Historic Structures

Scarsdale Railroad Station, Scarsdale New York

Date added: July 26, 2016 Categories: New York Train Station Tudor

The Scarsdale Station of the former New York Central and Hudson River Railroad's Harlem Branch is significant as one of the most beautiful railroad stations in Westchester County. The station was erected in 1902 during the period when southern Westchester County was beginning its largescalc development into a populous suburb of New York City. It was the presence of the railroad lines from New York City's Grand Central Terminal, with stops in such communities as Scarsdale, that brought development to the area. The Scarsdale Station is a neo-Tudor style design and is an early example of the use of this style which came to symbolize the comforts of American suburban life. The station was designed by railroad station specialists Reed & Stem and. although it is a small building, it is one of this architectural firm's finest works.

Prior to the arrival of the railroads, Westchester County was a series of small independent communities separated by farmland and rural estates. The opening of rail lines connecting the towns and villages of Westchester with New York City was to irrevocably change the character of this county. on April 25, 1831, the New York and Harlem Railroad was incorporated with a planned run between New York City and the town of Harlem in northern Manhattan. Service to White Plains was soon inaugurated. It was the advent of reliable train service between Westchester and New York City that brought about the suburban development of the county. The original railroads were modest single-track lines with small wooden stations. As demand for service increased the rail lines were widened, tracks added, and imposing new stations erected. Most of the stations now in use in Westchester date from the last years of the nineteenth century or the first decades of the twentieth century; all of Westchester's Harlem Line stations south of White Plains date from the early twentieth century.

Land within the present town of Scarsdale was first settled by Europeans in about 1660, but the town was not actually organized until 1788. The area was primarily farmland until the mid nineteenth century when wealthy New York City residents began to build large estates. Until 1877, rail service between Scarsdale and New York City was unreliable with trains only stopping on request. After 1877, train service became more regularly scheduled and a small board-and-batten station was erected.

Large-scale suburban development in Scarsdale began in 1891 with the establishment of Arthur Manor. In that year, the Arthur Suburban Home Company purchased a 150 acre farm and subdivided the land into 25x100 foot lots. Arthur Manor was followed by other subdivisions with more generous lot sizes such as Scarsdale Estates, established in 1898, Popham Park, Greenacres, Murray Hill, and Heathcote. The 1901 Bromley Atlas of Westchester County shows that in that year development in Scarsdale was still somewhat sparse with scattered frame houses and a few large estates. However, by 1914, development in the area of the train station was more extensive with the Popham Park subdivision immediately to the east and Overhill Estates to the southeast. There was little commercial development in the town at that time.

Scarsdale is well known for its neo-Tudor style downtown commercial area. This small but bustling commercial core is adjacent to the train station. The station was the first of the major neo-Tudor style buildings to appear in Scarsdale and may have set the stylistic tone for the nearby commercial buildings erected during the second and third decades of this century. By the turn of the century, Tudor inspired design had come to symbolize the comforts of American suburban life.