a wealthy Wall street operator, to cover the claim of Davis, Walters & Co., who obtained a judgment against Mr. Belden for $661 on Sept. 22, 1892, and never could collect it. Mr. Belden was examined recently in supplementary proceedings and testified that he has no assets whatever now, not even a watch and chain; he boards with a married daughter, and his brother, Dr. Belden of Arizona, furnishes him money for his personal expenses. His beautiful country place at Belden Point, which was run as a summer resort for a couple of seasons, he transferred to the Belden Point Company, receiving stock in the company, but no cash in payment, in 1891, and it has since been sold under foreclosure."
Source: WILLIAM BELDEN, The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 10, 1896, p. 2, col. 2 (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"FINANCIAL MATTERS. . . .
William Belden, formerly the wealthy Wall street operator, and proprietor of Belden Point, City Island, testified recently in examination in supplementary proceedings that he has no estate whatever, not even a watch and chain; boards with a married daughter, and that his brother furnishes him money for his personal expenses. Belden Point, sold for stock in 1891, has been foreclosed. . . ."
Source: FINANCIAL MATTERS, The Daily Standard Union [Brooklyn, NY], Apr. 18, 1896, p. 10, col. 5.
"HARLEM AND THE BRONX.
The plan for the proposed improvement of City Island is so sweeping as to practically change the face of the quaint suburban island. What with shore roads, street widenings and new streets and public places, there is little of the island that is not to be subjected to one change or another. Some idea of the plans may be formed from the fact that they provide for every thoroughfare on the island being at least 50 feet wide. This means, beginning at the Belden Point end of the island, that Washington street, Horton avenue, Franklin avenue and Pilot street are all to be widened. Then four new streets are to be cut through. Scofield avenue, Prospect street and Fordham avenue -- all cross streets, though some are denominated avenues -- are all to be widened. Main street, with an average now of about 30 feet, is to be 100 feet in width from Bridge street to Elizabeth street, from which point it is to be 80 feet wide. Minneford avenue is to be extended from the Shore road to Ditmars street, and William street is scheduled to be 50 feet wide, same as the others. The new City Island Bridge will be to the south of the present bridge and will lead to Sutherland street instead of Bridge street, which leads to the old one. The widening of Main and Pilot streets will not only deprive the Episcopal Church of its garden strip on the Pilot street frontage, but it will cut off part of the end of the church near Main street. But the improvement which is considered by many to be most unnecessary is the proposition to turn the Belden Point property and parts of the adjoining Horton and Arnold properties into a public park. Surrounded by water at home, and having to pass through Pelham Bay Park to reach anywhere else by land, the average City Islander has not up to date suffered very seriously for want of one of the city's breathing spots. Another feature of the plan that has caused considerable uneasiness is that the Shore roads would do away with much of the beach, for many property owners rank their shore frontage as the most valuable portion of their realty. . . ."
Source: HARLEM AND THE BRONX, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sep. 2, 1899, Vol. 59, No. 243, p. 7, col. 6.
"OPTION ON CITY ISLAND LAND.
SYNDICATE PLANS TO HAVE A SUMMER RESORT THERE LIKE ATLANTIC CITY.
The report that the syndicate which has already secured options on about two-thirds of the real estate of City Island has obtained an option on the Belden Point property was yesterday confirmed. Included in the Belden Point transaction is the old Belden homestead. If the syndicate exercises its option to buy the property it will pay $250,000 for it. The estate of Collis P. Huntington owns the Belden Point property.
The plan of the syndicate is to make City Island and a summer resort similar to that of Atlantic City, if possible. A large part of the island is to be set aside for the building of fine dwelling houses, and there is to be a large yacht station. Steps are to be taken, it is said, to have some of the roads leading from City Island to the Harlem Bridge improved so as to get owners of automobiles to make frequent trips in their machines to the island. The new Pelham Bay Park and City Island Bridge are one of the things responsible for the formation of the syndicate."
Source: OPTION ON CITY ISLAND LAND -- SYNDICATE PLANS TO HAVE A SUMMER RESORT THERE LIKE ATLANTIC CITY, New-York Tribune, Feb. 9, 1902, p. 11, col. 6 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"Former Millionaire Begs on the Streets.
New York, 7. -- Col. William Wayne [sic] Belden, once a millionaire in Wall Street, was sent to the workhouse today by Magistrate Deuel, who found him guilty of soliciting alms on the streets.
In the numerous deals in Erie stock with Gould and Fish, Belden was so successful that he thought he could down Gould. He was in part responsible for 'black Friday,' so well remembered by old-time brokers. In the panic he was crushed.
In the years of hard luck that followed, Belden was reduced to washing his own colars [sic] and shirts. Suddenly he rose and had a brief spell of influence. His brother, Henry, went insane and in that condition died and William Belden claimed the estate, both under the will and certain deeds.
Eighty wears of litigation between Henry Belden's heirs and William Belden followed, ending in a triumph for the heirs. In June, 1911, the supreme court forced the repayment of the $50,000 fortune to Henry Belden's heirs.
William Belden tried to get back from C. P. Huntington in 1906 the property at City Island known as Belden's Point, and in this, too, he failed."
Source: Former Millionaire Begs on the Streets, The Hartford Republican [Hartford, CT], Feb. 12, 1915, p. 1, col. 5 (Note: Paid subscription required to access via this link).