15.Jul.2017 Alden Court

Alden Court is in the Wilmot Woods neighborhood of New Rochelle.  It is named after John Alden, signatory of the Mayflower Compact, early colonist, and major figure in Longfellow’s Courtship of Miles Standish.  There is no discernible connection between Alden and Westchester, despite the profusion of streets named after him here.  The name appears purely symbolic.

It is not entirely clear whether Alden Court was built on land that once occupied the northernmost arm of Jonathan Carpenter’s farm or the southernmost portion of the Robbins farm (see Abingdon Lane post).  The Carpenters were one of many Quakers who settled in the north end of New Rochelle, near the Scarsdale and Mamaroneck borders.  Along with a farm, he operated a saw mill on the upper Sheldrake River, which had been previously dammed to create a pond.  It is still a pond, and also a park (Carpenter’s Pond).

It is difficult to say where Alden Lane would fall on this map, although I suspect it is on Carpenter land

Either way, the land appears to have been acquired by the textile merchant WG Hitchcock as a part of Hitchcock’s effort to amass land in Westchester.  After Hitchcock’s empire suddenly faltered, his holdings were transferred to Scarsdale Estates for disposal.  The parcel just south of Wilmot Road was acquired by the NY and Westchester Townsite Corp, a land speculation concern looking to profit from the nearby NY and Westchester.  The land continued to change hands between a series of real estate concerns during the 1920s and 1930s without any development.

Eventually the land was acquired by Haring and Blumenthal, a long-standing and successful partnership between Charles F. Haring and Louis F. Blumenthal.  The pair started in the theatre business and owned a string of theaters in New York and New Jersey.  In the early 1930s, they purchased and refurbished the Earl Carroll Theatre at 50th Street and 7th Avenue, and opened it as the French Casino, a large and glamorous art deco nightclub that hosted folies and musical reviews.  The duo also were prolific land developers in the Bronx and Westchester.

Wilmot Woods was styled as a “small Colonial Village.”  All of the streets have colonial themed names and according to the charter, only colonial houses were allowed.

“S.R.O.” apparently stands for “Standing Room Only.”

Advertisements touted “a restricted community of congenial neighbors” — we all know what that means.  The neighborhood appears to have been built in two parts, with the area east of Baraud Road developed first, followed by the area west of Baraud Road, which included Alden Court.

1947 Aerial Map

01.Jul.2017 Albert Place

Albert Place is located between Mayflower Avenue on the north and Coligni on the south, just before Coligni swoops north to meet Mayflower.  It is named after Albert James Girard.  His parents, Dominick and Mary, owned the land that eventually was developed into Albert Place.

1929 Westchester Atlas

Read more ›

Comments Off on Albert Place

11.Jun.2017 Albert Leonard Road

Albert Leonard Road is named after Albert Leonard.   It would be wild indeed — but not inconceivable — if this were not to be the case.  For example, it could have been named after two people — one named Albert and one named Leonard.  Let’s say that Leonard brand water valves include a special type of valve called an “Albert,” after an inventor named Albert (this is entirely hypothetical, although Leonard brand water valves exist). All of these are possible.  But in this world, Albert Leonard Road refers to a person, namely the Superintendent of New Rochelle Public Schools between 1907 and 1931.

Albert Leonard, around 1900

Read more ›

Comments Off on Albert Leonard Road

29.Apr.2017 Albemarle Avenue

Albemarle Avenue is a street in the far southern end of Rochelle Heights – that part along its hem that drags against the sound walls of I-95.  But more on that later.  The word, “Albemarle,” itself refers to a town in Normandy named, “Aumale” – or more precisely, the Latin name of that town, “Alba Marl” (or “white marl,” a type of soil).  The lines of British peerage, such as the Duke of Albemarle and the Earl of Albemarle, are more widely known.

Coat of Arms for the Earl of Albemarle, as featured on a menu for the Albemarle Hotel

Read more ›

Comments Off on Albemarle Avenue

25.Mar.2017 Agar Avenue

Agar Avenue is a Street in the Premium Point Park neighborhood of New Rochelle, near the border of Larchmont, south of Post Road. It winds down a hillside to meet the northeasternmost reach of Echo Bay — one of those fingers of the Sound that the moon renders mostly mud and rivulets for a lot of the day.  Not surprisingly, Agar Avenue was originally given the index, Hillside Ave.  It was renamed to honor John Giraud Agar, a distinguished lawyer, whose opulent residence Fair Oaks had been located nearby.

Agar’s Fair Oaks (not located on Agar Avenue)

Read more ›

Comments Off on Agar Avenue

17.Jan.2017 Acorn Terrace

There are two separate streets in New Rochelle with the name Acorn: (1) Acorn Lane (as previously described) and (2) Acorn Terrace (in the East End).  The symbolism of acorns was described at length in the entry for Acorn Lane.


View Larger Map

Technically, Acorn Terrace is in a neighborhood called, “Pine Park,” a moniker that seems to have fallen out of use.  Like most of the East End, the land upon which Pine Park was developed was once devoted to the ice operation at Crystal Lake, which was filled in by John Stephenson after the water turned brackish and (possibly) malarial.

