Railroad Deeded the Land to Create Pelhamwood Avenue in 1927
Home Page of the Historic Pelham Blog.
Order a Copy of "Thomas Pell and the Legend of the Pell Treaty Oak."
Prior to 1927, the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company owned all the land on the north side (station side) of the railroad tracks between the tracks and the hill where the neighborhood of Pelhamwood begins. Over the years, the area had become a large, dusty dirt plaza that was not really a roadway and not really a manicured plaza. Pelhamwood Avenue, the street that now passes in front of the railroad station, did not yet exist. There was no roadway between Fifth Avenue and Highbrook Avenue, only a massive, unpaved dirt field between the hill and the train station.
For years the Town, the Village of North Pelham, and the residents of Pelhamwood had been unhappy with the broad, dusty "plaza" in front of the railroad station where Town residents long had ridden their horses, and driven and parked their horse-drawn carriages, and -- later -- their early automobiles and Model T's. As one might expect, on rainy days, the plaza was a muddy mess with no paved roadway or sidewalks. The plaza was pock-marked with potholes and, without marked roadways, became a confused and dangerous mess of commuters and careening automobiles as trains arrived and departed.
In about 1922, the Village of North Pelham began efforts to convince the railroad to give it some form of meaningful control over the plaza area so that the Village could improve the plaza or even construct a paved roadway and sidewalks. It seems that the Village's efforts went nowhere, although the Village later claimed that it extracted a seemingly vague promise from the railroad to "improve" the plaza.
After years of no progress, in about 1927, Clarence L. Law, an energetic President of the Pelhamwood Association took up the matter. He arranged for Rev. William Milton Hess of the Congregational Church of the Pelhams to contact an acquaintance he had at the New York, New Haven and Harlem Railroad Company to discuss what might be done to improve the situation. With the blessing of the Pelhamwood Association and at the urging of Clarence L. Law, Rev. Hess met with his acquaintance and urged that the railroad grant to the Village of North Pelham by deed a free and clear title to a strip of land forty-feet wide at the edge of the Station Plaza where it met the hill leading up to Pelhamwood from Fifth Avenue to Highbrook Avenue to permit the Village of North Pelham to construct a paved roadway adjacent to the plaza. On June 24, 1927, Rev. Hess received a letter from the railroad indicating that it was willing to transfer title to such a strip to the Village.
Within a short time, the railroad announced that its Board of Directors had ratified the decision and directed the preparation of legal papers necessary to effect the transfer. All seemed to be going well until. . . . . .
On July 7, 1927, the Board of Trustees of the Village of North Pelham held its regular meeting. One of the trustees, Edward J. Dillon, was furious. He believed that the railroad had agreed to improve the plaza and needed to be held to that promise. In fact, according to Dillon, the railroad had agreed some time before to construct a 26-foot wide road adjacent to the plaza as part of such improvements. Dillon further believed that the Pelhamwood Association and Reverend Hess had "butted in" and that the railroad saw their interference as an opportunity to avoid its obligation to improve the plaza and, instead, transfer a slice of land that would have to be improved, paved, and converted into a street at the expense of the village.
Trustee Dillon then pursued a nuclear option. He accused the beloved Reference William Milton Hess of dishonest double dealing. He noted that the Reverend recently had constructed a garage with a driveway entrance onto the station plaza and accused him of meddling in the affair solely to gain a public roadway for his garage entrance rather than the less certain entrance onto the station plaza. The accusations outraged the Reverend, Clarence Law, the Pelhamwood Association, and many residents of the Village of North Pelham. The dispute that followed filled the local newspaper for weeks.
Soon it became clear that Dillon's concerns about the motives of the railroad may have had some basis. The railroad presented the Village of North Pelham with blueprints of the forty-foot wide stretch that it offered to give the village. Those blueprints showed a straight roadway through a stretch that was covered by a portion of the rocky hill leading up to Pelhamwood. Portions of the rocky hill would have to be blasted away and removed in order to construct a paved road on the stretch of land being donated by the railroad. In effect, the railroad was using the opportunity to improve the plaza in a way that would not really reduce its size, all the while relying on the Village of North Pelham to fund the venture.
