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

Official Taxonomy

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