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THE SOCIAL ROLE OF A COORDINATING AGENCY IN A SMALL SUBURBAN COMMUNITY

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University Microfilms
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1941
.He
Hopf, John Frldolin, 1099The social r&le of
coord Inc.ting
agency in a small suburban community..
New York, 1941.
ix,303 typcwritton leaves.
illus.,
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29cm.
Final document (Ed.B. ) - New York
university, School of education, 1941,
Bibliography: p.294-298.
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T H IS D IS S E R T A T IO N HAS BEEN M IC R O F IL M E D E X A C T L Y AS R E C E IV E D .
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Accepted, Date- 9
-- 1 9^
THE SOCIAL ROLE OF A COORDINATING AGENCY
IN A SMALL SUBURBAN COMMUNITY
John F, Hopf, Jr.
34 Presoott Road
White Plains, N.Y.
Sponsoring Committee:
Ur. Robert K. Speer, Chairman
Dr. Jay B. Nash
Dr. Julius Yourman
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the
requirements of the degree
of Dootor of Education in the
School of Education of
New York University
19 4 1
P LE A S E
NOTE:
Some pa ge s m a y have
ind is t inet
F i l m ed
as
University Microfilms,
print.
r ec eived.
A X e r o x E d u c a t i o n C om p a n y
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
To the members of his dissertation committee at
New Y o r k University, Professors Robert K. Speer, chairman,
Jay B. Nash and Julius Yourman, the writer wishes to
express his gratitude for the many constructive criticisms
and for the understanding with which they assisted in the
organization and completion of this study.
Re wishes to express his appreciation for the
assistance given him by officials and members of the Civic
and Business Federation, Inc., of White Plains; to the
officials of the city government; and to Miss Emily Garnett,
reference librarian; all of idiom have contributed so
generously to this work.
Without their cooperation the
task would have been far more difficult.
To John C. Bailey, Managing Director of the Civic
and Business Federation, he is greatly indebted for
continued encouragement throughout the lengthy process
of gathering material and for criticisms of the manuscript;
To Miss Elsie Hug for her guidance and advice;
To his wife, Frieda Iloemer Ilopf, and to his mother
and father, for constant encouragement and inspiration;
To Dr. H. Claude Hardy, Superintendent of Schools
of White Plains, for friendly and helpful criticism;
And to Miss Y. B. Garden who assisted in the
orderly assembling of the material and prepared the
manuscript in its final typewritten fora.
J. F. H . , Jr.
A7423JI
ii
Part I«
t h :e
nature
of the
problem and
THE METHODS OF INVESTIGATION
Frontispiece
white plains, n . y .
ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENT
city of
Electorate
City Council
Mayor
6 Councilmen
Civil
Service
Commission
Board of
Education
Supt. of
Schools
Library Board
6 members
1 member® x.o:
Assessment
Review
Board
Zoning Appeal
Board/_____
Department of
Finance
Assessor
City Clerk
Corporation
Council
Department of
Public Works
Department of
Public Welfare
Department of Playgrounds
And Recreation Centers
Department of
Public Safety
Police
Fire
Building Inspection
Weights 4 Measures
Animal Protection
Functional Organization of the City Administrative
Departments• *
Solid lines indicate direct responsibility and of
administrative authority •
Dotted lines indicate less formal relationships.
♦Survey -National Municipal League, 1940, p.. G-17.
iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I
THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM
AND THE METHODS OF INVESTIGATION
CHAPTER
I.
PAGE
I n t r o d u c t i o n ............................
Definitions and Terms . . . . . . . .
Material and Methods
...............
The Participant Observer
...........
Secondary Source Materials
.........
1
3
6
10
14
PART II
THE CITY OF WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK
II.
III.
IV.
Historical Background and Development
of the City of White P l a i n s ........
Early H i s t o r y .....................
Growth and Development............
How White Plains Came to Be the
County S e a t ...............
Newspapers .
Strategic Location. . . . . .........
Topography...............
Area and C l i m a t e .................
Transportation Facilities ...........
General Nature of the C i t y ......
Character of the P o p u l a t i o n ......
Vital Statistics and H e a l t h ......
17
17
SI
24
28
32
33
34
35
35
38
43
Comparison of White Plains with
Other Cities
.................
White Plains in Comparison with
Similar Suburban Communities. . . .
The Thorndike S t u d y ...............
How a City May be Improved
.........
Composite Scores.
Analysis of Thorndike Scores......
61
Governmental Structure of White Plains
..
Present Form and Development of
the Municipal Government........
69
City Revenue and Assessment Policy. •
Home Ownership Is Protection. . . . .
Tax Liens Held by the City. . . . . .
Revenues of the C i t y . ..........
Expenditures of the C i t y ..........
87
Debt Service.....................
.«
v
46
48
54
57
60
69
71
73
76
77
90
CHAPTER
V.
Expenditures of
Department
Department
Department
PAGE
the
of
of
of
C i t y ...................... 96
Finance
................. 96
Public S a f e t y ............. 102
Public W o r k s ............. Ill
VI •
Recreation • . . ............................... 119
Plan of O r g a n i z a t i o n ................... 121
Playground F a c i l i t i e s ................... 133
Library F a c i l i t i e s ...................... 127
Summary L i s t i n g .......................... 129
VII.
Board of E d u c a t i o n ............................ 130
Historical Background .................. 130
Education T o d a y ....................... . 133
Board of E d u c a t i o n ..................... 134
Curriculum and Educational
Services . .......................... 135
School A t t e n d a n c e ....................... 138
School Facilities ...................... 144
Average Number of Pupils per
T e a c h e r ............................ 145
Instructional Salary S c h e d u l e .......... 148
Mandatory S e r v i o e s ..................... 151
Curricular O p p o r t u n i t i e s ............... 155
Student B o d i e s .......................... 162
Elementary S c h o o l s ..................... 164
Paroohial S o h o o l s ....................... 166
Proposed University or Junior
College in White P l a i n s .......... 167
VIII.
Housing in White P l a i n s ..................... 172
Migration and its Effect on
White P l a i n s ....................... 175
Conditions Existing in White
P l a i n s ......................
176
Analysis of Survey D a t a ................. 178
Committee Reports on H o u s i n g .......... 179
Investigator’s Recommendations
. . . . 184
Recent Housing Construction
in White P l a i n s ................... 187
IX.
Health and Moral Influences
in the City of White P l a i n s ...............189
Health E d u c a t i o n ....................... 193
Moral Influences
194
R e l i g i o n ................................ 199
v i
CHAPTER
X.
PAGE
Juvenile Delinquency and Crime .........
Trend of Delinquency in
White P l a i n s ................. • .
Changing Theories and Programs of
Treatment of Delinquent Criminals.
Police Athletic League.............
Unemployment .......................
How Can Youth C o n t r i b u t e ? .........
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.........
202
204
206
208
209
214
222
PART III
CASE STUDY OF THE CIVIC AHD BUSINESS FREDERATI0H
OF WHITE PLAINS, INC.
Introductory:
Social Determination of a
Community’s Needs..........................
226
Identifying Data.
..........................
229
Statement of the Problem........................
229
Study of the F e d e r a t i o n ........................
231
History of the Federation
233
.............
By-Laws of the Civic and Business Federation . .
236
Plant and Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
242
Program...........................................
244
Social Dynamics:
Progress and Conflict
Within the I n s t i t u t i o n ....................
248
The Social Role of the Federation as a
Coordinating Agency .......................
255
PART
IV
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE INVESTIGATOR
Conclusions.......................................... 269
Committee Activities Pursued and Results
A t t a i n e d ..................................... 290
B i b l i o g r a p h y ...................
294
A p p e n d i x ...............
299
vi I
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE
PAGE
I.
Data on Employment In White P l a i n s ........
II.
Comparison of Characteristics of
Wealthy Suburbs and White Plains . . .
Comparison of Cities in Westchester
County .
............................
58
Demographic Indices for Cities .............
58
Economic Indices for Westchester Cities
59
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
• •
Educational Indices for Westchester
C i t i e s .................................
VII. Thorndlkfe’s Composite Scores ...............
VIII.
39
52
59
62-64
Position of White Plains in the Matter
of Per-Capita Debt in 1940 ...........
68
Comparison of 1941 Budget with That
of Preoedlng Y e a r ....................
91
X.
Debt Margin and Borrowing C a p a c i t y ........
93
XI.
Per-Capita Bonded D e b t .....................
94
XII.
Only Cities Having Higher Net
Bonded Debt Per-Capita ...............
94
IX.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
Analysis of Relief Costs - 1940
103
Sohool C a p a c i t y ............................... 147
Number of Employees of Different
Classifications Provided for
in the 1940 Budget
149
Value of Building C o n s t r u c t i o n ............... 183
Civic and Business Federation of
White Plains, Inc, - Financial
Statement, Deoember 31, 1940 . . . . .
viii
247-a
LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE
PAGE
Administrative Department
City of White Plains
1.
............... Frontispiece
Racial Distribution of White Plains
1940.. ............................... ..
.
41
2.
Age Distribution - 1930-1940 ................
42
3.
Distribution of Income from Sources
79
4.
Westchester County Park Systes ..............
82
5.
Westchester County Traffio Counts
..........
83
6.
Westchester County Traffic Counts
. . . . .
84
7.
Distribution of Expenses by
P u r p o s e ....................................97
8.
Distribution of Recreational
Activities by Seasons .................. 122
9.
Playground Distribution
. . . .
....................
134
10#
Trend of High School E n r o l l m e n t ............. 141
11.
Sohools and P l a y g r o u n d s ...................... 146
12.
White Plains Public School S y s t e m ........... 150
13*
Curricula Enrollment in Graduating
C l a s s e s ...................................157
14.