Read more ›

Comments Off on Acorn Terrace

18.Dec.2016 Adams Street

Adams Street is located in Homestead Park.  Without citation, the Standard Star suggested that this street was named after the second president (John Adams) and the sixth president (John Quincy Adams).  That this street was named after both presidents, I cannot confirm.  But that it was named after at least one of these presidents appears quite likely given that other streets in the vicinity have names like Lincoln, Monroe, and Jefferson.  Indeed, it would be unusual (albeit not impossible) that this street was named after some other individual named Adams (who was not president).

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-10-50-01-am

Homestead Park was developed by Adrian Iselin (Sr.) in the very late 1800s and very early 1900s.  The New Rochelle Pioneer reported that contracts were awarded for the first two houses  in April 1899 — frame “cottages” designed by Charles Lupprian with “two stories and attic, equipped with all improvements” and costing about $3,000.  Iselin was a very wealthy Wall Street banker — so wealthy that his banking house helped finance the U.S. Government during the Civil War.  Reluctant to be photographed, generous philanthropist, fond of chrysanthemums, Iselin established a summer residence in New Rochelle and soon the Iselins became prominent citizens owning a fair amount of property in the city.

Read more ›

Comments Off on Adams Street

02.Nov.2016 Acorn Lane

Acorn Lane is part of the Larchmont Woods development, which straddles New Rochelle and Larchmont.  The road itself lies completely within New Rochelle, but some of the houses on Acorn Lane are in Larchmont.

 

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-11-09-26-pm

Westchester County Atlas (1930)

 

An acorn is the nut of an oak tree.  (A nut, by the way, is a fruit comprising seeds and a hard shell that protects the seeds).  Specifically, an acorn is a single seed protected by a tough shell, which is partially enclosed by a cupule.  Acorns are actually edible.  If they are shelled and leached of bitter tannins, they can be turned into flour or sometimes oil.  They are a common sight in most deciduous woodland landscapes.

The word Acorn is symbolic.  By convention, the word “acorn” has come to stand for the nut of an oak tree.  But it can also stand for other things, such as a utopian picturesque woodland (the streets in Larchmont Woods, especially the original names, generally refer to the forest).  It may also stand for even more general concepts, like raw Potential.  As Aristotle said: “Each human being is bred with a unique set of potentials that yearn to be fulfilled as surely as the acorn yearns to become the oak within it.”  Or it can stand for combinations of these concepts.

It is important to note that symbolism is founded on convention.  One can envision an alternate universe where the acorn signifies not the picturesque but any number of concepts that would not resonate with — or even positively repulse — homebuyers.  Like a world where acorns were the favorite snack of a terrible despot.  Or a world where various denominations of currency were identified by nut varieties, with the acorn serving as the lowest denomination.  Or a new denomination whereby the possessor of an acorn (or token bearing such likeness) was obligated to pay someone else (money or acorns).  Or whereby the holder would forfeit property if it were found in their possession.

Read more ›

Comments Off on Acorn Lane

23.Oct.2016 Acacia Terrace

Acacia Terrace is named after the Acacia tree.  The Standard Star reported that the name comes from three large acacia trees at the western edge of the property.  Another resident recalls that acacia trees “lined the street.”  Today, no acacia trees appear to remain.

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-12-59-21-pm

The acacia, also known as “the wattles,” is a member of the legume family.  It is not native to New York, favoring warmer climes.  I suspect — and this is pure speculation — that the existence of acacia trees at this locale in New Rochelle was due to the proximity of the dock on Ferris Creek, which was used in the 1800s for trading with the West Indies.

Starting in the 1820s, the land was owned by David Harrison, a Brooklyn attorney who acquired the property as his country seat.  Harrison was reportedly an “eccentric” — which appears to have meant that he suffered from dementia and bequeathed only meager amounts to next of kin.  His will(s) (successfully contested) specified for his internment on “Round Island,” an island located in Echo Bay.  Round Island is now one of the islands in Five Islands Park, now aptly called Harrison’s Island.  I could find no record of Harrison’s final resting place, so I can’t rule out that he is buried there.

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-1-04-40-pm

1867 Westchester County Atlas

Read more ›

Comments Off on Acacia Terrace

02.Oct.2016 Abingdon Lane

We remain in New Rochelle’s far northern end. Like Abbey Close, Abingdon Lane is also in Scarsdale Downs, but on the other side of Baruad Road.

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-23-41-pm

1867 Westchester Atlas

In the mid- to late- 1800s, the land between Baraud Road, Wilmot Road, and the Scarsdale line was a farm owned by George A. Robbins & family.  Other than maps, I could only find one mention of the Robbins farm despite much searching.  And it was this: in the year 1884, three uncommonly large potatoes were grown there.  The three potatoes together weighed 4.5 pounds.  They were called: “the Beauty of Hepburn.”

Read more ›

Comments Off on Abingdon Lane

Official Taxonomy

Categories

Meta