By Matisse Clayton
Social media, including the Mothers of Pelham (MOPs) and Dads of Pelham (DOPs) Facebook pages, frequently buzz with complaints of the daily mad scramble among vehicles and pedestrians jockeying for position as commuter trains from New York City arrive at Pelham Station on the New Haven Line. Drivers waiting to pick up their harried commuters park their vehicles in helter-skelter fashion, blocking access to station parking lots. Harried commuters dart in and out of traffic without regard to crosswalks. Unhappy drivers are stuck in long lines trying to exit the station. Commuters race to waiting taxis only to learn that all are full. Ah the joys of the Pelham commute!
(Editor's Note: This is Mark's last Blog for Pelhams PLUS. He is moving upstate. I am sure we all thank him for his Film and Entertinment blogs and also for his Home Improvement articles for The Pelham Weekly, and we wish him well in the next chapter of his life. Go Mark!)
Town Hall in About 1910 (On Left) and Town Hall in 2013 (On Right). Note, in Photo on the Left, the Double Pilasters with Corinthian Capitals Located Near Corners of Front Facade. Note Also the Second-Story Doors that Open Onto a Balcony Where Now There Are Three Windows and No Balcony. Note, Among Other Changes, the Stone Porch Added to the Front of the Building Rather than Steps Leading from the Street and the All-Brick Front Façade.
When the Pelham Community Rowing Association held the ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of its beautiful new boathouse on Glen Island on October 27, 2009, Pelhamites were continuing nearly a 120-year tradition of supporting the sport of rowing in the waters off the shores of Pelham.
In 1911, the family of seventeen-year-old Norman Rockwell moved to New Rochelle. Over the next three decades, Norman Rockwell became one of the nation's most beloved illustrators and artists and he supplied art for the covers of a number of the nation's leading magazines including The Saturday Evening Post.
It is difficult, today, to imagine how important the area we know as Pelham Bay Park once was to our Town of Pelham before it and the islands lying off its shores were annexed by New York City in 1895. Its shores and waters were a giant recreational area used not only by residents of New York City but also by residents of Pelham, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, West Chester, and other nearby communities.
Residents of the Town of Pelham seemed to recognize the importance and value of the new invention of the telephone very early. On July 19, 1884, the New Rochelle Pioneer reported that during the previous week City Island had been "connected with the outside world by the telephone" and that "Manager Deveau has been quite active the past few days in putting up telephones." The same issue of the New Rochelle Pioneer elsewhere reported that "Several of the tradesmen of City Island concluded that they may as well be buried alive as be out of the fashion, so they have put in telephones in order to keep pace with the times. . . .
Did residents of the Town of Pelham really want the town to be annexed by New York City in 1887?
The lore of Huckleberry Island off the shores of Pelham includes the story of a very odd incident that involved ornery hogs on the island at the close of the Civil War. Indeed, a number of newspaper articles make brief, passing references to the incident without much detail -- only enough information to pique interest in the curious incident. One article published years later to tout Colonel Delancey Kane's "Pelham Coach" told the story with a little more detail.