Trustee Dillon was apoplectic. He warned that the entire village budget for construction of new roadways in 1927 was $22,500 and it likely would cost at least that to blast away part of the hill and construct a new road. He urged the Board of Trustees to reject the railroad's offer and hold it to its earlier promises.
The dispute, of course, became personal. Residents stepped forward to defend Reverend Hess, claiming that he was only carrying out the wishes of his flock of Pelhamwood residents. Clarence Law of the Pelhamwood Association defended Reverend Hess vigorously and told the Board that he was the entire reason that Reverend Hess had acted because he urged the Reverend to use his contact to gain transfer of the land.
The Mayor of the Village of North Pelham, James Reilly, tried to quell the dispute, but the feelings were too raw. The Village Board put together a committee to consider the matter. The Pelhamwood Association put together a committee to consider the matter. During one Board of Trustees meeting when Trustee Dillon was not present, the Board indicated that it was favorably inclined to accept the railroad's offer. At the following meeting attended by Trustee Dillon he took the Board to task, demanding to know from where the money to blast the hill and construct the road would come.
Finally the Village of North Pelham decided to try a new approach. The Board of Trustees asked Village Engineer C. W. Doon to prepare a "blueprint" of a winding roadway that would follow the contours of the foot of the hill so that no blasting would be required. Then the Board proposed that plan to the railroad, asking that it donate the land necessary to construct the winding roadway. The railroad refused.
Finally everyone got down to business. The Village Board appointed a committee of Trustee Albert E. Shaw, Village Attorney George Lambert, and Reverend William Milton Hess to hold a series of conferences with representatives of the railroad. A compromise resulted. The Village of North Pelham agreed to accept the strip of land offered by the railroad and agreed to cut back the hill and build a road, although it insisted that it would be under no obligation to construct the road or otherwise improve the property within any stated period of time so that it would have the time necessary to raise the necessary funds. The railroad, in exchange, agreed not only to give the deed to the strip, but also to pave the remainder of the plaza. At a Village Board of Trustees meeting held on Tuesday, November 1, 1927, Trustee Edward J. Dillon dropped his objections and the village accepted the deed to the property from the railroad that evening.
Work to pave the railroad plaza began within the next few days when a "tarvin macadam pavement" was laid. It took longer to raise the funds, cut back the hill and build the roadway, but that work was completed by 1929.
Today Pelhamites give the area hardly a thought as they pass back and forth on Pelhamwood Avenue past the station plaza. Even now, a lot has changed with an island separating lanes of the roadway and beautiful rough-hewn stone walls holding back the hill leading up to Pelhamwood. It is hard to imagine that the lovely spot at the beautiful Pelham Station was the subject of such an ugly battle nearly ninety years ago in 1927.
* * * * *
"RAILROAD WILL DEED TO NORTH PELHAM FORTY FOOT STREET FROM HIGHBROOK AVENUE TO FIFTH AVENUE
Co-Operative Efforts of Pelhamwood Association and Rev. William Milton Hess Finally Successful -- Railroad Directors Will Give Necessary Papers on June 28th.
The problem of acquiring a paved approach to the north side of the New Haven Railroad main line station and at the same time obtaining a thoroughfare for foot and vehicular traffic from Fifth Avenue to Highbrook Avenue will be solved on Tuesday, when the board of directors of the railroad company will sign the necessary papers which will deed to the Village of North Pelham, free and clear, all right, title and interest to land necessary to construct a forty-foot roadway from Highbrook Avenue to Fifth Avenue.
The announcement of the forthcoming action of the railroad company was contained in a letter received today from Commissioner Maxwell of the Department of Real Estate of the railroad. The letter follows:
Rev. William Milton Hess,
Pelham, N. Y.
