WHEREAS, November 21, 1952 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the incorporation of the Village of Briarcliff Manor, founded by its distinguished citizen, Walter W. Law: and WHEREAS, due to the foresight of its founder, its natural beauty, and the keen interest of its residents, it has developed into a delightful village in which to live; and WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Mayor and the Board of Trustees of Briarcliff Manor that cognizance be taken of its first 50 years as a village, and to that end a 50th Anniversary Committee has been appointed, NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN A. RIEGEL, MAYOR, do hereby designate and proclaim October 10th, 11th, and 12th, 1952, for the observance and celebration of the Semi-Centennial of the Village of Briarcliff Manor, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the 50th Anniversary Committee extend official greetings to all residents urging them to participate in this celebration, and a cordial invitation to all former residents to return to the Village during the celebration thereby adding significance thereto. As we celebrate this Semi-Centennial, we will pay our respects to those who within these past 50 years have given full measure of thought, energy, and devotion to the development of our Village. We gratefully acknowledge this heritage. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand and caused the corporate seal of the Village of Briarcliff Manor to be hereunto affixed.
John A. Riegel, Mayor
CHRONOLOGY……………………………………………………………. 1 EARLY DAYS……………………………………………………………… 2 OLD HOUSES……………………………………………………………… 4 ROADS AND TRANSPORATION………………………………………..
GOVERNMENT…………………………………………………………… 14 CHURCHES……………………………………………………………….. 28 SCHOOLS…………………………………………………………………. 38 THE BOARD OF EDUCATION………………………………………….. 53 SCARBOROUGH…………………………………………………………. 54 THE POST OFFICE……………………………………………………….. 57 THE PARK AND POOL………………………………………………….. 59 BRIARCLIFF FREE LIBRARY…………………………………………..
BRIARCLIFF MANOR: CULTURAL……………………………………
PEOPLE…………………………………………………………………… 65 PATRIOTIC BRIARCLIFF……………………………………………….. 71 ORGANIZATIONS……………………………………………………….. 74 THE RECREATION COMMITTEE……………………………………… 80 PLANNING BOARD……………………………………………………..
CAMP EDITH MACY……………………………………………………. 82 BRIARCLIFF-OUT-OF-DOORS…………………………………………. 83 THE FUTURE BRIARCLIFF MANOR: A VISION……………………… 87
CHRONOLOGY 1685- August 24 - Land here purchased by Frederick Philipse from Sint Sinck (Mohegan) Indians. Part of large estate. 1767- "Century Homestead" built by Reuben Whitson. Perhaps prior to 1767 (Now owned by Preston Herbert, Jr.) 1775 or before-Joseph Washburn Home built; corner of Washburn Road and present Todd Lane. (Now William Eadie's home). 1785- John Bishop bought land from New York Commission of Forfeiture, 265 acres. Ancestor of present-day Bishops. 1839- St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Scarborough; first Church in the later Briarcliff Manor. 1854- All Saints Episcopal Church; first service, December 13. 1865- First school house opened. "Union Free School, District #6." 1880- First train on New York City & Northern R.R.; "Whitson's Station." 1881- Post Office established at Whitson's Station; Official Name, Briarcliff Manor Post Office, 1897. 1890- Walter W. Law purchased first land. 232 acres; Stillman Farm. The beginning of the later Briarcliff Manor. 1893- Scarborough Presbyterian Church organized, October 13. 1896- Briarcliff Congregational Church, October 20. 1902- November 21 - Incorporation of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. 1903- Fire Department organized. 1906- Scarborough officially part of Briarcliff Manor. 1908- Police Department organized. 1910- Briarcliff Community Centre (Club) founded; incorporated 1921. 1910- First U.S. Census taken; population 950. Census 1950 showed 2465. 1913- Scarborough School founded. So named, 1916. 1914- Municipal Building accepted, July 4. 1914- Public Library started; at Community Centre. 1926- Church of St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus. 1928- High School completed. 1935- Briarcliff Junior College so named. (Formerly Mrs. Dow's School) 1936- Edgewood Park School (Edgewood Park, Inc.) purchased the Briarcliff Lodge. 1939- Briarcliff Community Committee organized; ten groups; 35 by 1952. 1943- Public Works building purchased. Recreation Center opened there. 1952- Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Incorporation.
EARLY DAYS To many present-day residents of Briarcliff Manor, the date of the Village's formal incorporation, November 21, 1902, may seem a long time ago, but fifty years is an exceedingly brief interval compared to the known history of the community. The development of this area into anything resembling its current form has been, to be sure, a relatively modern occurrence. Though inhabited for countless years, this region was for most of that long time a sparsely populated near-wilderness. It is generally conceded that its first settlers were Mohegan Indians, a branch of the powerful Algonquin tribe. Centuries ago, these Indians (as they were called much later) migrated from what is now Asia, across the Bering Strait, to what is now known as North America. Gradually they moved on towards the Atlantic Ocean, pausing when they came upon attractive hunting and fishing grounds. The Mohegans are long since vanished, of course, but traces of their civilization remain behind, a stone arrowhead here, a bone needle there, and occasional rockshelters that show signs of ancient occupancy. One of these may be seen not far from the present North State Road. No trace remains of their simple, woodenclosed towns. No one knows what the Indians called this region. Their domination of it came to an end when the Dutch and English began to colonize the Hudson River Valley. On August 24, 1685, the Mohegans sold a portion of their land to Vreddryck Flypsen, who later anglicized his name to Frederick Philipse, and a new era began. His purchase was confirmed by Royal Patent, January 12, 1686, under the seal of Thomas Dongan, Governor of the Province and inscribed as from "his Royal Majesty of England, Scotland, France and Ireland." The Philipse land-holdings were, to put it mildly, extensive. They ranged from Spuyten Duyvil to the Croton River and from the Hudson River to the source of the Bronx River. All in all, they comprised some 156,000 acres, having been acquired in various parcels. Thus Frederick Philipse obtained the land now called Briarcliff Manor.
We discover one direct connection between those first post-war property owners and contemporary taxpayers of our Village. An old map in the Briarcliff Realty Company mentions certain tenants who bought from the Commission land previously in the Philipse estate, and among them the Bishop family, John and his son Thomas who, in 1785, bought 265 acres in what is now the Scarborough section along the Hudson River. The three Bishop brothers of our generation, Jesse B., T. Everett, and Howard G. Bishop are descended from this family. They are, therefore, traceable back to the early days of our present Briarcliff Manor. Also the Whitson family of our time is descended from those of their name living in this locality during Revolutionary days. This land, locally considered, was part of that purchased when he concluded his deal with that branch of the Mohegans known as the Sint Sinct Indians, whose name has come down as Sing Sing, at a meeting held on the elevated land just east of where the Scarborough railroad station is now situated. So tradition informs us, and historic accuracy states that the purchase price was paid in wampum, axes, blankets, guns, knives, kettles, cloth, shirts and a persuasive ration of rum. The exact monetary value of this merchandise is unrecorded, but these Indians drove a somewhat harder bargain for "Briarcliff Manor" and its vicinity than a neighboring tribe did when it let all of Manhattan Island go for the proverbial twenty-four dollars. During the Revolutionary War, the last lord of the Philipse Manor, Colonel Frederick Philipse, sided with the British. For this poor judgment he was heavily penalized, soon afterwards, by the Commission on Forfeiture of the State of New York, a post-war body set up to seize and sell land held by Tory sympathizers. The Philipse holdings were thus confiscated in 1779. Within the next five or six years, these lands were sold to individuals who had established their loyalty to the Colonies, in most instances to tenants who had long worked the land for its owners.
OLD HOUSES Do we wonder where the very first homes stood and how many of them there were? Old maps show plainly the boundary lines of the early property owners. To secure pasture land for their cattle, hundreds of trees were cut down and long lines of stone walls were built up. Space for farm houses and barns was thus made possible. We cannot but greatly admire the patience and tremendous industry of those farmers of early times. Their only aids in forming walls, often with immense rocks, were such rocks, crowbars and horse-drawn stone boats, combined with plenty of elbow action. But before the coming of the "pale faces" there were homes, rock-shelters used by the Indians, mere overhanging rocks which with a deerskin "doorway" protected them from heat or cold. If there were any log-cabins, a peculiar structure of pioneers, no traces remain of them. We know, however, that in time three farmhouses were built hereabouts by three brothers, the Whitsons, on their combined farms of 400 acres. To this area their name was attached in various forms, "Whitson's", "Whitson's Corner," "Whitson Station." John H. Whitson occupied what was called "The Crossway", built by his uncle Joseph at what we designate as the corner of Pleasantville Road and South State Road. Its date, 1820, was visible for years on its exterior; and the elms surrounding it are judged to be more than a century old. This old landmark was pulled down in our time. We regretted to see its departure. Another Whitson homestead, also on Pleasantville Road near Todd Lane, was the property of Richard Whitson, now owned and occupied by Mr. Joseph Hanning. And Reuben Whitson's home was that now owned and occupied by Mr. Preston Herbert, Jr. on Chappaqua Road. This is believed to be the very oldest house in the entire Whitson area. Proof is in the old atlas in the Briarcliff Realty Company's office with its name "R. Whitson" and the comment "Century Homestead". The atlas is dated 1867 so that the house must have been built prior to 1767. Wide floor boards, wooden pegs to join the beams, handmade nails, and marks of the old-fashioned adz give us evidence of Colonial days. -4-
The Reuben Whitson House, Prior to 1767
The Joseph Washburn, Pre-Revolutionary
The Richard Whitson House
The Elms, 1850
Another very old house, that occupied by Joseph Washburn, as tenant on Frederick Philipse's land, still standing at the corner of Todd Lane and Washburn road (reputed to be our oldest roadway), deserves our attention. It was one of those sold by the Commission on Forfeiture, this one to Joseph Washburn in 1775. It dates, therefore, from Pre-Revolutionary days and possesses the silent Colonial witnesses; nails, boards, pegs and adz marks. Convincing evidence of another Revolutionary type is in the recorded acts of certain skinners against the tenant farmer Washburn. These marauders came by their disgraceful title because they stole and skinned the cattle of the Americans, selling the hide and meat to the British in this so-called "Neutral Ground" of the War. A band of these sneakthieves severely beat Washburn till he yielded to them his silver but, on his stout refusal to tell them the hiding place of some gold, they hung him on the apple tree in front of his home. His life was scarcely saved by his family after the traitorfree-booters had departed. (See book "Genealogy of the Washburn Family," by Ada C. Haight, published 1937, page 247). We regret such beastly treatment but it helps to date the homestead. This house passed through several hands, including the Todds, and is now owned by Mr. William C. Eadie. The Washburns were among the very early settlers in or near Briarcliff Manor. Another of the Washburn homes is the Guest House at the Camp Edith Macy Girl Scout School and its barn is now their administration office. The old-time Washburn mill stood at the south end of what is now called Lake Kinderaugen (Children's Eye), once the millpond with the remains of the old mill foundation discernible in the grass plot near the retaining wall. Two antique millstones are taking a quiet rest on the lawn of the nearby residence of Mr. Christian Goetz. Turn now to another old house, "The Elms," on the road of the same name. Now owned by Mr. Harmon S. Bassett, this house was built a century ago, in 1850, by Thomas Bailey of Ossining. Purchased soon after by Mr. Jesse Bishop, the father of the three Bishop brothers, Jesse, T. Everett, and Howard, this house was sold by him to Mr. Walter W. Law, who gave it the name "The Elms". The sale price of $25,000 included the adjoining 159 acres, part of which is the Junior College land today. Limiting our calculation to the actual boundary of the incorporated Village, as of 1902, "The Elms" is the oldest house standing. The other very old houses previously mentioned, "The Century Homestead" and the Joseph Washburn house, were in fact within "Whitson's" area, but not within the official limits of what became Briarcliff Manor. They are in the Town of Mt. Pleasant.
