(The following releases were sent to the media in the period between October 2013 and December 2014.)
Eastchester History Book to Be Launched December 11 at Concordia College
Dec. 3, 2014: Eastchester’s 350th anniversary celebration will culminate with the December publication of Out of the Wilderness: The Emergence of Eastchester, Tuckahoe & Bronxville, NY, 1664-2014, the first-ever book on the history of the town and its two villages.
Concordia College will host a book launch and panel discussion on December 11 at 7:00 pm at its Sommer Center for Worship and the Performing Arts.
Sponsored jointly by Concordia’s Books & Coffee lecture series and Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc., the panel discussion will feature several of the book’s authors and include a reception with book sales and signing following their presentation.
Out of the Wilderness: The Emergence of Eastchester, Tuckahoe & Bronxville, NY, 1664-2014, is a 340-page full-color hardcover history of the town and its villages. The book has generated rave reviews: Katie Hite of the Westchester County Historical Society called it “a monumental achievement,” and historian Patrick Raftery praised its “meticulous research, lively text, and beautiful illustrations.” Pelham historian Blake Bell proclaimed the book a “magnificent, entertaining, carefully crafted, lovingly detailed, and richly illustrated record with more than 300 images, most in color, of 350 years of history.”
The book combines the style and appeal of a coffee table book with solid, documented historical research and reference information, according to Bronxville Village historian Eloise Morgan. “It is something everyone in the town and villages will treasure,” said Richard Forliano, Eastchester town historian.
The book’s fifteen contributing authors and the Eastchester, Tuckahoe, and Bronxville topics they address include Regina Baio–the 1665 Eastchester civil covenant; Harry Dunkak–the 1733 election; Joseph Esposito–350 years of population change; Richard Forliano–early 20th-century population and ethnic changes; Edna Gabler–Revolutionary War life in the Neutral Ground; and Clare Gorman and Jeff Zuckerman–memorable early 20th-century athletes; Lissa Halen–the Bronx and Hutchinson rivers and parkways; Marilynn Hill–the practice of slavery into the early 19th century; Claudia Keenan–20th-century growth of three separate school systems; Janet Lentz–the Great Depression and the New Deal; Eloise Morgan–the community’s changing borders and municipal structures; David Osborn–the Civil War from Eastchester’s perspective; James Pecchoni–the town’s lakes; and George Pietarinen–Anne Hutchinson’s life on the land that later became Eastchester.
Concordia president Viji George said, “We eagerly anticipate the publication of Out of the Wilderness and look forward to celebrating this grand finale anniversary event with the Eastchester community on December 11 in Sommer Center.”
Out of the Wilderness will sell for $50. No reservations are required for this free program. For further information, please contact Linda Laird at 914-771-3351.
Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary History Book Has Arrived
Looking for the ideal holiday gift? The perfect present – one that no one already has – just became available. Out of the Wilderness: The Emergence of Eastchester, Tuckahoe & Bronxville, NY, 1664 – 2014 is now on sale at Womrath Bookshop in Bronxville, Cornell’s True Value Hardware in Eastchester, Eastchester Town Hall and Bronxville and Tuckahoe village halls. It also can be ordered online at www.eastchester350.org.
Published by Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc., this coffee table style book is the first-ever hardcover history of the town and its villages. “It is a monumental achievement” with “meticulous research, lively text and beautiful illustrations,” said Katie Hite and Patrick Raftery of the Westchester County Historical Society.
Out of the Wilderness is “magnificent,” said Pelham historian Blake Bell, who described it as an “entertaining, carefully-crafted, lovingly-detailed, and richly illustrated record” of 350 years of history. The book has something for everyone, Bell noted. “For some, it will be a handsome, lavish and cherished coffee table book to be thumbed through and marveled at for many years. For others, like me, it will be an important tool that furthers the understanding of our shared local history and the contexts within which that history has evolved.”
The new publication is luxuriously illustrated with more than 300 images, most in color, and sells for only $50. It traces history from Eastchester’s original 1664 settlement on the site of Anne Hutchinson’s massacre through its transformation into the densely populated residential suburb of today, explained local municipal historians Eloise L. Morgan and Richard Forliano, who planned and organized the book.
Out of the Wilderness details Eastchester’s 1665 civil covenant that governed town life in the 17th century, a 1773 Eastchester election documented by John Peter Zinger, Eastchester’s devastation in the Neutral Ground of the Revolution, the town’s posture during the Civil War, its acceptance and practice of African-American slavery well into the 1800s, the 19th century transformation of farmland to suburbia flanked by two rivers, and the political and social forces that reduced Eastchester (through the loss of Mount Vernon and the northeast Bronx) to less than half its original size. The early 20th century, with its population explosion, changing demographics, expanding public schools, outstanding athletes and the Great Depression, is also featured.
Those who pre-ordered the book have received pickup information directly from the 350th anniversary committee or may contact Linda Laird at 771-3351 for instructions.
TUCKAHOE MARBLE LECTURE SCHEDULED
FOR OCTOBER 7, 2014
The Eastchester 350th Anniversary Committee and the OSilas Gallery are sponsoring a talk on Tuckahoe Marble Legacies and Landmarks by Robert Riggs and Marilynn Hill at the OSilas Gallery, Concordia College, on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
The speakers will use the Tuckahoe marble theme of a section of the exhibition, which is celebrating 350 years since the establishment of the Town of Eastchester, to describe the rise of the marble industry since the discovery in 1822 of white marble in an area known as Tuckahoe and since largely incorporated in the Village of Tuckahoe. They will provide biographical accounts of Alexander Masterton and other founders of the industry, the areas in Eastchester where marble was quarried and the ways it was cut, dressed and transported in the first half of the 19th Century to Manhattan and elsewhere along the Atlantic seaboard. They will illustrate the remarkable survival of white marble buildings, monuments, works of art and artifacts that endure well over 100 years following their creation. Many of the buildings are nationally or locally designated as landmarks and one façade and a Corinthian capital are featured elements of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The talk will be held within the gallery walls that are hung with over 40 photographs that picture the marble as it survives today and in some cases as its images were reproduced in lithographs, photographs and painting more than 100 years ago. The current photographs are in color and in nearly all cases were taken by Larry Lee, whose photographic work has been on display at the Bronxville public library and elsewhere. The exhibit was the idea of Mr. Riggs and Mrs. Hill authored some and edited all of the comprehensive captions for the photographs and other items in the exhibit.