Relative to the proposed conveyance to the Village of North Pelham by this company of a strip of land 40 feet in width extending from Fifth Avenue to Highbrook Avenue.
In accordance with our conversation this morning, I am able to advise that the matter has reached the stage of approval by our executive officials and I have been directed to prepare the necessary papers for presenting the matter to our Board of Directors.
The next meeting of the Board is scheduled for June 28th, and we expect to be able to complete such preliminary preparation as is necessary in order that the proposition may be presented and acted upon at that time.
The grant of land will naturally be limited to use for highway purposes only and on condition that no betterment or other assessment shall be levied against this Company's land on account of the construction of the proposed highway.
Very truly yours,
A. F. MAXWELL,
N.Y., N.H. & H.R.R. Co.
For the last five years efforts have been made to secure a control over railroad property at the station approach so that a permanent roadway and sidewalk could be constructed. Recently Pelhamwood Association took the matter up and its president, Clarence L. Law, enlisted the co-operation of Rev. Dr. Hess. The latter obtained an interview with Edward H. Buckland, vice-president of the New Haven Railroad, and secured the promise of improvement work at the main line station approach. Dr. Hess and Mr. Buckland were formerly instructors at Yale. Dr. Hess maintained that a deed of gift to the village was the best way of meeting the situation and finally gained his point.
'The new street will give proper connection between Pelhamwood and Fifth Avenue,' said Dr. Hess this morning. 'Mr. Buckland assured me that the railroad company will cooperate in every way to harmonize the railroad surroundings with the character of the street which the village will construct."
Source: RAILROAD WILL DEED TO NORTH PELHAM FORTY FOOT STREET FROM HIGHBROOK AVENUE TO FIFTH AVENUE -- Co-Operative Efforts of Pelhamwood Association and Rev. William Milton Hess Finally Successful -- Railroad Directors Will Give Necessary Papers on June 28th, The Pelham Sun, Jun. 24, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 18, p. 1, cols. 6-7.
"New Haven R. R. Has Ratified Gift Of Street To Village
Notice of Action of Board of Directors Received By Rev. Dr. Hess in Letter
In a letter received by Rev. Wm. Milton Hess, pastor of the Congregational Church of the Pelhams, notice is given of the action of the Board of Directors of the New York, New Haven and Hartford R. R., in approving of the reported donation of a forty-foot strip from Fifth avenue to Highbrook avenue. The letter follows:
I am very glad to be able to advise that our board of directors approved and authorized the conveyance to the village of North Pelham of easement for highway purposes in the 40-foot strip of land between Highbrook and Fifth avenues. We have prepared papers for making the conveyance and expect to be able to complete them in the near future. There will be a little delay due to the necessity of obtaining from the trustees a release from the mortgage which covers the premises.
Yours very truly,
A. A. MAXWELL,
Commissioner of Real Estate.
Village officials of North Pelham were inclined to view the reported gift in a critical light, believing that it would be better for the village to compel the railroad company to properly repair its property. The construction of a street through the railroad yard would be an expensive undertaking."
Source: New Haven R. R. Has Ratified Gift Of Street To Village -- Notice of Action of Board of Directors Received By Rev. Dr. Hess in Letter, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 1, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 19, p. 1, col. 5.
"North Pelham Trustees Will Ask New Haven R. R. To Live Up To Agreement To Construct Street
Petition With 67 Signatures Asking That the Board Accept Railroad Company's Offer of 40-foot Strip From Highbrook to Fifth Avenue, Laid on Table As Board Has Received No Official Notice of New Proposal
TRUSTEE DILLON CHARGES THAT DR. HESS HAS MEDDLED IN PLANS OF TRUSTEES
The Rev. Wm. Milton Hess, pastor of the Congregational Church of the Pelhams, who has been active in a movement to improve the approach to the main-line railroad station, came in for harsh criticism from Village Trustee Edward J. Dillon at last night's meeting of North Pelham village board. Trustee Dillon said that Mr. Hess had meddled in the affairs of the board for the purpose of obtaining things of advantage to himself. He charged that Dr. Hess's activity in obtaining from the New Haven Railroad Company a promise to donate to the village a forty-foot street from Highbrook avenue to Fifth avenue had as one of its objects the acquiring of a public entrance to the garage of Dr. Hess's Highbrook avenue property. The Hess property, recently built, has its garage entrance leading from the railroad property. The acceptance of the street would make the entrance from a public highway.
