Antiques Appraisal Day at Clark Auction Gallery

(Larchmont, NY February 15, 2011) – Two years ago, the Larchmont Historical Society held their own version of  the “Antiques Roadshow” with “Antiques Appraisal Day”.   The event proved to be a wonderful success, with more than 80 enthusiastic participants  attending,  eager to learn the value of their treasured art, jewelry, furniture and decorative objects from a panel of expert appraisers.  This year, the LHS is partnering with Clarke Auction Gallery to once again offer guests the chance to assess the history and value of their antiques.

The event will have two parts.  The first, “What’s Hot? What’s Not” will be held on Friday evening, March 4th, from 6-8PM at the Larchmont Yacht Club.   It will feature  an open forum panel discussion with seasoned experts, exploring the state of the antiques market today,  and answering questions about their given expertise, as well as inquiries about antiques in general.   The panel will be moderated by Tom Curran of Clarke Auction Gallery.   Cocktails will be served.  The event is $20 for LHS members, $25 for non-members.

Part two, Antiques Appraisal Day, takes place  Saturday, March 5th, at Clarke  Auction Gallery, from 12-4PM.  Certified dealers and appraisers will be on hand in the fields of Asian Art and Antiquities, European and International Fine Art, Jewelry, Silver, Traditional American Antiques, Paintings and Sculpture, and the Decorative Arts.   A fee of $20 will be charged for the first appraised item, $10.00 will be charged for each additional item, with a maximum of three objects being appraised per person.

Light refreshments will be served.

For information and to rsvp for the Friday evening panel:

call 914-381-2239 or email LHSantiquesday@gmail.com
All proceeds will benefit The Larchmont Historical Society.

Historical Wonders: Barry Avenue AME Zion Church

By Katherine Samon, The Larchmont Patch, January 2011

Barry Avenue AME Zion Church Credit Katherine Ann Samon

On a Sunday morning, open the red door to Barry Avenue AME Zion Church, on North Barry Street on the Mamaroneck and Rye Neck border, and the singing—backed by piano, drums, tambourine, and clapping—warms the air. You could very well be entering past and future beyond the 1903 marker indicating when the church was built.
Read more →

A Sizzling Fundraiser

On October 30th the Larchmont Yacht Club was the scene of a five-alarm fundraising effort by the Larchmont Historical Society (LHS) as the group hosted its first Firemen’s Ball in many decades.  The “Roaring 20’s Firemen’s Ball” attracted nearly 200 guests who arrived in period costumes from the heady era of Prohibition.  According to LHS President Colette Rodbell, the evening was held to raise funds for Larchmont’s Engine One, a 1922 American LaFrance fire truck, an important piece of this nation’s fire history which is undergoing extensive restoration.  “It is our goal,” said Rodbell, “to restore this magnificent machine and bring it back to Larchmont to use for education and recreational purposes, as well as for generating income.”

Larchmont’s own James McCaffrey, a  lead actor in the FOX television show “Rescue Me,” a series about the New York Fire Department, ignited the crowd into purchasing raffle and silent auction donations which in the end netted nearly $8,000 for the engine restoration fund. According to the LHS’s Fire History Committee, the fundraising effort began in 2008 with a sizeable donation from the Orans Family in memory of Jacob Orans, a Larchmont volunteer firefighter.  Many of the area’s current and retired firefighters were in attendance with their families.  Glenn Corbett, Technical Editor of Fire Fighting Magazine, brought some of his fascinating collection of vintage fire fighting apparatus for all to enjoy.

In addition to flapper attire, feathers and fedoras, many of the guests ‘costumes paid homage to past fire fighting attire.  Members of the LHS Fire History Committee wore parade-worthy firefighting costumes dating from the 1860s, complete with antique helmets illuminated with real flame throwing torches!

Guests were invited to learn to dance the Charleston, with music supplied by Michael Cumella of “Crank Up Phonograph DJ Experience.”  Cumella, an expert on period music, has been host of WFMU Radio’s Antique Phonographic Music Program since 1995.  Larchmont resident and LHS member David Calkins supplied the wine, compliments of his company Wine Gems @Perrillos, and Heineken donated the beer.

Soldiers of the Great War

The Larchmont Historical Society has indexed and posted online the entire collection of photographs of NY State soldiers who gave their lives in World War I. The collection is available for the public at


The collection is from Soldiers of the Great War, which is the result of an official attempt in 1920 to identify, with photographs, all of the members of the U.S. armed forces who gave their lives in World War One.  Larchmont Historical Society intern Michaela Roberts indexed the New York State collection, and the Historical Society has scanned and posted online all of the pages.

For example, Larchmont resident Harry T. Dudley was killed in action in Le Catalet, France in September 1918. A member of the Weaver Street Fire Company – now known as the Town of Mamaroneck Fire District – his name appears on a small plaque on a tree outside the fire station. His official picture – not previously available in Larchmont and Mamaroneck – appears on page 280 of the collection.

“We were so pleased to find the picture of Harry Dudley, we decided to post the entire New York State collection online. Our intern, Michaela Roberts, spent many hours indexing each pages, so every community in New York could find pictures of their soldiers who died in World War I.”

The website makes the entire collection searchable for all of the entries for New York State. “The original index published in 1920 is very hard to use if the goal is to locate solders from particular communities, or to search by name,” observed LHS webmaster Ned Benton. On the new website, the images are stored in and displayed from a digital archive which can be searched by the name of the soldier or the name of the soldier’s residence. To search for a soldier in the archive using the Search Tool, enter either the last name – example “Smith” – or the community name – example “Syracuse” – and all corresponding records will come up.