The gallery will be open for those attending the lecture from 6:30 to 8:30. The event is free of charge and reservations are not required.
OSilas Gallery at Concordia College
171 White Plains Road
Bronxville, N.Y. 10708
Final Opportunity to Purchase Eastchester 350th’s Hardcover Book at Pre-Sale Special Price
In the lifetime of most Eastchester residents, this year will be the only opportunity to purchase the first ever well-researched and richly illustrated hardcover book that focuses specifically on the town’s rich history. But, purchasing Out of the Wilderness: The Emergence of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville, NY, 1664 – 2014 at its pre-sale price of $35 per copy is limited to ordering it by July 15! After that date, the regular price of $50 per book will prevail.
Orders can be placed easily online HERE using PayPal, by downloading a printable order form or by completing the response form on the brochure mailed to every household. The brochures are also available at Town Hall, Bronxville and Tuckahoe Village Halls and the public libraries.
This coffee table style book will take the reader on an historical journey of the remarkable community we know as Eastchester. With the use of extensive color and black and white images, vivid old and new maps and custom graphics with well-documented accounts, Out of the Wilderness promises new perspectives on the town and its two villages of Tuckahoe and Bronxville.
Some of the topics covered include: the importance to the country of the prized 1665 Covenant that governed the town’s first settlers; the horror of life here in the Neutral Zone during the Revolutionary War; the impact of the Civil War; the significance of the two river borders and their parkways; the story of iconic dissenter Anne Hutchinson; and, the importance of early 20th Century sports and athletics. Important new research underscores the chapter on slavery and the African-American life in Eastchester before 1900. And, how the town grew with the advent of the railroad lines and survived the Great Depression will surely resonate with long-time residents.
By ordering this special volume at $35 per copy before July 15, the purchaser saves 30%! This is a limited time only offer. And, the book itself is a “once-in-a-lifetime” treat!
Eastchester’s 350th Official Birthday Celebration
When Thomas Pell deeded the land to Eastchester’s original settlers on June 24, 1664, he could never have envisioned the celebration of this event that would follow 350 years later!
From a Community Festival on June 21 to an official commemorative Town Board Meeting on June 24 to trolley tours on June 29, Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville residents will enjoy an array of activities to mark the historic occasion.
The Community Festival at Lake Isle Country on June 21 will kick off with a Shotgun Golf Outing that requires advance registration. All details about this tourney — its format, entry fee and terrific prizes — may be found at eastchester350.org, the official website of Eastchester’s 350th.
There will be an Open House of the Lake Isle’s pools from noon to 6pm. A Family Picnic will be held on the Club’s Driving Range from 1 – 8 pm. All are encouraged to bring their own beach chairs, blankets and picnic baskets. A barbecue lunch from 1 – 4 pm will be catered by Mulino’s at Lake Isle. It will feature hot dogs, hamburgers, water and soda with wristbands sold for $3.50 that day.
Live entertainment will be offered non-stop on the Driving Range from 1 – 8 pm, featuring Ali Isabella, a Bronxville hometown headliner!
From 1 – 3 pm, it will be the Bookends Band; 3 – 4 pm, Jonathan Kruk, master story teller, performing in historic dress with tales specific to Eastchester’s history; from 4:30 – 6:00 pm, Ms. Isabella; and, from 6:30 – 7:30pm, the Teri Lamar Band. Chris Vernia/Double Image Sound DJs will play a variety of music in between performances
Other fun activities on the Driving Range include face painters and balloon makers from 1 -3 pm; the 2nd New York Regiment Brigade of the American Revolution, re-enacting camp demonstration, marching and drilling and musket firings from 1 – 4 pm; and the all-important Pony Rides from 1:30 – 4:30 pm.
A Tennis Exhibition will round out the Lake Isle activities from 2 – 3 pm at the Sportime Tennis Facility.
Thanks to its sponsors, the Community Festival is offered FREE of charge to all residents of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville. Wells Fargo Bank’s Eastchester Office at 375 White Plains Road serves as the Lead Sponsor of this Community Festival.
A Special Town Board Meeting on June 24, with no official business, will be held at Town Hall at 8 pm. The Board moved its second meeting in the month of June to this date so that the official anniversary of the town’s founding could be commemorated and the public would have an opportunity to offer their thoughts on this occasion.
The special June celebrations will end with Trolley Tours on June 29. Commencing from Town Hall on that Sunday at 10 am and 2 pm, the “trolley” buses will take residents and friends throughout the three communities to enjoy the historic sites. The latter will be presented with commentary from the Town Historian and members of the Eastchester Historical Society. This event is limited to ticket holders. Check eastchester350.org for details regarding their purchase at $22 each; reservations are almost closed.
Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary set to Swing
at Siwanoy Gala
There’s only a few more days to reserve your place at the party of the year — the Gala Celebrating Eastchester’s 350th Birthday at historic and picturesque Siwanoy Country Club on May 30, 7-11 pm. All residents of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville have been invited!
Sponsored by Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate, the event will combine celebration with historical exhibits. In addition to the cocktail reception with generous hors d’oeuvres, there will be pasta, steak and turkey carving stations and desserts galore! The evening will feature a string quartet ensemble, followed by the swinging sounds of Vanessa Raci. A professional singer and performer; Vanessa Raci specializes in jazz and blues standards. Her sound mixes classic jazz styling with R&B influence for truly unique song interpretations.