Y. M.
C. A. Membership Distribution
. . . .
219
15.
Y. W.
C. A. Membership Distribution
. . . .
220
16.
S. P.
C. C. Case D i s t r i b u t i o n ............321
17.
Boy Scout Membership D i s t r i b u t i o n ....... 223
18.
Girl Scout Membership D i s t r i b u t i o n ........... 334
19.
Photostatic Copy of Newspaper
C l i p p i n g s ...................
ix
225
CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The Nature of the Problem and the Methods of Investigation
This Is a case study of the development of an
organization— the Civic and Business Federation of White
Plains— designed to serve certain of the business and
cultural needs of the ooramunity.
Naturally, it must
include a consideration of the general government of the
consmmity and of the services provided for within the
community.
It will thus be neoessary to study the Civlo
and Business Federation from its early inception, taking
into consideration its purpose and aims, its relationship
to the previous organization functioning in a similar
capacity, the personalities involved, the nature and
oharacter of the activities pursued.
The main purpose,
as the title of the paper suggests, is to show to what
extent the Civic and Business Federation has taken a
prominent part in coordinating those activities within
the community, which are intended to promote the general
welfare.
The setting or background of the community must,
therefore, be fully desorlbed and analyzed, to serve as
2
a frame-of-referenoe toward a full appreciation of the
significance of this organisation in the social and
economic activities of the city*
To estimate oorreotly the true situation, It will
he necessary to indlude an historical background of the
Federation, to explain the origin and development of the
movement and to trace it to its present status.
It will
be neoessary also to show the co-relation between the
Federation and the various phases of city government; to
outline the civic and economic aspeots of the oommunlty;
and to show how the problem of coordination Is conditioned
by these factors.
It is the intention of the Investigator that this
study shall be valuable in three directions:
(1) To the
City of White Plains which is the locale of this study;
(2) To other communities which may have similar problems;
(3) As a contribution to the soolal theories underlying
community organization.
This study should be valuable to the City of White
Plains in determining an expedient balance of services
necessary to make this city a desirable plaoe In which
to live and work; and, by so doing, to secure the enlisted
intelligent support of our civic-minded citizens for
planned beneficial ohanges in the governmental structure
and soolal services of the community.
The study may be of value to other communities in
3
presenting to then a case study of how this balance is
being achieved in one type or community, and suggesting
the direction for further progress along these lines.
The purpose, then, is to serve as a guide for other
situations, but not as a prescription.
It is further hoped that this study will make a
significant oontribution to social theory in that it will
provide a detailed case study of the actual workings of a
progressive form of community coordination.
It is by the
building up of detailed studies of many communities that
social theory is developed and programs for community
organization may be formulated.
Definitions and Terms
For the purpose of this study, by “Social Role”
is meant the interaction of persons and groups.
By “Coordinating Agency” is meant the activity
of any organization within the community Intended to
bring about harmony of effort by varying independent
factors•1
By “Small Suburban Community” is meant the City
of White Plains, New York, a suburb having less than
50,000 permanent residents and lying within the range
1.
For further discussion on definitions of coordinating
agenoles, see Kenneth S. Beam: “A Guide to Community
Coordination,11 Coordinating Councils, Los Angeles,
Calif.; 1941.
4
of Influenoe of a metropolitan oity.
The investigator further assumes that by a
community is meant the geographical area under the
assessment rolls of the City of White Plains, and the
organized institutions that are functioning in this area.
It is further assumed that the Civic and Business
Federation does not have an independent existence within
the City of White Plains; but it does play a definite
role in the structural and cultural development of the
city.
Its interactional relationships, therefore, are
manifest in a wide range of community activities and
efforts.
This study is primarily concerned with analyzing
the aotual situations in which coordination is manifested
by the Civic and Business Federation of White Plains.
Naturally, within the scope of activities of an organization
there will be apparent evidenoe of conflict as well as
cooperation.
Dollard suggests that conflicts and
aggressions are the result of frustrations.1
These
frustrations may be in the form of stunted personal
desires or sincere, honest opinion that may not be supported
by sound praotioal philosophy.
Cooperation would suggest
the concerted efforts of individuals interested in
attaining a desirable goal.
1.
The investigator will make
John Dollard, “Frustration and Aggression,” Yale
University Press, 1939; p. 1.
5
recommendations which he feels might result in furthering
the alms and worthy objectives of this organization.
This study Is naturally interested in ascertaining
the extent and nature of the coordination that exists at
the present time, and is vitally interested in an
understanding of the determining factors contributing
towards such coordination.
A study of the history and background of the city
will reveal that, as in all communities, there has been
constant change in the physical structure, in its
organizational direction, and in the general interest
and desires of the people.
But, as suggested by Thrasher,
an Institution is democratic only while there is constant
change.1
That the democratic way of life is the desirable
one for all institutions and activities within our country,
is accepted by all true Americans.
That the Civic and Business Federation has had a
profound influence upon the community is attested by those
changes that have been made through its intervention and
efforts.
A glance at the headlines of the local news­
papers* would reveal many of the improvements and changes
for whloh the Civic and Business Federation has been
1.
*
F. M. Thrasher, lecture at New York University,
April, 1941.
Till Usroh 1, 1941, there were two newspapers in
Vhite Plains, The Reporter and The Dispatch; at
present these are merged into one publication,
The Reporter-Dlspatch. (See montage on page 225.)
6
responsible.
In order to comprehend fully the changes
brought about by the activities of this organization,
it will be neoessary to secure such material as may be
used as a frame-of-reference for a more intelligent
control over future problems of a similar nature that
may arise.
This may, in itself, be a real practical
value of the study.
The investigator has not succeeded in finding
any work that has been done of a similar nature, and
for this reason this study may be considered unique.
The method of approaching the problem is similar to that
of Zorbaugh’s “Town and Gown”, a doctor’s dissertation
on “The Sociological Study of the Relationship of a
College to Its Comanuiity.1,1
“Community Coordination” appears to be a very
popular subject of study in many areas.
Such studies
are made, no doubt, to determine the relationships
between various social agencies— which is, in effect,
the nature of this Investigation.
Material and Methods
In securing the historical data relative to the
background of the community and of the Civic and Business
Federation, interviews were held with old residents who
1.
Frederick Zorbaugh, “Town and Gown,” Ph. D. disaer
tation, New York University, 1939; unpublished.
7
vere born and reared, or hare long resided,withIn the
cultural confines of the oity.
Many of these residents
have developed a love for the city and for what It
represents, and have contributed concretely towards its
growth in many ways, not only as taxpayers, but also as
civic leaders.
The human-interest stories cropping up
in these interviews make one appreciate the similarity
between the growth of a city and that of a developing
child.
The trials and disappointments, coupled with the
hopes and ambitions, enable one to understand better the
present picture.
Like a fast-growing youngster, the
community— -first as a village and then as a city— requires
constant dlreetion and sympathetic understanding to guide
it in its rapid physical, cultural and spiritual growth.
And the proof that this guidance has in this instanoe
been available and beneficial lies in the present generally
healthy constitution of the City of White Plains.
Without
fine leadership and pride in oivic development little
success may be expected.
A debt of gratitude is owed our
forebears for their unlimited sacrifices, for only in this
way is progress made.
In turn, the satisfaction of hopes
achieved and ambitions accomplished have made their effort
well worth while.
Interviews with officials and heads of the various
departments of the municipal government, as well as other
interacting agenoies within the city structure, enable
8
one to get a picture of the present conditions and trends*
To realize the problems presented and the methods towards
solution used by these men in office enables one to
determine the efficiency of the organization and the
honesty of purpose in attempting to secure better civic
government,
A further technique in understanding the history
of the City of White Plains and of the Civic and Business
Federation consisted in the examination of documents
secured from the White Plains Library, the White Plains
Historical Society, and the New York Historical Society;
and an examination of such books as historical White
Plains” by John ANsoh, "Evaluation and Development of
the Offloe of Superintendent of Schools” by H. Claude
Hardy, newspaper files, historical pamphlets, and other
published material offering facts of historic interest.
Uotlon-ploture films of the oity, taken in 1933, include
community pictures taken of early White Plains from
photographs and sketches of those early times, affording,
thereby, ready comparison with present-day conditions,
and showing also the tremendous changes in the physical
aspects of the city.
These important changes will be
discussed under the historical development of the City
of White Plains.
White Plains has been selected for the purpose
of this study for the very praotioal reason that the
9
investigator has lived in the community as a student,
citizen and instructor, for a period of about ten years,
and has been for several years an active member of the
Civic and Business Federation.
From the standpoint of
a study of this character, such intimate oontaot— made
possible by direct experience irithin the Federation—
has brought the investigator the confidence and cooperation
of members within the organization and within the oity
itself.
Pertinent source material of inestimable value
has thus been readily available.
It is possible, however, that the investigator,
by these very facts of having lived in such close
proximity and under the immediate influence of the
Federation, may have been conditioned for or against
the subject of his study.
The subsequent research,
however, may reveal valid findings whioh of themselves
may show orlteria for comparison with other cities or
institutions of which White Plains may be said to be
representative, and which may counteract any possible
bias.
Some question relative to the degree of validity
may be raised when considering factual data and
Information reoeived through interviews.
Impartiality
Is often difficult to seoure, and bias or prejudioe is
ever apparent.
Hence, by means of organizational charts,
by graphs and other statistical data, a relationship
10
betveen organizations and agencies, and comparisons
with suggested similar situations in other cities has
been attempted by the investigator.
An organization depends upon skillful leadership
for its successful functioning.
Human nature is ever-
changing, and such leadership is not always constant and
dependable.