What about that old crumbling cellar wall, which gives such a sense of mystery to the woods of the ancient Nodine Farm beyond Dogwood Lane? Possibly this would be dated as Revolutionary although diggings have not brought to light any old buttons or weapons. This curious relic is on the very oldtime road through the woods to the Nodine farmhouse on Hardscrabble Road, so old maps inform us. Interesting are those sixteen large and flat “table rocks” so placed over the perennial brook in order that wagons could pass safely over on their way. Altogether, this lonely cellar amidst aged trees, the quiet brook nearby with its strangely-placed rock covering, and the fascinating silence round about, afford a perfect setting in which to imagine some soft-footed wood-sprite or sly forest dryad peering secretly at any annoying human passerby who had dared trespass within his sylvan domain. Listen then to this “old house”. Mystery has its place as well a history! Scarborough possesses its old house with a Revolutionary date, the one which is now called Beechwood. Its land was in that purchased from the Indians by Frederick Philipse in 1685, and secured to the tenant farmer, in 1779, by the Commission on Forfeiture. The first portion of this house, in its old Dutch style, including the large fireplace still exhibited in the lower kitchen, was built in 1780. The house passed through several hands, one joint ownership having been in the names of Elijah Pierson and Benjamin Folger. The house was named “Zion’s Hills” by these religious fanatics of the era of Matthias, the Impostor, 1833. (See “Two Curious Characters”) This became more sanctified ground when, in 1836, Rev. William Creighton possessed it, naming it “Beechwood”, the name having been taken from the many large trees of that kind which were found there. Then followed another period with various owners, until in 1892, Henry Webb bought and enlarged it much as it remains at present. Mr. Frank A. Vanderlip obtained it in 1905. “Beechwood”, both interior and exterior, is of a classic type of architecture. Its commanding view towards the river makes it one of the most imposing properties along the Hudson valley. “Beechwood” as it is Today
ROADS AND TRANSPORTATION Want a ride? All right, jump on, we're going places! The "ride" is via foot, stage, horse and buggy, railroad, auto and bicycle. The "places" are trails, roadways, and sidewalks. From the one-time Indian trails through the forest, to the present-time smooth and abundant roadways is a long jump. The changes came gradually through many years beginning probably with a simple pathway from the Hudson river eastward through our locality. What is our oldest road? Probably the Washburn Road, leading from the Pocantico stream over the hill, past the pre-Revolutionary Washburn farmhouse to what is now the Taconic Highway and to Chappaqua. This is certainly prior to 1767 for it bordered the "Century Homestead". There was also a very old-time roadway, probably an enlarged woods-road or lane, leading from the present Dogwood Lane through forests to Hardscrabble Road as the old maps plainly indicate. Colonial farmers used it. What is our longest road? One answer is in the proud reply of a village enthusiast to the inquiring visitor's query, "What's famous about this place, anyway?" "Say, mister, famous is the right word; you can start right from our village here and go anywhere in all the world!" Another answer is more limited and local: Pleasantville Road, from Round Hill Road (the easterly line of the Village) to the Ossining reservoir at the northern edge of Briarcliff Manor, a distance of exactly three miles including the portion through the business section. Scarborough Road from Dalmeny to the Post Road is second longest, two miles. The shortest road is Pine Court, 175 feet long. History comes to light in Revolutionary Road, of which the southern fifth of its length is in the Scarborough area. Washington, Lafayette, Franklin and other notables traveled this highway and Colonial soldiers drank of the well at Jug Tavern, a little over the Village line in what then was Sing Sing. Our roads have a total length, as of July, 1952, of 30 miles with 64 roads officially accepted. It is noteworthy that 12 roads, one-fifth of the total, are named after trees. Eleven are named for local citizens, and to date veterans are honored by eight street names. (See "For God and Country")
Pine Hill, Looking East (Early View)
A Briarcliff Stable Turnout
Briarcliff Manor Railroad Station, Putnam Division
Early Briarcliff Stores
Westchester County Auto Bus Line
Transportation was at first by "Shank's Mare": Operation Shoe-leather. Then came stagecoach, stage-sleigh in winter, running between Pleasantville and Sing Sing at the speed of five miles per hour when muddy roads permitted. The horse is almost a curiosity now and horseshoes are known chiefly by their use in quoits. Imagine then the country doctor whose nag, shod with iron, tried to out race the flying stork, and the times when buffalo robes, or a heated brick, provided warmth to the cold journeyman. Ask your grandparents about those days when there was no heater as today to turn on or off in a second. If you would travel by train, you came via Sing Sing, for trains entered there in 1849, some 30 years before they ran into "Whitson's Station," where the first train arrived on December 13, 1880. The railroad was called at that time the New York City and Northern. Later, in 1887, it became the New York and Northern Railway Co., then the New York and Putnam Railroad Company in 1894 and finally it merged with the New York Central system in 1913. Whitson's Station! If you would see our firsts railroad building, it is now Millwood Station, for it was loaded on a flatcar and hauled there. The first agent was Ben Fisher. How many may remember him at the station then? Next and for 25 years, the station agent was Charles H. Whitson. His first salary, as he himself told the writer, was all of $35 a month and his working hours were from 7 A.M. "till the milk train came through," which was occasionally midnight, so that some days were seventeen working hours long. The traveler's first impression when he entered the station "Briarcliff Manor" must have been astonishing. It was fully in keeping with Mr. Law's idea of the genteel. Behold rugs on the station floor and the tables and chairs of the fashionable mission-furniture type. There seems no discoverable record of when the first train stopped at Scarborough. But, in 1909, the station was for a short time styled "Briarcliff West." We all remember the first Diesel engine at Briarcliff Manor on July 2, 1951. This presented an amazing difference from the moccasin foot of the trail-following Indian of three centuries ago. Transportation moved onward; the wagon tire, iron, gave way to the rubber of the automobile; axle grease was supplanted by gasoline and oil. It is recorded that there were only four motor-driven autos in the United States in 1895. Now in our Village alone the roads are often over-crowded and five service stations are busy with gas and repairs. -11-
Bicycles were forbidden on the early sidewalks. The first sidewalk, a narrow strip from the Station to the nearby bridge, was built in 1905. The bike was too dangerous for the foot passenger then; so it must stay on the roads. Today the bike is too dangerous for the motorist, so it must stay on the sidewalk. The penalty was, in 1905, all of $10, as one of our present first citizens can testify from experience. Roads! "And the best use of a road, as everybody knows, is just because of the homes, the homes to which it goes." Briarcliff Automobile International Road Race by R. Everett Whitson…At 4:45 a.m. on April 24, 1908, the American International Road Race for stock cars competing for the Briarcliff Trophy, valued at over $10,000 given by Mr. Walter W. Law, Sr., was started. More than 300,000 people witnessed the race and Briarcliff had over 100,000 visitors that day. Special trains on both the Putnam and New York Central Hudson Division ran all night before the race. Large grandstands were erected at the finish line near the center of the Village. The course covered was from Briarcliff to Kitchawan through Mt. Kisco, Armonk to Kensico and on to Briarcliff, a distance of about 35 miles over dirt roads. The autos competing in the race were Lozzier, Fiat-Panhard, Thomas, Simplex, Isotta-Franchina, Stearns, Renault, Mercedes, and others. Among the drivers were the well-known Strang Bros. (Louis and Arthur), Ralph De Palma, Barney Oldfield, and many others. Each racer had his own crew of mechanics in various barns at the Briarcliff Farms weeks before the race. Speeds of over 60 miles per hour were obtained on straight-aways. Arthur Strang, driving No. 4, in the Isotta-Franchina car, won the race. Total elapsed time for 256 miles was 5 hours and 15 minutes. The writer, at the age of eight, had the privilege of covering this course with Ralph De Palma on test runs before the race. (Reference: "Briarcliff Once a "Week" 1908)
GOVERNMENT Briarcliff Manor: Its Growth…The Village of Briarcliff Manor had its beginning in 1902, fifty years ago, when on October 8th of that year a proposition was presented to the Supervisors of the Towns of Ossining and Mount Pleasant that an area consisting of 640 acres and with a population of 381 people be incorporated as the Village of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. From that beginning resulted the actual incorporation, by official election, November 21, 1902. Three different annexations have been effected, including the Scarborough community, until today the Village comprises five and one-half square miles, or 3,520 acres, with a population of a total of 2,465 people. The first Village election was held in the old Briarcliff Steamer Company rooms on December 19, 1902, and the first organization meeting was held December 23, when the following officers were elected: President, William de Nyse Nichols; Trustees, Walter W. Law, Jr., and J. Sidney Baylis; Treasurer, Stanley Kidd; Collector, Llewllyn B. Jones; Clerk, Albert Coddington. The first budget, 1903, was in the amount of $3,050 which gave us a tax rate for collection in June, 1903, of $5.00 per thousand, the total assessed value of the Village that year being $610,000. It is of interest to compare this with the present budget of $156,265, tax rate of $14.93 and assessed valuation of $10,466,570. There have been issued since the incorporation some $960,000 of bonds of all kinds, namely water, sewer, roads, fire and other improvement bonds. Bonds of indebtedness for less than $50,000.00 are outstanding at the present time. Street lights were installed first in the year 1904, with 29 electric lights for the entire village. In 1908 the water and sewer systems of the Briarcliff Farms were purchased by the Village, thus beginning our present systems. At that time, this Department was in the charge of Patrick Manahan, who so served for 32 years. His son, Irving Manahan, as Superintendent of Public Works, which includes the Department of Streets, has served since 1927. The Municipal Building was constructed in 1913 at a cost of $20,000.
The swimming pool and tennis courts in the Park were begun in 1927 with money received from the proceeds of fire insurance upon the burning of the old Community Centre (Club) building, and this, together with two or three small bond issues, have brought them up to what they are today. The growth of the Village has been very largely residential. However, stores of a high quality have always kept pace with the home and population advance. Building permits clearly point out our domestic nature. During the year ending February 29, 1952, there were issued 116 permits, 89 of them for new homes, and 20 of them for home garages and alterations. The new residence average a value of $16,000. There have been, since incorporation, the following Officers: President, William de Nyse Nichols, 1902-1905; William W. Law, Jr., 1905-1918; President-Mayor, Henry H. Law, 1918-1936; Mayor, J. Henry Ingham, 1936-1941; Charles H. Schuman, 1941-1949; J. Henry Ingham, 1949-1951; John A. Riegel, 1951-. Clerk, Albert Coddington, 1902; William H. Coleman, 1902, 1921; Alfred H. Pearson, 1921-1952; Idamae Oakley, 1952- Paul Schuman-1952 Treasurer, Stanley Kidd, 1902-1904; T. Everett Bishop, 1904-1937; Idamae Oakley, 1937-1952; Joseph Y. Leighton, 1952-. Trustees: Walter W. Law, Jr., V. Everit Macy, J. Sidney Baylis, William McGowan, William C. Holden, john H. Simpson, Richard F. Stewart, Henry H. Law, Charles H. Schuman, John Proctor, Oliver J. Bevier, Edward Caterson, James L. Selfridge, Issac C. Hotoling, J. Henry Ingham, Norman C. Babcock, Peter Olney, Roger Sherman, Norton Conway, John R. Rode, Kingsland T. Rood, James M. Bilisoly, Harry A. King, Robert C. Plumb, Hollister W. Marquardt, Alexander M. Hunter. We measure our growth, therefore, not in mere facts, and figures and historical data, important as theses are as proofs of development, but rather by these proofs as made real in ethical and social ideals. We are grateful for all such growth. We believe that our present pride in it is justified and that through it future generations will rose up and call us blessed.
An Early Scene of the Briarcliff Farms
Briarcliff Lodge when it was first built
Briarcliff Manor in the Year 1902…( A Backward Look to 50 years Ago) The personal endeavor on the part of each member of the community to secure the best possible results from the work which falls to him or her has succeeded in maintaining the high standard set for all Briarcliff products. The herd of Jerseys now numbers over twelve hundred, many of the new recruits having been weeded out as below Briarcliff requirements. Many improvements have been made in the methods of milking and dairy work. The new dairy has justified the careful planning of its builders and has proved vastly more practical than the former one. On the farm, a favorable year has resulted in a bountiful harvest of all kinds of crops, as well as the increase in poultry and live stock. In the greenhouses nearly half a million roses and carnations have been cut for market. The most notable addition to the life at Briarcliff during the year has been the completion and opening of Briarcliff Lodge. Situated upon the highest ridge, and overlooking the country and river for many miles, "it stands a building which should have about it the atmosphere of a cultivated gentleman's house." (W. W. Law) Many new buildings have been constructed during the year, among them being "Mount Vernon", "Orchard Lea", Braeview", as well as fourteen small cottages at various points, together with one large greenhouse, with the new office building being built and to be completed by spring. Many roads have been very noticeably improved and extended during the year. The water supply has been many times increased and a stronger pressure will be given on the completion of the new water tower on the hill. New trains have been added to improve the service on the Putnam Division. The Briarcliff Lyceum has been reorganized to take charge of the musical, literary and social interests of the community, and a new building is contemplated for its use in the near future. A complete Fire Department has been organized, provided with modern apparatus, and properly housed. -17-
Fire Department First Parade, Old Steamer Company #1, 1908
Another View of the Parade, 1908
Early Fire Trucks in Front of the Municipal Building Early Fire Truck
Another Scene of the Early Parades
The Band and Orchestra are now on a permanent basis. Chief of all this year's achievements, Briarcliff Manor has been duly incorporated, November 21, 1902, as an independent Village under its own officers, now elected for the first time. Such was the progress made by the Village of Briarcliff Manor in the year of 1902! A most excellent beginning for the fifty years to follow! Briarcliff Fire Department…From a small beginning, back in the years of the Briarcliff Farms, Briarcliff Steamer Company #1, was formed to give protection to the many increasing number of buildings on the land. The Village had been incorporated and, therefore, this Steamer Company petitioned the Board of Trustees to make it a part of the Village government. This request was granted on February 10, 1903 and the Steamer membership of 42 was recorded as of January 1, 1903. Some of the names of those first members were: Chester D. Schoonmaker, Fred C. Messinger, Joseph Van Wagnen, Theodore B. Griffin, T. Everett Bishop, William B. Ayers, John H. Simpson, Harry Tompkins, Jack F. Dougherty, Gordon Davis, John Geary, William B. Jones, Llewllyn B. Jones, O. H. McKeel, Isaiah Smalley and Howard Bishop. At a meeting held May 14, 1906, Fred C. Messinger was appointed Foreman of the Company to follow O. H. McKeel. The Steamer Company continued as a part of the Village government but was reorganized in December, 1906, being then called the Briarcliff Fire Company. All previous members who had continued in good standing from the time they joined the Steamer Company were considered as members of the new company. The following are the names of those who petitioned for the Articles of Incorporation of the Briarcliff Fire Company in 1907; Fred C. Messinger, L. Harold Bayly, Oliver J. Bevier, James E. Fountain, L. W. Blankenship, Leon H. Reid, James Fleming, F. Crosswaite, George W. Tuttle, and Arthur W. Emerson. Shortly after receiving the certificate of incorporation a meeting was held and the first officers of the Briarcliff Fire Company were elected: President, James Fleming; Vice President, Henry H. Law; Treasurer, T. Everett Bishop; Secretary, L. B. Jones. April 1908 saw the purchase of a Hook and Ladder Truck and Combination Hose and Chemical Truck (both horse-drawn) for the sum of $2,700 from the American La France Company. -20-
The Latest in Fire Trucks in Front of the Municipal Building A Most Recent Parade
Our Police Guardians, 1952
With the growth of the Village there came, in 1932, the uniting of the Briarcliff Fire Company and the Scarborough Fire Company (formerly the Archville Fire Company). This was followed by the formation, in 1936, of the Briarcliff Hook and Ladder Company, which was considered as a part of the Village Fire Department. So today we have a fully-equipped Fire Department, consisting of three separate companies with a total active membership of 158 and five pieces of automotive fire fighting equipment. What a contrast with the early attempts to control fires here! The first organizations were supported by voluntary contributions, and the first fire house was an old barn. The first fire apparatus was a simple, hand-drawn, chemical outfit; later it became a horse-drawn wagon. The new headquarters were the first floor of the Municipal Building where, July 4, 1914, Mr. Walter W. Law, Jr., Village President, presented the key to Mr. James Fleming, President of the Fire Company, and Mr. Stewart, of the Board of Trustees, turned the new fire apparatus over to Fred C. Messinger, Fire Chief. Present Department Officers are: Fred H. Kossow, Chief; George F. Sullivan, First Assistant Chief; William H. Bowers, Second Assistant Chief; Joseph Reilly, Foreman, Scarborough Fire Company; Joseph Leighton, Captain, Hook and Ladder Company; James Finne, Foreman, Engine Company. Changes, many and progressive! True, but what has never changed is the freelygiven and wisely-used services of those who, through the Fire Department, have protected our property and our lives. "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" Also, Behold how great our commendation of those who see to it that it does not kindle further! Ladies Auxiliary of the Briarcliff Fire Company…The Ladies Auxiliary of the Briarcliff Fire Company was organized in November, 1933, with Mrs. Charles Matthes as its first President. Its purpose is to aid the fire department in all its undertakings, and to be on hand at any major fire to serve coffee and sandwiches. Through various money raising activities, it has a fund to donate to charitable organizations, and to help any needy families. From an original membership of eighteen, it has grown to eighty-five members in 1952. Present Officers are: President, Mrs. Emil Brown; Secretary, Mrs. John Winter; Treasurer, Mrs. Irving Manahan; Financial Secretary, Mrs. Robert Murdock.