As Councilman Joe Dooley remarked, “Vanessa Raci’s versatility and Siwanoy County Club’s culinary excellence promises a party befitting the Town’s 350th birthday.”
Displays from the Eastchester 350th educational program, a history of the town’s golf courses and a replica of the Eastchester Covenant will be showcased. The Covenant’s reproduction and explanatory brochure are sponsored by the Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe, Inc.
The ticket price of $95 per person includes all of the above, plus two drinks. But, all reservations and payments for tickets must be received by May 23, 2014. Absolutely no tickets will be sold at the door.
You may reserve through Pay Pal or by sending your check payable to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc., 40 Mill Road, Eastchester, NY 10709.
Residents Await Invitation to 350th Celebratory Events
and Book Brochure
Within the next week, every household in town should receive a complete packet via bulk mail announcing the Eastchester 350th Anniversary’s spring activities. Included are an invitation to a Gala at Siwanoy Country Club on May 30, to a Community Festival Day at Lake Isle on June 21 and to trolley tours on June 29 for a living history experience of the town.
A pre-publication brochure is also enclosed in this mailing for Out of the Wilderness: The Emergence of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville, 1664-2014, the first-ever hardbound history of Eastchester that will be available in the fall; it can be purchased before July 15 at a special introductory price of $35 per copy.
All of these opportunities for participating in the celebration are also detailed on www.eastchester350.org, the official website of the anniversary.
When the Events Committee first met, members were keenly aware of their mission: to ensure that the 350th Anniversary Celebration in Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville would match every age and interest group with appropriate entertainment — and, not lose sight of the town’s commemoration of its history.
“Eastchester 350th Anniversary’s Steering Committee is so pleased by the participation this early spring of all the town schools — public and parochial — their students and their parents — in the educational program to recall Eastchester’s first 350 years. In that same spirit of town unity, we now offer our adults, seniors and families great opportunities to have some fun together, while celebrating our history,” said Councilman Joe Dooley, chairman of the Events Committee.
The Gala at Siwanoy on May 30, 7 – 11 pm, will be a cocktail reception with plentiful good food and live entertainment. A string quartet will launch the evening, to be followed by a jazz singer and band. Valet parking will be available. Displays from the Eastchester 350th educational program, a history of the town’s four golf courses and a replica of the Eastchester Covenant will be showcased. The ticket price of $95 per person includes all of the above, plus two drinks. A not-to-be-missed party, reservations will be on a first-come, first served basis either using the reply form in the mailing or via PayPal on the website. This will be a ticketed event with no tickets sold at the door.
On June 21, the Community Festival and Golf Outing at Lake Isle Country Club will offer a full-day of fun and relaxation with friends and family. An 8 am shotgun golf outing (reserve/pay in advance) will be followed by family-focused activities; such as pony rides, tennis exhibition, open house at the pool from noon to 6pm and live music and performances from 1-7 pm. Everyone is also encouraged to pack a good, old-fashioned picnic basket, bring their favorite beach chairs and blankets and enjoy the day! The Community Festival is free of charge to residents of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville residents; however, a new snack bar will be open for business for those wishing to purchase a light meal or snack.
As the town focus on its local history continues in June, the official birthday date of June 24 will be remembered in a special official ceremony. Living history tours can also be taken on Sunday, June 29, via special trolleys engaged for the day. This event is open to all and tickets are $22 per person, payable in advance.
“Mark your calendars now. The fun is just beginning!” said Dooley.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award
Presented to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc.
While it may “take a village” to raise a child, it has taken a “town of volunteers” to celebrate its own history! On March 27th, at the Eastchester Rotary’s 50th Anniversary event, the President’s Volunteer Service Award was presented by Rotary President Dr. Joseph Comizio to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc. and its many volunteers who are working on the special commemorative celebration.
Initiated by President George W. Bush and continued by President Barack Obama, this honor recognizes volunteer groups who are nominated by other organizations, such as the Rotary, and who have provided a minimum of 1,000 hours of service to their enterprise. The award program is administered by the Corporation for National & Community Service and recognizes and expresses appreciation for the “commitment to strengthening our Nation and for making a difference through volunteer service.”
“Clearly our steering committe members, team of authors, supporters of the educational program and fall exhibit and many volunteers planning the festive celebrations this spring deserve this recognition,” stated Town Clerk Linda (Doherty) Laird, Co-Chair of Eastchester’s 350th. “Their selfless contribution of their own time over a period of many months has inspired the community! We are grateful to the Eastchester Rotary for placing our name in nomination with the White House and are inspired by the other groups in town who were similarly honored last week.”
For more information about Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary, the planned community events and how to volunteer service, residents are encouraged to check www.eastchester350.org, the official website of the celebration.
Banners Unfurled Over Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville As Entire Town Celebrates Its 350th Year!
Spring is in the air and festive times are coming! Eastchester at 350 banners, incorporating burgundy silkscreen fabric with rich cream lettering, are being installed in the business districts of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville. These double-sided fabric signs proudly announce the town’s 350th birthday year to all and demonstrate the community’s unity.
“This was a totally cooperative effort to support the anniversary celebration,” said Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita. “Although the town has provided the approximate 100 banners, they were designed, ordered and installed in consultation with the Eastchester Beautification Foundation, the Town Highway Department, the Department of Public Works in Tuckahoe and the Bronxville Chamber of Commerce.”
Supervisor Colavita noted the importance of 2014 to all town residents and expressed his appreciation to the Eastchester Beautification Foundation, especially Judy Blau and Maura McMahon, for coordinating this project. He encouraged all residents to take pride in Eastchester’s rich history and to participate in the upcoming programs planned for the anniversary year by consulting the official website found at www.eastchester 350.org.
Lecture to Chronicle the Life of Alexander Masterton, Eastchester’s 19th Century Marble Entrepreneur
To commemorate Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary, the choice for the lecture’s topic was easy — the unique life of Alexander Masterton!