UA clever leader knows that the sucoess of
any program must take into consideration the cultural,
psychological, emotional and other clique alignments,
especially of the ‘key* people, and the existence of
which may not be consciously reoognized by the people
concerned, and certainly not admitted by them.
Failure
to take these alignments into consideration is generally
reoognized as a tactical blunder, lack of tact,
diplomacy, etc."1
A description of such functional
facts of various agencies must be offered in word
statements, and these must be conscientiously considered
in order to determine a proper interpretation.
The Participant Observer
The problem enlarged upon in this study first
came to the Investigator*s attention while he was engaged
as a member of the Mayor*s Committee on Survey, in 1939.
1.
George A. Lundberg and Margaret Lansing, “The
Soelography of Some Community Relations,”
American Sociological Review. Ill, 1937; p. 322.
11
It became apparent that, as an instructor within the
community, he knew very little oonoernlng the actual
structure and functioning of the civic government and
the extent of organisational groups working towards
cultural, social and educational advancement.
Conversa­
tions with many neighbors led to the conclusion that they,
too, often knew very little about the happenings within
the oity and were complacently willing to allow someone
else to assume the responsibilities for making desirable
changes.
They themselves were reluctant to make the
sacrifices necessary to secure suoh changes.
It became
further apparent that available information oonoerning
the organization and functioning of the city government,
and of social and economic standards, and the cultural
advantages possible through community cooperation with
schools, was not used to the fullest extent.
To obviate the bias of another cultural order,1
the r$le of the “participant-observer” has been employed
2
in community research.
Sympathies and identities
1.
2.
Ralph Linton in “The Study of Van,11 D. AppletonCentury, New York, c. 1936; p. 271, states:
“It is the possession of a common oulture which
gives a society its esprit-de-eorps and makes
it possible for its members to live and work
together with a minimum of confusion and mutual
interference*”
Joseph D. Lohman, “Partioipant-Observation in
Community Studies,” American Sociological
Review, Vol. Ill, 1937; p. 288.
12
established through a olose familiarity as suggested
by iiohman,1 Till reveal meanings and give insights
denied the formal investigator or surveyor.
The aim of
the investigator, therefore, has been to be immersed in
the local situation and yet remain at a vantage point
where connections Tith and relationships to other social
agencies might best be observed and understood.
Further,
an increasingly active and sustained participation
2
in
the vital phases of community life should be an evidence
of genuine interest and solidarity in its general velfare.
Hovever, since the field vork of this study was conducted
in a congenial milieu,** any bias due to participation, it
is felt, has been overoome by the objectivity of
scientific social appraisal.
To develop good citizens, the youth in school
should be encouraged to seek closer acquaintance Tith
the forces behind their community; they should be urged
and encouraged in taking active part in community
planning, and helping in the development of better
conditions.
1.
2.
3.
For this reason, there should be available,
Joseph D. liOhman, ibid. ; p. 891.
Florence R. Kluokhohn, “The Participant-Obaerver
Technique in Small Communities,11 The American
Journal of Sociology. Vol. XLV1, No. 3,
November, 1940; p. 331.
Cora DuBois, “Some Psychological Objectives and
Techniques in Ethnography^* Journal of Social
Psychology. Vol. Ill, 1937; p. 288.
13
both to children in school and to adults within the
community, proper and convenient sources of1 information
regarding the assets of the community and the functioning
of governmental activities and services for their best
interest.
The opportunity afforded the Investigator to
learn more about his own community and to gather,
unhindered, valuable information regarding the community
in general, has instilled in him the desire to assemble
these facts as the possible basis of a handbook of
information regarding the activities within the
community, its resources, and their possible coordination
for the Interest and welfare of its members.
In considering the question of a thesis subject,
the investigator found here an opportunity to consummate
that desire and to begin a systematic classification of
all available written material, to record interviews,
and to compose certain oharts and graphs pertinent to
this study.
Regarding the population and employment data,
full use was made of the federal census records,
whenever these could be obtained; and also of such
investigations as had been previously undertaken by
organizations interested in making a survey of the
city or comparisons with other cities.
A social base-map of the City of White Plains
14
was seoured from the White Plains Realty Board, which
gives the position, of all streets within the city, the
location of all parkways within its limits, the location
of all schools—— both public and parochial— as well as
areas of recreation, hospitals, railroad stations, and
other public buildings.
A chart was seoured from the
probation department, which shows the resident locations
of individuals brought before the children’s court.
A
crime-spot map was seoured from the Safety Commissioner,
which shows the natural areas within the city and the
incidence and prevalence of crime.
The chart depicting
the functional organization of the structure of government
was obtained from the City Engineer; and the organization
chart of the Department of Eduoation, from the report of
the survey of schools made in 1940.
Secondary Source Materials
Wherever possible the reliability of data secured
from books or newspapers was tested by oheoking with
several souroes; in some cases, however, it was not
possible to do this.
Histories may be written, and
interviews given, which reveal merely the picture as one
individual may see it.
Wherever possible, analyses have
been made of the appraisal of several individuals, and
the data thus verified or discounted.
In the comparative data on the City of White
15
Plains with other parallel communities, full use was
made of recent surveys carried out by the following:
1.
E. L. Thorndike, “Your City,” Barcourt
Brace, 1939; and also comparative data
on 11 cities similar to White Plains,
supplied by Thorndike expressly for this
paper.
2.
William F. Ogburn, "Social Characteristics
of Cities, as a Basis for New Interpretation
of the RSle of the City in American Life,”
International City Managers* Association;
Chicago, 1937.
3.
Julius B. Mailer, "School and Community,”
Regents inquiry into cost and character
of education in schools of New York; 1939.
4.
State and County health reportB.
5.
Vestcheater County Children’s Court report—
re de1inquency.
6.
New York City Policy on Delinquency and
Parole.
7.
National Recreation Associations— Cost
and Use of Recreational Facilities.
8.
National Municipal League, New York,
Surveys of Government, Finance and
Eduoation in White Plains.
9.
Report of the Mayor*a Committee on Need
for a Survey, White Plains, 1939.
10.
Census Bureau, 1940; detailed data on
population and other faotors essential
for comparison.
In evaluating the contribution to the community
life of the Civic and Business Federation of White
Plains, an analysis was made of the objectives, functions
and activities of all the committees of the Federation
16
since its inception, and the scope of coordination with
other organizations and agencies noted.
These were
seoured front the files and minutes of the Federation
itself, as veil as from looal newspaper editorials and
reports, and the reaction of residents as expressed
within the oolumns of those newspapers.
Interviews
were held with officers of the organization and committee
chairmen, and such correspondence as is considered
pertinent is included in the appendix of this
investigation.
Wherever possible, the data thus
gathered has been so organized and anlyzed as to give a
clear picture of the struoture, operation, oivlc, social
and educational implications, and the accomplishments
of the Civic and Business Federation of White Plains.
These data are made to serve also as a **frame-of-referenoe”
for planning a continuing program to secure further support
from the community for this effective coordinating program.
That the Federation has proved to be a vital factor in
arousing clvio interest and in introducing necessary
functional changes in governmental services within the
city will be shown.
In addition, other communities may consider their
problems in the light of the sucoess of the White Plains
program, as a basis for future planning; and for this
reason, it is hoped, a significant contribution to
social theory will have been advanced.
PART II
THE CITY OP WHITE PLAINS
Hi
17
CHAPTER II
HISTORICAL
BACKGROUND
AND
DEVELOPMENT
OP THE CITY OP WHITE PLAINS
Early History
The authentio history of White Plains dates
from November 22, 1683, when eighteen of the Indian
chiefs of the friendly WeckquaeBkeck* tribe, a branch
of the powerful Mohicans, deeded 4,435 acres of their
heritage to a group of New England colonists.1
This
deed of sale was consummated at a spot about a block
west of the defunot Boston and Westohester Railroad
2
station.
The property was valued at two shillings,
sixpence per 100 acres, which was to be the annual
rental, the tallest trees, however, being reserved
for the use of the King’s navy for masts.
These
early colonists, who had previously settled in Rye,
*
1.
2.
This fora of the word has been verified by Emily
Garnett, White Plains reference librarian,
in V. M. Beauchamp’s "Aboriginal Place Names
of New York,9 State Museum Bulletin No. 107;
published 1907; p. 256.
John Rftseh, Historical Souvenir Programme, 1933.
Charles G. Wilson, in the Daily Reporter. 250th
Anniversary issue, September 26, 1933.
18
thus seoured title to the above land extending between
the Mamaroneck and Bronx rivers*
Some oppostlon to this settlement vas offered by
the Rlohbell (of Long Island) claims, and those of Caleb
Heathoote, first Lord of the Manor of Scarsdale,
adjoining White Plains*
until March 13, 1721*
The clear title vas not obtained
The Indians called the section
“Qua-Rop-pas,” meaning the White Marshes.
This name, it
is alleged, vas inspired by the white mist and fog rising
from the lowlands.
Another souroe suggests the
derivation of the name Quaroppas as referring to the
heavy growth of white balsam, a flowering plant, which,
seen from the hillsides, gave the appearanoe of a white
plain.1
This Indian name is still perpetuated in
Quaroppas Street in White Plains.
By 1697, White Plains had, to a degree, become
o
settled.
What is now Broadway was laid out as a
street, with lots marked off and a number of houses
erected.
The community contributed liberally in men
and money during the French and Indian War, but its
real position and promlnenoe was achieved during the
Revolution.
In August, 1774, came the first movement
of protest against the policy of Great Britain.
1. Ibid.
mju
2.
19
Organizations throughout the county met in a convention
at White Plains.
On March 28, 1775,1 meetings were held
by Tories and by Patriots, to discuss the sending of
delegates to the Congress at Philadelphia.