The Police Department…As with other Briarcliff Manor organizations, Progress is the word. The Police Department started with one person, on foot, and the police room was in an old barn back of the Briarcliff Realty Company office. Then followed three members who patrolled on bicycles. Today, there are eight patrolmen with a Chief, two radio cars and a motorcycle, and 33 auxiliary policemen. The department has been adequately housed in the Municipal Building since 1914. The first patrolman was L. Harold Bayly, appointed April 16, 1906. The roster today is: Chief, Arthur W. Johnson; Patrolmen, Harry Addis, Fred Borho, Edward Brosnan, C. Everett Garvey, Arthur W. Johnson, Jr., Gilbert Johnson, Raymond Wolf, George Wolf, Previous Chiefs were Edward Cashman and Allan O. Keator. Members who have answered the invisible command are Edward Cashman, Chief; Allan O. Keator, Chief; Floyd Bernard, Lieutenant; Charles A. Johnson, Jr., Gerow Birdsall, Joseph Henning, Daniel O'Connor. Two incidents lend amusement to so serious a business. From the Clerk's book, as of September 3, 1907; "Chief of Police Cashman made a report to the Trustees as to the advisability of purchasing a bloodhound." Two young women were recently followed by some young men on the street. There is no record, however, of such a purchase. Again, note this ordinance as of May 12, 1905. "That all vehicles must slow down to 8 miles per hour." The next year a concession was permitted autos, up to 10 miles per hour, but down to four miles per hour at corners and over the bridge. The ordinance had real teeth in it, a fine of $250.00 and possible imprisonment also. There is no record that the teeth did any biting. In the Days of Briarcliff Farms…Briarcliff Farms had its beginning back in the year 1890 when Walter W. Law made his first purchase of land. The Farms became very active with the year 1898 when Mr. Law retired from business and focused all his efforts on making the Briarcliff Farms a place where "only the best was good enough". With the year 1904 the Farms had increased to over 5,000 acres with 300 workers and a herd of 2,460 head of Jersey Cattle, which were housed at the various farms on the Estate. The main barns were designated with letters of the alphabet. Barn "A", which was located near the old farms' office building, housed all the horses used on the land, as well as those used for livery purposes in connection with the operation of the Hotel (Briarcliff Lodge).
Dalmeny: Briarcliff Farms Employees’ Boarding House
An Early Scene of the Briarcliff Farms
Early Scene of the Briarcliff Farms
Great Barn Fire, Central Drive, 1913
Barns "B" and "C" were located on Dalmeny Road and housed 78 and 118 head of the milking herd respectively. Barn "D" was located on Beech Hill Road at the junction of Route 117. Much of this barn remains today as it was years ago. This barn housed 116 head of the milking herd. Barn "E" was located on the Pleasantville Road just east of the present Taconic Parkway. In fact, the home of Mr. Nicholas Marden was the residence of the barn foreman. This barn also housed 118 head of the milking herd. Barn "F" was located in Millwood on the old Saw Mill River Road at the spot just west of the Taconic Parkway where it crosses the present Route 100, and housed another 118 of the milking herd. The milk produced by these cows was brought daily to the Dairy, the building now the garage of the Briarcliff Laundry, and there was processed for consumption as milk, cream and butter. Every night these products were sent to New York City via the Putnam Division Railroad for delivery the following day. The Dairy produced 3,000-4,000 quarts of milk a day, the demand being always greater than the supply. So excellent was the Briarcliff Farms milk that it won the Gold Medal at the Paris Exposition of 1900! Also in connection with the operations of the dairy herd was the supply store, a large barn from which was issued all the feed and other necessities of the Farm. Its location was on that part of Route 9-A just southeast of Creighton's garage. Echo Lake supplied most of the ice required at the Dairy and the various farms. Supplementary supply came from Kinderaugen Lake. There were several young-stock farms outside of Briarcliff Manor, namely, the Yorktown Farm, Cross River Farm, King Street Farm, Glenbrook Farm and New Rankeilour Farm. Mr. Law's ideal was clearly stated: "I shall not be satisfied to stop until Briarcliff Farms has placed itself in the forefront of any institution of its kind to be found in the whole country". In line with promoting so high a purpose there was the School of Practical Agriculture and Horticulture with George T. Powell, director, and with many young men under special instruction. This school was housed in Pocantico Lodge, Pleasantville Road. Another project was the donating of prizes for the best-kept barn and for the gentlest handling of the cows. Mr. Law firmly believed that kindly treatment would cause better cattle. No abuse of any kind was tolerated.
Another feature of the Farms was ownership of a printing press, on which was printed material dealing chiefly with dairy information and the advancement of the Village. The "Briarcliff Bulletin" appeared in 1900, "The Briarcliff Outlook" in 1903 and in 1908 "The Briarcliff Once a Week", edited by Arthur Emerson. These were well illustrated and edited. The Briarcliff Realty Company, incorporated in 1908, came naturally from the Briarcliff Farms when emphasis began to be placed upon the sale of land for use as family homes. The Briarcliff Greenhouses were associated with the enterprises of Mr. Law. Therein were housed 100,000 plants of the American Beauty Rose. The daily output was as many as 8,000 roses which were sent to New York City. The famous Briarcliff Rose came into being in these greenhouses. (See article on The Briarcliff Rose.) As the emphasis increased on real estate, it was inevitable that the farmlands would be converted to use for residences. Accordingly, in 1907-08, the Briarcliff Farms were moved to Pine Plains, Dutchess County, New York, where 5,000 acres were taken over and where many workers went. The enterprise continues there under the same name, Briarcliff Farms.
CHURCHES St. Mary's Episcopal Church…The first Church in what is now Briarcliff Manor was incorporated in 1883 as "St. Mary's Church, Beechwood," and reincorporated in 1945 as "St. Mary's Church of Scarborough," an Episcopal Church receiving its name from St. Mary's Church of Scarborough, England. Its architecture was in large part inspired by that same ancient English Church. Founded by Rev. William Creighton, D.D., in 1839, its original property was an acre of land and a "glebe lot" from his estate, Beechwood. The first service was conducted by his son-in-law, Rev. Edward Nathaniel Meade, in a small schoolhouse at the corner of Sleepy Hollow Road and the Albany Post Road, the year being 1839 and the place later the site of the first rectory. The present edifice was built in 1850, principally at the cost of Dr. Creighton and Dr. Meade, and first used by services September 21, 1851; so that for twelve years the congregations met in the unadorned schoolhouse, changing thus into the noble and beautiful Gothic type of Church with, among other special features, the stained glass windows manufactured by John Bolton of Pelham and being the only Church in existence which has a complete set of such Bolton windows by that master of his art. The present rectory, built in 1931, is a memorial to the first two rectors, Drs. Creighton and Meade. Much of the equipment of the Church and many of its religious ornaments are memorials, in which it resembles some of the noblest in Europe. Some of the nation's best names of a military character are closely associated with this Church. The ivy which covers nearly the whole Church was brought and planted by Washington Irving, to whom it was given by Sir Walter Scott, from Abbotsford, Scotland. The ivy of the Parish House was brought from the Argonne battlefield, after World War I, by Mrs. Frank A. Vanderlip. Much of this history in this setting was portrayed vividly in the movie celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Church, and called "The Birth of St. Mary's." Rectors: 1839, William Creighton; 1865, Edward Nathaniel Meade; 1877, Interim, five years under supervision of Major-General Webb-Morell; 1882, Abraham Herbert Gesner; 1894, Thomas Robinson Harris; 1904, Betty Oakley Baldwin; 1914, Charles Warren Baldwin; 1951, Leland Boyd Henry.
All Saints Episcopal Church…The erection of All Saints Church at the fork of Old Briarcliff and Scarborough Roads, in Briarcliff Manor, was begun in 1848, by the Rev. John D. Ogilby, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, General Theological Seminary, New York City, and the opening service held on December 13, 1854. He donated the building and grounds and its incorporate title in 1863 to the "Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of All Saints Church, Brier Cliff, Sing Sing, New York," "Brier Cliff" having been the name of his earlier home in Ireland. The following officers were elected September 19, 1863: Wardens: Peter R. Brinckerhoff, John M. Stuart. Vestrymen: Orison Blunt, William Grant, P. Remsen Brinckerhoff, Henry M. Patterson, I. Mulholland, Henry Morton. The original structure was designed after a Church at Bremerton (near Salisbury) England, but in 1910 was enlarged to the present cruciform stone building, and consecrated November 1, 1911 by the Rt. Rev. David Hummel Greer, D.D., Bishop of New York. In 1945, additional property to the north and east of the Church was purchased and presented to the Parish by Mr. James C. Cooley and Mrs. Frederick M. Hilton as a Memorial to Mr. Frederick W. Stelle. On this ground a new Parish Hall was erected during 1949 and dedicated January 29, 1950, by the Rt. Rev. Horace W. B. Donegan, the present Bishop of New York. All Saints Church has had 13 Rectors between 1863 and 1952 as follows: Rev. J. Breckenridge Gibson………………………. 1869-1878 Rev. A. H. Gesner………………………………….. 1878-1882 Rev. A. F. Tenney………………………………….. 1882-1884 Rev. A. M. Sherman……………………………….. 1884-1887 Rev. H. L. Myrick………………………………….. 1887-1900 Rev. James Sheerin………………………………… 1900-1901 Rev. Thomas Hazzard……………………………… 1902-1907 Rev. Alleyne C. Howell……………………………. 1908 Rev. John A. Howell……………………………….. 1908-1914 Rev. Henry A. Dexter……………………………… 1914-1931 Rev. George Whitmeyer…………………………… 1931-1935 Rev. George F. Bratt……………………………….. 1935-1948 Rev. Constant W. Southworth…………………….. 1948-1952
The present Officers are: Wardens: David Williams, David Figart Vestrymen: Nicholas B. Marden, William W. Stelle, Frederic Wilson, Stanley MacKenzie, Ralph Mulligan, Maurice Kinsey The membership is 250. All Saints Church proposes to celebrate its Centenary in the fall of 1954. The Scarborough Presbyterian Church…The third Church in Briarcliff Manor was "The Scarborough Presbyterian Church, erected to the glory of God and in loving memory of Elliott Fitch Shepard by his wife, Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard. The organization meeting was held on October 13, 1893 in the temporary Chapel which Colonel Shepard established. This building was formerly a roadhouse at the fork of the Old Post Road at Scarborough. 19 charter members were enrolled at this first meeting. The present membership is 320. The Church later became also a Memorial to Mrs. Shepard, herself, donor of not only the Church but also the Manse and the Church House. The present building was completed in 1895, being of Spanish Renaissance architecture, stately and worshipful. There have been five ministers: Rev. Frank F. Blessing, 1895-1900; Rev. Benjamin T. Marshall, 1902-1906; Rev. Anthony N. Petersen, 1907-1938; Rev. E. M. Wylie, 1938-1947; and Rev. Robert P. Montgomery, 1947 to the present time. The Briarcliff Congregational Church…This Church was the outgrowth of a Sunday School held in the little schoolhouse, District No. 6. Some members of the Sing Sing Heights Chapel (now the Ossining Heights Methodist Church) started this Sunday School under the faithful leadership of John Edgar Johnson, Jr. It was the only religious service in a radius of two miles. When George A. Todd, Jr., became Superintendent the need for a Church was so evident that he interested Mr. Walter W. Law in the possibility. Mr. Law's response was so immediate and enthusiastic that the first part of the structure was completed by Christmas of 1896 with its Norman tower and strong stone walls. The Church, organized October 20, 1896, dedicated January 10, 1897, and officially received into the Congregational denomination November 3, 1897, was doubtless the favorite of all the structures made possible by Mr. Law's generosity. He also erected the Manse, the addition of the transepts, the Sunday school room (1902) and gave four memorial windows as well as the organ. It is a lasting testimony and monument to his devotion to the religious welfare of Briarcliff Manor.
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Briarcliff Congregational Church
Mr. George A. Todd, Jr. proved his devotion by giving the stones as a material manifestation of his personal loyalty. Most suitably the Church Flag, within the sanctuary, was presented by the Todd family, in 1942, in memory of the large share he had in the spiritual progress of the Church. The Church is fortunate in its many and beautiful memorials, through which the righteous are held in everlasting remembrance. Ministers: Rev. Alexander A. McColl, 1897-1907; Rev. Carl H. Elmore, 19081920 (including YMCA War Service, in France); Rev. John E. Steen, 1920-1927; Rev. Stanley U. North, 1937-1941; Rev. Wayne A. Nicholas, 1942-1947 (including Chaplaincy, U.S. Navy, three and one-half years, when Interim Ministers Rev. Robert B. Pattison and Rev. James H. Link served); Rev. Richard K. Beebe, 1947 to date. The present membership is 447. The Church of Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus…This Parish was established by Cardinal Hayes, June 8, 1926. The task was assigned to Reverend James F. Kelly, who was installed June 12, 1926 by the Very Reverend Thomas Carroll, assisted by Church Officials. Because many of the guests and employees of Briarcliff Lodge were Catholics, Mass was celebrated there for several years by Dominican Fathers from Pleasantville until the new Parish was ordered in Briarcliff Manor, the first Mass here being July 27, 1926 by Father Kelly. Suitable land was secured for a Church when the old Stillman house and adjoining property on Pleasantville Road were taken over and Mass celebrated therein first on Sunday, November 28th. Father Kelly's desire was for a beautiful, dignified stone building, suitable to the growing community. This was accomplished with the permission of Cardinal Hayes, and the cornerstone laid September 4, 1927; Mass said there first Christmas midnight that year. Most of the furnishings were donated by parishioners and friends of the new Parish. Dedication was held by Cardinal Hayes on September 23, 1928. Nearby Millwood is closely associated with this Briarcliff Parish. The Church of Our Lady of the Wayside, once the principal Church of the Parish, was modernized and an active Guild formed. This Millwood Mission was transferred to Briarcliff on July 11, 1926, when a resident pastor was appointed here, being Father Kelly in that capacity. At that same time Sunday School was opened by a group of Maryknoll sisters; they, through the history of the Parish, have ever zealously performed their tasks.
With the growth of the Parish (at first numbering only 36 Catholic families, including Millwood), assistance was required and Father Arthur F. Nugent became Assistant Pastor to Father Kelly. Under him a choir was organized, and the Holy Name Society and the St. Theresa's Guild started. Father Kelly died October 24, 1946, much respected both within and without his Parish here. The statue of St. Theresa on the Church grounds is his personal gift to his beloved Parish. Reverend Albert A. Pinckney became the new Pastor, assisted by Reverend Robert B. Loftus, Previously Assistant Pastors were Fathers Fitzgerald, Torpey and Schwalbenberg. The life of the Church is deeply established here so that the Parish is growing in numbers and in spiritual value.
