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 17, 2018

Sanborn Map Company Employees Began Working in Pelham Before the Company Map Factory Was Completed in 1906

Research continues to reveal more about the early Pelham history of the internationally-renowned Sanborn Map Company that built a "map factory" in the Village of North Pelham in 1906The Sanborn Map Building stands adjacent to Chester Park in the northern portion of today's Village of Pelham.  The Sanborn Map Building was built in 1906. In it the Sanborn Map Company produced maps for insurance company customers for many decades.   

The company's predecessor, founded by D. A. Sanborn in 1866, gained national recognition in the 19th century for its incredibly detailed fire insurance maps. The "Sanborn Map and Publishing Company, Limited" was established at the office of the Continental Insurance Company in New York in 1876.  By the early 20th century the company had changed its name to the Sanborn Map Company and had decided to build a massive "map factory" in the Village of North Pelham.  Construction began in 1906.  

I have written on numerous occasions about the lovely Sanborn Map Building in Pelham.  See, e.g.:

Thu., Nov. 02, 2017:  Sanborn Map Company Opened a Map School in Pelham Before Opening its New Map Factory in 1906.

Tue., Mar. 14, 2017:   The Sanborn Map Company Water Tower in North Pelham.  

Mon., Nov. 28, 2005:   The Historic Sanborn Map Building In The Village of Pelham.  

Bell, Blake A., The Sanborn Map Company and its Pelham Headquarters, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XV, Issue 14, Apr. 7, 2006, p. 10, col. 1.

A brief article appeared in the October 5, 1906 issue of The Daily Argus published in neighboring Mount Vernon.  The article referenced the fact that a group of women had been working for the Sanborn Map Company for "some weeks" in a building owned by Philip Godfrey on Fourth Avenue near Second Street.  This was the Sanborn Map Company School that existed at that location for a very brief time in 1906.  There, the company trained local workers to handle the work that would be required in the new Map Factory nearing completion at the time.  I have written about that school before.  See Thu., Nov. 02, 2017:  Sanborn Map Company Opened a Map School in Pelham Before Opening its New Map Factory in 1906.

The same Daily Argus reveals an interesting piece of new information, however.   According to the article, about twenty women who had worked at the Sanborn Map Company School in Philip Godfrey's building were moved after their training to a section of the Power House at the Sanborn Map Company Factory before the remainder of the complex was completed.

When first established, the Sanborn Map Factory complex in North Pelham had its own steam-based electrical generating equipment.  Such equipment was common during the late 19th and early 20th centuries at manufacturing plants at a time when the electrical grid was far less reliable and a patchwork of electricity generating companies served various regions rather than a handful of large electric utilities.  Even today the tall brick steam exhaust stack of the manufacturing plant in north Pelham towers over the complex and can be seen from quite a distance.

The twenty or so women began working in a portion of the power plant while work on the complex including the laying of piping and other necessary work was being performed.  Clearly the Sanborn Map Company was anxious to open its Map Factory as soon as possible and planned to hit the ground running with trained employees who were ready, willing, and able to work as soon as construction was finished.  

 Sanborn Map Building in 2003.  Photograph by the Author.
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge. 
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The Argus will be found on sale each day at Lyman's drug store, or will be delivered by notifying Glover Brea.
Here and There.

The following are the unclaimed letters at the North Pelham postoffice for the week of September 24:  Mrs. William C. Abbott, Mrs. Elizabeth Marany, Mrs. Q. Mauk, Miss Lizzie Pelham, Miss Ellen Regan and Miss Ellen Hickey.

It was stated yesterday afternoon by the superintendent, who has in charge the construction of the Sanborne [sic] map factory building, that the main buildings would probably be ready for occupancy by November 15.  The girls who have been doing work for the company some weeks in the building of Philip Godfrey on Fourth avenue, near Second street, have moved into a section of the power house where they will remain for the time being.  There are twenty of them at present working there.  These buildings are now rapidly nearing completion.  The piping is being laid and other necessary work being done.

A number of houses in North Pelham are now nearing completion.  Work on Jacob Heisser's house on Fourth street and Sixth avenue is in an advanced stage and will probably be ready for occupancy by November 1.  At least Mr. Heisser expects to move into it then.  The block at the corner of Fifth avenue and Fifth street is going up well and will no doubt be ready about the same time.  Several other houses will also be ready by that time.

The three days' bazaar, under the auspices of St. Catherine's [sic] church was brought to a close last night with by large attendance.  A goodly sum will be realized from the affair fo the benefit of the furnishings for the convent."

Source:    NORTH PELHAM -- Here and There, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Oct. 5, 1906, p. 5, col. 1.

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