On May 8th,
the freeholders of the county met at White Plains and
delegates to the Provincial Convention at New York were
named.
In front of the Courthouse on July 11th,
O
the
Declaration of Independence was received and read by John
Thomas, the representatlve from the neighboring town of
Rye.
Members of the convention sat on their horses and
transacted their business still mounted, while the
Declaration was read to the beat of drums.
This was at
the old courthouse, where the Armory now stands.
On the 10th day of July, 1776, the following
resolution was adopted by the Provincial Congress
(2nd Congress);
“Resolved and ordered, that the
style or title of this House be ohanged from that
of the Provincial Congress of the Colony of New
1.
2.
Frederic Shonnard and W, W. Spooner, “History
of Westchester County,” New York History Co.,
1900; p. 298.
Historians are divided on this date of the reading
of the Declaration of Independence, some sug­
gesting July 9th, and otherb July 11th. Howewer, the investigator has seen a photostatic
reproduction (in possession of John RSsoh) of
the original document, and this shows the date
of transmission to the newly formed government
as July 9th, with instructions that the
Declaration be read two days later.
20
York, to that of the Convention of the Representatives
of the State of New York.
The adoption of this
resolution gave birth to the State of New York, and
the Provincial Congress which had previously been
sitting in New York, adjourned to the Court House
at White Plains.2
Until the 27th of July White Plains
continued to be the seat of the Revolutionary govern­
ment.
On Ootober 28th of the same year, came the
Battle of White Plains, which ended in the burning
of the Court House and the principal buildings in the
village, on November 5, 1776, by some vandal soldiers
of Washington’s army.
It was at this time, while the
embattled patriots held Mount Misery and the adjacent
hills, that Lord Howe proposed to sail the British
fleet up the Bronx River, now a brooklet scaroely
able to accommodate a canoe.
During the greater part of the Revolution,
White Plains lay in the “debatable ground” between
the British In New York and the Colonial forces.
At
the beginning, the Amerioan lines stretched across the
county at White Plains, but were gradually withdrawn
north to the Croton River.
1.
2.
Between the lines of the
John RSsch, “History of White Plains,” BallettoSweetman, 1939; p. 247.
Robert Bolton, “The History of the County of
Westchester,” Vol. 2; New York, 1881; p. 564.
21
two armies, irregulars of both sides operated and
plundered indiscriminately.
For a considerable
period from 1778 on, Colonel Aaron Burr, later to be
tried for treason, was in command of the Town of White
Plains and the surrounding territory.1
During the
period of the Revolution, White Plains was the meeting
place of the Committee of Public Safety, over the
deliberations of which John Jay and Pierre Van Cortlandt
presided.
Growth and Development
The history of White Plains as an organized
community dates from 1727, when the first election was
held in what was then styled the “White Plains Precinct.”
A clerk, supervisor and other officers were elected, but
White Plains continued as a part of Rye, its separate
existence dating only from 1788, when the town was
2
created by provincial legislature.
The Village of White Plains was incorporated by
legislative enactment on April 3, 1866; and— >again in
the spring of the year— in hay, 1915, the Common Council
was advised that the bill giving White Plains the status
1.
2.
Frederic Shonnard and W. W. Spooner, “History of
Westchester County, Now York History Co., 1900;
pp. 446—47.
Henry M. Beard, “History of Rye,” New York, 1883;
p. 266.
22
of a olty had been signed by the Governor of the state.
This bill, however, was not to become effective till
the first day of the following year.
So that the City
of Vhite Plains has but just passed its quarter-of-acentury milestone.
It has made tremendous strides in
varied directions in that short period.
In the direction
of population alone, there have been remarkable gains:
figures taken from the United States census indicate
that between 1920 (the first census after the granting
of the city charter) and the present (1940 census) the
population has more than doubled.
The first volunteer fire department, the Hope
Engine Company, was organized in 1851, and the police
department in 1898.
Herohants had paid a night watch­
man 25 cents a week for patrolling their stores.
The
dusty streets were watered by means of a water tank
mounted on a spring wagon.
For this alone, in summer,
the merchants paid a quarter weekly.
Broadway vas in existence as a highway as early
as 1697, although it was not laid out as a public road
until November 22, 1734.
The first public highway,
laid out in 1708, led to Eye over the route of the
present North Street and was known as the Queen’s
Highway.
The old Post Hoad, laid out in 1717,
somewhat to the east of the present one (where Maple
Avenue now runs) was a busy soene in those days as
23
the coaches cane rumbling Into town and pulled up at the
hostlerles along Broadway.
The old New York Road,
passing through Eastchester, dates from 1734 and follows
an old Indian path.
The old road to the Hudson River
(now known as Dobbs Ferry Road) waB laid out in 1730,
along the north side of the Presbyterian Church.
The
road now called Lake Street was laid out In 1762 and was
knwon as the Connecticut Road; and the route to
Mamaroneck formerly called Horton Avenue was established
in November, 1725, running past the estate of Charles
Horton.
Broadway followed its present course, and
Lexington Avenue had come into being to stay.1
There was in those days no decorative
park work or landsoape gardening. The street
(Broadway) was then a broad, open plain,
unshaded except by here and there a tree,
and down at the lower end tangles of bushes.
The daisy and wild parsnip bloomed on the
commons.
A brook trickled down the street making
a marshy stretch below the ohurch, and finally
chattered down the hill by sedgy banks to join
the brimming Mamaroneck River.
Horses were hitched on weekdays in front
of the stores and public houses, stamping
holes in the turf and chewing up the hitching
posts or venturesome saplings and, on the
Sabbath, in front of the Meeting House,
patiently waiting for the long sermon to be
2
over, and lazily whisking off the summer flies.
1.
2.
Wilson, loo, clt.
William A. Woodworth, from a paper read at the
Annual Meeting of the Village Park Association
of White Plains, March 3, 1905, at Grace Church
Parish House. Also found in Rosoh, op. clt.;
pp. 123-24.
24
Slowly, the village of White Plains turned toward
the railroad on a beaten path (Moow path”) that left
Broadway where it now intersects Main Street, then called
Railroad Avenue.
Some enterprising citizen had placed a
board with the word “Railroad” on it, and a hand pointing
1
in the direotion of the railroad station.
Thus, also,
the townsfolk followed the line of least resistance from
Broadway west through the hollow and marshy land between
Grove and Spring Streets.
The trolley came to the city
at about the end of the century, starting at Elms ford and
ending at Silver Lake Park.
Lines soon radiated from
this city to points all over the county.
The arrival
of the Harlem Railroad in 1844 was another important
event in the community.
How White Plains Came to be the County Seat
The naming of the village as the county seat in
1757, after the burning of the Westohester courthouse,
in Westchester, gave the community additional Importance.
Later, following the battle of White Plains, the court­
house that had been built there vas destroyed by a
group of Massachusetts militiamen under Austin in the
1.
John RHsch, in an interview, stated that Tal
Hodgson, former druggist with a store at the
corner of Broadway and Railroad Avenue, and
for many years a representative at Washington,
claimed that he had put up this sign.
25
belief that It would Impede or hinder the English progress
in the vicinity; and for a time after that sessions were
held in the town of Bedford in 1777.
In 1786 the state legislature appropriated the sum
of 1800 pounds sterling for the building of courthouses
at White Plains and Bedford, each place being constituted
a half-shire town.1
To Doctor Robert Graham, who was supervisor
of White Plains from 1769 to 1775, and County
Judge in 1778, is mainly due the credit of having
White Plains fixed upon as the County Seat, the
court building erected and the courts removed
from the village of Westohester. lie gave to
the county the site upon which the courthouse
was erected. His efforts were ably seoonded
by John Thomas, of Rye, who was then a member
of the Colonial assembly. Doctor Graham, also,
at a considerable expense, caused two hotels and
a country store to be built, and thus gave the
county seat a start. For some thirty years,
his energy, enterprise and learning inspired
the people with new vigor, soon raising White
Plains to prominence in the country.2
Again,
in the early 1850*s, Charles A. Purdy made
certain of the future of Railroad Avenue, and also of
the future of
White Plains*
There had been talk of
moving the county court elsewhere.
As owner of the land
faoing the present Main Street from Uamaroneck Avenue,
west near “Rabbit” Street (now Brookfield Street) and
running to Uartine Avenue, he presented the site of
the old courthouse property to the county.
1.
2.
This
Beard, o p * oit.: p. 158.
Shonnard and Spooner, o p * clt.; p. 333?
recorded
in Smith’s Manual or WGilCnester County, p. 33,
and RBssh, pp. 229-30.
generous gift vas accepted by the county in 1855.
new courthouse vas built and occupied in 1857.1
A
Since
then many changes have been made, as necessity
required; but the advantages and prestige of being the
county seat were preserved for White Plains.
A visitor to White Plains will see on North
Broadway, some distance to the north of the Armory,
a Revolutionary cannon marker which indicates the
spot where entrenchments were thrown aoross the road
by Washington’s troops preceding the Battle of White
Plains.
The line of entrenchments may still be seen
outlined in the parkway which runs through the center
2
of Broadway.
Little mention is made in histories relative
to the participation of local residents in the War
of 1812; but there is record that three medical men
from White Plains lost their lives in this second
3
struggle with Great Britain.
In 1860 the Civil War drew 378 men from the
village, of which 26 were killed in action.
A
monument erected in 1872 at Broadway Circle and
Main Street, reveres the memory of the sons of
White Plains who served in the Civil far.
1.
2.
3.
Shonnard and Spooner, op. cit.; p. 587.
Wilson, loo, clt.
Ibid.
37
Oaring the 80>8 White Plainsmen enjoyed a
prosaic regularity of existenoe.