On April 3, at 7:00 pm, at historic St. Paul’s Church in Mt. Vernon, Bronxville historian Dr. Marilynn Wood Hill and lifelong resident Robert Riggs will review Masterton’s place in the town’s history and they will do so in the very church building adjacent to his burial site. This lecture is free and open to all members of the public.
Dr. Hill and Mr. Riggs were co-founders of the Bronxville Historical Conservancy immediately after the 1998 Bronxville Centennial, which they also co-chaired. Although they’ve earned emeritus status for their years of work on behalf of the Conservancy, both continue to share their scholarship and organizational talents to support the study of history within the town. Dr. Hill serves as editor of The Bronxville Journal and has contributed many well-researched articles. Mr. Riggs is the current co-Chairman of Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary, Inc., a program sponsoring multiple activities throughout 2014 that demonstrate the town’s pride in its past.
“I can think of no more qualified speakers to present the life story of Alexander Masterton than Marilynn Hill and Bob Riggs,” said Patty Dohrenwend, former Eastchester Town Clerk and member of Eastchester 350th’s Steering Committee. “Each has researched this particular subject for years and pursued all leads that would reveal information of interest to local history lovers. Their talk should be a real treat!”
Masterton, a Scottish immigrant, mason and master stone-cutting craftsman, parlayed his knowledge of stone and his business skills to become the baron of the 19th century Tuckahoe marble quarries in Eastchester. He lived and raised his family in a still-existing, Greek revival home he built on White Plains Rd. in Bronxville. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house was home to his descendants for more than a century. Given his business, his home life and the work of his relatives, Masterton’s footprint is found throughout Eastchester.
Marble from Masterton’s enterprises was shipped into New York City and Brooklyn and throughout the country from Maine to Louisiana for major structures being erected in the new nation, earning him the distinction of holding one of the largest federal contracts in 1835. In addition to the financial rewards that the marble industry brought to Masterton and the town, it would draw immigrants primarily from Ireland and Italy to settle and work in the stone quarries. To this day, descendants of these two ethnic groups in Eastchester celebrate their rich heritage with churches, social clubs, parades and festivals.
Historic St. Paul’s Church, the venue for the lecture, is located at 897 So. Columbus Avenue in Mt. Vernon, which was once part of the town of Eastchester. Because of the age and originality of the church building (constructed between 1763-88), the fact that its burial yard is one of the oldest continuously used cemeteries in the country and its connection to the historic colonial election of 1733, St. Paul’s is a national historic site, administered by the National Park Service.
Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary Steering Committee is co-sponsoring this lecture with St. Paul’s National Historic Site to draw attention to Alexander Masterton’s place in the town’s roster of renowned citizens and also to encourage residents to familiarize themselves with St. Paul’s, one of Westchester County’s — and indeed the nation’s — historic gems.
For directions to St. Paul’s and more information, please consult the website: www.nps.gov/sapa/planyourvisit/events.htm
Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville Students Share History Projects
After almost two years of planning, the educational program for the Town of Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary will commence this month. In celebration of the Town’s rich history, students in public and parochial elementary, middle and high schools have worked on projects that highlight local history and the rich cultural legacy of the community.
The first public event will be held on Wednesday, March 26, in the Eastchester Middle School Cafeteria with a presentation of exhibits and digital media projects commemorating different aspects of the community’s history. Then, on April 3, fine arts creations and films will be displayed in the Bronxville School’s All-Purpose Room. Finally, the performing arts productions will be showcased on April 25, at 7 pm, in the Tuckahoe High School Auditorium. Residents are invited to attend all of these presentations.
As Town Historian Richard Forliano, a former teacher in the Eastchester Middle School, expressed, “From the very first planning meetings for the Town’s 350th Birthday, the Steering Committee placed the highest priority on having an educational program that would engage our students of all ages. Each of the three public school districts embraced the idea and several of the parochial schools joined in. With a most generous contribution, the Bronxville Historical Conservancy became the exclusive sponsor of these educational endeavors. In addition, refreshments for the public event on March 26 will be provided by the Eastchester Parent Teacher Associations, the Eastchester School Foundation and the Eastchester Eagles Sports Club. Now we will all have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of the students’ labors!”
Six types of projects were developed by the school district liaisons working with Forliano and the classroom teachers — the five mentioned above (exhibits, digital media, fine arts creations, films and performance arts), as well as well-researched essays that will be due and published next fall.
In the fall of 2013, a website of source materials was launched by the Steering Committee at www.eastchester350.org. This tool provides students and teachers with enough background information to select particular subjects and create their own individual and group projects, all in alignment with curriculum standards. Each school determined its own students’ level of involvement.
For students who participate in the project, there is the opportunity for direct engagement in history. When long time Eastchester resident Bob Everett visited the 4th grade classes of Nelva Lagerwey and Dianne Carter at the Anne Hutchinson School, he was greeted enthusiastically by students who eagerly peppered him with questions about life in Eastchester when he was growing up. Lagerwey said, “He is an original document. The children have learned how we can use a primary source to learn about the past. This has been an invaluable lesson.”
Pictured at a planning meeting in fall 2013, is Town Historian Richard Forliano (middle), surrounded by educators from the various public and parochial schools and members of the parents’ volunteer group.
Eastchester’s History On Parade
as the 350th Anniversary Year Unfolds
On February 10, Eastchester Town Historian Richard Forliano led a room full of Bronxville Rotarians back to a history lesson in time. A former social studies teacher in the Eastchester
Public Schools, Forliano presented the 350 years of the town’s history in an encapsulized version, but one that offered new information to his audience.
The Rotarians learned, as school assemblies and other groups this year have also discoverd from Forliano, that the town and its two villages represent a microcosm of the country’s development, from the first interactions of the farmer/settlers with Native Americans to heroes in the Civil War to the town’s becoming the present-day, bustling suburban community.
