Yonkers - Encyclopedia

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YONKERS, a city. of Westchester county, New York, U.S.A., on the E. bank of the Hudson river, immediately adjoining New York City on the N. Pop. (1900) 47,931, of whom 14,634 were foreign-born and 1005 were negroes; (1910, U.S. census) 79,803. Yonkers is served by three divisions of the New York Central & Hudson River railway, and is connected with New York City and other places E. and N. by interurban electric lines. It has also during most of the year steamboat service on the Hudson. There are two principal residential districts: one in the N., including Amackassin Heights and (about 1 m.

W.) Glenwood, where are the old Colgate Mansion and "Greystone," the former home of Samuel J. Tilden; the other in the S., including Ludlow, Van Cortlandt Terrace and Park Hill (adjoining Riverdale in the borough of the Bronx), a parklike reserve with winding streets and drives. The business and manufacturing districts occupy the low lands along the river. Among the public buildings are the City Hall, the High School and a Manual Training School, and Yonkers is the seat of St Joseph's Theological Seminary (Roman Catholic; 1896), the Halsted School (founded 1874) for girls, and a business college. It has a good public library (established 1893; 25,000 vols. in 1910), and the Woman's Institute (1880) and the Hollywood Inn Club (1897; for working-men) have small libraries. Philipse Manor. Hall, built originally about 1682 as the mansion of the son of Frederick Philipse (1626-1702), the lord of Philipsburgh, and enlarged to its present dimensions in 1745, is of some historic interest. It was confiscated by act of the legislature in 1779 because its owner, Frederick Philipse (1746-1785), was suspected of Toryism, and was sold in 1789. In 1867 it passed into the possession of Yonkers, and from 1872 to 1908 was used as the city hall. In 1908 it was bought by the state, and is now maintained as a museum for colonial and revolutionary relics. It is one of the best examples of colonial architecture in America. In the square before it stands a monument to the soldiers and sailors of the Civil War. Yonkers is an important manufacturing city, and in 1905 the value of its factory products was $33,548,688.

On the site of Yonkers stood an Indian village known as Nappeckamack, or town of the rapid water, at the time of the settlement of the Dutch in New Amsterdam; and a great rock, near the mouth of the Nepperhan Creek, was long a place of Indian worship. The territory was part of the "Keskeskick purchase," acquired from the Indians by the Dutch W. India Company in 1639. In 1646 the tract was included in the grant to Adrian van der Donck, the first lawyer and historian of New Netherland, author of A Description of New Netherland (1656), in Dutch. His grant, known as "Colen Donck" (Donck's Colony), embraced all the country from Spuyten Duyvil Creek, N. along the Hudson to the Amackassin Creek, and E. to the Bronx river. Some squatters settled here before 1646. Van der Donck encouraged others to remove to his lands along the Hudson river, and in 1649 he built a saw-mill near the mouth of the Nepperhan Creek, which for many years was called "Saw-Mill river." The whole settlement soon came to be called "De Jonkheer's Land" or "De Jonkheers" - meaning the estate of the young lord, as Van der Donck was called by his tenants - and afterwards Yonkers. Subsequently the tract passed largely into the hands of Frederick Philipse and became part of the manor of Philipsburgh. Early in the War of Independence Yonkers was occupied for a time by part of Washington's army, and was the scene of several skirmishes. The town of Yonkers was incorporated in 1788 and the village in 1855. In 1872 Yonkers became a city; at the same time the southern part was separately incorporated as Kingsbridge, which in 1874 was annexed to New York.

See Frederic Shonnard and W. W. Spooner, History of Westchester County (New York, 1900); J. T. Scharf, History of Westchester County (New York, 1886); and Allison, History of Yonkers (New York, 1896).

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