Before the coming
of electricity, gas lamps were used to light the streets
on the north side of Railroad Avenue only; and a man
went from one to the other to ignite them when dusk
fell, and again to extinguish them in the morning.
For
a time, naphtha lamps were tried, but these did not
prove suooessful and were abandoned.
The Lyceum,
where lectures and shows were held, was a popular place
in the old days, as was Lafayette Hall, which housed
the early town board meetings and many other
attractions.
Medicine shows were frequently given
on a vacant lot on which the Standard House was later
erected.
The “doctor” with the Indians pulled teeth
as a part of the attraction at these shows.
Skating was enjoyed on the pond on the south
side of Main Street, where Citizens’ Bank now stands.
Bloomingdale Hospital property was famous for its
woodchucks, and Rosedale was known as “Skunks Hollow/’
not without good reason.
Corn was ground in the
Deutermann mill in the east side of town.
In 1883, oonstruotion of the second C r o t o n
Aqueduot was authorized, and much undesirable population
arrived in White Plains to work in the construction
gangs.
The blizzard of 1888 hit this town as severely
as any other, and all wires were down and no papers
28
were delivered for three days.
No trains were running;
the last train left for New York at 7:40 on that Monday
morning.
One of the residents went to New York to buy
groceries and could not oome back till 7:00 on Wednesday
evening, although the train had left New York at 4:00
that afternoon.
In the Spanish-American War, Company “C” of the
71st Regiment had many men from this city in its ranks.
In the World War, White Plains’ record
was second to none. More than 1,200 of her
sons went off to fight— and 53 of them died—
that the Stars and Stripes might continue to
wave over a free people. In the lobby of
the Municipal Building there are four
bronze tablets containing the names of those
who died and those who served in the World
War. Millions of dollars were dedicated to
the successful carrying on of the war by
local people, interested in the independence
of our oountry.1
Newspapers
Hufeland
2
records that in early Colonial days,
the people of the county were either farmers or farm
laborers, or, as millers, tavern- and store-keepers,
were dependent upon the farmers for a living.
Poor
roads, often impassable in the winter time, and rough
1.
2.
Pally He porter. brochure on White Plains and
vioinlty; October, 1937.
Otto Hufeland, “Westchester County during the
American Revolution, 1775-1783,** published
for Westohester County by Westohester County
Historical Soolety, White Plains, 1926; p. 10.
29
travelling on the springless farm wagons served to
confine their interest to local activities.
Aside
from a trip to the oity, their contact with the outer
world was restricted to the few travelers on the
stage coaches to Boston or Albany, who stopped at
one of the Post-Road taverns overnight.
Newspapers
in the modern sense did not exist, and chance journals
contained nothing to stimulate the Interest of these
people in the outside happenings.
In a careful search of the old records made
available while acting in the oapaolty of City
Assessor for a period of twelve years, John Rttsoh
determined1 that the first newspaper published in
White Plains was the White Plains gazette. a copy
of which he examined.
A reproduction of this bears
the date of February 19, 1829, Vol. 1, No. 8, a weekly
publication printed and published in White Plains.
A
year later, in May, 1830, The Westohester Spy made its
appearance.
This was published until 1847, and was
then discontinued.
Then, in May, 1845, came The Eastern State
Journal, a leading Oemooratio newspaper in the county.
The name was later changed to the White Plains Home
1.
John RSsch, “Historic White Plains/* BallettoSweetman, White Plain, 1939; pp. 269-73.
30
News, and it is still published as a weekly paper.
The Westohester News made its appearance in 1871.
Its political views swung to Republican support, and
it became a power in the community.
Interesting community gossip found its way into
these journals; as witness, the following excerpt from
The Eastern State Journal:
“An old maid in town (no
name given) keeps a parrot which swears and a monkey
that chews tobacco.
She says that between the two,
she doesn’t miss a husband very much.”
The Daily Press, founded in White Plains on
April 1, 1929, was published for two years only.
The White Plains Standard. established in 1885, was
published weekly.
The Daily Reporter, was first
published on October 22, 1917.
It was originally
published in Hount Kisco as the Westchester County
Reporter, from 1878 to 1892.
This paper was subse­
quently merged with The Daily Argus and the Daily
Record.
With the advent of time the powerful “Macy
chain” of newspapers, with a large circulation
throughout the county, consolidated its paper The
Dispatch with The Daily Reporter. evolving therefrom
the present organ, The Reporter-Dispatch. to carry
on the news of interesting events.
31
Pew Historical Memorials in White Plains
Historians of the past and Interested citizens
of today have noted an apparent apathy on the part of
the residents of White Plains and of Westchester
County in failing to give to White Plains, by suitable
monuments and memorials, the recognition it rightly
deserves.
The fate of liberty and independence might
well have been sealed in the battle of White Plains,
but for the great valor of the Continental army and
vise leadership of its commanding officer.
Yet
"There exists no public memorial, either on Chatterton’s
Hill or in White Plains village, commemorative of the
battle."
An attempt was made at the time of the anniversary
date, October 28, 1876, under the auspices of the
Westchester County Historical Society, to hold a public
celebration on Chatterton’s Hill and to include the
laying of a cornerstone for a monument.
This latter
oeremony was duly performed, but as the weather was
unduly inclement the publio exercises were adjourned
to the courthouse, where a fitting address was made
by the district’s representative to Congress.
But
"The project ended with the laying of the cornerstone
and speeohlfying.
The futile attempt is a decidedly
painful remlntaoenoe for the people of Westohester
County, and our readers will willingly spare us any
further remark upon it than this passing notice of fact.
One historically minded citizen of White Plains
has suggested the pauoity of poets and scholarlyinterested talent residing in White Plains.
It has
been said that other communities in Westchester County,
with minor parts in the historical activities, have
assumed a major share in the pages of history.
On this
score, there remains much for the citizens of White
Plains to ponder.
Strategic Location
Westohester is the richest suburban county in
the nation.
Its assessed valuation of real estate in
1940 was $1,585,000— -a higher figure than for any
other suburban county*
Twenty-two percent of its
families have incomes of more than $200 a month, as
compared with 15 percent of the families in New York
State as a whole.
2
The City of White Plains, located in the
beautiful Harlem Valley, is the county seat of
Westchester County.
Six miles from the Hudson
River, and an equal dlstanoe from Long Island Sound,
1.
2.
Frederic Shonnard and tf. W. Spooner, "History of
Westchester County.**
Westchester County Department of Health Report:
"Forward to Health," 1941.
33
it ia less than 2 5 n t l e e from mid-town New York City—
a mere half-hour’s ride.
Situated on the Hutchinson
River, Bronx River and Central Westohester Parkways,
and with ten other state and county highways entering
the city, it is the hub of Westchester’s transportation
system.
In addition, as the trade and recreational
center for all of the vast area in the upper part of
Westohester, now being developed very rapidly, White
Plains offers a very bright future for both merchants
and home owners.
T°.P.°&rj«.Eh£
The natural condition of the terrain encompassing
the city is rugged and, according to the City Plan
Engineer (Bureau of City Planning, Department of Public
Works) in his report:
. . . it ranges in elevation above sea
level from about 450 feet in parts of the
watershed area, to a little less than 50
feet where Mamaroneck Avenue crosses the
southern boundary of the oity. It
includes parts of the valleys of the Bronx
and Hamaroneok Rivers, together with the
intervening ridges and secondary valleys.
The lowest saddle between these main
valleys has been oooupled since Colonial
times with an arterial thoroughfare,
naturally named (in part) Main Street.
Slopes, steep as 50 percent are to be
found in the watershed area and on the
western slope of the Bronx River valley
where it skirts Battle Hill or Chatterton
34
Hill.1
It is interesting to note that many hills have
made it difficult to follow a very definite plan for city
development, the tortuous road leading up to Battle Hill
being almost inaccessible in icy weather and requiring
the use of Chatterton Parkway in such an emergency.
The
main street, formerly called Railroad Avenue, extends
due eastward.
Uamaroneck Avenue intersects it at right-
angles going southward.
Here the advantages of past
experiences have enabled the city planners to lay out a
beautiful avenue, readily assisting in the expedition
of traffic and providing easy access to the retail
stores located there.
Main Street seemed to take the
path of least resistance, as previously stated, winding
toward the railroad station.
Area and Climate
The area of Hfhlte Plains is about ten square
miles, including the watershed property and that
occupied by public and semi-»publio institutions
(parks and parkways, religious societies, state
institutions) and by open areas suoh as golf courses
and extensive private estates.
It has a temperate
ollmate with extremes of heat and cold of only short
1.
Fred C • Brandes (City Plan Engineer), Real
Property Survey; Deoember, 1939.
35
duration.
The winters are normal, with an average
temperature of 34 degrees Fahrenheit,1
The summers
are short and not too hot, an ocoasional cool
refreshing breeze coming from Long Island Sound,
six miles distant.
Transportation Facilities
Transportation to and from the city may be
O
made by train, bus or a u t o m o b i l e . T h e Harlem
Division of the New York Central Railroad maintains
an electrified service to White Plains.
Over 100
trains daily provide very excellent servioe every
twenty minutes.
$11.14.
The monthly commutation cost is
Twenty-five bus routes radiate in all
directions from the Uunloipal Bus Terminal, the
depot for most looal buses running to towns and
villages within a radius of twenty miles or more.
General Nature of the City
White Plains always was essentially a community
of homes.
Heavy ihdustries have never been encouraged.
Even in early Colonial days mention is made of the
heavier industries which had settled In other Westchester
1.
2.
Brandes, loo, clt.
Prospectus of White Plains, courtesy of Civic
and Business Federation, 1940.
