Villagers Plan Exodus as East View Goes Off Map
By Richard Montague, The Evening World, Saturday, March 23, 1929
Rockefeller Prices Reconcile Westchester Residents to loss of Homes
The placid villagers of East View, whose property soon will become part of the Rockefeller Estate at Pocantico Hills, were bearing with a fine fortitude to-day at the loss of their homes and their coming exile.
Their natural fortitude has been augmented, perhaps, by a consideration of the prices they have obtained for their property. These prices, it is said, range from $25,000 to $50,000 for lots up to an acre in size, or about three times the assessed valuation of the property.
Instead, therefore, of sadly recalling that after May 1 East View will be no more, most of the villagers spent the morning reading newspaper stories about themselves and complacently discussing the prices each got.
Another topic of great interest to East View residents to-day was the announcement made yesterday that John D. Rockefeller Jr. is the real purchaser of their land. Until they read this in the newspapers yesterday that had no certain information about the real purchaser. For more than a year a Tarrytown real estate agent has been quietly buying up property in East View, but although he offered good prices for property he declined to tell anybody who his rich client was. The villagers may have suspected the client's identity, but until yesterday few of them knew for certain.
POOR FARM REMAINS
East View is an unpicturesque hamlet in the township of Greenburg between Tarrytown and White Plains. It boasts about fifteen vari-colored frame houses, some of which straggle along the road which leads to the adjoining Rockefeller estate, while others squat in the dirt beyond a little stream half choked by weeds and old tin cans.
At one end of the town is the turn of the broad county road, and just beyond it the Westchester County Poor Farm. At the other end, below the reservoir, is the pumping station of the Tarrytown water works. Neither the poor farm nor the pumping station is included in the Rockefeller purchase.
East View has a Methodist church, an amusement hall, and a couple of confectionary and grocery stores, one of which, for the last forty years, has been run by Mrs. Mary Jane Connor.
In the days before the automobile, Mrs. Connor used to own fast pacers and trotters. These she entered in the grand circuit races around the country, and many a race they won. To-day Mrs. Connor is gray-haired and quiet. She spends most of her day tending her customers or surveying the vista beyond the store's front porch. She is not worrying at all about what is going to happen after May 1.
"I haven't thought about it," she said. "I may go out of the county to live and I may not. If I see a place near here that strikes my fancy I'll buy it. If I don't, I won't."
As far as Mrs. Connor knows, all her neighbors are satisfied with the prices they have received for their land. "I haven't heard any complaints," she said. "It seems all right."
It seems especially right to Henry T. Paulding, who bought a house in East View twelve years ago for $3,500. He isn't saying exactly how much he sold that house for, but he intimates that the figure was well above $25,000.
Mr. Paulding, who is a tall, gaunt man, sixty-one years of age, is a descendant of John Paulding, one of the captors of Major Andre, British spy in Revolutionary days. He doesn't know just what relation the earlier Paulding was to him, but anyway, he has the hat which John used to wear in his battles with the Redcoats.
"I used to hear my father say that John Paulding was our relation, but I never paid much attention," said the present Paulding. "I found his hat in the attic the other day."
Until three months ago Mr. Paulding was in the milk business in Tarrytown. Then he retired. At present he doesn't know what he is going to do.
"Maybe I'll move out of the county, maybe not," he said. "I wish I could find some other house to buy for $3,500 that would pay me what this one did."
The estimate that the prices paid by Rockefeller agents for parcels of a quarter-acre to an acre in size ranged from $25,000 to $50,000 is Mr. Paudling's.
John T. Brown, of the seventh generation of East View Browns, has already had an eye to his future and bought a pigeon ranch in Vineland, N.J. He is now visiting in Michigan and his little grocery store is being run by his stepdaughter, Mrs. H. G. McMunn. Years ago the Brown estate included many acres, and the oldest house in East View, which is more than 100 years old, was once a Brown mansion. Almost everybody in East View is said to be related in one way or another to the Browns.
Edgar T. Baker, his wife, Jennie, and his son Francis has also considered their future by building a house in Briarcliff. Mrs. Baker said to-day that they had not realized quite the figure they expected to get for their attractive house, but rather than engage in a controversy with the New York Central, which will probably alter its line to run through their property as soon as the East View station is abolished, they decided to accept the price offered.
About the only people in East View who do not intend to move are some Italian families near the pumping station. The fathers of these families are employed as laborers on the Rockefeller estate and according to Mrs. Minnie Margotta, have been assured that they can stay. For everybody else May 1 will be moving day. And then East View will quietly disappear from the map of Westchester County.