The Sun has published two letters recently received by the Rev. Hess from the New Haven R. R. officials in which it was intimated that the company was ready and willing to donate free and clear a forty-foot street from Fifth avenue to Highbrook avenue. Dr. Hess was appointed by Clarence L. Law, president of the Pelhamwood Association, as a member of a committee of that organization to deal with matters of improvement at the station approach.
Dillon brought the subject before the Board by asking what the New Haven Railroad Company was doing to fulfill the agreement which it had made with the Board to construct a 26-foot street through the station yard, and why there was delay in carrying out the terms of the contract. No official notice has been received by the Board of the railroad's new offer.
Trustee Shaw recommended that the village take steps to acquire the property offered by the railroad company and Former Trustee De Freest presented a petition signed by 67 residents of Pelhamwood asking that the village trustees take steps to acquire the forty-foot roadway and construct a concrete road from Pelhamwood to top of the station approach incline and improve the remainder of the property offered. De Freest in presenting the petition stated that whereas in former days the approach to the station was used but little now it is traveled at all hours and is one of the two connecting ways from Pelhamwood to the business section of North Pelham.
Trustee Dillon maintained his stand that the railroad company should live up to the terms of its agreement and thus save the village the expense of constructing a street. He said that the village had planned a definite program of progressive improvement and Dr. Hess had meddled with it.
Trustee Shaw advised that the village accept the street and avoid a controversy.
Trustee Dillon then proposed that Village Attorney Lambert immediately request the railroad to observe the terms of its agreement. The motion carried. Trustee Shaw opposed it, while Mayor Reilly urged strong action at once. Trustee Edward B. Harder closed the matter with a proposal to lay the petition on the table until the next meeting to give the New Haven R. R. an opportunity to go through with its agreement with the village board.
In a statement to the Pelham Sun yesterday, Dr. Hess who is now on vacation at Southwest Harbor, Me., sets forth that three years ago he was associated with Charles R. De Freest of Pelhamwood Association in an effort to get from the railroad company the deed to a right of way through the station yard so that a good street might be provided . 'De Freest told me as did others, if we could only get the right of way the (former) Reilly administration would pave it like the street in front of the church in two years time with the help of two appropriations,' says Dr. Hess. He adds that all Pelhamwood is indignant over the condition of the railroad street near Highbrook avenue, and closes by urging that 'peanut politics' be not allowed to interfere."
Source: North Pelham Trustees Will Ask New Haven R. R. To Live Up To Agreement To Construct Street -- Petition With 67 Signatures Asking That the Board Accept Railroad Company's Offer of 40-foot Strip From Highbrook to Fifth Avenue, Laid on Table As Board Has Received No Official Notice of New Proposal -- TRUSTEE DILLON CHARGES THAT DR. HESS HAS MEDDLED IN PLANS OF TRUSTEES, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 8, 1928, Vol. 18, No. 20, p. 1, cols. 1-2.
"Dr. Hess Represented Pelhamwood Association In Plaza Action Says Law Answering Dillon's Charge
President of Organization Brands Trustee's Statement As Untrue. Pelhamwood Taxpayers Meet Monday Night. Expected to Protest Against Sidetracking of Petition
'Dr. Hess acted under my direction and as a member of a committee appointed by the Pelhamwood Association.