CHURCH SOCIETIES The Guild, St. Mary's Episcopal Church…Organized in 1895, "to advance the work of the women of Saint Mary's Parish in the program of the Church," the Guild is allied with the Women's Auxiliary of the National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Diocese of New York. Special activities center in missionary interests and considerable sums of money are raised for both Home and Foreign Missions. The first President was Mrs. William Kingsland. The present officers are: President, Mrs. Charles Baldwin; 1st Vice President, Mrs. Leland B. Henry; 2nd Vice President, Mrs. Laurence D. Redway; 3rd Vice President, Mrs. William Fanning; Corresponding Secretary, Miss Edna Hall; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Russell Hoit; Treasurer, Mrs. Pierpont V. Davis; Supply Officer, Mrs. Robert Day; Assistant Supply Officer, Mrs. Henry Meyer; United Thank-Offering Chairman, Mrs. Carolyn B. Kendrich. All Saints Episcopal Church: The Guild…Guided by their first President, Miss F. E. Rogers, and with only seven members, this Guild began some 50 years ago. Meetings were held in the homes of members; the purpose being "to serve the Church in every phase of its life and in every field of the Church's activity." Present membership is 72. One of its most significant effects was the erection of the Parish House, in 1900, built of stone by 1903, the fireplace front being laid by the Misses Emily and Helen Becker. The Guild made this Church parish building possible. It is an Auxiliary of the National Council, Diocese of New York. -33-
Saint Theresa’s Catholic Church
Scarborough Presbyterian Church
All Saints Episcopal Church
Present officers: Afternoon Group, President, Mrs. William P. Boyle; Vice President, Miss Mary Wells; Secretary, Mrs. Frederic Wilson; Treasurer, Mrs. George Askew; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Nicholas B. Marden. Evening Group, President, Mrs. Benjamin Miller; Vice President, Mrs. David Underhill; Secretary, Mrs. Cameron Brown; Treasurer, Mrs. Arlene Rose. Women's Guild of the Scarborough Presbyterian Church…The Women's Guild of the Scarborough Presbyterian Church was organized in May, 1939, under the guidance of Dr. Edmund Wylie. Its purpose is to give the opportunity to the women of the Church to make Christ known to the world through fellowship and benevolence, to work together on various projects within the Church, and in the national and foreign missions of the Presbyterian Church. The Guild has been active in such widely diversified projects as raising funds for new hymnals an choir gowns, and helping to spread some measure of cheer to people in hospitals and charitable homes through the Sunshine Committee, of which Mrs. George Boldt has been continuing chairman since its organization. Through its various money raising efforts, financial support has been give to war relief organizations, the Red Cross, and, recently, a contribution to cover part of the expense of a resident nurse in East Harlem. The first President was Mrs. E. G. Van Valey. The present officers are: President, Mrs. Lee Rosemond; 1st Vice President, Mrs. Edwin Walton; 2nd Vice President, Mrs. John Francis; Recording Secretary, Mrs. George Comfort; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Roland Maycock; Treasurer, Mrs. Hilton Campbell. The Women's Society of the Congregational Church…This philanthropic group was founded in 1897 to perform such religious services as sewing for any in distress, helping the Ossining Hospital, providing Thanksgiving supplies and donating flowers for the sick. Its concern for humanity grew to include missionary interests at home and abroad. To benefit the Armed Forces of World War II it entered into the Village Variety Show and won the "Mayor's Cup" in 1944 and 1945. Recently, as an essential part of their activities, they formed The Evening Sewing Group of the Friendly Service Committee. In 1951, allied with the Briarcliff Junior College, from which has come a full International Scholarship, The Women's Society became responsible for a Korean young woman, Ok Yul Kim, who has well justified the choice by making the Dean's list continually. -35-
The membership in 1952 is about 160. Officers: first President, Mrs. Alexander McColl (1900-1907); nineteen Presidents in all. Present Officers: President, Mrs. Vernon Mills; First Vice President, Mrs. Archie Minshall; Second Vice President, Mrs. Henry Letiecq; Third Vice President, Mrs. Ernest Leins; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. George Bryan; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Alfred Jones; Treasurer, Mrs. Carroll Colby. Saint Theresa's Guild…Saint Theresa's Guild of Briarcliff Manor was founded October 4, 1935, with the Reverend Arthur Nugent, curate to Reverend James F. Kelly, as moderator. Its purpose is to promote the spiritual and temporal welfare of the parish. When the first meeting was held in November 1935, in the Church Hall, there was a roster of twenty-five members, Mrs. Russell Cumming was elected the first president. One of its first activities was to start an Altar Society, whose members would be responsible for the beautification of the Sanctuary and the care of the vestments of the priests and altar boys. Besides this, the Guild promoted other spiritual benefits - Retreats, Novenas and a special Sunday for the monthly Communion of its members and the annual Communion breakfast for the women of the Parish. It has also aided in the making of bandages for Rosary Hill in Hawthorne. Socially, it has been active with its successful parish suppers, bridge parties and bazaars. It has sponsored the Christmas party for the children of the Parish. Today the Guild has a membership of over sixty. The present officers are: Mrs. Gerard Donohue, President; Mrs. Gordon Darkenwald, Vice President; Mrs. Frank Sichel, Treasurer; and Mrs. Thomas Creighton, Secretary. The Reverend Robert B. Loftus is now moderator and the Reverend Albert Pinckney is Pastor. Holy Name Society of Saint Theresa's Church…The Holy Name Society of Saint Theresa's Church was established in 1926, with Mr. Edward White as its first president. The purpose of the society is for the spiritual welfare of the members, and the active support of the Pastor and the Parish in all of its activities.
At the present there are sixty members, with Dr. Francis A. Williams as President, Dr. Thomas Hershey is Vice-president, Mr. John Goldsborough, Secretary, and Mr. Vincent DiGiacinto, Treasurer.
SCHOOLS Early Schools: Chiefly Private Schools…The various schools of our community are a vivid cross-section of the educational facilities of America. Private and public schools exhibit this trait. At one time and until 1912 there was the so-called Long Hill School, District Number 4, in the Scarborough area. This was of the public school system. In it there were two simple rooms and two devoted teachers, Miss Charlotte Coburn and Miss Adelaire Wheeler, trying patiently to instruct 70 pupils, not always thirsty for knowledge. If thirsty for water, the one pail with its one dipper for all comers sufficed. Its one stove was antique but quite able to roast any pupil on one side while freezing him on the other. There were no illustrated text-books, no electric lights, and the only school but was tough shoe leather underfoot. The "three R's" were taught, with sewing extra for the girls, and, as the reward of merit, ginger bread and cambric tea. As early as 1854 and until 1915, there was the Holbrook Preparatory School for Boys, off Holbrook Road, under Rev. David A. Holbrook's academic-military control. The possibility for a collegiate education attracted as many as 137 pupils, one time enrollment from many of the states. The Misses Tewksbury conducted a school for young boys and girls in the house on Pleasantville Road, one time residence of Mr. Arthur Ware, architect, and now the residence of Mr. John Nicol. This was later taken over by Mrs. Marshall's Day and Boarding School for Little Girls. Miss Alice Knox, associated with Mrs. Mary Dow in the Briarcliff Lodge, had her own private school in 1905 in Pocantico Lodge, on Pleasantville Road about opposite Buckout Road. Here previously the Practical Agricultural and Horticultural School had been housed. After Miss Knox's death, Mrs. Louise Houghton took it over. When it burned down on February 11, 1912, she moved it to Tarrytown and later to Cooperstown, New York, where it continues under Miss Knox's name. Note: The Briarcliff Junior College (first Mrs. Dow's School), The Edgewood Park School, the Scarborough School and the local Public School have their own separate histories in this brochure.
Miss Knox’s School, Pocantico Lodge Mrs. Marshall’s Day & Boarding School for Little Girls
Holbrook Preparatory School for Boys
Dedication of District School #6, 1898
Public Schools, Grade and High School…Long before the incorporation of Briarcliff Manor, a public school had been erected for the education of the children of the area. It was at first a one-room school-house built on land donated by Mr. John H. Whitson, probably in the year 1865. This school was situated on Pleasantville Road, where the access to Parkway 9-A now is. Not only was there one room but also one teacher, Paris Bowers, and one trustee, Mr. Joseph Pierce. The number of pupils is unknown but it differed with the seasons. The demands of farms often kept children at home, there to study the Farmer's Almanac and handle the milk pail and plow. In 1867 this simple building was replaced by another, called the "White School" by reason of its exterior painting. Mr. George A. Todd, Jr. became the one teacher for all grades. This public-spirited citizen continued to teach locally until 1906, and many a student owed much indeed to him! This "White School" was moved, in 1896, to Hawthorne, where it still serves as the fire house. A two-roomed building was erected on the same site locally. There were two teachers now, and a stove that tried to do its duty, not always with success as witness this newspaper item from the Sing Sing Register of February 2, 1898, "…The free school at Whitson's, in this town, was obliged, Wednesday morning to close, 40 degrees above zero being the highest temperature with the heating apparatus on hand. The attention of the School Commissioners will be called to the affair." The nearby Putnam Railroad station was the refuge at such times when "thoughts that burn" did not raise the school temperature. Perhaps there should have been more funds raised for school expenses. The sum to be raised by taxes for the ensuing year was $340. Willet Nodine was Truant Officer at $25 a year. In 1898, the District voted $3,750 to build a new school house, again on the same site. Much larger, it served as a school, later as the Briarcliff Community Centre (Club). The old school was auctioned on July 12, 1899 for $42, desks bringing one dollar each, and the stove four dollars. this section received its official title on September 12, 1899, being called Union Free District Number 6, Towns of Ossining and Mt. Pleasant. The district boundaries are, however, not clear as of that time. The Archville section edged in somewhat and part of the Briarcliff of today was allotted to the Ossining School District. Our District was called District #2 in 1909 and has continued as such to this time.
Rear View of District School #6
Grade School Building, Built 1909
Briarcliff High School, Built 1928 New Grade School to be built 1953
Once more in 1903 the school building was enlarged and improved; however, the State Commissioner of Education did not sanction the facilities. In 1909, $50,000 was voted in order to purchase the present site on Pleasantville Road and to erect the Grade School building. This building surrounded by ample space for an athletic field was occupied by 1911. But how about the High School? Until about 1919 those who graduated from the eighth grade continued their studies in the Ossining High School. Then such advanced studies were introduced locally that the first Graduation of a High School class was celebrated in 1923 when four candidates received their diplomas. The number of those who desired this kind of instruction was increasing and therefore in 1928 the present High School building was added. This was not accomplished, however, without arguments, pro and con, reminding us of similar more recent discussions and reminding us also of certain lines from Shakespeare: "And do as adversaries do at law, Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends." For many years there seems adequate space within the one building for students of both Grade and High School, but about 1945 the need for enlargement became evident. By 1950 it was so insistent that some of the High School rooms had to be taken over to accommodate some of the pupils of the first six grades. Various sites were discussed and much voting was taken as to the where and the when and the expense involved. Some in fact were much in favor of merely increasing the size of the present building. The outcome was that, in September, 1951, the District voted favorably to purchase land north and east of Ingham Road for $22,125, there to erect a Primary School allowing also for a sufficient increase in the play field. This was followed on March 12, 1952 by voting, 430 to 276, the sum of $525,000 to build a school of eight rooms, permitting a future addition of up to 20 rooms. Mr. Edward F. O'Dwyer is the architect. School suggests figures and here are some of them: Pupils in the school of 1905 numbered 108; this grew to 273 by 1923; and today the total enrollment is 555 (Kindergarten to High School, 329, High School, 224). The first High School graduates in 1923 were only four; this year, 1952, there were 50. The increase of residents indicates itself in this scholastic manner and is prophetic of future increases of population. One of the most favorable elements in Briarcliff Manor's development has ever been the excellence of its schools. High standards have been continually in the plans of the Board of Education. Whatever controversies have arisen (and what community is free from them?) the motive has always been clear: debate conditioned by foresight and reasonable expenses; the inside of the taxpayers' pockets have been allied with the inside of the heads of the students and "heads" have won in final decisions. -44-
"Education For Service!" is the constant ideal. School Principals George A. Todd, Jr.………………………………………….(1867-1906) Edgard L. Andrews………………………………………….(1906-1910) Charles C. Hunt…………………………………………….. (1910-1913) J. C. Lewis, Jr………………………………………………. (1914-1916) Horatio P. Baum…………………………………………….(1917-1919) Robert A. Plumb…………………………………………….(1919-1922) Arthur W. Silliman………………………………………….(1922-six mos.) Otto E. Huddle………………………………………………(1922-1945) John A. Nicholson…………………………………………..(1945-1947) Edward A. Moyer……………………………………………(1947 to date) Briarcliff Junior College…Mrs. Mary E. Dow's School, which she conducted in Briarcliff Lodge during 1903-1905, was the forerunner of Briarcliff Junior College. Mr. Walter W. Law became much interested in Mrs. Dow's educational ideals and erected the present building Elm Road, with thirty-five acres of land surrounding it, and passed it into Mrs. Dow's capable hands in 1905. In 1907 a corporation called The Mrs. Dow's Company of Briarcliff Manor was formed, with a capital stock of $100,000 to take over this property and legally authorized to deal in real property of all kinds. In consequence of this, on Mrs. Dow's retirement in 1919, the school property was controlled by the Briarcliff Realty Company. There had been a growing demand on the part of young women for collegiate training, so that Mrs. Dow anticipating her retirement at the age of seventy-six, invited Mrs. Edith Cooper Hartman, a Wellesley graduate with abundant experience as an educator, to become her assistant in order to establish a college preparatory department. Under Mrs. Hartman's direction, Briarcliff became one of the leading preparatory schools of the country, sending girls to such colleges as Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, and other women's colleges. Later, Mrs. Hartman introduced a two-year post-graduate course which was the forerunner of the Junior College. In 1926 Mrs. Hartman was succeeded by Miss Margaret Bell Merrill, with degrees B.A., Wellesley and M.A., Oxford and Columbia. After serving three years of Headmistress, Miss Merrill was succeeded by Miss Doris Laura Flick, B.A. and M.A., Vassar, who had come to the School as Dean in 1926. The change of name, to Briarcliff Junior College, took place during Miss Flick's tenure, and a provisional charter to this effect was granted by the Educational Department of the University of the State of New York in 1935. -45-
Briarcliff Junior College
Edgewood Park School
Briarcliff Junior College
Edgewood Park School
Mr. Henry H. Law and other men were instrumental in effecting this, making of the Briarcliff Junior College a non-stock educational institution governed by at least five trustees. The college then executed and delivered to the Briarcliff Realty Company a mortgage in the amount of $500,000, the appraised value being $822,000. The reorganization had to face the depression which threatened the very existence of so many educational groups at that time, and was indicated, in part, by a serious dwindling of enrollment of students to only 42. Such was the condition when, in 1942, Miss Flick retired and on February 2, 1942, Mrs. Ordway Tead, A.B., LL.D., Smith College, assumed the presidency. Under date of January 10, 1944, was effected the registration of the curriculum by the State Education Department of the University of the State of New York and on May 15, 1944 accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Within ten years, 1942-52, the College made steady progress in its academic scope and standing, the enrollment advanced to 220 in 1951-52, the highest in its history, and the physical plant also showed improvement. New courses have been added and, beginning May 11, 1951, the State Board of Regents authorized the Junior College to grant the degree of Associate in Arts and Associate in Applied Science. Another evidence of worth was its selection, in 1952, by the U.S. Army Map Service, as the only Junior College in the country to give professional training in cartography and map-making techniques. Another unique distinction is the wide geographical representation of its students: girls from all sections of the U.S. and Hawaii; and registrations from Germany, England, France, Switzerland, India, China, Japan, Panama, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, Brazil, Korea and the Dominican Republic. The College has increased its land holdings, including the Shelton House, across Elm Road, purchased in 1944 for added dormitory space. The heating plant has been modernized, a new access driveway and parking facilities constructed, and, as the most notable addition to the Junior College equipment, an entirely new classroom and office wing, dedicated June, 1951.