36
communities.1
In the days just after the World War
there were “many rumors regarding plans for a huge plant
to be ereeted by Henry Ford near the City of White
2
Plains"; but no mention is made in the histories or
memoirs of the city of any oonoerted effort to attract
heavy industries.^
In the natural evolution of the growth of a city
business and industry seem to make their own way.
Those
who have lived in the City of White Plains for a long
period of time have watched the business section spread
outward from Main Street, and have seen residences once
considered landmarks removed and way made for stores on
Mamaroneck Avenue, Post Hoad and other prominent thorough­
fares.
From a report issued by the Civic and Business
Federation as of January 1, 1940, it is estimated that
the business section of this city now serves an
approximate trading area of almost 200,000 people.
A
conservative estimate suggested by John C. Bailey,
managing director of the Federation, would be 150,000.
The nature of this business is essentially of the type
necessary to serve a community of homes.
Bxcept for
the presence of two large bakeries, a few plants to
1.
2.
4.
Data taken from an atlas of the State of New York,
statistical view, Aaron H. Burr; 1820.
Dally Reporter. 250th Anniversary of White Plains,
September 26, 1933.
Ibid.
37
mill finished lumber, and four lofts where dresses are
made, there is practically no manufacturing within the
city.
It is estimated that only three percent of the
city has been zoned for industrial use, with the largest
part of this area along the tracks of the New York Central
Railroad.
Slightly more than 82 percent of the whole city
is zoned for residential purposes, while of the remaining
15 percent, 9 percent is in less restricted residential
zones and 6 percent comprises various business districts.1
Effort is being expended to keep White Plains the city of
homes that it is.
According to the above-mentioned report of the
Civio and Business Federation, White Plains is
considered a 163-point trading area (which means that
for every $100 of merchandise sold to residents of the
oity, $163 of merchandise is sold to consumers living
outside the White Plains city limits.2
There are, as estimated in July, 1941, nearly
900 retail stores in the city, employing 4,238
proprietors and workers, and paying salaries annually
of approximately $6,000,000.
1.
2.
In addition, there ore
White Plains Realty Board.
Eugene Szepesl, Director of Research, Miller
Franklin Co., New York.
38
nearly 400 service establishments, employing over 1,000,
with a payroll total of $750,000.
The White Plains
total retail sales, amounting to over forty million
dollars,'1, is an index of the ability of the city to
provide satisfactory servioes to its citizens and to
those who make it their shopping and reoreatlonal
center.
The chart on the following page gives detailed
data regarding the business and occupational situation
in White Plains.
It was compiled by John C. Bailey.
Character of the Population
uThe population of White Plains is characteristic
of cities in this metropolitan area.
It is composed of
a large percentage of whiteB, either born abroad or
having one or both parents born outside the United
States; a negro group in somewhat smaller proportion
than is found in the United States as a whole; and
finally, about two-fifths native-born whites whose
2
parents were also born in the United States.”
Woodward and his associates estimated the present
1.
2.
Civic and Business Federation of White Plains,
John C. Bailey, managing direotor.
Brainard H. Woodward and a special class in
community survey, “A Survey and Evaluation
of Youth Activities and Agencies in White
Plains,” spring, 1941; based on data from
sohool census reports, 1940.
39
Tablf> T . HA.TA ON EMPLOYMENT IN WHITE PLAINS, N, Y.
JULY 1st, 1941
(Compiled by the Civic and Business Federation of White Plains)
EMPLOYEES
No. Employed in Retail Trade in "White Plains
(including owners)
Food Stores
Eating and Drinking Places
Gen. Merchandise Stores (inol. Variety Stores)
Apparel Stores
Automotive Group
Filling Stations
Furniture, Radio & Household Stores
Lumber, Building A Hardware Stores
Drug Stores
Liquor Stores
Other Stores
PROPRIETORS
4,661
816
594
530
386
448
143
132
164
140
25
222
J/620
Est. 10% increase to present
Service Establishments (including owners)
Barber Shops
Beauty Parlors
Cleaning, Dyeing & Pressing
Funeral Directors
Shoe Repair
Auto Repair
Custom Industries
Other Services
38
93
79
13
17
44
15
296
595
Est. 10% increase to present
Wholesale Trade Employees (inoluding owners)
Est. 10% increase to present
No. Employed in Manufacturing Industry
TOTAL
146
121
12
72
11
69
22
27
14
9
115
'BIB-
64
45
41
4
38
39
15
105
351
4,238*
423
1,040
946*
94
306
279*
27
1,155
1,050*
105
Est. 10% increase to present
(Bakeries, Dresses, Printing, Laundries,
Cement Produots. Railroad Engine Repairs,
Sporting Goods, etc.)
No. Employed in Non-Manufacturing Industry
(Building Construction, Transportation, Taxis, Trucking,
Quarrying, Hotels, Air Conditioning, Utilities)
No. Employed In City, County, State A Federal Governments
No. Employed in Banking, Real Estate A Insurance (inol. owners)
No. Engaged in Professional Occupations
Lawyers
257
Physicians A Surgeons
101
Dentists
80
Employees in Professional Offloes
450
Other Employees inol. Clerioal, Domestics A un­
classified service and administrative workers
Clerioal Employees
500
Domestics A Estate Workers
1,000
Hospital Employees
700
Unclassified
300
Total Number of Persons Employed in White Plains
White Plains Residents Employed in New York City
*U. 3. Census of Business for the year 1939
1,757
2,800
650
888
2,500
15,757
4,600
20,257
40
social composition of White Plains to be substantially
as follows:
Population Composition
1940_________
Peroent of Total
Native whites of
native parentage
Native whites of
foreign or mixed
parentage
Foreign-born
whites
Negroes
Others
Total
41
16,534
30
12,098
18
9.8
1.2
7,258
3,952
485
100.
40,327
The youth survey group noted the marked
decline in birth-rate, especially of the nativeborn whites.
This finding, however, does not concur
with the Health Report of Westohester County for
January-to-June, 1941.
The age-dlstrlbution of youth in White Plains
Is given as follows:
1930
Total Percent
Under 5
5-14
15-24
Totals
0-24
1940
Total Percent
2,686
5,501
6,247
7.5
15.3
17.4
2,464
6,016
6,079
6.1
14.9
15.0
14,434
40.2
14,559
36.0
The two set a of figures shoving Population
Composition and Age-Distrlbution are more graphically
presented in the oharts following on pages 41 and 42.
41
'
"------------
41%
Racial Distribution
White Plains
1940
With Comparison to
1930 Population*
30%
18%
9.8%
16634
12098
7258
Native Whites
Native Whites
Foreign
with native
with foreign
born
parents
Whites
or mixed parents
Dropped from
Same as 1930
Same as 1930
21.7 of 1930
Census
Census
*1930 data indicated by dotted lines.
Figure I.
Racial Distribution, White
3952
Negroes
Almost doubled
sinoe 1930 Census
of 5.9%
Plains, 1930-40.
4r
4Q3 22.
1930
1940
35830
f
6247
601S
6079
2686
total
population
■•Woodward i
0-5
5-14
15-24
total
0-5
population
Figure 2
CITY OF 1MHITE PLAINS, N. Y. *
Ago Distribution 1930-1940*
showing trend of change
during the past decade*
5-14
15-24
Vital Statistics and Health
The trend in White Plains is similar to that
evident in the country as a whole* a declining birth­
rate and a lowered death-rate tending fundamentally
to ohange the character of the population to one
preponderantly of older age groups*1
Vital Statistics in White Plains
1940 Infant Mortality Hate— Deaths per 1000
Live Births
1940 General Death Rate
1940 Birth Rate
39.3
10.0
15.7
Number of Births
Recorded
Number of Deaths
Reoorded
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
571
578
608
575
636
353
396
406
393
404
The Infant Mortality Rate of 39.3 per 1000
live births compared favorably with other counties
of the state.
In some counties the rate was as high
as 58* and the rate for the state as a whole*
exclusive of New York City, was 39.5.
The trend in
the last twenty years for White Plains has been
downward from a rate of 70 deaths per 1000 live
births in 1931, to the present rate Indicated above.
1.
2.
Julius B. Mailer, “School and CouaK|lly>* Regents
Inquiry Into the Character and Cost of
Eduoation in the State of New York, 1938.
Marion McKinney, Health Education Servioe*
Westchester County Department of Health,
letters of April 16 and July 18* 1941.
2
44
Vital Statistics in Ifestcheatdr County1
The 'birth rate, expressed, as an average of 12,4
births for each 1000 of population, during the first
six months of 1941 exoeeded all previous figures slnoe
1933.
Only three maternal deaths were recorded.
Infant mortality, with 26.4 deaths per 1000 living
births, was 20 percent lower than the lowest proportion
ever recorded for the first six months of a year.
Fewer persons died of pneumonia and heart
disease, with deaths involving auto accidents, falls
and suloides remaining about the same as last year.
The death rate for the county is recorded as
9.8 per 1000.
A rise in tuberculosis deaths, however,
is noted in the County Health Report for the first
six months of 1941, with 17 percent more deaths than
the average for the first six months of each year
from 1936 to 1940.
Automobile accidents accounted for
39 of 84 violent deaths in the six-month period; falls
caused 25, and suloides 20.
"The school census completed between September
and November, 1940, shows the total boys and girls
from birth to 21 years as 12,199.
were boys and 6,010 were girls.
Of theee, 6,189
It is this group
for whose welfare social agencies, together with
1.
Reporter-Pispatoh. ifhite Plains, August 15, 1941.
45
parents and society as a whole, must be responsible.”1
Of the 7,258 white residents of foreign birth,
there are undoubtedly a number who are still alien;
but no definite figure is available.
Based roughly
on the percentage prevailing throughout the United
States, there may be a little over 700 non-citizens
in Hfhite Plains.
