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The Pelham Islands (USA New York City)
|Location||Long Island Sound|
The Pelham Islands is a historical name for a group of islands in western Long Island Sound that once belonged to Thomas Pell. The main islands in the group are City Island, Hart Island, Hunters Island, Twin Island, Goose Island, Davids' Island, High Island, Rat Island, the Chimney Sweeps Islands, the Blauzes, and Travers Island.
City Island is by far the largest, and the only one currently populated. The 235-acre (95 ha) island was originally known as "Great Minnefords" before the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Palmer renamed it "City Island" as part of his plans to create a great port city. The onset of the Revolutionary War brought an end to those plans. It remained part of the Town of Pelham until June 6, 1895, when the present boundary line between the borough of the Bronx and the rest of Westchester County was established, placing City Island within New York City.
Hart Island, which is the second largest, formerly housed a prison, but is now uninhabited, and is currently used as a potters field. Along with David's Island, it has had a variety of military uses over the years, including its use as the site of Fort Slocum.
Pell purchased the islands and much of the surrounding area from the Siwanoy tribe, also known as the Minneford tribe. Before Pell bought these islands, they were known as the Minneford Islands after the two main islands, Greater Minneford Island (City Island) and Lesser Minneford Island (Hart Island). These islands were once part of the town of Pelham, but are now mostly part of the Bronx, except for Davids' and Goose Islands which are part of New Rochelle, and Travers Island which is still in the town of Pelham.
Hunters Island and Twin Island are now part of Pelham Bay Park, and are no longer islands; they were connected to Rodman's Neck by landfill in the 1930s when Orchard Beach was constructed. One third of Pelham Bay was filled in to make the beach and its parking lot.
Travers Island is also now connected to the mainland by landfill.
High Island is the site of several commercial radio transmitters. Goose Island, Rat Island, the Chimney Sweeps, and the Blauzes are nothing more than small outcroppings of rock, although Rat Island once housed quarantined typhoid patients.
- Aerial image of the Pelham Islands from USGS The National Map
- Satellite map of the Pelham Islands from Google Maps