Edgewood Park, Incorporated…On October 1, 1936, Edgewood Park was established in the building known for many years as Briarcliff Lodge. With its 38 acres, beautifully situated, it was purchased two years later. By this move the Lodge was again carrying forward the use to which it was put, part time, in its first years, namely, a school. Edgewood Park, Incorporated, was founded by Dr. Matthew H. Reaser who felt that there was a great need for educational opportunities beyond the high school level, for young women whose circumstances made a four years college course difficult of attainment. Under his leadership, his three daughters, Mrs. Shannon Wallace, Mrs. Norman B. Sowell and Mrs. Gilbert V. Temple, together with a staff of forty experienced teachers and administrators, brought from Greenwich, Connecticut, to Briarcliff Manor, a school which would strive toward those ideals which Dr. Reaser so much cherished. He was, indeed, one of the forerunners of the whole movement for higher education for women. The new institution combined a preparatory school for those heading for the traditional four-year colleges, and an upper division that would, without neglecting general culture, give specialized preparation for occupations on the semi-professional levels for which two years of advanced training is considered sufficient. Hence the School title: Practical and Cultural Arts. This covers training in Fine Arts, Commercial Art, Costume Designing, Interior Decoration, Merchandising, Speech, Arts, Music, Home Economics, Medical Assistance, Kindergarten and Secretarial work. General College Preparatory subjects are taught also. Many Edgewood Park graduates are holding responsible positions in their fields. The High School Department prepares for entrance into colleges and through this advanced training many girls have been enrolled in the most notable colleges in our country. In addition to the academic work, the students are encouraged successfully to take part in local civic affairs. They have acted as nurses' aides and assistants in the dietary departments of Grasslands Hospital; students in the Kindergarten and Primary Education departments have done practical teaching in Briarcliff schools. Humanitarian interests are developed by preparing foods and clothing for needy homes, the Red Cross has been liberally served and the Religious Association has never failed to enter helpfully into benevolent causes of various types.
Religiously, Christian but non-sectarian, Bible courses provide such instruction, and chapel exercises, under the leadership of the school chaplain and visiting ministers, are an integral part of the curriculum. The School's national scope is seen by enrollments from 48 states and its international aspect is seen in its students from at least 25 countries. 300 students in all are enrolled, exemplifying the ideal of the founder: to fit modern women for modern living. In its dignified architecture and its sufficient equipment, by Faculty and Administration, Edgewood Park, Incorporated, upholds the inward spirit and outward expression of Schools of the highest order. The School seal tells the fact in its three elements: The Book indicating intellectual learning; the Distaff held high by a firm arm revealing a firm grasp on womanly enterprises, industry, skills; and the three dots meaning the three daughters of Dr. Reaser through whom his scholastic vision is continued; and all placed on a Shield of Valor. The Briarcliff Nursery School, Inc…This organization had its inception in its purpose of providing pre-school children a coordinated training with others of their age. It began August 21, 1947, under the direction of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Churchill, and Mrs. John Akin as first President. From the Recreation Building it moved into the old Law Mansion and then into its present quarters, the former Bernard McFadden School, Scarborough area. A provisional charter was granted, 1950-1951, under the title of The Briarcliff Nursery School, Inc. The teaching staff consists of two regular and one substitute teachers, together with students from the Briarcliff Junior College, whose curriculum calls for the nursery school type of training. The present membership is thirty, an increase from the originals twenty-one, and it has developed into a well-established group. One of its prime intentions is the construction of permanent quarters. The present officers are: President, John L. Brouwer; Vice President, Mrs. John J. Kneisel; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Walter Cragg; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. James J. McCaffrey; Treasurer, Robert D. Beals. The Scarborough School…Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Vanderlip, moved by a desire to serve the community and by an active interest in educational progress, founded Scarborough School in October of 1913. It began with twelve children gathered in the home of Mrs. Edward W. Harden, in North Tarrytown, New York, and soon after, on the Vanderlip estate, Scarborough-on-Hudson, in the Studio Cottage, the
project became installed with the name of "Miss (Elizabeth) Dean's School." Miss Dean was a graduate of Radcliff and served as its inspiring director for the next three years. The Administration building, Vanderlip Hall, was erected in 1916 and at that time the official name was changed to "Scarborough School". Mr. Vanderlip served as President of the Board of Trustees from 1919, when the Board was organized, till his death in 1937. The Vanderlip family has continued its loyal concern for the School, though since 1935 the Trustees have been selected primarily from parents of the enrolled students. An absolute Charter was granted by the Board of Regents of New York State in 1925, and it has operated as a non-profit membership corporation. Its seal is a copy of the 13th century seal of the borough of Scarborough, England, after which the local community was named. The School has impressed its personality upon all this section of Westchester County and far beyond that limit. One evidence is in the finely equipped Theater, the home of the Beechwood Players from 1919. Boys and girls, from the Nursery School through the High School ages, have received devoted, unflagging attention to the individual student, to develop a sense of responsibility as self-respecting members of their community. Therefore, small classes are the rule where the physical, social and intellectual potentialities of each pupil can best be developed by means of sympathetic, personal relationship between teacher and student. A beautiful campus overlooking the Hudson, with acres of woodland, lawns and streams, tennis courts, playing fields and swimming pool provide an ideal and natural setting for these objectives. Vocational guidance, in association with Teachers' College, Columbia University, since 1917 for its research, is provided. It was a pioneer in visual education. Student self-government is encouraged. The Scarborough School Parents Association has been very active in the well-being of the institution. Since 1916 officers and members of the School have taken a student-written oath based on the Athenian vow of citizenship. Since 1921 the School has enjoyed accreditation by the Middle States Association. A great majority of its graduates have been accepted by the best American colleges. The present enrollment is 161. The School begins its 40th year September, 1952. There have been ten Headmasters: Miss Elizabeth M. Dean, 1913-1917; Ernest Horn, 1917-18; Wilford M. Aikin, 1918-22; Morton Snyder, 1922-26; Arthur Sutherland, 192627; Frank M. McMurry, 1927-28; F. Dean McClusky, 1928-45; Cornelius B. Boocock, 1945-48; Philip L. Garland, 1948-51; Thomas C. Schuller, 1951-. -51-
Home of Briarcliff School Nursery The Scarborough School
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
The public schools in the Village of Briarcliff Manor are in Union Free School District #2, Towns of Ossining and Mt. Pleasant. The School District extends beyond the border of the Village of Briarcliff Manor and the Town of Ossining to the east, but does not include part of the Village in the Scarborough area, which is in the Ossining school system. Although there have been changes in school district boundaries through the years, the establishment of the original "Briarcliff" School District antedated the incorporation of the Village of Briarcliff Manor. The School District is governed by a Board of Education of five members, who operate under the New York State Education Law and the regulations of the Commissioner of Education in Albany. School Board members are elected by the voters of their district at their Annual Meeting in May, for three-year terms. The Annual Meeting also approves the budget and considers other District business. The Board of Education elects its own President at its organization meeting in July of each year. The first president and sole trustee was Joseph Pierce in 1865. The first president of the incorporated Free School District was Mr. J. Sidney Baylis. Probably indicating the increased burden of the position, there have been three presidents in the last twelve months, Robert C. Heim, Nicholas B. Marden, and Henry O. Letiecq, the latter named in July, 1952. Regular School Board meetings are held once a month, and are open to the public. Officers are: President, Henry O. Letiecq; Clerk, Donald J. Corneille; Treasurer, Mrs. Mabel Schwartz; other members of the Board: Nicholas B. Marden, Theodore B. Malsin, Fritz C. Heynen, Mrs. Geraldine O. Evans. Attendance officer-supervisor, Mrs. Ruth Garvey; Census-taker, Mrs. Richard Purdy; School Physician, Dr. August De Augustinis.
In 1867, and for a brief period, this section was known as Wescora, named after the Mohegan Indian sachem of earlier days. Prior to that, the name Scarborough had been officially given it with the establishment here of a Post Office, December 2, 1864. The beginnings are traceable back to the meeting, on the hill to the east, of eight Indian chiefs, of which Wescora was one. This meeting ended in the exchange of the land along the eastern edge of the Shatomuc River ("the steam which flows both ways," as the Indians called the Hudson). The sale date was August 24, 1685. Thus did Vredryk Flypsen (Frederick Philipse) come to possess this territory as a part of his vast estate, paying for it in wampum, cloth, guns, kettles, knives and rum. It was a sparsely settled region for many a year. By 1845 the inhabitants called it Scarborough, from the name of the English town, in York County, but it had as yet no official sanction. As one who knew declared of it, "Scarborough is a state of mind". That "state" was made political when it was incorporated into Briarcliff Manor, in 1906. It is situated between the Town of Mt. Pleasant on the south and Ossining (previously Sing Sing) on the north. Thereby Scarborough is unique in having a Post Office by that name, while geographically and politically a part of the Village of Briarcliff Manor. The present Postmaster, George O. Fountain, has faithfully filled that position for 19 years. There has always been a definite pride in the title. One amusing evidence was when the railroad displayed "Briarcliff West" for public instruction. The public had other ideas, for that same name-sign disappeared somehow strangely to disport itself on the outgoing tide of the Hudson, from which voyage it never returned! For many a year its population centered largely at "The Corner" where the Albany Post Road meets Scarborough Road. There might have been seen a few houses, a blacksmith shop and hay scales, clustered around a tavern and a store. In due season came its outstanding landmark of the Presbyterian Church. (See elsewhere, The Scarborough Presbyterian Church, Scarborough Notables, Scarborough School) Would you favor yourself with one of America's most alluring views? The
Scarborough area exhibits scenery which recalls the estimate of Washington Irving. “After all my wanderings, I return to it (the Hudson river) with a heartfelt preference over all the other rivers of the world.” This is ours by looking with due appreciation from the top of Ridgecrest Road. Before the observer stretches superb river beauty, with the fascinating rock-formations of the Palisades as a background. And this combines with history for good measure. Croton’s Point (Teller’s Point of Revolutionary days) is clearly visible, at the end of which the British sloop-of-war, “Vulture” anchored to bring Major John Andre to confer with the American traitor, General Benedict Arnold, as to the surrender of West Point to the English. They bargained at a spot under High Tor, September 20, 1789, and had their deliberation been successful, it is questionable whether today the American flag would be flying over the Scarborough area.
Scarborough! Beautiful for situation, loyal to national ideals, and possessing religious and educational standards of high excellence. Here is our salute!
Looking West over the Hudson from top of Ridgecrest Road
THE POST OFFICE
It was "Whitson" Post Office at first, 1881, when the name "Whitson's Station" was on the railroad building, when the Railroad was the New York and Northern, and when John H. Whitson was postmaster. The official title of Briarcliff Manor Post Office was given it in October, 1897, then and still today the only United States Post Office of that name. Postmasters after John Whitson are listed as follows: Walter E. Howard; Charles H. Whitson, who served for 35 years; Vincent Phelps, 1929-1932; and Mrs. Lillian O'Connor, 1932 to date. Locations have been numerous and progressively a proof of increasing postal service. The station post office ended about the time when the station building was moved to Millwood, and then had a temporary housing in a small edifice a bit southeast of the present station. A concrete post office was next erected and used until the Briarcliff-Peekskill auto cut-off took that Pleasantville Road land, after which it was in the "Brookside Inn" which has since been demolished to make way for the cut-off on the Old State Road. Then it was moved to the "Crossways," and later to the present location. Six moves might be enough, but the next move will indicate how much the activity of the Post Office has advanced when, in a much enlarged and more modern building, the Briarcliff Manor Post Office name is displayed, perhaps within a year, at a new location. That increased service becomes manifested by noting the growth from the first simple hand-delivery to the few families, the establishment of the Rural Delivery system in 1812 serving only 75 families, and thence to today's 630 families and some 400 RFD boxes. That represents forty years increasing RD service; but furthermore, with the development of the Village, there will soon be at least 100 more families so served. Thus 730 families will be benefited in this way by the personal attention of Edward E. Dunn, the competent RD mailman. Another contrast of interest is in the quantity of mail. Some 71 years ago (18811952) only a few letters passed through our Post Office; today there are four outgoing and four incoming mails with a daily total, first class only, of approximately 10,000 pieces. As for daily second class matter, "too numerous to mention,” is the Post Office’s description.
We are fortunate in having Mrs. O’Connor and her capable assistants, faithful and friendly servants of the Government and the Village. These are Mrs. Marion Waterbury, Mrs. Edna Wolf, Mrs. Gladys Borho. “Neither shall Snow nor Rain, nor Heat nor Gloom of Night stay these Couriers from the swift Completion of their appointed Rounds.”
Early Briarcliff Manor Post Office Present Location on Pleasantville Road
THE PARK AND POOL No person ever passes through the Village without noticing these centrally located and ever-popular possessions of all residents. It is estimated that the yearly average attendance of those who find recreation within the five acres of the Park is approximately 44,000. Appropriately styled "The Briarcliff Country Club for all Residents," there is a more suitable title: The Law Memorial Park. For it was a gift from Mr. Walter W. Law for the benefit of all and some time, let us believe, it will be marked to indicate that benefactor. There are no dues, no assessments, except for a slight charge for an identification tag in order to use this "Club". The Village budget provides $6,000 for the yearly maintenance of grounds, including tennis courts, putting green and the pool. The Pool was completed in July, 1927, its cost of $8,641 furnished by the fire insurance adjustment of the burned Community Centre building. The allurement of its water makes it an attraction annually for some 20,000 bathers, the season being from June to September. Up to August 19, 1952, 1159 tags have been issued to residents and to students enrolled in the Village schools. Among its chief events are the annual swimming and diving contests by young people with prizes for the winners. The adjacent little lake adds much to the Park program, a glory shared by goldfish beneath and ducks above its surface. Occasionally a heron, or even a swan, is a welcome visitor. Not only summers, but also winters hold a fascination here, for skating on its ice exhibits one of the Village's most beautiful sights with merry children enjoying this seasonable sport. All in all this important part of Briarcliff Manor combines into a most persuasive real estate agent. Do you see that very busy and ever courteous attendant over there? Needless to say, it is the figure of none other than "Doc" Cunningham, Park Foreman. Two more Parks are in process. In July, 1951, two parcels of "in rem" land were set aside for this purpose, 37 acres between Pine Road and Sleepy Hollow Road and 57 acres between Long Hill Road and the Pocantico River. These properties possess a choice variety of terrain suitable for nature trails and a wild-life sanctuary, with plenty of space for picnic grounds and games. These Parks should afford permanent benefits for all ages.
