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.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

News from the Pelham Press Printed on May 21, 1897

During the late 1920s, the Village of North Pelham Historian, J. Gardner Minard, pulled out old copies of the Pelham Press that he published in the late 1890s and made them available to The Pelham Sun which, thankfully, reprinted news from those early newspapers.  In 1927, The Pelham Sun periodically reprinted the news from 1897 in a column titled "Pelham 30 Years Ago."  

Today these periodic news vignettes provide a fascinating glimpse of life in Pelham at the very end of the 19th century.  For example, on May 27, 1927, The Pelham Sun published news from the May 21, 1897 issue of the Pelham Press.  Today's Historic Pelham article highlights some of the more significant news of that day and transcribes the text as printed by The Pelham Sun, followed by a citation and link to its source.

The news of the Pelham Press made a brief reference to a fascinating piece of Pelham history.  In 1896, the tiny settlement of Pelham Heights with only a handful of residents stole a march on the adjacent settlement of Pelhamville and obtained special legislation authorizing it to incorporate as the smallest village in the State of New York.  When Pelham Heights incorporated, it co-opted the name "Pelham" and had its village boundaries set to include ALL of the New Haven main line railroad properties including the railroad station within the new Village of Pelham.  To the shock and dismay of Pelhamville residents, the long-time name of the railroad station, "Pelhamville Station," was scrapped and the station was renamed "Pelham Station."  For more, see:

Fri., Apr. 15, 2005:   How Pelhamville "Lost" Its Name!  

Tue., July 01, 2014:   Why Do We Call It the Village of Pelham Instead of Pelhamville? Because We Were Duped! 

Mon., Sep. 29, 2014:  The Heights Tells North Pelham: So What if We Pulled a Fast One and Renamed the Train Station? Get Over It! 

Thu., Oct. 05, 2017:  North Pelham Officials Wouldn't Let it Go: 1906 Resurrection of the Fight Over Naming the Train Station.

Shortly after the Village of Pelham was incorporated in 1896, Pelhamville incorporated as the "Village of North Pelham."  There was a deafening outcry in North Pelham over not only the co-opting of the Pelham name by the handful of residents who lived in Pelham Heights, but also the fact that the valuable New Haven line properties including the renamed railroad station were included within the Village of Pelham, thus giving that tiny village substantial property tax revenue paid by the New Haven railroad.  

Pelham Heights would not relent on being renamed, but in 1897 it relented on the placement of its northern boundary.  The Village of Pelham agreed to move the boundary to the center line of the New Haven main line railroad tracks, thus placing the railroad station within the boundaries of the new Village of North Pelham.  According to the Pelham Press:

"The village of Pelham has ceded to the village of North Pelham one-half of the property of the New Haven Railroad Company, including the downtown station.  When the village of Pelham was incorporated last year the entire railroad property was included within its boundaries.  This gave the village a valuable bit of good taxable property."

The Pelham Press of May 21, 1897 also notes that in May, 1897 "A new drinking fountain [was] placed at the corner of Fifth avenue and Fourth street for horses and animals.  This is one of the only known references to the horse fountain that once stood at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Lincoln Avenue (known as Fourth Street in 1897).  There are no known images of the North Pelham horse fountain, unlike the horse fountain that once stood at the intersection of Boston Post Road and Esplanade in Pelham Manor.  See:

Wed., Jun. 22, 2016:  1904 Newspaper Photograph of Pelham Manor Horse Fountain on Boston Post Road.

Fri., Aug. 15, 2014:   The Old Horse Fountain on Boston Post Road at the Esplanade.   

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

Tue., Dec. 30, 2014:   Article from April 23, 1910 Issue of The Pellham Sun

 "Fountain and Esplanade.  Pelham Manor, N. Y."
Undated Postcard View of the Horse Fountain at
Esplanade and Boston Post Road, Circa 1910.
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

News from the May 21, 1897 Pelham Press also confirms another important fact of life in late 19th century Pelhamville and the early days of the Village of North Pelham.  There was no local hospital.  Thus, Lyman's Pharmacy at the corner of Fifth Avenue and First Street often served as a makeshift emergency care center.  

For example, during a baseball practice game held on the baseball diamond that once stood along today's Lincoln Avenue on Monday, May 17, 1927, Pelhamite Harry Patters sprained his ankle badly.  He was carried to Lyman's Pharmacy where he was treated for the injury.  Barely a year later, Harry Patterson was dead -- Pelham's only casualty during the Spanish-American War that raged briefly from April 21, 1898 until August 13, 1898.