For example, “Syracuse” produces 16 entries in the database, and “Brooklyn” produces 70.

“Unfortunately, not every soldier was included in the book in 1920 so the collection is incomplete,” observed Larchmont Historical Society Webmaster Ned Benton. “However, this collection will provide many NY State communities will access to photos they may not have been aware of.” Benton noted that similar online collections have been assembled in eleven other states, so New York State becomes the 12th state with an online “Soldiers of the Great War” collection.

Two Centenarians

From the Archives, January, 2010                         Lynne Crowley, Archivist

Joe Vandernoot at his front door at 27 Walnut Ave.

Joe Vandernoot at his front door at 27 Walnut Ave.

A few months ago I got an email from longtime Larchmont resident Frank Cox. He said that he and his wife Mary wanted to surprise her father, Joseph Vandernoot, for Christmas with a Century Homes Club plaque for his over 100 year old house at 27 Walnut Avenue.  Inspired we were to be the elves to their collective Santa Claus, we delved into our files to research the background of the house.

Well, long story – more than 100 years! – short, as it were, we determined that a Capt. Van Ness had had the house built in 1896, I believe as a rental property primarily – but never mind that for a moment.  Let’s talk about the real centenarian –not the house, but the current (and, for the past 66 years) owner, Joseph F.Vandernoot.

Bricks and mortar, shingle and nails – they just sit there and look pretty. This 101 year old  flesh and blood man-about-town (literally and figuratively!) is our real story here, well worth at least a quick review in these pages. Searching the archives, I’ve culled the following facts from recent coverage in local publications such as the Larchmont Gazette, Reflections, St. Augustine’s newsletter and A Catholic Life newspaper

Born in the Bronx, Joe left school early and went to work to help support his family. Working his way up the ladder, step by step, he became a bond trader in Manhattan, and later a vice president with the company where he worked for 45 years. He and his wife of 74 years, Alice, who died in 2006, moved to Larchmont to the aforementioned 27 Walnut Avenue, with their growing family in 1943..

Yada, yada, yada…. (They went on to have a total of 7 kids, 22 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren…..) as reported in the Larchmont Gazette, “By 1967 he was chair of the Larchmont Republican Committee and by 1969 he was serving on the Mamaroneck Town Council – appointed first to fill a vacancy and then elected in 1970 and 1974. In 1976, he was elected Supervisor… and then was re-elected in 1978 and stepped down at the end of 1979.”  Whew!

During his tenure on the Town Board, what were some of the issues at hand?  Let’s see… flood control, expanding the playing fields, developing ideas to keep kids away from drugs, ideas for sharing services between the Town of Mamaroneck  and the Village of Larchmont…. Gee, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, huh? Or, what goes around, comes around.

But Joe Vandernoot, not content to rest on a bed of laurel, continued to assume major leadership roles in the community – in the Manor Park Society, Friends of the Reservoir and the Westchester Association of Retired Citizens.

As I said, these are some of the facts culled from the archive.  I should note that he’s also described in these sources as “a decent, honest man who tried to help a lot of people”; “known for his friendliness and good cheer”; “known for his sense of humor” ; “a man of honor, humility and integrity” and “always a gentleman.”  Perhaps many of you, dear Readers, can attest to these assertions.

Last, but in no way least, as a daily communicant, Joe has been an active participant at St. Augustine’s Church, serving as frequent server and lector.  In the parish he was a trustee, president of the men’s club and parish council, and a founding member of the local Knights of Columbus.

My friend Lu Doyle, a co-congregant with Joe at St. Augustine’s and an admirer, described him to me as The Oldest Living Altar Server in the World. On consulting Guiness (the book of world records, not the beer) I’ve found nothing to contradict that claim, and so I record it faithfully in the archives of the Larchmont Historical Society under “Vandernoot, J” with a cross reference to “27 Walnut Avenue”.

Digitizing MHS History


Mamaroneck High School, 1940s or 1950s, from the Herb Roth Photo Collection of the Larchmont Public Library

by Lynne Crowley, LHS Archivist

A few months ago I contacted Tina Pantginis, the Librarian at Mamaroneck High School, to consult her on a research inquiry I had received. She was very helpful, as all librarians are – it’s in the blood, I believe – and we got to chatting about a project they’re undertaking to digitize some records that have accumulated over the years.

This includes school related newspaper clippings, old student newspaper publications and even photo albums. I think they don’t yet know all they have in that back room. The most thrilling part to me is that this treasure trove of local history will eventually be accessible to the general public through the Larchmont Historical Society!

The digitizing process has just begun but I can share with you a tidbit. We have a photo album called MHS Memories 1932-33 created by a student, John S. Gallagher, Jr. He notes that this is the second edition –- the past year’s edition evidently featured photos of faculty members “in their off moments”. Hmmm.

Wish we had that one! This edition features students in their “off” moments. Perhaps we could regard it as a precursor to Facebook? I hope to be able to bring some of the images to you in a later newsletter; meanwhile, I have looked at the MHS yearbook from 1932 and I found a shot of our young photographer,  John Gallagher, helping backstage at one of the many theatrical productions at MHS that year.

Readers, remember, if you have any wonderful or even ordinaire documents that chronicle some aspect of life here in Larchmont, please consider contacting us. We may be able to take them off your hands! Or, you may want to share them temporarily so we can scan them for posterity. I can be reached at 381-2239 or by email at lhs@larchmonthistory.org.