On this day in Yonkers history…

Dancer Eleanor Powell

By Mary Hoar, President Emerita, Yonkers Historical Society, 2004 Key to History recipient and President Untermyer Performing Arts Council

Monday January 24
January 24, 1935: Orlando Nichols, the only surviving member of the first Yonkers regiment to join the fight for the Union in 1861, strongly opposed moving the Civil War Memorial from the grounds of Manor Hall. Nichols reminded everyone that the memorial was erected and paid for by the residents of Yonkers, the Manor Hall was the town hall when it was placed there, and the dedication was attended by all remaining Civil War survivors. Unfortunately, once the state took control of the mansion, the monument went with it.
A local organization suggested moving it because members felt the monument was unsuitable for a pre-revolutionary building; others felt that the monument “played second fiddle to the time-honored site of the Lords of the Manor.” The Ewing Circle, Ladies of the Grand Army, indicated that the state must pay to move the monument to a new location selected by a committee of licensed architects, but only with the approval of surviving veterans and affiliated organizations. Mayor Joseph Loehr said he would not approve the move without the “full sanction of the men who fought to preserve the Union.”

Tuesday 25 January
January 25, 1935: After spending three days clearing a 17-inch snowfall, Yonkers was finally dug out. As was the custom at the time, DPW dumped truckloads and truckloads of snow into the river near the pier, creating huge piles of snow over 12 feet high. The river was so frozen that DPW crews had to use dynamite to blow up the mountainous piles and ice so the tide could carry it away!

January 25, 1945: The General Council voted to name two Yonkers Parks after prominent Yonkers citizens. The ruins of the Hendrick Hudson Hotel in Park Hill would be named after former Mayor Leslie Sutherland; Morsemore Park would be named after E. Wetmore Kinsley, longtime head of the Recreation Commission.

Wednesday 26 January
January 26, 1936: It was announced that Pennsylvania Avenue resident Eleanor Powell would no longer be joining the cast of “At Home Abroad” and would be replaced by Mitzi Mayfair. Although she made progress after her breakdown from overwork, she rested at her home in Crestwood.

January 26, 1945: United States Secretary of War Henry Stimson announced that Yonkers-born General Joseph Stilwell would be in command of the Army’s ground forces, succeeding Lieutenant General Ben Lear.

Thursday 27 January
January 27, 1935: South Yonkers residents worried about a plane flying very low over their homes every Sunday; they wanted to know who he was…and why he kept going back and forth. He buzzed their houses and made figure eights and loops too close for comfort. The pilot? Tom Brennan. His mother lived at Purser Place and was concerned for his safety when he started flying. Acrobatics was his way of letting her know he was okay.

January 27, 1945: Retired YPD Captain Thomas Morrissey was elected president of the Newly Retired City of Yonkers Police and Fire Brigade Association at a meeting held in the Exempt Fire Brigade Hall on Buena Vista Avenue.

An outstanding marathoner and member of the Mercury Athletic Club, Morrissey won the National Indoor 25-mile championship in 1907. Morrissey won the first indoor marathon held in Brooklyn in 1908; a month later, he won the Boston Marathon, earning him a spot on the 1908 U.S. Olympic team. He won his first moto at the London event. In the final, though he ran to the front of the crowd, a side stitch coupled with the humid summer heat of London forced Morrissey to retire from the race at mile 20.

Friday January 28:
January 28, 1946: Yonkers resident Captain Daniel Unangst reported to the Japanese Naval Hospital in Kure that he had visited Hiroshima. He said: “The devastation in large parts of that once great city is terrifying… the whole picture is one of utter destruction. It makes the issue of world security real.”

January 28, 1947: Private William Hogel of Tibbetts Road reported that Korea was being “Yonkersized!” Within a short time, he met three Yonker sites at his post in Seoul, Korea. He met Hugo Estberg of Sedgwick Avenue, with the 31st Infantry Regiment, and J. Patrick McLean of Bronx River Road, a field coordinator at a nearby PR office. He also regularly visited Virginia von Lampe of Highland Avenue, an assistant in Club and Recreational Work in the Red Cross headquarters area.

Saturday January 29
January 29, 1927: After serving in China for more than 15 years, Rev. S. Harrington Littell and his family were recalled by the China Mission and forced to leave Hankow because of the serious unrest there. They planned to travel home through Europe, arriving in Yonkers late in the spring.

January 29, 1927: Four well-known Yonkers companies announced their intention to bid for the construction of the new Yonkers Post Office: Triangle Construction Company, Lynch and Larkin, Inc., AD Vinci and George T kelly. None of them got the contract.

sunday January 30
January 30, 1935: An accidental tire chain accident led Detectives William Daly and Edward O’Connor, along with Detective Henry Murphy, to discover a huge smuggling factory! Guided by the strong smell of mash, they called Chief Edward Quirk who arrived with a carefully selected team of officers. Unable to get it, they used a police car as a battering ram in a garage at 927 Old Nepperhan Avenue. The car had pushed the door open a few inches; Detective Edward O’Connor, the slimmest of the group, was able to get in and open it for the rest of the robbers to discover a gigantic illegal distillery estimated to be worth $100,000.

Police believed “powerful gang interests” were driving the operation. Chief Quirk said the operation was the “most extensive and complete” he had seen in his 25 years on the police force. Ten wooden barrels contained 8,000 gallons of alcohol ready for distribution, and 5,000 gallons were in production. Quirk estimated the operation could produce 3,000 gallons per day.

Questions or remarks? Email YonkersHistory1646@gmail.com.
For information about the Yonkers Historical Society, Sherwood House and upcoming events, visit our website www.yonkershistoricalsociety.org, call 914-961-8940 or email yhsociety@aol.com.

Saturday January 29
January 29, 1927: After serving in China for more than 15 years, Rev. S. Harrington Littell and his family were recalled by the China Mission and forced to leave Hankow because of the serious unrest there. They planned to travel home through Europe, arriving in Yonkers late in the spring.

January 29, 1927: Four well-known Yonkers companies announced their intention to bid for the construction of the new Yonkers Post Office: Triangle Construction Company, Lynch and Larkin, Inc., AD Vinci and George T kelly. None of them got the contract.

sunday January 30
January 30, 1935: An accidental tire chain accident led Detectives William Daly and Edward O’Connor, along with Detective Henry Murphy, to discover a huge smuggling factory! Guided by the strong smell of mash, they called Chief Edward Quirk who arrived with a carefully selected team of officers. Unable to get it, they used a police car as a battering ram in a garage at 927 Old Nepperhan Avenue. The car had pushed the door open a few inches; Detective Edward O’Connor, the slimmest of the group, was able to get in and open it for the rest of the robbers to discover a gigantic illegal distillery estimated to be worth $100,000.

Police believed “powerful gang interests” were driving the operation. Chief Quirk said the operation was the “most extensive and complete” he had seen in his 25 years with the police force. Ten wooden barrels contained 8,000 gallons of alcohol ready for distribution, and 5,000 gallons were in production. Quirk estimated that the operation could produce 3,000 gallons per day.

Questions or remarks? Email YonkersHistory1646@gmail.com.
For information about the Yonkers Historical Society, Sherwood House and upcoming events, visit our website www.yonkershistoricalsociety.org, call 914-961-8940 or email yhsociety@aol.com.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.