Replying to the charge made by Village Trustee Edward J. Dillon that the Rev. William Milton Hess had ulterior motives in his interest in the dedication of the New Haven railroad plans to the village of North Pelham, Clarence L. Law, president of the Pelhamwood Association, has appealed to Mayor James Reilly. In a letter to the Mayor, Mr. Law expresses an opinion that the charges of Trustee Dillon although naming Dr. Hess, were directed at himself. He requests an audience with the Board of Trustees to explain the position of the Pelhamwood Association.
A special meeting of the Pelhamwood Association has been called for Monday night at which Trustee Dillon's charges will be discussed, as well as the board's failure to consider the Pelhamwood petition which urged the village to acquire the station plaza. The meeting will be held at the Congregational Church. The delay on the part of the trustee has aroused deep sentiment in Pelhamwood and a spirited meeting is expected.
Questioned by the Pelham Sun this week, Village Attorney George Lambert stated that he had not received any word from the railroad company
(Continued on page 10)
Law Denies Charges Of Trustee Dillon
(Continued from page 1)
relative to the paving of the plaza which was requested in a motion by Trustee Dillon.
President Law's letter to the Mayor follows:
'Dear Mayor Riley [sic]:
'It has been brought to my attention that at the last meeting of the Village Board of Trustees some criticism was made of the Pelhamwood Association's activities in connection with the roadway at the New Haven station.
'I cannot but feel that the inference implied by the member of the Board who made these statements was made indirectly to me, although Dr. Hess was personally mentioned as being selfishly interested in this project.
'I need not tell you that nothing could be further from the truth and our activities in this connection were purely of a civic nature and were handled as our [illegible] of the affairs in or around Pelhamwood.
'As you [illegible] know, the [illegible] was informed early this spring that the matter was well in hand. However, I was authorized at a meeting of the Pelhamwood Association to appoint a committee to consider and report on this question and the activities of Dr. Hess were actuated by a desire on the part of the Association to be helpful in communicating the deal with the railroad company by either repairing the road or having it deeded to the village.
'Any action that Dr. Hess took was made under my direction, and knowing that you as Mayor wish to do everything possible to carry out the views of the residents and have been in harmony with what I have endeavored in other directions, I am writing you directly on this matter. I mean by this that you have always welcomed the opinion of the president of the Pelhamwood Association as voicing the sentiments of that organization, and I have tried on all occasions to be as helpful to the administration as possible. Nothing, therefore, was done in this particular matter that was any different from what had been done previously in other questions affecting the residents.
'The accusations made by the member of your Board I consider not only unwarranted, but uncalled for, and if you and the Board are of the opinion that what we have done in this matter is not ethical, I would appreciate having this word from the Board so that we may talk over the matter together in order that we might co-operate more fully.
Assuring your [sic] of our support,
'Yours very truly,
'CLARENCE L. LAW,
Source: Dr. Hess Represented Pelhamwood Association In Plaza Action Says Law Answering Dillon's Charge -- President of Organization Brands Trustee's Statement As Untrue. Pelhamwood Taxpayers Meet Monday Night. Expected to Protest Against Sidetracking of Petition, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 15, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 21, p. 1, cols. 6-7 & p. 10, cols. 1-2.
"North Pelham Favors New Haven's Offer
Will Take Over Forty-Foot Strip From Highbrook Avenue to Fifth Avenue For Street
North Pelham Board of Trustees went on record Tuesday night as favorably considering the offer of the New Haven R. R. Co. to dedicate a forty foot strip of land through the station yard from Highbrook avenue to Fifth avenue. Village Engineer Doon was instructed to make a survey of the land comprised in the gift, and give some idea of the cost of constructing a street. The official offer of the New Haven R. R. was in the hands of Village Attorney Lambert.
Clarence L. Law, president of the Pelhamwood Association, was persistent in requesting the Board not to delay action, although the trustees were disposed to lay the matter over until the two absent members of the Board, Trustees Johnston and Dillon, were present. Mr. Law finally gained his point after he had pointed out the dangerous condition of the station yard and urged that a definite scheme be worked out for a beautification of the surroundings of the station.