As the town’s history keeper and a member of Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary Steering Committee, Forliano noted that much of what is now known about the town was discoverd within the last couple of decades. With a Power Point presentation as his tool, the Rotary’s guest speaker spoke of the primary source materials he has uncovered and the documentation of the town’s history that is being showcased this year. In the fall, an exhibit at Concordia’s OSilas Gallery and the publication of a hardcover and beautifully illustrated history book will be the capstones of this research as the celebrations conclude.
But, before those planned programs unfold, many Eastchester organizations are “jumping on the bandwagon” and adding pride in the town’s history to their own events. The Eastchester Historical Society plans a special Eastchester 350th Anniversary float for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The American Cancer Society Relay for Life in May will take as its theme a birthday party for the Town of Eastchester. The Bronxville Garden Tour will acknowledge the anniversary by including garden locations in Eastchester and Tuckahoe, as well as in Bronxville, and will include a history of each home on the map handout. The Eastchester/Tuckahoe Chamber of Commerce has planned not one, but two restaurant weeks — one in April; the other, in May. Local eateries are being encouraged to offer menus that represent the best of ethnic cuisine in acknowledgment of residents’ immigrant roots.
The three public libraries are also acknowledging the theme of legacy and an appreciation of immigrant forebears. On Monday afternoons, from March 17 – April 14, Eastchester Public Library will feature a film series on Immigrants in America. The annual poetry reading at the Bronxville Public Library on April 6 will focus on the topic of legacy. And, the Tuckahoe Library plans to host a troupe of Irish step dancers in the next month.
To keep up with all these various community events — and ones still in formation — residents are encouraged to check into www.eastchester350.org, the official website of the town’s anniversary celebration. Announcements of all programs will be posted there and information about the upcoming official celebrations this spring will be detailed.
350th Anniversary Year Kicks Off
A full week before the Super Bowl, Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville held a kick-off of their own on January 26, with a gathering of approximately 300 residents on Concordia College’s campus on a snowy afternoon! A public lecture and discussion by Jane Ziegelman, author of 97 Orchard, served to launch a year-long series of programs to celebrate the 350th Anniversary Year of the town’s founding in 1664. This book had been chosen by the directors of the town’s three libraries as the first-ever selection for a One Book/One Community Reading Program, with this lecture one of several outcomes.
With an event that highlighted common immigrant roots and the role of the three local libraries in the community’s enrichment, the audience was enlightened and entertained by Ms. Ziegelman’s talk. She focused on the strength and tenacity of the early immigrant forebears in bringing their various culinary tastes to America. And, chuckles from all greeted her illustration of the steadfastness of one group in particular — the Italians — who refused to allow the Settlement House “food educators” to keep their children from enjoying their traditional Mediterranean diet. Ms. Ziegelman drew from her background as a culinary researcher for the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to cover topics ranging from the beneficial effects of the lowly “pickle” to the well-meaning activities of the New York City Police Department’s Sanitary Commission.
Prior to her talk, Concordia College President Viji George welcomed the audience and commented on the theme for the 350th Anniversary Year, “Keeping the Covenant.” He noted that one year after settling in the town, its residents pledged to each other in writing to “help and counsel each other, keep and maintain…civil honesty and deal plainly with each other.”
Dr. George acknowledged Concordia’s lengthy history within the town as indicative of their efforts in “Keeping the Covenant” and expressed his delight that the college was hosting this inaugural event.
Patty Dohrenwend, who as a member of the Steering Committee chaired the One Book/One Community Read Program, commented afterwards that each of the libraries will be following up Ms. Ziegelman’s talk with programs of their own — Eastchester will host the author again for a pasta making course; Tuckahoe plans a program of Irish step dancers during March; and, Bronxville will focus its annual poetry reading in April and a poetry contest for students on the topic of legacy. Ms. Dohrenwend noted that “The libraries have even inspired our local Chamber of Commerce to initiate not one, but two restaurant weeks in April and May of 2014, our 350th Year!”
As Bob Riggs, Co-Chair of Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc., expressed, “The Steering Committee hopes to focus the community on its roots and sponsor events and programs that are open to all residents. That the first one focused on our libraries and our immigrant legacies is fitting. We encourage everyone to participate as we celebrate the town’s unique history and to follow the calendar of festivities that are planned by using our website at www.eastchester350.org.”
For those who may have missed the kick-off, local cable television will feature the event throughout February. Check local listings for Cablevision’s Government Access Channels 19, 74 and 75 and FiOS Channels 40, 47 and 26.
Eastchester’s Government Access Cable Channels Preview 97 Orchard Jane Ziegelman,
the One Book/One Community Read Selected to Kick Off Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary Year (01/07/2014)
97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman was chosen by the directors of the town’s three libraries as the book to kick off Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary year in 2014. And, what better way to explore 97 Orchard, an “edible social history,” than through the lens of John Mariani, long-time Eastchester resident and nationally renowned food authority.
Scheduled to air on Cablevision’s Government Access Channels 19, 74 and 75 and FiOS Channels 40, 47 and 26 throughout January, the interview with Mariani was conducted by former town clerk Patty Dohrenwend, a member of the Eastchester 350th Anniversary Celebration Steering Committee. Please consult the following viewing guides for the date and time of the show: Eastchester Program Guide, Tuckahoe Program Guide or Bronxville Program Guide.
During the show, John Mariani recalls our immigrant heritage, which can be traced to folks like those who populated 97 Orchard. Set in the building that now houses the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the book traces the story of how five different immigrant groups brought their food passions to New York and managed the challenges of producing family food. What foods we first offered newcomers at Ellis Island and how these families survived in New York City are startling details of how far we’ve advanced.
Mariani points out that the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. emphasized the lasting importance of the foods these immigrants brought to America and the enormous contribution that has made to our culture. Mariani recalls his own family’s recipes from Italy and the absence of good ethnic cuisine in his and Dohrenwend’s childhood in 1950s Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville.
