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).

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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.

It should be noted that much of the area north of Main Street, including part of the present-day Adams Street, was once the site of New Rochelle’s own inland sea — Crystal Lake, which was home to a large ice operation.  Eventually — ironically — Crystal Lake turned stagnant and after much consternation it was drained by another prominent industrialist, John Stephenson.

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Adams Street also features an interesting geographic curiosity — namely it does not conform to the grid framed by Main Street to the south and Monroe Street to the north.  Rather, it starts off aligned with the grid, but awkardly jogs northeast like a diffracted straw after Jackson Street.  Why is this?

Adams Street was completed in stages, corresponding to the phases of development of Homestead Park.  The first stage only contained a block of Adams Street between Lincoln and Jackson Street (1901).  It appears that at this time, the rest of Adams Street was planned to extend out in a straight line.  However, by 1910, Adams Street takes a turns northward.

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A 1908 map confirms that the New York Westchester & Boston right-of-way was proposed for just south of Adams street, continuing on a straight line from Garden Street to the west.  Thus, Adams Street adjusted its path to accommodate the proposed railroad.  Residents of Homestead Park complained, however, and it appears that the proposed route was changed to avoid Homestead Park completely.

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