Incidentally, Mr. Law revealed the fact that he had unofficially taken up with the Public Service Commission the matter of improvement to the station approach, something which the Board of Trustees threatened to do in the event of delayed action on the part of the railroad company.
The criticism of Dr. Hess for 'butting in' on the affairs of the Board was also taken up by Mr. Law. Trustee Harder said that in view of the fact that the Board had already obtained a promise to repair station approach from the New Haven R. R. he didn't think it right for the Pelhamwood Association and Dr. Hess to 'butt in,' which brought a retort from Mr. Law that he did not recognize the right of the Board to say what the Pelhamwood Association should do in a civic matter. 'The Board knew what we were doing; Trustee Dillon last spring requested me to 'lay-off.' We waited until April and then I asked Dr. Hess to telegraph Vice-President Buckland. Later on he met him at the Yale commencement exercises and obtained a promise of co-operation. Dr. Hess was surprised to learn that the railroad company would dedicate the street. He had asked for improvement. I did not know anything more about it until I read The Pelham Sun. I don't admit that we 'butted in' unless it is that one individual wanted to get the credit of it and objected to our action.'
Village Attorney Lambert said that the railroad company had promised to improve station approach last fall but did not. The Board kept after them. On April 25th Supt. Bailey of the New Haven promised to award the contract for repairs.
Mr. Law -- You haven't heard anything from the railroad since April 25th.
Attorney Lambert -- No.
Mr. Law then told of Dr. Hess' part and his own appearance before the Public Service Commission. 'I don't think we have butted in at all' he repeated. 'We are working with you and criticism is unfair. Why should Dr. Hess be criticized because he has a garage entrance on the proposed street -- it is unfair.'
Trustee Harder -- I agree with you.
Mayor Reilly -- I don't think, as far as Dr. Hess is concerned that Dr. Hess' garage had anything to do with it.
Dr. Hess had been criticised [sic] by Trustee Dillon who said that his effort to obtain the dedication of the street was for the purpose of giving him a garage entrance from a public street.
Mr. Law expressed regret that Trustee Dillon was not present. 'I wanted to ask him to retract that statement,' he said. He then urged the Board to take action and make a good job of the improvement."
Source: North Pelham Favors New Haven's Offer -- Will Take Over Forty-Foot Strip From Highbrook Avenue to Fifth Avenue For Street, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 22, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 22, p. 1, col. 3.
"WHERE'S THE MONEY COMING FROM TO IMPROVE STATION APPROACH' SAYS DILLON
North Pelham Trustee Pleads For a Practical Viewpoint of the Offer of New Haven Railroad to Give Land For Construction of Street at Main Line Station
The controversy which has waged around Village Trustee Edward Dillon and his attitude in regard to the offer of the New Haven R. R. to donate a strip of land for a street through the north side of station yard, brought the village official hustling back from his summer home in Block Island on Tuesday.
Dillon was strong in his demand for a sane viewpoint of the offer of the railroad company. Speaking to a Sun reporter he said: 'The offer of the New Haven is all right, but the blue print shows a straight line from Highbrook avenue to Fifth avenue. There is a big bulge of rock twenty feet high that the village must remove if the blue print plan is followed out. The construction of a concrete street or a street of any material will run into thousands of dollars and where is the money coming from? It certainly cannot be appropriated from the village budget for the major portion of that is already obligated. I certainly approve of an improvement scheme but we must see the practical points. The street needs improvement right now. It is the railroad company's property and they should not have allowed it to get into its present condition under any consideration.'
Trustee Dillon furthermore stated that the wretched condition of the north side of station approach today affected only the railroad company passengers. 'If Pelhamwood people want to reach Fifth avenue they have a splendid road on the other side of the track only an extra two hundred feet away. Improvement is fine but I as a village trustee want to know where the money is coming from.'"