The Recreation Committee has charge of a well-considered program for the use of Parks, Pool, tennis courts and similar properties, as is shown in the article on that Committee. It all sums up happily into proof of clear vision form the first days of the Village and of foresight for its future, the more so because of the increasing population of Briarcliff Manor. The Pool looking West from Law Memorial Park
BRIARCLIFF FREE LIBRARY One of the purposes of the Briarcliff Community Center, Inc. (known as the "Club") was "to establish and maintain a public library". First steps toward the accomplishment of this object were taken in 1914. The first library home was in the Club house, the old school building then standing where is now the ramp southbound from Pleasantville Road to Route 9A. The Club publication "Community Notes" for June 19, 1914, announced "The Library is open for the loaning of books. So far six cards have been taken out". Card No. 1 went to Miss Rosalind Marsh of Briarcliff Lodge. By July 17th persons were being urged to return overdue books, of which some titles were, "The Honorable Peter Sterling," "Count of Monte Cristo," "Uncle Remus," "Four Pools Mystery," "Darkness and Daylight in New York". There are no further available records for seven years. By 1921 the late Mrs. Alfred G. Bookwalter had come to the Village to live. A lover of books and a civic-minded person, Mrs. Bookwalter was instrumental in reopening the Library. The Club was incorporated June 8, 1921. The Library, under the Club, was registered with the New York State library system September 22, 1921. So began a second seven year span. The first Board of Trustees under the new setup consisted of Mrs. William J. Watson, Chairman; Mrs. Charles Schuman, Mrs. Sherman Dean, Mrs. Arthur Crandall, Mrs. V. Bonnell Tappan, Mrs. Ernest F. Zuydoeck, and Mrs. Bookwalter. The first librarian was Miss Louise Miller, acting while she studied library service in Columbia University. She was succeeded by Miss Elizabeth Kelly, the High School art teacher, whose art duties were only part-time. Early support of the library was obtained from Club resources, subscriptions, fund-raising concerts, lectures, etc. Mrs. May Lamberton Becker, Ruth Draper, Barrett Clark and many others appeared on programs. In 1924 the Village Trustees voted $500 for Briarcliff Free Library; the 1952 appropriation is $1800. Other sources of present yearly income are fines, occasional cash gifts, $100 from the state, interest from the Alfred S. Bookwalter Memorial Fund of $250, and book gifts. Expenditures for 1951 were $1875.86. The Club land was sold to the Parkway in 1928; soon after the building burned down and from the fire insurance adjustment the Library received $5,000. This has been used during the years as a source fund for permanent equipment.
Through the interest and generosity of the officers of the Briarcliff Realty Company the Library was moved to the tower room of the Realty building. In that year, 1928, Mrs. Roscoe M. Hersey took over as librarian and has continued to the present. In 1930, through the kindness of the Briarcliff Board of Education, the library received use of a large room on the main floor of the new High School building. There it remained for nineteen years until the school required the room. In 1949, the Village Board of Trustees stepped into the breach and provided two pleasant rooms in the Recreation Building on Route 100. The standards of the Library are those fixed by the Library Extension Division of the University of the State of New York, to which annual reports are made. With 100% as the basis the highest efficiency marking has been 98.3% in the 1944 when the library stood 17th in its class of 65. Book stock consists of approximately 8000 volumes, of which 1000 are in storage due to lack of shelf space. As of July 1, 1952, registrations, adult and juvenile, total 503. There are yearly revisions of the registration lists. The community is indebted to the many persons who over the years have served the library in many capacities. These volunteers are now known as "Friends of the Library", doing desk work, preparing exhibits, typing, arranging flowers, making posters, etc. The 1952 Board of Trustees is as follows: William E. Bell, President; Mrs. Milton Bennett, Vice President; Mrs. Arnold Grinager, Secretary; Andrew J. Vosler, Treasurer. Other members are: Mrs. Richard F. Leete, Fritz C. Heynen, Mrs. Norman Babcock, Theodore Malsin, Miss Edith Lehner, Mrs. George F. Douglass, Mrs. John Manthorp, John Hoxie, Dr. Amos T. Baker, Mrs. Hollister Marquardt, Mrs. Robert Day. One of the valuable assets of the library is the Union Catalog of which it is a member. This is a cooperative system by which all books in all member libraries of Westchester County are available to any individual in any community through application at the local library. A central office is maintained in Room 809, County Office Building, White Plains. Since the Briarcliff Community Center, Inc. has automatically gone out of existence, through ceasing to perform any of its functions, the latest step in library history was the granting, upon the Trustees' request, of a provisional Charter to Briarcliff Free Library Inc. on March 18, 1952, by the NewYork State Board of Regents.
BRIARCLIFF MANOR: CULTURAL Thoughtful observers probably would agree that American life is to be seen at its best, not in the great cities where millions of rootless rent payers dwell along countless miles of treeless streets, complete strangers to one another. Nor yet in the remote hamlets, cut off from access to the cultural riches of a metropolis. The good life flowers in the comfortable suburb, where people dwell, each family in its own home, breathing fresh air amid the greenery, living as part of a community in the fellowship of friends and neighbors, yet within easy contact with the world's greatest city's lavish offerings of great music, drama, art and education. Not smugly, but with quiet appreciation, we of Briarcliff Manor should realize what good fortune we have. It would be hard to find a community which provides a more favorable soil for the growth and nurture of those civilized activities and amenities which we sum up in the one word, "culture". From the beginning, the Village has cultivated and enjoyed the good life; has developed its churches, schools and homes to the highest standards. There are concrete, tangible institutions which make this evident but there is no real purpose served by an attempt to enumerate them all. The atmosphere of cultured living is pervasive and apparent. This, not a catalogue of buildings and organizations, is what matters. We are all aware of an active religious life that goes on among us; most of us participate in it, one way or another. The outward evidence of this is, of course, our five attractive and active Churches with their multiform societies and committees. Educationally, there is the Briarcliff Junior College, founded in 1905, chartered as a Junior College in 1935, and with its 220 students, one of the most excellent schools for girls in all the East. Newer, but rapidly gaining recognition, is the Edgewood Park School; likewise for young women, with 300 studying "Practical and Cultural Arts". The Scarborough School is an outstanding private institution for boys and girls, from the Nursery School through the High School years. It has amply proven its worth by the quality of its students in its 40 years of scholastic training.
But the foundation of education in America and the foundation of citizenship in this country, is the public school system. Briarcliff Manor from the first has maintained its public schools at the highest levels. From kindergarten through the high school, our village schools compare favorably with the best and have been a magnet to attract parents to the Village. "Reading maketh a full man," as Francis Bacon once remarked, and Briarcliff Manor is a reading community. There has been its Free Library since 1914, and through the years, largely through the devoted leadership of the librarians, has developed into the well-run, friendly, helpful place we know today. Speaking of books, Briarcliff Manorites do their full share in producing them. A list which is probably incomplete names forty-one authors of Briarcliff Manor residence; their total output has been 181 volumes. We have our Parent-Teacher Association, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, League of Women Voters and many more civic, social and cultural groups. Briarcliff Manor residents would be the last to claim to be unique in this respect; it is one of the glories of America that such voluntary association of good men and women to work unselfishly for the common good is commonplace among us. A village, like a person, possesses personality. Its name, in time, conveys a definite impression of individual character. Mention Putney, Vt., Marblehead, Mass; Lake Forest, Ill.; LaJolla, Calif.; Oyster Bay, L. I. - just the names evoke definite and widely varied pictures. So, to anyone whoever dwelt even for a short time among its tree-clad hills, must the name of Briarcliff Manor evoke a distinct impression - not of physical beauty alone, though of that we have abundance, but more important, of the things of the spirit.
PEOPLE Walter William Law…Behind every important industry there must be the moving force of some strong personality. Concerning Briarcliff Manor, that genius was Walter William Law. It is altogether fitting that we consider his life and summarize the development of the wonderful community with which his name is so closely associated. Mr. Law was born in Kidderminster, England, November 13, 1837, and there was educated. Part of that education was received in his father's office and he assisted him till he came to America. On January 22, 1860, the young man landed on our shore, so poor that he could not buy a new suit of clothes, but eager to get work. He secured employment in a rug and carpet business. This led, in the autumn of 1861, to his entering the firm of W. and J. Sloane, to whom he had letters of introduction from England and from whom he received a first salary of $350 a year. Hardly could he have foreseen the day when he would be a partner in that company. He continued with them for nearly 39 years from 1861 to 1898. The day came, in 1898, when Mr. Law retired from active business and devoted his time and attention to his farming and dairy interests in what was later called Briarcliff Manor. His first purchase of land here had been in 1890, some 232 acres, but he increased his holdings till at length they comprised over 5000 acres. His aim was thoroughness in whatever he did and it was soon evident that he would exhibit it by his dairy products and other interests in Briarcliff Farms later called Briarcliff Manor. One of his life-mottoes found expression here. "Nothing is good enough if it can be bettered." He was ever a worker and planner. Two honors prove it and must have gratified him greatly; one when Yale bestowed on him the degree of Master of Arts in 1892; the other when Andrew Carnegie styled him "The Laird of Briarcliff Manor". But there was another and higher gratification for him; and he declared it when once the Premier of Canada, who ardently desired to see the Briarcliff Farms, of which he had heard such high praise, set the time of his visit as 11 a.m. of a coming Sunday. Mr. Law's reply has been often quoted: "I already have an engagement every Sunday at 11 a.m." The Congregational Church, which he so heartily began and continued, was ever deeply engraved in his plans. Of it he said "My heart is here!"
Walter William Law
Much of Mr. Law's success was due to an ideal given him by his father. He was a young lad at the time, so the ideal guided him through all his life. It was a motto to which he gave a prominent place on the walls of Dalmeny, the boarding house for the employees on the Farm: "If a Cobbler by trade, I'll make it my pride The best of all Cobblers to be; And if only a Tinker, no Tinker in earth Shall mend an old Kettle like me." The founder of Briarcliff Manor died January 18, 1924, aged 86, and, with his wife, lies buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. "He rests from his labors, and his works do follow him." Mr. Law's sons carried on their father's interest in the development of Briarcliff Manor. The eldest, Walter William Law., Jr., was President of the Village from 1905 until 1918. Henry Herbert Law held the same high office from 1918 until his death in 1936. Citizens of Long-Time Service Village Clerk: William H. Coleman, 1902-21, - 19 years. Alfred H. Pearson, 1921-52, - 31 years. Assistant to Clerk and Village Treasurer: Miss Idamae Oakley, 1923-52, - 29 years. Village Treasurer: T. Everett Bishop, 1904-37, - 33 years. Fire Department: Fred C. Messinger, 1901-52, - 51 years; 15 years as Chief. Police Department: Allan O. Keator, 32 years total; partly as Chief. Floyd Bernard, Lieutenant, 1910-38, - 28 years. Arthur W. Johnson, 1926-52, - 26 years; 14 years as Chief. Raymond Wolf, 1926-52, - 26 years. Gilbert Johnson, 1929-52, - 23 years. Trustee: Isaac C. Hotaling, 1926-52 (retired), - 26 years. Norman C. Babcock, 1933-52, - 19 years. School Principal: George A. Todd, Jr., 1867-06, - 39 years. Otto E. Huddle, 1922-45, - 23 years. Clerk, Board of Education: Mrs. John N. Reed, 1919-46, - 27 years. Librarian; Mrs. Roscoe M. Hersey, 1928-52, - 24 years. Post Master: Charles H. Whitson, 1894-29, 35 years. Mrs. Lillian O'Connor, 1932-52, - 20 years. George O. Fountain (Scarborough), 1933-52, - 19 years. Post Office Staff: Mrs. Marion Waterbury, 1925-52, - 27 years. Mrs. Edna Wolf, 1928-52, - 24 years.
Engineering Consultant: Part and Full-time Engineer, Henry B. Valentine, 1902-48, - 46 years. Public Works: Patrick Manahan, 1908-40, - 32 years. Irving Manahan, 1927-52, - 25 years. Benjamin Addis, 1930-47, - 17 years. J. Henry Ingham, Village Trustee, 11 years; Mayor, two different period, 6 years. Total of - 17 years. Charles H. Schuman, 37 years to Village service, including 17 years as Trustee, 8 as Mayor, 12 as President Municipal Board. To each of them: "Well done, good and faithful servant". Some Scarborough Notables…Famous citizens have given dignity and significance to the Scarborough area. Mr. Frank Arthur Vanderlip (1864-1937) achieved prominence as an expert in finances, as banker and economist. Mr. Vanderlip was the Assistant-Treasurer of the United States for four years (18971901), financial advisor to the Government during World War I (1917-1918); President of The National City Bank of New York, and author of seven books dealing with finances and statecraft. One of his books is autobiographical, "From Farm Boy to Financier" (1935). Mr. Vanderlip was honored by degrees from four American Universities and also received decorations from four foreign governments. Thus Scarborough extends its influence internationally. (Information from "Who's Who") The Scarborough School is directly traceable to this family. The School folder states: "In 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Vanderlip established a country school for the boys and girls of the community. Their aim was to provide, through the use of sound educational concepts, and a rich, varied program of activities, an opportunity for the school children of the neighborhood to become balanced, wellrounded scholars". Of an earlier generation and chiefly of the military, mention should be given such patriot-warriors as Lieut. Col. Henry Bainbridge, notable in the Mexican War. He it was who went down with his ship and crew in the "Louisiana", in 1857. Another such was Commodore Matthew C. Perry, "Father of the Steam Navy and Opener of Japan," notable as well in the Mexican War. There was Captain Slidell-Mackenzie whose sense of discipline was such that he in 1842 did not hesitate to hang from the yard-arm of the ship, "Somers", for mutiny, the son of the Secretary of War, Spencer.
The Civil War owes Scarborough the persons of Major-General George Webb Morell, Commander of the Army of the Potomac; Major-General James B. Swain, body-guard of President Lincoln during war days, and another of the Civil War era, whose highway-historic marker informs the reader: "Birthplace of John L. Worden, 1818-1897, Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy. Commanded the "Monitor" against the "Merrimac", Hampton Roads, Virginia, March 9, 1862". Another notable resident of Scarborough was William H. Aspinwall. (1807-1875) whose interests in the Panama Canal project of 1850 gave his name to the port on its eastern end (changed to Colon later) and who was sent to England during the Civil War to prevent the building of Confederate ironclads. His name is memorialized in Scarborough's Aspinwall Road. Two Curious Characters…Most locations have their extraordinary residents; our locality has had two, The Leather Man and Matthias. THE LEATHER MAN. The complete story of this strange journeyman will never be known, but we do know certainly that he always dressed in pieces of leather sewed together with skill, and he always carried a leather bag. His route of travel covered 366 miles, from parts of Connecticut to the neighborhood of Briarcliff, and he always walked it, year after year, from the time of his first appearance in the 1860s, a familiar sight along his unchanged route for almost 30 years. Families along his way fed him, aware that he would arrive with an exactness of schedule almost to an hour. He did not speak, but grunts made known his simple needs. It is believed that his name was Jules Gouglay and that he came from France, but mystery surrounded his strange personality continually. For shelter he had discovered a series of caves along his trail. One of them, still extant, was on the property of Mr. George E. Dyke, Kitchawan Road. Another was on the George Dell Farm and in this one he died, March 24, 1889. His grave is in the Sparta Cemetery, just north of Scarborough. His leather pack is on exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford. MATTHIAS: MESSIAH OR MURDERER?
The place is "Zion's Hill" Scarborough; the time is 1833; the unique personality goes by the biblical name of Matthias, taken from Acts 1:26, which would at once ally him with the early Church and the first Apostles. More exactly, the place is a part of what came to be called "Beechwood", and his real name is Robert Matthews.
