Archives for Urban Renewal

People & Stories Oral History Project: Jack Harrington

Jack Harrington arrived in White Plains in June 1951. He moved here on assignment from the insurance company he worked for. During his long residency in White Plains, Jack has done a tremendous amount for the preservation of historical resources and the conservation of green spaces. Barbara and Rod Carlson, two active members of the White Plains Historical Society and knowledgeable students of local history, conducted these oral histories over a period of months. The creation of the Greenway, the politics of urban renewal, the character of White Plains, and the importance of historical preservation are some of the topics
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Categories: History and Oral History.

Local History: Urban Renewal Collection

The Urban Renewal Collection is a set of documents, photographs, newspaper clippings, and publications that tell part of the story of urban renewal in White Plains between the mid-1950s and the late-1970s. All of the information in this post is drawn from sources in that collection and the White Plains Collection more broadly. In White Plains we throw around the phrase “urban renewal” rather casually, but it actually first referred to a specific set of laws, projects, and changes. The phrase “urban renewal” was codified in the Housing Act of 1954. Ironically, the Housing Act of 1954 actually increased the
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Categories: History.

Local History: Peter Kanze Collection

Next time you come across old photographs at an estate sale or garage sale, stop and take a closer look to make sure someone is not discarding valuable historical records! Thanks to Peter Kanze's visit to an estate sale in White Plains some years back, we have an incredible collection of photographs of White Plains from the 1950s through the 1970s. Kanze can't remember now where the sale was or who owned the pictures, but it is likely they are the work of someone in the insurance business who was employed to document the condition of various businesses and locations
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Categories: History.

Local History: Slum Clearance

The words “urban renewal” are never far from the lips of anyone familiar with White Plains' history over the past 60 years. But what exactly do we mean when we use the phrase “urban renewal?” Most people use the words to describe the transformation of the area bordered on the east and west by Mamaroneck Avenue and the train tracks and on the north and south by Barker Avenue and Post Road, respectively. The term itself comes from the mid-1950s when the language of policy, legislation, and city planning took on a progressive tone that left behind the moralizing sensationalism
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Categories: History and Uncategorized.

Street Maps and Family Pictures

The local history community in White Plains has been busy over the past few months! We are proud to share the Streets of White Plains, an interactive map created by Cliff Blau that explains the history of many street names in our city. Cliff thoroughly plumbed the White Plains Collection at the Library, then doggedly followed leads to the County Clerk's Office and beyond. View the map on our Atlases and Maps page and use the share button to show it to friends or family! Back in December, we had a Community History Day where we scanned photographs, documents, or
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Categories: History.

Everyone’s a Historian: Community History Day

At White Plains Public Library, we believe in sharing historical authority with the community.  So last Saturday, we created a space in which everyone was a historian.  No one person has a monopoly on the past and no single narrative could possibly tell all our stories.  We all have knowledge of the past, it's just a matter of sharing and using it! Several community members brought items from their personal collections to be digitized and added to our online collection.  We had a diverse group of people, from life-long White Plains residents to current and past members of government to
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Categories: History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Brian Wallach

In the first oral history recorded for People & Stories, consummate storyteller and long-time White Plains resident Brian Wallach shares his memories and perspective.  This oral history was recorded at the offices of the Brian Wallach Agency. Wallach grew up just south of the city line in Scarsdale and remembered his mother's work in the real estate business in that area- including a story about her most famous client, Al Jolson.  He also spoke about changes in White Plains' physical and social landscape during his lifetime.  As a founding member of White Plains Beautification Foundation, much of Wallach's service to
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Categories: History and Oral History.