1.
foodward, op* clt.; p. 8
46
CHAPTER III
COMPARISON OP WRITE PLAINS
WITH OTHER CITIES
"A chief attraction to good men, as to others,
will be an opportunity to earn a good living.”1
Edward L. Thorndike of Columbia University
(Teachers’ College), in a oonversation with the
investigator, voiced the opinion that the City of
White Plains was a very superior city.
In his book
entitled “Your City,” published after three years of
intensive and costly research, 310 cities of the
United States having a population of 30,000 or more,
were rated on the results of the study.
Each oity
was rated on about 300 different factors, as a good
place for good people to live in.
Health, educational
opportunities, public provision for recreation, economic
and social factors, availability of creature comforts
and evidence of requisite general conditions for good
1.
Edward L. Thorndike, “144 Smaller Cities,”
Harcourt Brace and Co., New York, 1940; p. 91.
47
living were among 37 “weighted” groups of items
considered.
Thorndike conoeded that answers on any
one item might be very misleading if considered alone.
The oost of a service such as education or relief does
not necessarily measure the quality of the service,
but it was felt that the consideration of raapy different
factors would reduce the probability of erroneous rating
to a minimum.
In Thorndike’s final results, White
Plains was ranked in eighth position, with two other
cities of the 310, throughout the country; seoond only
to Montclair, New Jersey, in the east; and first in
the State of New York.
The investigator, from the outset, has attempted
to maintain the strictly impartial attitude of the
social scientist in the procedure of making various
comparisons of White Plains with cities similarly
situated.
Suoh qualities as common sense, good
judgment and a healthy skepticism are recognized as
factors essential1' in making suoh possible comparisons.
No attempt has been made to develop an intricate
sooiometrlc scale for the cities used as examples for
comparison with White Plains, since suoh a scale, to
be reliable and valid, would imply a prediotlve power
1.
Pauline V. Young, “Scientific Social Surveys
and Research,11 p. 315.
48
beyond the immediate range of the investigator; no
single score will tell us what is important for us
to know, and oversimplification, as suggested by
Young,1 is apt to become distortion, if not
falsification.
The investigator feels himself fortunate,
however, in having secured the very close cooperation
of Edward
Thorndike,* who has specially prepared a
comparable group of cities, classified as suburbs.
Ogburn,
also, has prepared a very practical
soolometric scale which may be used in making any
desired comparison with a computed average standard.
White Plains in Comparison with Similar Suburban
_______ Communities, using the sociometric scale
_______ devised by Ogburn
Is White Plains an average suburban community?
How does it compare statistically with other wealthy
suburban communities?
Ogburn9s method is not to
compare individual cities, for each city, he states,
has local peculiarities.
1.
*
2.
It is better, in his
Ibid.; p. 374.
Copy of a letter from E* L. Thorndike is
Included in Appendix, p. £99,
William P. Ogburn, "Social Characteristics of
Cities-— a Basis for New Interpretation of
the R&le of the City in American Life,”
International City Managers Association;
Chicago, 1937; p. 56.
49
opinion, to compare averages even if the contrasts are
less vivid.
White Plains is Included by Ogburn as one in a
group of ten wealthy suburban cities, averaging 53,300
in habitants, among which are Brookline and Newton,
Massachusetts; Cleveland Heights and Lakewood, Ohio;
East Orange and Montclair, New Jersey; Evanston and
Oak Park, Illinois; University City, Missouri; and
White Plains, New York.1
Ogburn suggests that cities take their
personality from the particular region in which
they are placed, and that their differences arise
more from specialization.
White Plains, having no
important industries, can be said to specialize mainly
in providing a good plaoe for people to live.
A higher
standard of living is the great desideratum of the
g
human race.
The collective effort of all well-
thinking citizens should be direoted toward this end.
Suburbs were rated wealthy by the above
authority where the median value of homes was over
$15,000 and where the median monthly rental was
g
over $69 a month.
1.
2.
3.
In wealthy suburbs, Ogburn
Ibid.
Ibid.
Statistical data as of the oensus of 1930.
Corresponding information from the 1940
oensus will not be available before February,
1942, and possibly later, as per the Department
of Commeroe letter of July 30, 1941; Appendix,
p. 303
50
determined that 21 percent of the working population
are engaged in manufacturing, 15 percent in clerical
trades, 17 peroent are furnishing domestic and personal
services, 15 peroent are professional men and women,
3.44 peroent are teachers.
The remainder are
unclassified or unemployed.
In White Plains 10 peroent of the working
population are engaged in manufacturing, 35 peroent
in clerioal trades, 12 peroent are furnishing domestic
and personal service, 15 percent are professional men
and women, and 4 percent are teachers.
Again, the
remainder— 24 peroent— are unclassified and unemployed.
Ogburn concludes that “oooupations of the population
are often a key to the peculiarities of a city.”
Thus, in the average wealthy suburban community,
over three-fourths (79 peroent) of the people who are
gainfully employed are not making any objeot which they
can exchange for things to each (which are not raised
in the average city) or for other necessities which
they do not themselves produce.
Between one-fifth and
one-sixth (17 peroent) are buying and selling and in
that way earning the money with which to buy the things
they need.
About one-tenth are engaged in moving objects
and persons from one place to another.
1.
Ogburn, op. clt.: p. 57.
51
In 1930, the population of White Plains was 35,830.
Of this number, 27,643 were considered adults (15 years
and over, as designated by Ogburn).
8,162 familes were
listed in the oensus as being home-makers.
14,505 women of 15 years and over.
There were
In classifying age
groups, Ogburn characterizes a young person as between
the ages of one and nineteen, middle-aged as from twenty
to fifty-four, and old persons as from fifty-five years
and up.
The number of persons ten years old and over
employed in gainful occupations was listed in the census
a8 16,449, the total number of families as 8,395.
The
total of married women was 7,959, of whloh 1,285 were
otherwise employed.
The soolometric scale devised by Ogburn, appearing
on pages 52 and 53, shows a comparison of the average
social characteristics of the ten wealthy suburban cities
included on page 49, and the relative position maintained
by Itfhite Plains in 1930.
Ogburn further concludes that not all of the
differences cited are due to inoome, but that most of
them probably are; and that income is a powerful factor
in producing social differences.
"It is obvious from
these percentages that the higher incomes bring many
community advantages.”1
1.
Ogburn, op. oit.: p. 60
52
Table II.
Comparison of Characteristics of Vealthy
________ Suburbs and White Plains________
(Based on number engaged per 1,000 inhabitants)
Sooial Characteristic
Veal thy Suburbs
1930__
Vhlte Plains
1930
3.44
3.39
Teaohers per 100 workers
Clergymen
.27
.225
Police
.37
.546
Officials and Inspectors
.29
.261
Physicians
.86
.522
Lawyers
1.45
Authors
.40
.443
Musicians
.67
.517
Electricians
.51
.687
Hairdressers
.57
.754
Miners
.09
.043
Public Serwioe Vorkers
1.46
1.60
1.93
Personal and Domestic
Serwioe Vorkers
16.50
16.93
Clerks
15.40
12.61
Factory Vorkers
21.
25.1
Trade Vorkers
23.
17.52
Transportation Vorkers
Professional Vorkers
Taxes per Adult
Debt per Capita
Sohool Cost per Adult
School Cost per Student
f ^ b u m pp. 137-38.
$
5.90
7.48
15.40
16.86
72.80
133.15
135.60
295.55
34.40
45.10
107.20
163.18
53
Social Characteristic
Vealthy Suburbs
1930_______
Health Cost per Capita
$
White Plains
1930
,99
1.05
Library Cost per Capita
1.16
1.16
Reoreation Cost per Capita
2.04
1.88
Radios, peroent of families
owning
78.
76.
Median Monthly
Rental
$ 69,00
67.86
Median Value of
Homes
$15,000.
17,628.
Annual Earnings
Rate, Mfg.
1,580.
1,810.
Annual Earnings
Rate, Retail
1,580.
1,671.
Married, Peroent of Adults
Widowed, Peroent of Adults
Median Size of Families,
Minus Families of One
Apartment Houses, Peroent
of Dwellings
Home Owners, Peroent of
Families
Families with no Young
Children, Peroent
Home-makers Employed, Peroent
Sex ratio of Single Men to
Single Women
Married Vomen Employed,
Percent
Families with Two or More
Persons Employed, Peroent
Children Under 5 per 100
Married Vomen
Families with Lodgers,
Peroent
Women Employed, Peroent over
15 Years Old
Sohool Attendance at 16-17,
Peroent
Foreign-born Whites,
Peroent
Native Whites of Native
Parents, Peroent
Young Persons as Ratio
to Middle-aged
Old Persons as Ratio
to Middle-aged
59.
66.6
7.80
7.89
3.88
3.31
7.
6.09
49.
44.9
66.
11.7
62.3
15.4
75*
91.8
11.
16.
30.
31.9
28.2
29.3
9,5
17.
29.
34.3
78.
76.
17.
21.8
49.
41.5
*53
.54
.27
.21
54
The data on White Plains vould tend to show that
the city In 1930 compared favorably with the average
maintained by similar olties as determined by Ogburn,
The outstanding deviation from the normal average,
as shown by this comparison, was to be found in the higher
tax rate and debt per capita, with the consequent reflec­
tions on the cost of essential services.
The percent of
families owning homes was below the average stated, as
was also the percent of families with no children.
The
number of home workers employed was also above the
average.
Of interest, too, was the higher percent of
families with lodgers, and the peroent of women over
15 years of age employed.
The Thorndike Study
Thorndike in his expansive study of “American
Cities and States,”1 and other studies, has personally
chosen twelve cities considered by him most interesting
for comparison, among which White Plains is included.