Let us take an observing look at him. He wears a green frock coat, a cone-shaped hat, and high topped boots with pantaloons tucked into them. He has longflowing hair, as biblical as Samson's, and a sword, "the sword of Gideon," be it made known. He is riding in nothing less than "the chariot of Israel", drawn by white horses, facsimiles of those in the book of those in the book of Revelation. Let us forget that his sword had "E Pluribus Unum" engraved upon its blade; but never forget that his voice was "the trumpet of truth" proclaiming doom to dissenters, and insisting that "females who lecture their husbands are full of all deviltry". His sleeping cap had twelve tassels, each inscribed with the name of an Apostle, and the golden key he exhibited proved that he could open the very gates of heaven. Who dared refute his claim to be the "Angel of the Revelation."? Let us take another look at him. He is in the Court room at White Plains two years later in 1835. During those two full years he had been the highly-honored Guest of two religious fanatics of Zion's Hill, Elijah Pierson and Benjamin Folger. All his expenses had been paid, all his meals had been of his own choosing, for did not their favored roof cover the very Messiah of whom "the forerunner Elijah" had New Testament sanction, so that Elijah Pierson considered himself to be John the Baptist! Why then is he being tried in a Court room? Speak up with your "voice of truth" Matthias. Did you poison Pierson when he stopped paying your bills? Is Messiah a Murderer? Speak up. Did you severely beat your daughter? Also, did you try to cheat Pierson and Folger out of their property in New York City? Only the brutal beating of his daughter could be proved beyond question, for which he received a short jail term. Then? Silence answers. No one knows his future, but supposedly he lost himself out West. What is not lost, however, is his reputation, his fame and his infamy. His life was given to the public in Harper's book, "Matthias and His Impostures, the Progress of Fanaticism," dated 1835, by William L. Stone. Other books have told and several magazines have spread "the extraordinary case of Robert Matthews and some of his disciples". Our State and County and Locality are certainly none the better for such religious fanaticism; but certainly an indelible interest has been imprinted.
PATRIOTIC BRIARCLIFF Briarcliff Manor Post Number 1054, Inc. American Legion…The Preamble of the Constitution reads: "For God and Country we associate ourselves together for the following purposes: To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain Law and Order; to foster and perpetuate a onehundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great Wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the Community, State and Nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and good-will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of Justice, Freedom and Democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness". With so high an ideal in our programs the Post has sponsored, by leadership and monies, the local Boy Scouts, beginning in 1946, and the Cubs, in 1947. The Post has sent a boy to the American Legion Boys' State every year, and made Citizenship Awards yearly to a High School Senior boy and girl. The Post feels that its main job in the community is to see the youth, our future leaders, receive all the help which we can give them in good citizenship. This organization began August 28, 1931 and received its Charter in August, 1932. The first Commander was James Hull. There were seventeen members at the beginning. Now there are fifty-two. Of thirty residents now in the Armed Forces, two of them are past Commanders, William Perry and Bruce Burns. One Veteran of the Korean conflict is in our Post at present. Officers are: Commander, Percy Knight, Jr.; Vice Commanders: Vincent J. DiGiacinto, George Jacobson, Peter Holtz. Finance, Harold A. Simpson. Adjutant, John A. DeAngelis. For God and Country…The Stars and Stripes fly from the flag pole in the Park, Patriotic parades are annual events. Special national gatherings assemble at the War Memorial Monument every May 30th, and crosses there honor those of our Community who have died for their country. The Scouts give the Pledge of Allegiance at every meeting. Our Churches advocate the use of force when Justice, Freedom and Honor are at stake. All these are summed up in one Patriotic phrase: For God and Country!
Briarcliff Manor has never lacked national zeal. The Daughters of the American Revolution has served in this way. The Red Cross has devoted many arduous hours, whether in peace or war, to this objective. The Briarcliff Manor Post, #1054, American Legion, centers in allegiance to the Constitution. Eight roads are named to memorialize Veteran casualties. This was "Neutral Ground" during Revolutionary days, but the war-event at the Washburn homestead (See article Old Houses) points to wartime suffering. The Mexican War and the Civil War were signalized by persons specified in the Scarborough history, though Scarborough was not then a part of Briarcliff Manor. The Spanish-American War, 1898, had no local enlistment; but it is made notable by the Memorial window in the Congregational Church with its inscription: "In Memory of the soldiers and sailors who died in the War with Spain, 1898". The upper section reads: "To undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free". (Isaiah 58:6) The window shows St. George overcoming the dragon. World War I (1917-1918) enlisted 91 from this Village. And World War II (1941-1945) enlisted approximately 340. We read with uncovered heads before the War Monument the names of casualties: World War I Howard Frame
Ernest Van Lu Van
World War II W. Sherman Burns, Jr. Arthur J. Quinn, Jr. Charles Henry Matthes Paul H. Hazleton George Thomas Fountain
Benjamin Carl Dunn John F. Schrade, III P. Meredith Hall, Jr. Paul B. Zuydhoek
The Korean War (1950-) enlistments (to June 15, 1952) are 30. Roads named after Veteran Casualties (by July, 1952) are: Hazleton Circle (In the "Crossroads" section) Lieutenant-Colonel Paul H. Hazleton, Army Air Forces, Killed August 1, 1943. Matthes Road ("Crossroads" section) 2nd Lieutenant Charles H. Matthes. Army Air Forces, Lost, North Sea, July 26, 1943. Schrade Road ("Crossroads" section) John F. Schrade, III. Seaman, First Class; Turret gunner. Killed by plane explosion, Creed's Airfield, Norfolk, Va., May 31, 1944. Frame Road (Long Hill section, near Tuttle Road) Private Howard Frame. Killed, World War I. -72-
Hall Road (Sleepy Hollow Development Corporation, Briarcliff Manor), Lieutenant Percy Meredith Hall, Jr., Marine Division. Killed May 22, 1944. Fountain Road (South of intersection of Pine Road and Dalmeny Road) Lieutenant George Thomas Fountain. Infantry Division. Killed at Aachen, Germany, September 17, 1944. Zuydhoek Road (Connects Maple and Oak Roads) First Lieutenant Paul B. Zuydhoek, Field Artillery. Killed in Germany, September 25, 1944. Quinn Road (East of intersection of Long Hill Road and Ridgecrest Road) Sergeant Arthur J. Quinn, Jr. Infantry. Killed in Germany, March 27, 1945. Taps has sounded; but its tones still vibrate and ever will. * * * * “America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.” * * * * Briarcliff Manor therefore stands at attention and salutes: For God and Country!
Honoring Our Dead at the War Memorial Monument
ORGANIZATIONS Briarcliff Community Center, Inc. (Commonly known as the Briarcliff Community Club) . . . This organization had a very marked influence upon the social, cultural and educational life of the Village in its first development. It was founded about 1910 by such residents as George Tuttle, first President, Henry Valentine, A. B. Tappen, Henry H. Law, Charles Schuman, Asa H. Geeding, and others of like desire for the welfare of Briarcliff Manor. Incorporation was effected June 8, 1921. The purpose was "to establish, maintain and operate a Community Centre in the Village of Briarcliff Manor; to hold and conduct lecture courses, maintain a public library, hold regular religious meetings, furnish a place for the meetings of literary and patriotic societies and for the mental and moral improvement of men and women". Its meeting place was in the former school building east of the railroad station and near Pleasantville Road. Its worth was evidenced by a library, gymnasium, athletic tournaments, brass band, game room, movies, public gatherings inside and tennis courts on the grounds. Membership was open to all dues paying residents. There are many still living who remember gratefully its singing parties, Christmas activities, lectures, tournaments, band, and community dances. Boy Scout troops met there for instruction and the newspaper was issued from its property. That paper was called "Community Notes, in the interests of the Community Club". It was later called "Community Club Bulletin, to help make Briarcliff a better place to live in". It ceased in 1928 when the Westchester Parkway Commission bought the land for what is now the local part of Route 9-A. Shortly afterwards the building burned down. There was a phoenix-like reappearance since, out of the proceeds from the adjustment of the fire loss, the following funds were voted: $11,000 for the Law Memorial Park swimming pool and tennis courts and $5,000 for the Free Library. The corporation's funds were finally disbursed in 1951 and the balance was turned over to the Library. Note: There is no connection between this organization and the present day Briarcliff Community Committee.
Briarcliff Community Committee. . . In 1939 representatives from ten Briarcliff organizations and churches formed the Briarcliff Community Christmas Cheer Fund to provide welfare relief for needy families of the Village. In 1941, the name of the committee was changed to the Briarcliff Community Committee in order to extend the committee's usefulness beyond the Christmas season. In 1952, the Committee has a representative from every school, church and organization of the Village and the lists now totals thirty-five. The purpose of the Committee as stated in the by-laws is "to promote the general welfare of the community". The Committee is unique in that its membership represents a complete crosssection of the Village. Many village activities are sponsored, contributions are made, and village affairs are discussed. Through the years the Committee has sponsored: Annual Community Carol Sing, Christmas outdoor decorating contest, Children's Halloween program, the Mobile X-Ray Unit, a wartime bulletin called Communiqué. Under discussion at present are a War Memorial, Community Chest, Historical Committee, and improved Recreational Facilities. This year a Community Calendar was inaugurated to avoid conflicting village events, a new Armed Forces list was compiled, a scholarship for the Briarcliff High School was sponsored for a child of United Nations personnel and many contributions were made. Funds to carry on the work of the Committee were first raised by holding an annual dance. Since 1944, a Variety Show consisting of competitive skits, produced annually by Village organizations has provided the funds for its activities. This show is an enjoyable local event as well as a financial success. Present officers are: Chairman, Mrs. George O. Fountain; Vice Chairman, Thomas Schuller; Treasurer, Theodore R. Malsin; Secretary, George H. Douglass. Briarcliff Branch of the American Red Cross. . . This Branch began in 1915, under the leadership of Mrs. Elsie Gilman Law, then called the Briarcliff War Auxiliary, and in 1916 named the Ossining, Briarcliff and Scarborough Branches, and an independent Branch in 1926. Mrs. William H. Coleman, Chairman of the newly-organized Briarcliff Branch, held that post till her retirement from active duty in 1943, when she was given the welldeserved title of Honorary Chairman for life. We have all seen her with a justifiable pride taking her place, in uniform, in Memorial Day Services.
The various activities are centered in the needs of the Armed Forces though not limited to this. Services are rendered in Blood Banks, Home Nursing, First Aid classes, Civil Defense-Disaster Unit, Veterans' Hospitals and Life Saving programs at the Village pool. The Junior Red Cross deserves special mention. Membership, as of March 1952, numbered 432 families, being 80% of the Briarcliff families and contributing more than $3,000 for the cause. Contrast this with the 1926 record of $500 collected. Faithfully through many years this local Branch has done its patriotic work, extending its efforts through the County when so required. Present Officers are, in addition to the regular Board of Directors; Chairman, Mrs. Ernest Leins, Jr.; 1st Vice Chairman, Mrs. Millard Prewitt; Second Vice Chairman, Mrs. Alexander M. Hunter; Secretary, Mrs. Richard K. Beebe; Treasurer, Mr. Charles H. Schuman. Scarborough Branch of the American Red Cross. . .Thirty-seven years ago this Branch was begun with fifteen members, meeting at first in homes of the members, later in the Church House of the Presbyterian Church. Its services are voluntary and comprise such needy Red Cross activities as assisting at Hospitals, Home Nursing, Civil Defense cooperation, Blood Bank assistance, preparation for First Aid, sewing and knitting for the Armed Forces and for disabled soldiers in Veterans' Hospitals. An event of note was when the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt, then at the Briarcliff Lodge, visited this Branch and personally thanked the workers for their aid to France during World War I. During its existence quotas have never failed to be reached. Five members have 35 year service pins. The present enrollment is 30 members. The first Chairman was Marion L. Dinwiddie. Present officers are: President, Mrs. Philip Shannon; Secretary, Mrs. Roland S. Homet; Treasurer, Mrs. John A. Riegel. Briarcliff Boy Scouts. . .Sponsored by the Briarcliff Manor Post, 1054, of the American Legion, and charted by the Washington Irving Council, Troop 18 and Cub Pack 118 represent the Boy Scouts of America in the Village. Records indicate that by 1919 an active Boy Scout troop was operating and the same year a Sea Scout unit was formed, the latter sailing the yawl "M.C. Perry" out of the Philipse Manor Yacht Club. Troop 18 has enrolled 57 boys during the 1951-52 season. The Boy Scout ideals are service and loyalty, leadership and character building, together with a knowledge of skills and a love for the great outdoors.
-76Some evidences of these motives were shown during World War I by the sale of Liberty Bonds, the rolling of trench candles and the collection of peach pits for making carbon for gas masks. Four local Senior Boy Scouts attended the Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pa., in 1950; and, in 1951, 22 boys were at the Boy Scout Adirondack Camps. The Eagle Award, highest scout honor, was attained by at least one boy during the last four years. Present officers are: Chairman Troop Committee, Robert D. Potter; Scoutmaster, Robert O'Keefe; Institutional Representative of the American Legion, on the Executive Committee of the Washington Irving Council, E. Reed Beal. Briarcliff Girl Scout Council. . .The first Girl Scout troop was organized in 1920, under the leadership of Mrs. Alfred Jones and Miss Louise Miller. By 1923 there were about forty girls in the troop, and a troop committee consisting of Mrs. Arthur Wilkins, Mrs. Arthur Wilde, Mrs. Fred Stafford, Mrs. Harry Finne, and Mrs. Alfred Jones. In 1929 a Brownie troop was started, and the National Council issued the first charter to Briarcliff Girl Scouts. Mrs. Edith Brockleman was the first commissioner under the new charter. Through the years Girl Scouting has seen steady growth. In 1952 there are five troops, including two Brownie troops, and two more will be added in the fall. Many women have given their time and effort to Girl Scouting, serving both as leaders and as Council members. The purpose of the Girl Scout organization, through program fields and cooperative effort among the many troops it sponsors, is to develop character and good citizenship. Membership in these troops is open to all girls of the community regardless of race, color or creed. The 1952-3 officers: Commissioner, Mrs. Paul Schuman; Deputy Commissioner, Mrs. John McGailey; Treasurer, Mrs. Edwin Marston, Secretary, Mrs. George Douglass. Cub Scouts. . . Under the sponsorship of the Briarcliff American Legion Post 1054 the local Cub Scouts were organized in February, 1947, by George O. Fountain, one of the members of the Post. He was the first Chairman, the meeting being held in the rooms of the Fire Department. The purpose of this organization is to teach the younger boys to have selfreliance, to build worthy character, to become good citizens of their community. With this objective originally twenty boys gathered in four dens; this has increased to the present 60 boys and ten dens. Present officers are: Chairman, Ernest Leins, Jr.; Secretary, A. B. Baker, Jr.; Treasurer, Gordon Darkenwald.
