Northeast Corner Boston Post Road & Pelhamdale Avenue
The "Pelham Arms" Apartments
With the economic boom of the 1920s, the Town of Pelham was under increased pressure to change its zoning laws to allow for more high-rise apartments. Most of these efforts were rebuffed (such as a proposal to allow for high-rise apartments along the low-scale residential streets of Pelhamdale Avenue and Esplanade) and, consistent with good planning principles, nearly all of the higher-rise apartment buildings that were allowed were built on the commercial strip of Fifth Avenue in the (then) Village of North Pelham within walking distance of the train station and along the trolley line that then existed on Boston Post Road.
One outlier from this cluster is the apartment building at the corner of Pelhamdale Avenue and Boston Post Road, known as the “Pelham Arms” when it was built in 1925. “Pelham Arms” was designed by the prominent and notable New York City architectural firm of Townsend, Steinle & Haskell, whose prolific work includes many high-rise apartment buildings throughout Manhattan, the most significant of which may be “The Kenilworth,” at 151 Central Park West, an elaborate beaux arts brick and limestone built in 1907. In Westchester, the other known designs by the firm are “The Scarswold” and “The Cragwold,” built in 1926 in Scarsdale.
The Pelham Arms consisted of 40 apartments, 19 in the west wing and 21 in the east wing each with a separate entrance and elevator, but with a common basement and superintendent’s apartment. The building is 200 feet long and 40 feet wide, constructed of steel and concrete with a flat roof and eight-foot parapets to give the appearance of a gable. The first residents of the building include the names of prominent Pelham families, with local social notices reporting residents entertaining for bridge and tea, sailing for Bermuda, serving as leaders of local social clubs and organizations and “wintering” and “summering” at elite locales. Among these earliest residents were Mr. & Mrs. Charles M. Chenery, sibling of Christopher Chenery who also lived in Pelham Manor and later became the owner of the racehorse, Secretariat.
The building was converted from rental apartments to a co-operative in 1983, lightly renovated (including replacement of windows) and organized as an LLP and re-named “Schuyler Park” in 1986.
Designed in the Tudor Revival Style, the building retains much of its original integrity, including brick facades with limestone bands and stucco and half-timbered gables. The twin entrances are highly articulated with limestone surrounds, quoining and stone armorial plaques depicting a stylized variation on the original 1694 Pell Family Coat of Arms (in recognition of the original founders of Pelham). Interior apartments are largely unchanged and contain hard-wood floors, French panel plaster walls, original doors, hardware and woodwork.