But, Mariani also cites exceptional restaurants at that time whose reputations rivaled any in New York City. In addition to being a “walk down memory lane,” the cable show underscores the emergence of excellent cuisine throughout America in the last 40 years and that the “melting bowl” of food is alive and well in the various restaurants in today’s Eastchester.
Mariani and Dohrenwend encourage local listeners to obtain a copy of 97 Orchard before Ms. Ziegelman’s lecture on Sunday, Jan. 26th, at 3 pm, at Concordia College’s Sommer Center. The local libraries, book clubs and the Eastchester 350th Anniversary Celebration Steering Committee have been promoting the book since this past fall, but it is not too late to borrow a copy from your library, reserve one online through the Westchester Library System or purchase the paperback version at Womrath’s in Bronxville. Copies will also be available for purchase and signing by the author at the lecture during the reception that will follow.
The reading project’s goal is to involve residents from high-schoolers to seniors, from those who love cooking to those who simply love eating. With the book as a touchstone, the librarians envisioned many possibilities for community engagement: discussion groups, ethnic eating experiences, recipe sharing, cooking lessons and trips to 97 Orchard Street (home of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum) and Ellis Island.
As one example, the Friends of the Bronxville Public Library will present Poetry and Legacy: reading poems about the immigrant experience in America, Sunday, April 6, at 3 pm. This will be augmented by a poetry contest focused on the same theme and open to students in Grades K-12 who live or attend school in Bronxville.
As the cable show previews, reading the book and hearing from its author promises to be a fitting opening act to Eastchester’s 2014 celebration of the town’s 350th Anniversary.
Bronxville Historical Conservancy to be Exclusive Sponsor for the Eastchester 350th Anniversary Celebration’s K-12Educational Program (11/21/13)
Judy Unis and Bill Dowling, co-chairs of the Bronxville Historical Conservancy, have announced that $10,000 will be used as funding in support of the Eastchester 350th Anniversary Celebration’s K-12 Educational Program next year.
In 2014, students in every school in Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville — public as well as parochial and private — will have an opportunity to learn some local history: that the town’s roots go back to the Eastchester Covenant of 1665; that the marble quarries drew many early European immigrant workers and their families to the town; that world renowned artists, authors and celebrities have lived here; that the first president of the United States to serve as a Boy Scout did so here; and that the town has been home to four Congressional Medal of Honor winners, as well as countless brave soldiers who served in all the country’s wars.
In addition to exploring these topics, the town’s youngsters will be challenged to select a history project of their own. They will be asked to produce an essay, an artistic composition, a film or video, a poem, a drama or a mixed-media piece focused on this rich past, dependent on the avenues for achievement offered in their own schools. Older middle and high school students may wish to develop research subjects into scholarly papers that will reveal even more of the town’s unsung history.
To support these endeavors, the steering committee of Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc. approached each of the public school districts last year to solicit administrative and faculty support and asked the Bronxville Historical Conservancy if that organization would provide funding as exclusive sponsor for the K-12 Educational Program.
Dr. Robert Wein, former co-chair of the Conservancy and Eastchester 350th Anniversary committee member said, “When we learned the scope of the project designed by Dick Forliano (current Town Historian and retired Eastchester Middle School teacher), I was delighted to present this to the Conservancy as a project worthy of being funded.”
After due diligence from the group’s Projects Committee, headed by former Bronxville Mayor Nancy Hand, the Bronxville Historical Conservancy board enthusiastically approved the sponsorship. “The Conservancy’s mission is perfectly matched to that of the town’s celebration of its heritage. We are pleased to play a part in increasing knowledge of our rich local history by supporting educators who wish to emphasize it in the community’s anniversary year,” noted Hand. With encouragement from Bronxville’s Jack Bierwirth, superintendent of the Herrick Schools on Long Island and also a member of the board of the Bronxville Historical Conservancy, the three town public school superintendents quickly indicated their support. Each appointed a district liaison for the 350th Anniversary Celebration, and an individual school faculty member was also selected to work within the various faculties. Town historian Forliano has reached out to the four other local elementary schools in the community and expressed his appreciation for their enthusiastic endorsement.
“With our eastchester350.org website launched, teachers and students have many resources right at their fingertips,” said Forliano. “We have published this program online so that parents as well as teachers will have the opportunity to assist their children while enriching their own understanding of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville’s past.”
A click through the website section titled “Our History” reveals 17th-and early 18th-century- founding documents, an explanation of what is meant by “Keeping the Covenant,” and a catalog of town and village vintage and modern photographs and maps, with credit given to the sources for each. Numerous links to state and county archives, to other historical repositories and to research tools can also be found there. A section titled “Historians’ Corner” yields copies of newspaper articles relative to the town’s history and research undertaken in the past.
Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary Celebration will feature lectures, educational programs for all students, a Siwanoy Country Club gala, a community day at Lake Isle with trolley tours and re-enactments, a supersize exhibit in the fall at Concordia College and the publication of a well-researched and richly illustrated book on the history of the town. Residents and community organizations are invited to participate, to support the celebration with contributions and to volunteer their own family and institutional memories.
All local organizations are encouraged to submit their group’s particular history and keep the town’s birthday in mind when planning their own 2014 events. These histories and announcements can be posted on the new website. The steering committee reserves the right to edit and upload all website materials.
Residents may contact individual steering committee members or use the email Eastchester350@eastchester.org.
Although costs have been kept to a minimum, all the community programs require financial support. Contributions to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc. are tax deductible, since the group is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Checks may be mailed to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc., 40 Mill Rd., Eastchester, NY 10709.
Brochure Announcing Eastchester 350th Anniversary Celebration in the Mail! (11/14/13)
To ensure that every resident in Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville receives an invitation, the steering committee of Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc. has mailed over 13,000 of them! This invitation comes in the form of a colorful brochure descriptive of the yearlong 2014 celebration of the town’s founding and the public programs designed to commemorate it.
