On this day in Yonkers history…

Dancer Eleanor Powell

By Mary Hoar, President Emeritus, Yonkers Historical Society, 2004 Key to History recipient and President of the 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 the removal of the Civil War monument from the grounds of Manor Hall. Nichols reminded everyone that the monument was erected and paid for by the citizens of Yonkers, that the mansion was City Hall when it was placed there, and that all Civil War survivors attended the dedication. Unfortunately, when the state took control of the mansion, the monument went with it.
A local organization suggested it be moved because members felt the monument was unsuitable for a pre-revolution building; others felt that the monument “played second fiddle in the age-old site of the lords of the manor”. The Cercle Ewing, Dames de la Grande Armée, clarified that the state should pay to move the monument to a new site selected by a committee of accredited architects, but only with the approval of surviving veterans and affiliated organizations. Mayor Joseph Loehr said he would not endorse the move without the “full sanction of the men who fought for the preservation of the Union.”

tuesday january 25
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 snow trucks and trucks into the river near the pier, creating huge piles of snow over 40 feet high. The river was so frozen over that the DPW crews had to use dynamite to blow up the mountain stacks and ice so the tide could prevail!

January 25, 1945: City Council voted to name two Yonkers parks after outstanding Yonkers citizens. The ruins of the Hendrick Hudson Hotel in Park Hill are said to be named after former mayor Leslie Sutherland; Morsemore Park would be named after E. Wetmore Kinsley, longtime head of the Recreation Commission.

Wednesday January 26
January 26, 1936: It was announced that Pennsylvania Avenue resident Eleanor Powell would not be joining the cast of ‘At Home Abroad’ and would be replaced by Mitzi Mayfair. Although making progress after her collapse from overwork, she was resting at her home in Crestwood.

January 26, 1945: US Secretary of War Henry Stimson announces that General Joseph Stilwell, a native of Yonkers, will command the Army’s ground forces, succeeding Lieutenant General Ben Lear.

Thursday January 27
January 27, 1935: South Yonkers residents are concerned 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 around their house, doing figure eights and loops too close to be comfortable. The pilot? Tom Brenan. His mother lived in Purser Place and had worried about his safety when he started stealing. The stunts were his way of letting him know that he was fine.

January 27, 1945: Retired YPD Captain Thomas Morrissey was elected president of the new City of Yonkers Retired Police and Firefighters Association at a meeting held at Exempt Firemen’s Hall on Buena Vista Avenue.

An outstanding marathon runner 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 US Olympic team. At the event in London, he won his first run. In the final, although running towards the front of the crowd, a side stitch combined with the humid London summer heat forced Morrissey to abandon the race at mile 20.

Friday January 28:
January 28, 1946: Yonkers resident Captain Daniel Unangst of the Japanese Naval Hospital at Kure reports that he has visited Hiroshima. He said: “The devastation in large parts of this once great city is appalling…the whole picture is one of total destruction. This makes the issue of global security a real issue.

January 28, 1947: Private William Hogel of Tibbetts Road reports that Korea is “Yonkersized!” In a short time, he met three Yonkersites 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 public relations office. He also frequently visited Virginia von Lampe of Highland Avenue, an assistant at the club and recreational work in the Red Cross headquarters area.

saturday 29 january
January 29, 1927: After serving in China for more than 15 years, Reverend S. Harrington Littell and his family were recalled by the Chinese Mission and forced to leave Hankow, due to serious unrest there. They planned to fly home through Europe and arrive in Yonkers in late spring.

January 29, 1927: Four well-known Yonkers companies announce they are considering bidding to build 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: A tire chain accident led Detectives William Daly and Edward O’Connor along with Detective Sergeant Henry Murphy to discover a massive contraband factory! Led by the strong smell of mash, they called Chief Edward Quirk who came with a team of carefully selected 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 forced the door a few centimeters; Detective Edward O’Connor, the slimmest of the bunch, was able to get inside and open it to the rest of the looters to discover a giant illegal distillery worth an estimated $100,000.

Police believed “powerful gang interests” were directing the operation. Chief Quirk said the operation was ‘the most elaborate and comprehensive’ he had seen in his 25 years with the police. Ten wooden vats held 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 comments? Email [email protected]
For more information about the Yonkers Historical Society, Sherwood House and upcoming events, please visit our website www.yonkershistoricalsociety.org, call 914-961-8940 or email [email protected]

saturday 29 january
January 29, 1927: After serving in China for more than 15 years, Reverend S. Harrington Littell and his family were recalled by the Chinese Mission and forced to leave Hankow, due to serious unrest there. They planned to fly home through Europe and arrive in Yonkers in late spring.

January 29, 1927: Four well-known Yonkers companies announce they are considering bidding to build 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: A tire chain accident led Detectives William Daly and Edward O’Connor along with Detective Sergeant Henry Murphy to discover a massive contraband factory! Led by the strong smell of mash, they called Chief Edward Quirk who came with a team of carefully selected 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 forced the door a few centimeters; Detective Edward O’Connor, the slimmest of the bunch, was able to get inside and open it to the rest of the looters to discover a giant illegal distillery worth an estimated $100,000.

Police believed “powerful gang interests” were directing the operation. Chief Quirk said the operation was ‘the most elaborate and comprehensive’ he had seen in his 25 years with the police. Ten wooden vats held 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 comments? Email [email protected]
For more information about the Yonkers Historical Society, Sherwood House and upcoming events, please visit our website www.yonkershistoricalsociety.org, call 914-961-8940 or email [email protected]


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