Photo of Parade on Lincoln Avenue (looking south from hill in front of current Hutchinson School).  The church is the old Congregational Church on Second Avenue (demolished).  From the Pelham Town Historian Collection, Photographs, "Parades."

Independence Day in Pelham, 1910

The firing of 21 guns went off at 4:30am, July 4, 1910, waking up the population of just 2844 in the small town of Pelham and commencing a day-long celebration of America’s independence.  From the size of the crowds, it seemed the whole town had turned out by the time a parade kicked off from Pelham Manor at 10am, winding its way up the Esplanade, turning right onto the Post Road, making a left onto Pelhamdale and going around the “new High School” (now Siwanoy Elementary) before going back to Pelhamdale onto Witherbee up Highbrook left onto Boulevard right onto Wolfs Lane and up Fifth Avenue before zigging and zagging through the streets of North Pelham to reach reviewing stands on “Fourth Street” (now Lincoln Avenue). The entire distance was travelled almost entirely on dirt roads across the whole town.  On the field of the “North Pelham School” (replaced two years later by the “Hutchinson Elementary School”), the program included an orchestra playing an overture and a public reading of the Declaration of Independence followed by singing of “God Bless our Native Land,” “Hail Columbia,” the “Star Spangled Banner” and concluding with “O God our Help in Ages Past.”

In opening remarks, Peter Ceder (Justice of the Peace, founder and owner of the Pelham Sun and later North Pelham Mayor) called for national unity by pointing out individual citizens.

The afternoon was devoted to track & field (then called “athletics”): running and jumping events for boys and girls by age group plus pole vault, shot put, a potato sack race and a tug of war between the fire companies.  The top finishers and their awards were all published in the Pelham Sun.

“Dancing began at 8 o'clock” and there was a “beautiful fireworks” display, according to the Pelham Sun with the party continuing until midnight “when everybody went home tired but happy after a strenuous day of wholesome pleasure." 

“Down there I notice John Cammaro, who was born in Italy; here I see 'Billy' Edinger, who came from der Kaiser's Deutschland; there sits James Reilly, who hails from the Emerald Isle, and here stands a man [referring to himself], who came from Denmark. While we may disagree about other matters, there is one thing upon which we are agreed, namely that the day we of our own free will swore allegiance to these United States, we became citizens as much as those who happen to have been born here, and our devotion to our adopted country is just as intense as theirs. It is this wonderful assimilation and, welding together of nations that has made this country what it is to-day.”

Remarks delivered by Peter Ceder as reported in the Pelham Sun, Jul. 9, 1910, "Certainly Our Fourth Was a Grand Success."


The day’s events were professionally photographed by (according to the Pelham Sun) Mr. T. K. Reynolds of 1014 Hoe Avenue, Bronx, New York and were offered for sale after the event for 25 cents in the local drug store.  Happily, a nice collection of those photographs  are contained in the Town Historian Collection and are shown below, digitized and re-touched.

The Pelham Sun described the parade as being led by five divisions of automobiles.  From the number and gender of the occupants, the car in the foreground of this photo appears to be "No. 3 automobile containing President Huber of the fire commission, Justice of the Peace Peter Ceder, John Young and Miss Lillian Young."

With a caption, "Advance Guard of Boys' Brigade," suggests this photo is "Grand Marshal, Major General Henry Hartman, commander of the New York division of the United Boys' Brigade of America; Aides, Col. Geo. B. Beale, colonel of the first regiment batter U. B. B. A.; Major J. T. D. Weiss, commander of the eighth regiment," as reported by the Pelham Sun, July 9, 1910.

"The presidents of the three villages in the town [North Pelham, Pelham and Pelham Manor] have agreed to let the policemen march together in procession which will swell the ranks," reported the Pelham Sun, July 2, 1910 in advance of the parade.  The Pelham Manor officers led the group.

Crowds line the embankment in front of (what is now) Hutchinson Elementary School on Lincoln Avenue.  This part of the parade appears to be "Liberty Engine and Hose Company No. 1" described by the Pelham Sun, July 9, 1910 as "consisting of "26 men dressed in regulation blue uniforms with white gloves; the engine which was finely polished and decorated with flags was driven by Village Trustee Daniel Maus."

Additional equipment of the Pelham Fire Department

Identified by the caption "A Party of Happy 'Haymakers'" and described  by the Pelham Sun as "Haymakers' Association of Siwanoy Tribe No. 335 1/2 I. O. R. M., of New Rochelle, 24 men dressed as farmers in a wagon filled with straw. David Skiff, Jr., chief haymaker; T. Hamilton, assistant chief haymaker; boss driver, Herman Benz."  The Haymakers Association was a men's fraternal organization.  (Note the U.S. Flag with 46 stars (Arizona and New Mexico had not yet been admitted to the union).

Athletic events were held after the parade.  From the stride of the runners, this could be the 100 yard dash, which was won by G. S. Storm in an impressive time of 11.1-5 seconds with John Ceder coming in second.  The old "North Pelham School" can be seen clearly.  It would be destroyed by fire later that year and replaced by the "Hutchinson Elementary School" built in 1912.

Another boys' running event.  The location is not identified but the two nearly identical houses on the left appear quite possibly to be nos. 133 and 135 Second Avenue (the gable ornamentation no longer being present and the porches removed/reconfigured) with the third house being no. 137 Second Avenue (which still retains its slightly cantilevered gable).  The boys would be running south from Lincoln Avenue (then called Fourth Street).


Arthur L. Scinta

Daronco Town House, 20 Fifth Avenue
Pelham, NY, 10803, US


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