1910 Postcard View of One Fifth Avenue, the Lyman Pharmacy
and U.S. Post Office, Designed by Architect Arthur G. C. Fletcher.
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

The same Pelham Press article also highlights an issue that seems quaint and odd in modern Pelham.  For many, many years, children who attended school where today's Hutchinson Elementary School now stands had to go to a well for a fresh drink during the school day.  The well is referenced in a number of sources.  According to one reference, it was dug in 1874:

"In 1874 a well was sunk at the foot of the stone steps leading up the hill to the school. Previous to this time two boys were usually sent for a pail of water. They would sometimes take this opportunity to waste a couple of hours of precious time."

Source:  Montgomery, William R., "THE OLD SCHOOL HOUSE ON THE HILL PELHAMVILLE" (undated typewritten manuscript in collections of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham).

By 1897, with water being piped to local households, such wells were unnecessary and dangerous.  Thus, according to the Pelham Press, in late May of that year the Board of Trustees of the Village of North Pelham ordered that the well be filled, which it was.

The text from the Pelham Press of May 21, 1897 contains a number of additional fascinating references to life in late 19th century Pelham.  It makes wonderful reading for students of Pelham History and appears below.

*          *          *          *          *

(Pelham Press, May 21, 1897.)

The annual spring games of the New York Athletic Club are scheduled for June 5th.

The Pelham A. C. will cross bats with the North Sides of New Rochelle on Memorial Day.  Each team has scored a victory and this game will take place in New Rochelle will be for blood.


The initial number of the Pelham Record made its appearance May 14.  We welcome our little brother.


A new drinking fountain has been placed at the corner of Fifth avenue and Fourth street for horses and animals.  


The old open well which stands in the lot opposite the North Pelham school has been filled in.  It was considered dangerous and the filling in was ordered by the North Pelham trustees.


Mr. and Mrs. Pedro P. de Arozarena of Pelhamdale avenue, Pelham Heights, are sailing for Europe next week for an indefinite stay.


At the regular meeting of the North Pelham trustees held at the Town Hall, Tuesday night, two bills were laid over because they were not made out on village bill heads.  Former tax collector, William Edinger, was present and asked that his bondsmen be released, which was granted.  The monthly report of the village treasurer was received but as it showed an unaccountable shortage the board held a recess to straighten it out.


James Gillen, 13, of Mount Vernon was the first victim of the bicycle ordinance.  He had just bought a new wheel and was trying it out on the North Pelham sidewalks when Constable Marks arrested him.  Brought before Judge Lyon, the court did not take the offense so seriously and suspended sentence.


Walter J. Moye, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Moye of Second avenue, met with a painful accident last Saturday.  While chopping wood a piece struck him in the eye impairing the sight.


Times are pretty hard when a man will stoop so low to steal a tie rope, but that is what happened to Dr. Charles A. Barker last Saturday night.  He left his horse hitched outside his gate while he went inside and when he came out the animal was loose and the rope missing.  It was fortunate he came when he did as the animal is a fiery animal and has run away several times.


Nathan Jacobs, a peddler, residing at 87 Clinton street, New York City was tried before Judge Lyon Monday night on a charge of disorderly conduct.  He was selling writing paper and matches and called at the blacksmith shop of James Reilly.  Mr. Reilly bought some paper from him and finding he had no license, gave him a friendly warning that the constable would get him.  His reply was a lot of indecent language and Reilly ordered Constable Marks to arrest him.  He was locked up and when arraigned before Judge Lyon was very repentant and wept copiously and the court suspended sentence with a warning.


During a practice game on the diamond on Fourth street, Monday, Harry Patterson sprained his ankle badly and was brought to Lyman's drug store where it was attended to.  It will be some time before he can use it again.


A grand missionary service will be held at St. Catherine's [sic] Church, Sunday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m.  Father Godfrey, the famous missionary, will conduct the service.


Mrs. Emily Fauret, of Fourth street, met with an accident last Friday.  While in Skinner's store in Mount Vernon, she was descending the stairs from the second floor when her heel caught in the rubber mat and she fell down the flight to the first floor.  She suffered only from shock and minor bruises.


What might have been a serious accident occurred at the North Pelham school last Monday.  The pupils were being marched from the first to the second floor when suddenly the floor settled at the side about six inches.  The coolness of the teachers averted a panic among the pupils.


On Thursday, May 20th, Mrs. Minna E. Raisbeck of Pelham Heights and John Butler of New York City were married at the First Reformed Episcopal Church, New York City, by the Rev. George W. Huntington.  Mr. and Mrs. Butler will make their home in Pelham Heights.


The village of Pelham has ceded to the village of North Pelham one-half of the property of the New Haven Railroad Company, including the downtown station.  When the village of Pelham was incorporated last year the entire railroad property was included within its boundaries.  This gave the village a valuable bit of good taxable property."

Source:   PELHAM 30 YEARS AGO (Pelham Press, May 21, 1897.), The Pelham Sun, May 27, 1927, Vol. 18, No. 13, p. 14, cols. 1-3.

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