On this day in Yonkers history …
By Mary Hoar, President Emeritus, Yonkers Historical Society, 2004 Key to History Recipient and President UNtermyer Performing Arts Council
Monday, November 8
November 8, 1911: Actor Jefferson de Angelis returns to his home in Yonkers in southwest Yonkers from Richmond, Virginia, to rest after completing his tour in the play “The Ladies’ Lion”.
November 8, 1935: In a pre-emptive strike to prevent gang wars between three New York-area gangs vying for control of the Yonkers slot machine racketeering, Yonkers Police Chief Edward Quirk raided seven stores, arrested fifteen store owners and impounded nine “sets of pins.”
November 8, 1939: Democratic alderman William Slater, creator of Yonkers’ nationally known “Slater Anti-Shorts legislation”, is removed from office; Republicans carried eight of the city’s twelve quarters.
Tuesday, November 9:
November 9, 1903: Superintendent Daly of the Yonkers Railroad Company puts men to work to re-install the curved rails at the corner of Palisade and Ashburton avenues.
November 9, 1922: Bearing greetings from President Warren G. Harding, Henrietta Livermore of 144 Park Avenue sets sail for Brazil to represent him at the official opening of the American Building in December.
November 9, 1928: After a formal inspection of the facility, New York State Commissioner of Corrections John Kennedy recommended the construction of a steel bar partition between the exterior main entrance and the entrance to the hallway leading to the city’s new prison on Alexander Street.
Wednesday November 10:
November 10, 1936: Justice of the Peace Charles Klein, who preferred not to kiss brides after wedding ceremonies, occasionally gave the happy couple another advantage of being married. Dancers Constanzo Greco and Sarita Iris Rivera appeared at his office to get married, telling him that they were on their way to Hollywood to try and get into filmmaking. Klein’s good friend was Harry Jolson, brother of Al Jolson, who ran an acting agency in Hollywood. Mr. Klein gave them a letter of introduction to Mr. Jolson as a wedding present!
November 10, 1942: Arthur Witte, secretary of the Yonkers Rotary Club, suggested that if club members were accompanying a hitchhiking soldier, sailor, or navy, they ask the serviceman for his mother’s address. This way, the member could write a note to the mother to let her know that her son is doing very well.
Thursday November 11:
November 11, 1934: After receiving a call at a house in St. James Terrace because a “strange noise” in the fireplace terrified the owners, Yonkers Fire Department captain Albert Kern and the Truck Five crew arrived to help. They removed the grate from the fireplace, unsuccessfully finding the source of the noise. They figured it must be an animal and tried to entice it with nuts, again without success. Finally, the captain lit some newspapers in the fireplace; the flames made their way to the fireplace, and the large, bushy, slightly burnt-tailed gray squirrel that had been trapped in the fireplace came out! Mr. Squirrel ran into the room once, spotted his exit, and rushed through an open window,
November 11, 1940: The only surviving Civil War veteran in Yonkers, Charles Frazee, was the Honorary Grand Marshal of our annual Armistice Day services. Veterans of three wars – Civil, Hispanic and World (I) – marched in the annual parade to honor those we have lost. At 11 am, the time of the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918, all traffic stopped; those at the World War Memorial on South Broadway stood silent for two minutes to pay their respects to our fallen veterans.
Friday November 12:
November 12, 1921: Yonkers featherweight Jack Bernstein, formerly known as Kid Murphy, is disappointed by the cancellation of his fight against Sammy Stone at the Commonwealth Sporting Club. Stone, a title contender, thought the fight would be an easy win… until he realized he was fighting Kid Murphy. He then imposed demands on combat that were impossible for Bernstein to meet. Mike Arra was replaced by Bernstein, making our boy from Yonkers very disappointed. Common wisdom meant that Bernstein won the fight because he was in excellent condition. Instead, he fought Benny Valger at Columbus Hall a few weeks later, losing by decision.
November 12, 1944: An employee of the Yonkers Red Cross receives an unusual phone call. An army carrier pigeon had entered the appellant’s house; although the window was open, the pigeon just did not want to leave. She was told that the pigeon was exhausted and needed to rest, so she should leave some milk mixed with sugar near the open window. As soon as the bird ate and rested, it would leave. Within hours, he ate, left and flew to resume his mission.
Saturday November 13:
November 13, 1916: Mayor Lennon’s administration announced that the pumping station and reservoir on Lake Avenue would be abandoned and that a new 3,000,000 gallon pump would be purchased for the Tubewell station. Yonkers later poured tons of fill into the old reservoir to raise it to the level of Lake Avenue; this former Yonkers water source is now Lennon Park.
November 13, 1920: Federal Prohibition Agents led by Izzi Einstein stop at Yonkers, make three arrests and take eleven barrels of Italian wine. Einstein, along with his partner Moe Smith, was one of the most successful prohibition agents in the early days of Prohibition.
Sunday November 14:
November 14, 1951: To celebrate its third anniversary as a night harness racing track, Yonkers Raceway presented Yonkers with a “$ 32,787, two and a half mile long lighting system.” The new system, designed to improve traffic capacity and speed of traffic on Central Park Avenue during racing season, was officially turned on by Yonkers Trotting Association president William Cane at the checkpoint just south of the entrance to the Raceway. The giveaway included lights, thousands of feet of wire, candlesticks and poles for parking restrictions, signs and directions, flashing barricades and more! When opening the new State Thruway, it was suggested that the lane signals could be reused as signals on service roads parallel to the new highway.
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