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.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

More Early References to Development of Prospect Hill by the Prospect Hill Village Association in the Early 1850s

With the coming of the railroad to the Town of Pelham from New York City in late 1848, real estate developers seized on the opportunity.  They formed a number of so-called "building societies" to develop the areas known as Pelhamville and Prospect Hill within the Town of Pelham.  (Other building societies operated nearby at the same time, particularly in Mount Vernon.)  Building societies were an early form of financial institution owned by members as mutual organizations. Building societies offered banking and related financial services, especially savings and mortgage lending to support new home construction and purchase.

By about 1850, in the midst of national economic prosperity, land speculators converged on Pelham hoping to develop various sections of the town as a new railroad suburb serviced by the newly-opened New Haven Main Line.  Developers formed the freehold land society named United Brothers' Land Society to sell lots in Pelhamville.  Another building society named the Prospect Hill Village Association was formed to sell lots in the Pelham neighborhood known today as Prospect Hill.  There was some overlapping management and involvement between the two associations that strongly suggests a coordinated effort to sell real estate in the two sections of the Town.

The United Brothers' Land Society arranged purchase of the Anthony Wolf Farm (John Anthony Woolf) north of the New Haven Main Line railroad tracks and arranged for surveyor William Bryson to survey and prepare a development plan for the development of Pelhamville by mapping proposed streets and building lots.  At about the same time, Bryson was involved in surveying and mapping another section for development in the Town of Pelham. The section was to be named Prospect Hill Village.  The section eventually became one of the two principal real estate developments from which much of today's Village of Pelham Manor evolved. (The other section, of course, was the development of the Pelham Manor & Huguenot Heights Association organized two decades later on June 3, 1873 by Silas H. Witherbee, Henry C. Stephens, Robert A. Mitchill, Charles J. Stephens, Charles F. Heywood and other local landowners.) 

On August 11, 1852, William Bryson filed a development map entitled "Map of Prospect Hill Village, Town of Pelham, Westchester County, New York." The map encompassed a prime area described by Lockwood Barr as "on the crown of the ridge near the Boston Post Road, bounded by what are now Highland, Prospect, Esplanade, New Haven Branch, Washington and Old Split Rock Road." Barr, Lockwood, A Brief, But Most Complete & True Account of the Settlement of the Ancient Town of Pelham Westchester County, State of New York Known One Time Well & Favourably as The Lordshipp & Mannour of Pelham Also the Story of the Three Modern Villages Called The Pelhams, p. 123 (Richmond, VA: The Dietz Press, Inc. 1946).

Today's Historic Pelham Blog article transcribes a few very early newspaper notices seeking proposals for the surveys and grading necessary to develop the new Prospect Hill Village settlement.  Included are images of the newspapers notices, followed by transcriptions of their text as well as citations and links to their sources.

The development area was about 96 acres owned by the Prospect Hill Village Association.  The Society facilitated savings by its members to acquire building lots and, in some instances, to construct homes on the lots.  

In early October, 1851, the Association sought proposals "for surveying and staking off the land."  The proposals were to be submitted to the office of the President of the Association, Mr. Alfred S. Peace (after whom Peace Street on Prospect Hill is named) at 161 Third Avenue in Manhattan.  The Association required all proposals to include "References as to ability" as well as "security . . . for the faithful performance of the work."  A notice published in the October 1, 1851 issue of The New York Times placed by William Parker, Secretary of the Association, appears immediately below.

Prospect Hill Village Association Notice.  Source:  MISCELLANEOUS. -- 
p. 3, col. 3 (Note:  Paid subscription required to access via this link).
NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.  Transcription Immediately Below.

PROSPECT HILL VILLAGE ASSOCIATION.  --  SEALED PROPOSALS for surveying and staking off the land (96 acres) belonging to the above Society, near New Rochelle, will be received until Monday, M., October 5th, by the President, Mr. Alfred S. Peace, 161 3d-av.  References as to ability and security, will be required for the faithful performance of the work.
WM. PARKER, Sec'y.
192 Canal st.

Only a few weeks later, in January, 1852, the Association was ready to begin grading its land on Prospect Hill.  Again the secretary of the Association, William Parker (who operated out of an office at 192 Canal Street in Manhattan), placed a notice in The New York Times asking for proposals to be sent to the President of the Association, Alfred S. Peace.  Such proposals were due by January 10, 1852.

Soon, development of today's Prospect Hill neighborhood was underway. . . .

Prospect Hill Village Association Notice.  Source:  PROSPECT HILL
VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, N.Y. Times, Jan. 3, 1852, p. 3, col. 5 (Note:
Paid subscription required to access via this link).  NOTE:  Click on
Image to Enlarge.  Transcription Immediately Below.

"PROSPECT HILL VILLAGE ASSOCIATION.  --  PROposals will be received for grading the land of the association until the 10th January, 1852.  Plans and specifications may be obtained of the President, with whom all proposals must be left, marked,, 'Estimates for Grading,' &c.

ALFRED S. PEACE, President.
161 Third avenue.
WM. PARKER, Secretary,
192 Canal street."

*          *          *          *          *

I have written before about Prospect Hill Village, the Prospect Hill Village Association, and the neighborhood known today as Prospect Hill.  Seee.g.:  

Bell, Blake A., The Founding of "Prospect Hill Village" in the Early 1850s, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XV, Issue 25, Second Section, Jun. 23, 2006, p. 34, col. 1.

Fri., Feb. 10, 2017:  United Brothers' Land Society Involvement in Developing Pelhamville Lands in the Early 1850s.

Tue., Jul. 26, 2016:  More About the Prospect Hill Village Association in the Mid-19th Century.  

Fri., Jun. 17, 2016:  More on Efforts to Invalidate Deeds of Many Prospect Hill Homes in 1900.

Fri., Feb. 12, 2010:  Documentation of the Creation of the Building Association Known as Prospect Hill Village Association on August 11, 1852.

Thu., Feb. 11, 2010:  Prospect Hill Landowners Face Loss of Their Properties in 1900 Due to Allegedly Defective Deeds.

Thu., Oct. 15, 2009:  19th and Early 20th Century Newspaper Notices Relating to the Prospect Hill Village Association.

Wed., Jan. 07, 2009:  A Reference to Voluntary Dissolution Proceedings Involving the Prospect Hill Village Association Instituted in 1906.

Tue., Jul. 3, 2007:  1855 Tax Collection Notice for Pelhamville and Prospect Hill Village.

Fri., Apr. 14, 2006:  Three of the Original Homes of the Prospect Hill Village Association Founded in 1851.

Fri., Apr. 7, 2006:  A View from Prospect Hill Looking West Published in 1887.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006:  More Information About the Prospect Hill Village Association Formed in the Early 1850s.

Mon., Nov. 21, 2005:  Prospect Hill and Pelhamville Depicted on the 1868 Beers Atlas Map of Pelham: Part I.

Wed., Mar. 30, 2005:  Prospect Hill Village -- Yet Another Early Hamlet Within the Town of Pelham

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