Source: WHERE'S THE MONEY COMING FROM TO IMPROVE STATION APPROACH' SAYS DILLON -- North Pelham Trustee Pleads For a Practical Viewpoint of the Offer of New Haven Railroad to Give Land For Construction of Street at Main Line Station, The Pelham Sun, Jul. 29, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 23, p. 1, cols. 6-7.
"WILL REQUEST NEW HAVEN R. R. TO AMEND GRANT OF STATION STREET
Blue Print Plan if Followed Would Make Necessary Removal of Large Amount of Rock
Village taxpayers were on hand in large numbers Tuesday night when the North Pelham Village Board gathered for its regular meeting, as one of the main subjects to be discussed was the New Haven Station approach.
Clarence L. Law, president of the Pelhamwood Association, was the first to appear before the Board in the matter. Mr. Law stated that he had been in touch with the New Haven railroad officials who notified him that until the plan sent to the North Pelham Village Board was accepted, the original deed to the property would not be forwarded. Law asked for immediate action on the matter, and he got it.
The plan was brought forth which had been forwarded by the New Haven Railroad showing the grant of a 40-foot strip of land which was to be donated to the village for improvement and ownership. For some time, the village has been attempting to acquire the property so as to improve it and make it passable. Their chance to have the strip came when, on the morning of July 1st, Rev. William Milton Hess received a letter from A. A. Maxwell, Commissioner of Real Estate of the New Haven Railroad, advising him that the New Haven Railroad board of directors had approved and authorized the conveyance to the Village of North Pelham a 40-foot strip of land between Highbrook and Fifth Avenues.
According to the blueprint, the 40-foot strip of land ran straight across the hill from Fifth Avenue to Highbrook and to improve this strip and to construct a good roadway would necessitate blasting a large amount of rock which would cost considerable. As the budget for new streets amounts to only $22,500, making this roadway straight across the hill and following the course of the lines of the grant, meant cutting through the rock and in this one piece of new road, the entire budget for new roadways would be used up.
All the taxpayers present agreed the street needed immediate attention, but to accept this dedication and follow through the lines of the print would run the cost too high.
Village Engineer C. W. Doon submitted his plan for the new street which would do away with cutting the rock by merely following the contour of the present street, and this was exactly what was wanted. Trustee A. E. Shaw also had a rough drawn sketch showing how the Plaza could be beautified and his plans corresponded somewhat with those of Doon's.
On a motion by Trustee A. E. Shaw, seconded by Trustee Charles T. Johnson, Village Engineer Doon and Counsel George Lambert were authorized to go to New Haven to try and have the railroad officials amend their dedication so the lines of their grant follow the course of the present street. If the railroad officials agree to Doon's plans, then the Village Board will accept the dedication.
Clarence L. Law, with the permission of Mayor James Reilly, appointed a committee of five from the Pelhamwood Association who are to work with the Village Board on this matter. Members of the committee of five from the Pelhamwood Association who are to work with the Village Board on this matter. Members of the committee are William M. Uhler, William Gehron, James Curley, Maj. Gilmore D. Clarke and Rev. William M. Hess."
Source: WILL REQUEST NEW HAVEN R. R. TO AMEND GRANT OF STATION STREET -- Blue Print Plan if Followed Would Make Necessary Removal of Large Amount of Rock, The Pelham Sun, Aug. 5, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 24, p. 9, cols. 1-3.
"TRUSTEES AWAIT DECISION FROM RAILROAD; DILLON HOLDS OUT ON PLAZA ACCEPTANCE
Railroad Company May Agree to Change in Proposal. Dillon Contends That Acceptance of Land Would Prove Liability to Village
With Village Trustee Edward J. Dillon standing alone in the contention that acceptance of the New Haven Railroad depot plaza would prove costly to the village of North Pelham, the village Board awaits the decision of the railroad company in the trustees' proposal that a change be made in the plan of dedication. At the meeting of the village Trustees, Tuesday night, Dillon engaged in a heated argument with the remainder of the Board and Clarence L. Law president of the Pelhamwood Association; but failed to convince his colleagues that the railroad company's proposal should be turned down. The argument extended to personalities before the controversy subsided.
