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.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Hit and Run Automobile Accident at Today's Fifth and Lincoln Avenues in 1906 Outraged North Pelham

The "autoist" made his turn far too quickly that Tuesday morning, May 22, 1906 at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Fourth Street (today's Lincoln Avenue).  As the driver turned, a trolley car was stopped in the street with a handful of passengers aboard.  

The driver tried to whiz around the left side of the trolley but miscalculated.  The automobile sideswiped the trolley car, ripping off brass rods down the length of the trolley.  According to an outraged front page account of the accident in a local newspaper, the auto struck the trolley "with considerable force."  The newspaper further stated "Reports differ as to the effect the crashing had on the passengers.  Some say that there was considerable screaming, while the conductor in charge said this morning that the passengers did not appear to be frightened."

The driver sped away from the scene of the accident "as if nothing had happened."  

Residents of the Village of North Pelham were outraged.  Even before the hit and run accident, they were "disturbed over the reckless speeding of autoists on Fifth avenue."  They wanted Village President James Reilley "to do away with the auto nuisance or remedy it in some fashion."

North Pelham residents were unhappy because, in their view, the Village of Pelham Manor already had "attended nicely to the auto question."  Pelham Manor had installed speed limit signs throughout the Village.  North Pelham had not.  Pelham Manor was in the midst of a speeding crackdown, particularly on Shore Road where the very weekend before the hit and run accident in North Pelham a speed trap had been set up on Shore Road though not a single driver of the forty who passed had to be arrested for speeding.  

Only two years before, in 1904, New York State had become the first state to enact automobile speed limits via State statute (20 mph country / 10 mph city).  North Pelham residents believed that if North Pelham officials weren't willing to enact local speeding ordinances, at least they should enforce State speeding laws!  

Little Pelham was, once again, feeling growing pains.

Speed Limit Sign Like Those Installed in the Village of Pelham
Manor in 1902.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

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I have written before about the early years of the automobile in Pelham.   For a few examples, see:    

Thu., Dec. 01, 2016:  Pelham Manor Sided With the Anti-Automobilists in 1902.

Wed., Nov. 09, 2016:   Who Drove the First Automobile in Pelham?  

Thu., Nov. 05, 2015:   The Earliest Days of the Automobile in Pelham.    

Thu., Jan. 07, 2010:   Pelham Manor Police Establish Speed Traps on Shore Road in 1910 to Catch Those Traveling Faster than Fifteen Miles Per Hour.  

Mon., Jul. 20, 2009:   Early Automobile Accident and Explosion on Shore Road Near Travers Island in 1902.

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Authorities There Will Take Action Regarding All Speeding

North Pelham, May 24. -- Residents of North Pelham are somewhat disturbed over the reckless speeding of autoists on Fifth avenue.  They are wondering why it is that the village officials do not post signs in conspicuous places, calling attention to the fact that the officials will enforce the state law relative to auto speeding, etc.  President Reilley was asked this morning if the board had as yet taken any steps to do away with the auto nuisance or remedy it in some way, and he said that the officials had not as yet taken any action, but they probably would at the next regular meeting.  This means that signs will probably be erected as have already been placed in Pelham Manor.

Last Tuesday morning there came near being a serious accident on Fifth avenue, when a local autoist made a quick turn and ran his machine into a North Pelham car, knocking off two of the brass rods along the side of the car.  The autoist sped on his way as if nothing had happened.  The accident occurred near the junction of Fourth street and Fifth avenue.  The North Pelham car was waiting for the Pelham Manor car and was standing still when the above mentioned autoist whizzed by on the left.  He brought his machine too close to the car, with the result that it struck it with considerable force, knocking off the brass rods.  There were only a few passengers in the car at the time and it was fortunate that no one was hurt.  Reports differ as to the effect the crashing had on the passengers.  Some say that there was considerable screaming, while the conductor in charge said this morning that the passengers did not appear to be frightened.

The Pelham Manor officials have attended nicely to the auto question.  Last Sunday afternoon, President Charles C. Pond and Chief of Police Marks measured off an eighth of a mile on the Shore road and timed about forty autoists.  Chief Marks stated that there were very few violations, but no serious ones -- none to warrant any arrests.  It is understood that both Mr. Marks and President Pond were satisfied with the manner in which autoists were manifesting regarding for the speed limit law.  Two new signs have recently been put up on the Shore road."

Source:  AUTOISTS IN NORTH PELHAM TO BE WATCHED -- Authorities There Will Take Action Regarding All Speeding -- SERIOUS ACCIDENT WAS NARROWLY AVERTED LATELY, Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], May 24, 1906, No. 4325, p. 1, col. 1

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