Produced by the professional marketing team of Don Blauweiss and Diane Dudzinski, who volunteered their services for this effort, the rich burgundy mailing features the Royal Patent of 1666 on its cover and details the community programs inside. “As owners of the historical Coutant House and supporters of the Eastchester Historical Society, we wanted to share our enthusiasm for our rich local history and give back to our town,” said Blauweiss, principal of Don Blauweiss Advertising & Design.
Bob Riggs, co-chair of the Eastchester 350th Anniversary Celebration, emphasized that the steering committee wanted to reach everyone in town, not just those with access to digital media, although that base is covered as well. “We have launched our website at www.eastchester350.org, issued a number of press releases and now we are reaching out even further to the entire population,” added Riggs.
The steering committee of Eastchester 350 Anniversary, Inc., the organization overseeing the anniversary celebrations, also welcomes volunteer participants in all of its programming and encourages those interested to contact the group at Eastchester350@eastchester.org.
Similarly, the brochure presents opportunities for all residents to offer financial support, whether large corporate or small individual donations. Checks should be payable to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and mailed to 40 Mill Rd., Eastchester, NY 10709.
Town’s 350th Anniversary Celebration Kicks Off with a First-time One Book/One Community Reading Program: 97 Orchard, by Jane Ziegelman
Have you ever wondered how your great grandmother or any mother immigrating to nineteenth-century America provided food for her family in a strange world with foreign methods of food procurement and preparation, especially given the barriers of language and custom? Or how we provided for the immigrants first sheltered at Ellis Island?Jane Ziegelman has tackled these culinary issues and the broader ones of heritage and legacy in her book, 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement. This easy-to-read social history explores how five different immigrant groups brought their food passions to New York and managed the challenges of producing family meals in cold-water flats. Selected by the directors of the town’s three public libraries, this book is the first One Book/One Community Reading Program for the town and will serve as a “lead-up” to Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary Celebrations in 2014.
97 Orchard places these families in a context, tracing the immigration movement from mid-nineteenth-century Germans to the Irish and then to the German Jews and, finally, to the Russian Jews and Italians who followed in the 1890s and early twentieth century. The work also includes a realistic look at life at Ellis Island and the unique food terminology of the foreign-born groups that has contributed to today’s common English.
Copies of the book may be borrowed from the Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville libraries. Tracy Wright, Eastchester’s library director, pointed out that some are available on Kobo and Kindle for large-print readability. For library card holders, the book may also be reserved online through the Westchester Library System. Purchases may also be made at Womrath Bookshop in Bronxville.
As Swadesh Pachnanda, Tuckahoe’s library director, explained, “The project’s goals are to involve residents from middle schoolers to senior residents, from those who love cooking to those who simply love eating.”
“With the book as a touchstone, there are many possibilities for community engagement: discussion groups, ethnic eating experiences, recipe sharing, cooking lessons and trips to 97 Orchard Street (home of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum) and Ellis Island,” added Gabriella Radujko, Bronxville’s library director. The Bronxville Adult School included an outing to the Tenement Museum in its fall catalogue.
Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary will be celebrated with these common legacies throughout 2014, beginning with a lecture by 97 Orchard’s author, Jane Ziegelman, on Sunday, January 26, 2014, at 3:00 pm, at the Sommer Center for Worship and the Performing Arts at Concordia College, with a reception to follow. This talk, part of Concordia’s Books & Coffee Series, will kick off a year-long array of events and programs that are open to all residents and described on the website eastchester350.org.
As part of the 350th Anniversary’s emphasis on the town’s heritage of family, home and neighborhoods, the youth services librarians of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville have developed a list of age-appropriate titles for town youngsters to listen to, to read themselves and to discuss.
If you wish to contribute your ideas to this program’s development, contact your community’s librarian: Tracy Wright (Eastchester) at firstname.lastname@example.org; Swadesh Pachnanda (Tuckahoe) at email@example.com; or Gabriella Radujko (Bronxville) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The steering committee of Eastchester 350 Anniversary, Inc., the organization overseeing the anniversary celebrations, welcomes volunteer participants in all of its programming and encourages those interested to contact the group at Eastchester350@eastchester.org.
Town’s 350th Anniversary Celebration Launches Website
It’s finally official. The long-awaited website, www.eastchester350.org, is open for business! The communication tool for the 2014 year-long celebration of the Town of Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary is ready for all town residents, including those in the Villages of Tuckahoe and Bronxville, to enjoy.
“Eastchester350.org has been designed to announce our programs, excite our citizens about coming events and provide all local history lovers with an opportunity to explore their very own rich history,” announced Linda Doherty, Co-Chair of the Eastchester 350th Anniversary Celebration and of the website’s sub-committee.
Doherty added: “We knew from the earliest planning stages that our teachers and their students would need original documents, photographs and other images to begin their year of discovery. But, we also wanted the site to include an opportunity for everyone to understand the town’s complete — and sometimes unknown — past and to participate in the experience by submitting their own ideas and contributions.”
The site features an events’ calendar, a full description of planned community programs and an outline of the K-12 Educational Program. A click through the section titled “Our History” reveals 17th and early 18th century “founding documents,” a catalog of town and village vintage and modern photographs and many online resources leading to other images. There are numerous links to state and county archives, to other historical repositories and to research tools.
Unique to this website is a section known as “Historians Corner” where the user can click on numerous articles published by current Town Historian Dick Forliano and long-time columnist Vince Bellew. The recent exhibition “Hero Next Door,” created by Mike Fix to honor the town’s outstanding veterans, is spotlighted here as well. This section and one titled “Residents’ Memories” should grow as the celebratory year encourages submissions of well-researched essays and oral histories from the residents.