The bone of contention is now the possibility of having a change made in the proposal of the railroad to dedicate a 40-foot right of way from Highbrook avenue to Fifth avenue. Trustee Albert E. Shaw and Village Engineer Charles W. Doon reported on their conference with railroad company officials. They stated that they believed that the railroad company would agree to dedicate the existing road which would eliminate the necessity of cutting through rock on the 40 foot strip. Trustee Shaw stated that answer to the proposal was expected soon.
Trustee Dillon strongly condemned any acceptance of the property whatever, stating that the village would be forced to expend $60,000 for improvements. 'Instead of gaining by the move we will be taking on a liability,' said Dillon.
Trustee Shaw explained that this would not be necessary if the railroad would agree to dedicate the existing roadway. He stated that he had informed the railroad officials that the village could not consider the original proposal.
Mayor Reilly urged that the trustees wait until the railroad company answers the proposal.
Trustee Dillon, however, was firm in his contention that the village would be put to great expense. A wordy controversy followed, which was halted after Clarence L. Law, president of the Pelhamwood Association became the object of personal remarks by Trustee Dillon.
'I have lived in this village for the last five years and I have found that the village has paid little for progressive improvements,' said Trustee Shaw. 'This proposition is an absolute remedy and a step forward. Why talk about the cost? It can not be done for nothing. This is the front door of the village that is absolutely of no use to us now. Let us take this step forward.'
Mr. Law stated that the Pelhamwood Association had prepared a plan for the landscaping of the plaza if the improvement should be realized. He asked if the railroad company could not be requested to close the street, as it was becoming dangerous.
Mayor Reilly stated that he could not do that as the village did not have control over the property.
The argument threatened to be reopened when Dillon asked the engineer if the railroad officials stated whether or not they would have repaired the roadway if they had not been interfered with.
The engineer denied this. Trustee Dillon remained quiet.
Mr. Law asked the board to call a special meeting as soon as word had been received from the railroad company.
Mayor Reilly agreed."
Source: TRUSTEES AWAIT DECISION FROM RAILROAD; DILLON HOLDS OUT ON PLAZA ACCEPTANCE -- Railroad Company May Agree to Change in Proposal. Dillon Contends That Acceptance of Land Would Prove Liability to Village, The Pelham Sun, Aug. 19, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 26, p. 12, cols. 1-2.
"North Pelham Accepts 40-Foot Strip At Plaza
Railroad Lets Contract For Pavement of Station Approach. Village Under No Obligation
The Village of North Pelham now owns a forty foot section across the New Haven railroad depot plaza. The deed to the property was presented to the trustees Tuesday night. The village is under no obligation to improve the property within any stated time. The trustees however have agreed to construct a roadway across the plaza when financial conditions permit. The dedication was the result of a series of conferences between Village Trustee Albert E. Shaw, Attorney George Lambert, the Rev. William Milton Hess, who were appointed by the trustees, and representatives of the railroad company. Trustees Edward B. Harder and Edward J. Dillon retracted their opposition when the matter was presented for consideration by the Trustees Tuesday.
George S. Wheat, Public relations counsel for the New Haven railroad announced this week that the contract for the paving of the plaza has been let to a New Haven firm, and that work will be started within a few days. A tarvin macadam pavement is to be laid on the plaza. This will greatly relieve conditions about which severe complaint has been raised."
Source: North Pelham Accepts 40-Foot Strip At Plaza -- Railroad Lets Contract For Pavement of Station Approach -- Village Under No Obligation, The Pelham Sun, Nov. 4, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 38, p. 7, col. 1.
Labels: 1927, Clarence L. Law, Edward J. Dillon, New Haven Line, New Haven Main Line, Pelham Station, Pelham Station Plaza, Pelhamwood, Pelhamwood Avenue, Rev. William Milton Hess, Village of North Pelham