The Future Leaders of Briarcliff
The League of Women Voters of Briarcliff Manor…For some years before the League of Women Voters of Briarcliff Manor was organized as such, a group of Briarcliff women worked in the County League. In the “Citizens Forum,” published weekly in the village, an item in the issue of November 20, 1925, announces a series of lectures held in Ossining under County League sponsorship, and suggests that tickets may be secured from Mrs. E. C. Carter and Mrs. Sherman Dean. Also the Forum of July 30, 1926, tells us of a picnic of the County League at Mohansic Park. Attending from Briarcliff were Mesdames Stoney, Farnam, Thomas, Van Demark, Wallach, Duncombe, Robinson, Dean. Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt “urged that women look higher than getting out the vote, and further afield than being partisan, saying that big minded women could make a little job into a big one and leave an immortal record.” May 12, 1926, at the home of Mrs. W. J. Watson, the Briarcliff unit met to consider forming a local League. By early October it was well established with 35 members and a “pre-election meeting” was held October 21. The officers were: Chairman, Miss Margaret Parsons Secretary, Mrs. David Duncombe Treasurer, Mrs. N. K. Thompson
-78Particular attention is given to Village interests, planning and zoning, parking and traffic, recreation, school and the library. An address list of Village and School district families was compiled as of November, 1951. This is available to all local organizations. All residents are welcome to join. Officers are: President, Frank E. Church; Vice President, Warrington Byard; Secretary, William F. Mattes, Jr.; Treasurer, Lloyd Baggett. The Parent-Teacher Association. . .Briarcliff Parent-Teacher Association had its beginning in a group organized in 1914 by Mrs. Ida Wright, the Kindergarten teacher in the Briarcliff school, who organized a "Mothers Circle" to bring together mothers to discuss their common problems in raising their children. This organization continued until September 1925. In September 1925, under the presidency of Mrs. William Kossow, the ParentTeacher Association of Briarcliff received its charter as one of the first recognized Parent-Teacher Associations in the State. The aim of the Parent-Teacher Association can be generally stated as "To promote the welfare of the children". It now has in the neighborhood of 400 members. Its officers for the year 1952-53 are as follows: President………………………………………… Mr. Ralph F. Lewis First Vice President………………………………Mrs. Joseph C. Hanning Second Vice President……………………………Mrs. Fred W. Tisdell Corresponding Secretary………………………….Mrs. Richard Purdy Recording Secretary………………………………Mrs. E. H. Bakken Treasurer…………………………………………..Frank E. Church
THE RECREATION COMMITTEE
This Committee is appointed by the Village Trustees to advise and assist the Park and Recreation Commissioner in planning programs and recommending improvements calculated to meet the recreational needs of both children and adults. Its interests, which began in 1943 during World War II, when there was a special need for them, cover a wide scope and include supervised summer programs for children; also lessons in swimming, tennis, golf, archery and other games of skill. Movies, sings, square dances, arts and crafts are an important part of the program. Most of this activity takes place in the Law Memorial Park and adds much to its community value. With the acquisition of the present Recreation Building in 1945 suitable provision became possible in a pronounced manner for the activities of Boy and Girl Scouts, Cubs, Briar Patch and other organizations. This building is in constant use in these ways and indicates the hope for a larger and better-placed Recreation center some time in the future. The Village Board has already, in 1951, dedicated to park purposes two parcels of land, approximately 90 acres, separately located. A long-range development is in process along athletic, social and educational lines. With continued watchfulness, this Committee of interested residents assures the maintenance and continuance of impressive recreational facilities and programs. Recreation Commissioner, Robert C. Plumb. Advisory Board: William Bowers, Chairman; Mrs. Nicholas Marden, Mrs. Robert Potter, Miss Helen Probasco, Harry Addis, Charles Ghiazza, John Nicol, Rev. Richard K. Beebe, Rev. Robert Loftus.
PLANNING BOARD Established under the Village Law of the State of New York, the board is appointed by the Village Trustees. It consists of five members, two of whom must be officials of the Village. This same law defines its functions, powers and duties, under which the following objectives are obtained: To examine existing conditions and plan for future growth, protection and development; to take over the study of any changes in the official map and report such to the Trustees for their action; to condition the issuance of building permits by the adequacy of street improvement; to regulate the subdivision of land within the Village as authorized by the Trustees. This sets up the procedure which governs the approval of plats for such subdivisions. The Planning Board also possesses certain advisory functions, under the Board of Trustees, and, in its continuing study of the ever-changing conditions within the Village, concerns itself with the Building Zone Ordinance as to private property, and recommends possible changes in that Ordinance. It thus establishes working relationships with the Officials of the Village and other agencies affecting the development of Briarcliff Manor. It originated April 29, 1929. The present members of the Board are: Stanley W. MacKenzie, Chairman; Robert C. Plumb, Hollister W. Marquardt, Henry Letiecq, W. Philip Churchill. The Great Hall of Camp Edith Macy
CAMP EDITH MACY Girl Scout Training School
Strictly speaking, this part of the National Girl Scout organization is not in Briarcliff Manor, but is over the line on the Old Chappaqua Road, in the Town of Mt. Pleasant. Its influence has been so extensive, nationally and internationally, that it may well take its place in this history. And all the more so because it was established on land given by Briarcliff's distinguished citizen, V. Everit Macy, who founded it as a living memorial to his wife. Mr. V. Everit Macy's concern for the betterment of Westchester County stands out by his many years as Commissioner of County Welfare. Grasslands Hospital is largely the result of his activity and methods. But, beyond this achievement in good citizenship, he would be permanently remembered by his generous interest in Girl Scout training, this school is sufficient witness. Officially, its name is The Edith Macy Training School, operated by the Girl Scouts of the USA. As such it was organized in 1925, with approximately 25 adult students. Topographically, it covers 265 acres of woodland and meadows, hills and valleys; a variety of terrain which provides an abundant out-of-door course in natural history. Girl Scout leaders, observing in this wild life sanctuary, have listed 51 kinds of trees, 15 kinds of ferns, 87 bird species, and over 200 varieties of flowers. Educationally, the courses include G. S. administration, outdoor skills, arts and crafts with related field work, and that world friendship which was so ideally shown by the International G. S. Conference in 1926 when this School was host to the civilized world. More than 12,000 students have been trained since its first courses in 1926. They have come from all parts of the United States and 40 foreign countries. It is, therefore, easily discernible that "the purpose of this G. S. Training School is to educate adults in the techniques of democratic youth leadership". Camp Andree is adjacently situated, and is operated by the G. S. Council of Greater New York, Inc., though owned by the G. S. of the USA. This camp of 140 acres is busily used by approximately 1,000 girl scouts during the year. The lake, called Kinderaugen, was named for the laughing blue eyes of children.
BRIARCLIFF OUT-OF-DOORS NATURAL HISTORY
To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language." Assuredly Nature speaks a various language in our locality. We may hold communion with some of her visible forms hereabouts, based on an affectionate observation. Our territory is extensive enough, there being five and one-half square miles, an area which is equal to 3520 acres. It provides variety of elevation, from its lowest point at river level to the top of Edgewood Park School hill, 500 feet above sea level. Its topography is as diversified as meadows and hills, wet marches and dry places, steam beds and long slopes. We may "lift up our eyes unto the hills". We can find "treasure hidden in the field". Some Boy Scout, earning his merit badges, may ask about wild animals. It is nothing unusual to see woodchucks, gray and red squirrels, turtles, chipmunks, and snakes. We detect the presence of the "wood-pussy," perhaps too often. The raccoon is not a rare animal here, including that jack-in-the-box who makes his home in the water pipe at the corner of Morningside Drive. The red fox comes near our roadways and the opossum a night prowler, is seen daytimes. Wild deer are visible from home windows at times, and sometimes by dozens in the fields. Is it some Girl Scout, intent on her "bird-finding" merit, who asks about our ornithology? The writer has listed 105 species; Jackson Road alone has yielded 45, and 36 have been seen on the abandoned railway tracks to the south. Camp Edith Macy has checked 87 kinds of birds with 34 of them nesting there. The Park pool has its ducks, occasionally a heron, once a swan. A Scout Brownie asks about the local wild flowers. 200 varieties and 15 of ferns is the answer of Camp Edith Macy. Every Brownie finds delight in the annual "Flower Show" and the "Country Fair" in the Village. Allied with flowers are the moths and butterflies; night-flying moths, large and beautiful; daytime butterflies, many and also beautiful.
Now it is the Cub Scout's turn. He asks about trees. Known are 77 kinds, and add to that 20 shrubs. How many of our streets have tree names? Are there twelve? What was the early name of the hill where the Edgewood Park School stands today? Might it be "Hickory Nut Hill?" How many kinds of nut trees have we? Four, is it? How did the mulberry trees get here, and why? Was ink once brewed from the briar bush? Colonial days, perhaps? Some geology fan is asking about our rocks. A high-grade limestone (Dolomite) and a low-grade granite are abundant, Gneiss and mica schist are everywhere, mongrel sorts of rocks, much used for building. Not far from Scarborough copper and silver were once mined; long ago abandoned. You know about those large boulders, and our hillsides with their many smooth stones; and explain both by the action of the Ice Age glacier deposits, thousands of years ago. As for water, Briarcliff Manor has as pure water as is found anywhere. Even in times of drought we never fail to have plenty, thanks to the deep fullflowing wells, some 260 ft. under ground. Table water was once sold from our deep wells; "no medical theory about it, just Purity and Safety," said the advertisement. Water suggests fish, especially to those why try to lure the beautiful blue-gill, the perplexing pickerel or perch, the capacious catfish, the beckoning bass, the elusive eel, and the tantalizing trout. How common are these? Just ask the veracious fisherman about the voracious fish! Then there is the out-of-doors species of the human race who enjoys long walks over the greensward, a wooden stick in his hand and a rubberized ball which he caresses affectionately. Yes, the golfer is here, joyfully arm-in-arm with Mother Nature. But if he put the same energy into the vacuum cleaner with its just-natural dust, or into cutting down the old dead stump in his front yard, he would fall exhausted, doomed to weariness by another law of dear old Nature. Briarcliff Lodge had its golf links with nine holes. Some of you have played them. You remember also The Briarcliff Country Club, of 1922, its name changed to that of The Briar Hills Golf Club in 1927 and continued today as The Briar Hall Golf and Country Club, Inc., with 150 acres and 18 holes. It listed 200 members on its 25th birthday.
Snapshot taken on Sleepy Hollow Road At Pocatico Lake
On Old Chappaqua Road
The oldest by far is the Sleepy Hollow Country Club. The Club house was one of the most palatial in America, the residence of Elliott F. Shepard and costing over two million dollars. It was formally opened as the Club in May, 1911, has two golf courses on 125 acres, and, for those who enjoy that sport, there is a stable of riding horses. Parents are ready with their question: What has Briarcliff's out-of-doors provided for our children? The answer is spread large and long round about them. There is the Law Memorial Park with its swimming pool, its tennis courts, its putting green, its wide-spreading trees and its nearby High School athletic field. There are the two newest parks, in process of development with nature trails, picnic grounds, plenty of out-of-doors health in pure air and interesting hikes. They will be like some "Wild Life Sanctuary". If your young people like hikes in the open, try that path beyond Tuttle Road, through the meadows and old apple orchard, towards the Pocantico Lakes; or tread that woodsy section east of Pleasantville Road, hours of it, up hill and down dale to your foot's content; or follow the Old Chappaqua Road where it leads you with natural scenery every step of the way. There is a question everyone wants answered: What is the effect of all this out-of-door's nature on our inward nature? Does this local nature affect our locality super-naturally? Is it true that there are those who "feel that to pass by any manifestations of beauty in nature is like neglecting to show courtesy to a human being?" Do not our sloping hills elevate our spirits? Does Pocantico river with its three tributaries refresh our minds and purify our thoughts? What tree fails to beckon us upwards? Do not birds of grace and beauty wing their way into our characters? To all these queries is your answer, "Yes!" Then you know the everlasting meaning of that verse, "Speak to the earth and it will teach thee!" "And this our life—finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything!" From "As You Like It" and it is As We Like It! The Briarcliff Rose. . .This very popular and very commercially profitable rose is a sport from the Columbia. The "child" has greatly outranked the parent plant, in beauty, in popularity and in sales value. It was first grown, about 1926, in the Pierson greenhouse, on Pine Road, near Dalmeny Road, in Briarcliff Manor. This greenhouse has since been taken down. This rose, which is now grown all over the United States, is considered among the best pink roses to be grown in greenhouses. -86-
THE FUTURE BRIARCLIFF MANOR: A VISION A man saw a vision of a community. He planted thousands of trees, built roads, constructed new homes, built a church, gave land for a new school and a village park, built a hotel and a girls' college, and developed a grade "A" farm. During all of this time his watchword was, "Only the best is good enough for Briarcliff". On his seventieth birthday, Walter William Law, the giver and founder of Briarcliff Manor, said to the people, "I have a strong conviction that with the Golden Rule always in the ascendant, Briarcliff will go on to increase in numbers and in moral power; with each member as one of a happy family, filled with charity and thoughtful consideration for his neighbors, and, above all, having the blessing of the Lord; a veritable Garden of Eden where God Himself will love to dwell". With that foundation laid for us, today, after fifty years, we may ask, "Have we followed that vision? Have we kept faith with that purpose?" As of now, young and old, newcomers and long-time residents, all who believe in and strive for a good community should be inquiring of themselves, "Do I want Briarcliff to grow in a planned and orderly manner? Am I ready and willing to support and work for this long-time Best for my village? How best can I employ my thinking and the work of my hands to continue a community family as visioned by the founder?". No thought or action of any human being can prevent Briarcliff Manor from growing. Home-seekers will continue to purchase reasonably-priced Briarcliff land on which to build houses and make their homes. These homes will be of the Best character provided there are suitable and sufficient community facilities to meet their home-keeping needs. Briarcliff is most fortunate in already possessing many of the requirements. Delayed building activities here resulted in a feeling of community complacency on the part of many residents who preferred to have the Village remain quiet, unhurried, not expandable. Any such wish has been challenged during the last three years as homes have sprung up in every part of the Village. This will require the adjustment and expansion of many municipal services which, through far-sighted and courageous planning and building, have sufficed these many years of no capital outlay. -87-
Let us consider some outstanding imperative needs. One such is the provision for an adequate shopping area with convenient and safe parking. Every passing day makes the need more urgent and the available land and facilities more costly. Another need is a "Home" for the Briarcliff Library in a convenient, central location, free from traffic hazards and where the precious volumes will be safe from loss by fire or other damage. Dream about it! Talk about it! Work for its future. The securing of suitable land on which to locate a future Briarcliff Municipal and Community Building must not be overlooked. The village offices have already spread into several buildings, and the needs have out-grown the present space. Such a building could house the village offices, provide for the Police court room and lock up, allow additional recreation facilities and possibly include the Library. The Law Memorial Park lacks a public marker of some kind to indicate In Whose Honor this Park is so named. How soon and in what manner will this omission be remedied? An appropriate War Memorial is often contemplated and could take one of many forms of structure or self-sustaining endowment. Hold up your ten fingers and count on them your choices of Community improvements. Then, think of them as the ones you would back with your whole soul and some of your hard-earned dollars. The best way, for the really concerned, to guard and guide the destiny of their Community is to know the whole truth as to the needs as they arise and are presented. The Village authorities and the several Village organizations are constantly studying and planning for tomorrow. Let us all keep in step with them in their thinking, and keep in tune with them when important community projects are being considered and approved. Briarcliff had its one great benefactor. This great advantage will never be repeated. The "Good Enough" for the Briarcliff of tomorrow will be as good and as permanent as the vision and high purpose of the many who are willing and ready to stand up and be counted when community progress is at stake. So, right now! At this dawn of a new half century! Ask yourself this question: "Briarcliff! What has it already done for me? What will it continue to do for me?" And then spontaneously and joyfully amend that question to: "Briarcliff! What will it do through me". -88-