Because the Eastchester 350th Anniversary Steering Committee has welcomed all volunteers, ranging from “lifers” to those brand new in town, it is no surprise that the design and development of www.eastchester350.org was accomplished by Jennifer Frost and Kevin Elbert, who have recently made their home on Garth Rd. Although having active careers and their own Graphic Design business, the couple voluntarily supplied all design elements to the website and oversaw its production — from establishing a Drop Box account for the Steering Committee’s use to devising a unique logo and palette to improving images and uploading all the text and images in the Word Press framework. The sub-committee included Patty Dohrenwend and Donato Vaccaro, residents since birth, as well as Linda Doherty and Historian Forliano. Their duties included research, writing, editing and proofing.
Frost observed that this website is “still very much a work in progress. We want to include other features, such as Pay Pal and streaming videos. Right now, the focus is to launch the site and fine tune it as usage increases.”
During the weeks of development, many images were secured from the Eastchester Historical Society, the Eastchester Town Clerk’s Archive, the Westchester County Archives, the Westchester County Historical Society and the New York State Archives. As Dohrenwend, former Town Clerk and former director of the Westchester County Archives & Records Center, remarked, “This was collaboration at its best. The secure facilities of the larger repositories is the appropriate permanent home for many of the original materials. But, ensuring public access is also a prime mission for these institutions. There was a need to scan, index, transfer and upload many records. We had incredible assistance from Eastchester to Albany to Elmsford and back again!”
Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary Celebration will feature lectures, educational programs for all students, a gala, a community day, a super-size exhibit in the fall and culminate with a well-researched and richly illustrated history book. Residents and community organizations are invited to participate, to support the celebration with contributions and to volunteer their own family and institutional memories.
All local organizations are encouraged to submit their group’s particular history and keep the town’s birthday in mind when planning their own 2014 events. The histories and announcements can be posted on the new website. The Steering Committee reserves the right to edit and upload all website materials.
Residents may contact individual Steering Committee Members or use the email: Eastchester350@eastchester.org.
Although costs for the website have been kept to a minimum, other programs require financial support. Contributions to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc. are tax deductible, since the group is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Checks may be mailed to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc., 40 Mill Rd., Eastchester, NY 10709.
Eastchester 350 Anniversary Programs Announced
Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville Join in Celebrating 350 Years as a Community: Community Events, Educational Programs and an Illustrated History Planned
The Town of Eastchester, including the Villages of Tuckahoe and Bronxville, is having a birthday party — a year-long one!
Kicking off in January 2014 and continuing throughout the year, Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary Celebration will roll out lectures, educational programs for all students, a gala, a community day, a super-size exhibit and a richly illustrated history book. Residents and community organizations are invited to participate, to support the celebration with contributions and to volunteer their own family and institutional memories.
For over two years, a Steering Committee, comprised of volunteers appointed by the three communities, has been developing varied programs for the anniversary of the town’s founding in 1664. As Co-Chairs Linda Doherty and Robert Riggs emphasized, Eastchester’s 350th Anniversary Celebration aims to offer first-time ever programs with a strong emphasis on revealing the town’s special history not understood by many.
Throughout the 2013-14 school year, students in all three districts, as well as private and parochial schools, will be challenged to discover their local history and to produce research essays and projects across the creative spectrum. To start the new year, the three public libraries will promote a townwide reading and discussion of 97 Orchard, a book focused on the social history of our immigrant past. Later in the spring, a gala party will be held at Siwanoy and a community fun-filled day at Lake Isle will lead up to the June 24, 2014 “birthday” date. A large scale exhibit of town residents’ legacies and structural landmarks will be displayed at Concordia College’s OSilas Gallery in the fall. The year will conclude with the publication of a first-ever volume — a hard-cover, well-researched and richly illustrated history entitled Out of the Wilderness: The Emergence of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville, 1664-2014.
As Riggs remarked, “Eastchester represents a microcosm of the country’s development from a colonial farming settlement to immigrants arriving to work the famed marble quarries and, then, to an increasingly suburban community as the railroads pushed northward. Its citizens have experienced all of the country’s history — economic successes and struggles, population growth, times of war and peace. Indeed, the Revolutionary War was fought on its soil. This is super local American history!”
If the Steering Committee for the 350th Anniversary Celebration, Inc. has its way, current residents will end the year with a greater understanding of this heritage and, hopefully, an appreciation of their own roots in town. A website will soon be launched that will unveil the treasure trove of Eastchester’s original founding documents, vintage and modern photographs and other images, such as maps, etchings, paintings, etc. It will invite contributions of family memories and organizational histories.
According to Town Clerk Linda Doherty, “This celebration is a link to the efforts of prior generations to preserve and make accessible our historical records. In 1964, at the time of the 300th Anniversary, Eastchester Historical Society volunteers Harriet Bianchi and Phyllis Knowles, presented the town with ten volumes of transcriptions of the earliest 17th and 18th century recordings of the community’s founders. Because of these ladies, we are now able to present clear evidence on our website and in print version that Eastchester was a participant in our nation’s founding, that some very unique people have lived here and that 2014 will be a special celebratory year.”
In addition to Linda Doherty and Robert Riggs, the Steering Committee is comprised of Patty Dohrenwend, Joe Dooley, Mike Fix, Annmarie Flannery, Dick Forliano, Sheila Marcotte, Eloise Morgan, Les Vaccaro, Nancy Vittorini, Robert Wein and Phil White. This small group has been supported by a growing network of over three dozen town volunteers. Both long-term residents and newcomers are serving on various committees. All residents are welcome to assist with the various projects and programs and lend their special talents and input; all local organizations are encouraged to keep the town’s birthday in mind when planning their own events.
Residents may contact individual Steering Committee Members or use the email: Eastchester350@eastchester.org.
Contributions to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc. are tax deductible, since the group is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Checks may be mailed to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc., 40 Mill Rd., Eastchester, NY 10709.