These cities are compared on a basis of Goodness, UG";
Income, “I” ; Personal Qualities, “P” ; and Estimated
1.
Edward L. Thorndike, “American Cities and States:
Variation and Correlation in Institutions,
Activities, and the Personal Qualities of
the Residents,” Annals of the New York
Academy of Sciences. Vol. XXXIX, Art. 4,
December 22, 1939; pp. 218-98.
55
Per-Captia Value of Private Property,
and include
Alameda, Berkeley, Glendale and Pasadena, California;
Evanston and Oak Park, Illinois; Brookline and Newton,
Massachusetts; Montclair, New Jersey; New Rochelle and
White Plains, New York; and Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
The elements in “G” , “I”, “P”, and aW" scores, as well
as the final Average Score for each city are given in
the Composite Scores on pages, numbered 82, 63 and- 64.
“The G score summarized conveniently in a single
number an inventory and appraisal of many significant
facts.**1
And “A high G score means life for babies,
education for children, parks and playgrounds, libraries
and museums, the absence of slums and child-labor, wide
provision of gas, eleetrlcity, telephones and radios,
high wage-scales, honesty and wisdom in municipal
government, present or past or both, and other aids to
a good life.
The citizens of any city whose G score
is high may well be gratified and stimulated to maintain
and improve its status.
The citizens of any city whose
G score is low should be stimulated to find its
deficiencies and remedy them.”
2
“The better oities have lower birth rates and
smaller families . . . the better persons and the better
1.
2.
Edward L. Thorndike, “Your City,” Harcourt Brace and
Co., New York, 1039; p. 55.
Ibid.: p. 36.
56
communities probably do not contribute their quota to
the next generation.”*' . . . .
“The ‘good* cities have
a higher standard of living than the others, but little
or no higher costs for the same commodities.”2
Thorndike suggests that residential suburbs rank
very high in all the features of G, and score higher than
3
the larger cities which they adjoin.
In this respect
they are peculiar and are to be compared, not with
entire cities, but rather with limited residential
4
sections of the more ordinary cities.
In a sense,
they must look to the larger cities for entertainment,
higher eduoation, medical attention, and special services;
though on the other hand, they are in some ways supporters
and benefactors of the central city in patronizing its
establishments or in supplying it with professional and
5
managerial talent.
Thorndike further states that the mere possession
of unlimited yard-spaoe for play, private gardens and
country clubs should not permit stinting the public
library, or the provision of publio recreational
facilities.
1*
2.
4.
5.
It is in the interest of the general
Ibid.; p.
Ibid.: p.
frbld.: p.
Ibid.; p.
hoc. cit.
119.
130.
135.
136
57
welfare that teachers and other public employees be
paid salaries higher than those of ordinary eltles of
their size, as they can easily afford to do.1
Further statistical comparison of White Plains
with other Westchester County cities, with respect to
certain common social characteristics, are found in the
2
charts by Ualler on pages 58 and 59. These show the
relative position of White Plains based on sohool
enrollment, demographic, economic and educational
indices.
How a City May Be Improved
In suggesting possible ways in which a city may
improve its general well-being, Thorndike offers some
homely, straight-from-the-shoulder philosophy:
The improvement of a city begins at
home, with the neighborhood and the individual
family. Plant trees along your street, clean
up the cans on its vacant lots. If you want
the oonvenienoe of a good food store in your
neighborhood, support it. Earn your living and
as much more as you oan, without losing your
joy in life. The chances are ninety-five in a
hundred that the world pays you as muoh as you
are worth to it, so live on what it pays you.
There is nothing shameful in not being rich,
1.
2.
Thorndike, op. oit.: p. 137.
Julius B. Ualler, ^School and Community, ° Regents
Inquiry Into the Character and Cost of Public
Eduoatlon in the State of New York, UcGraw
Hill Book Co., Inc., New York, 1938.
68
COlOARISON OP CITIES IN WESTCHESTER COUNTT
School Census Enrollment - Attendance Statistics Cities 1931-364'
Table III,
Psraan.taga-.Qn...SohQol.C.encma
Afciaanftltne.
i
All
City
SdhndJ Riblioj^f0"
ohial
72.3 63,9
66,1 53.6
71,7 63.7
70.4 55.8
Mt. Vernon
New Rochelle
White Plains
Yonkers
o^ f“17 E*
ex- k s c
Disfcrictjyears
6.8
10.9
6,2
13.9
1,5
1.4
1.8
0.7
Peroentage
.jfe gubUo
23.3
31.9
26.3
25.8
\
years]empt
1*4 i
0.4
0.9!
0.1
1 8
0.3
0.0
.|
3.3!
0.2
0.1
3.8
0,1
Peroentago
School Cen­
sus Is of
Total Pop­
ulation,
;____1930 ..
29.1
33.3
29.6
31.8
.4.
♦Averages of annual percentages.
Haller, P. 98-101.
Table IV.
Demographio Indices For Cities*
Vital Indices
per IjOOO
City
.
Per- !
In- oen'tega
Birth | Death^ font
iRate I Rate Mor- ora
“r M
Mt. Vernon
New Rochelle
White Plains
Ynnlfflrfl
__
Q ’owth
j Westchester
-1
14.0! 10.1
i Med; ian
: Size
of
Fam­
ily.
iRaoe and nativity'
In P y m r t y M -l oenPer_
- NaP0r jtive
6 jWhito
itage
iof NanVegro
eign^N
| Cit­
Bom
izens
For-]
5,9 11.4
70.0:23.2
35.3 33.1 3.32 21.8
6,6
12.0
34.9 i39.3 3.45 6.1
68.0 23.3
6.0 14.6
32.9 34.3 3.31 5,7 ! 72.0 21,8
-38 m3. U s * l .i^ ^ _ U ^ .7 ...4 ..1 2 ^ 1 i5 Jl3_
2*5 15.4
Densi-t Perqen_ % . 1930
ty pari tage Ur­ Rural
Pop,
Pop,
sa.
banJPop,
mile i
84.8
4.3 520,947
36.4 |
3.4 ;1,163i
Haller P, 121-2-3 and P. 127.
♦Averages of annual. percentages.
59
Table V,
Eoonomio Indices For Weetchoster Cities
Homes
Per*
Per­
oenPer­ Medi­ Medi-f Per- cen­
Spend*
cen­
an ,cen- tage
an
able tage tage
tage
In­
InJnemValue
oome come Owing
Radios
Tax
7.3
$925
36,6 $15,431 $51,52 70,5 7.2
6,6
44,5 16,927 63,02 65.7 7.2
930
960,
8.3
44,9 17,628 67,86: 75.8 5.8
64.8 9.0
4.4
31,G 12,798 46,47
890
‘-J E fit. - Capita_
Real­ Goyernty
ment
Values Rev­
enue
City
$3,133
4,378
5,755
2,690
Mt, Vernon
New Rochelle
White PlninB
Yonkers
(83.90
94,11
122,42
89,63
Composite
Eoonomio
Index
”"io6“"'
95
100
90
M qe
100
I4,162 20,981
i
.i.....
Westchester
891 ! 6,0 I 43,4! 14,448 52.041 69,5 9 7 .3 37,9 6,4
!
i
!
.. .
Table VI.
Educational Indices For Yfostchester Cities
Pro Per- Per­ PerCur­
pon­ cen­ oenrent
B S I tage tage
Ex­
passing
pense State!
City
?
i Reper
Aid At^en- gentsh
i dance
ADA.
..
■f
22.9
92
93. G 13.3
Mt, VerncH $187
96,9
14,6
91
ochelle
97,C.
93
15.3
Plains
155 26.2
95.1 10.8
9S_
Yon k ers....
Percentage
3oroe
One
So 1001
In So.
Teaoh*t'
172
Grades
12
6
6*8 ! 11*11
14*9 17*8
14*3 17.4
6*6
14*9 17*5
6*6 11*7 14*10 17.5
;eracy PUpil
Dative Total Teaohf
Schools] Group *1930 jWhitej Pop. Ra?io
SI
Westo heater
{Percentage
i in School
by Ago
Groups
Average ago by
18:1
21.9
Mailer, P« 292—3 and 298.
6*5
!llil
, iT8=WhC8*-'20l
6.9
69.4j26.1 1 0.2 ! 3,0
19.1
Per- [
centage
Illdy
tor■ates
16-17 18-20
74.1
74.7
76.0
67.8
27.5
29.0
33.9
23.3
3.1
3.1
2^8
3.0
60
or not being beautiful, or not being somebody’s
boss, but it is shameful not to do honest work,
not to live within your inoome, not to take decent
oare of your family. Only extraordinary mis­
fortune justifies a loafer, or a dead-beat, a
family deserter. No oity will ever be made great
by suoh— not if all the philanthropic agenoies
known to man took charge of it. Be ambitious but
not conoeited, take an Impartial view of yourself;
recognize your limitations as well as your
possibilities. Live and let live. Obey the
Golden Rule. Keep on learning as long as you
live. Take the advice of experts. Don’t pay
too much for kind words, flattery and promises.
If you wish a real share in government attend
the primaries. Enjoy the happiness of others.
Cooperate with all the good in all men, when you
can. Suoh homely precepts for individuals are
the keys of goodness for their city.
Composite Scores
In order to know and appraise the qualities which
make a oity a desirable place in which to live and work,
it must be plaoed in direct comparison with similar
cities of like population and general mature.
In 1939 Thorndike computed three “weighted”
composite scores to be used as indices of G (general
goodness of life for good people in the ooraaunity in
question), X (the per-oapita income of its residents),
P (their personal qualities of intelligence, morality
and oare for their families), and Jtf (the estimated
per-oapita valuation of private property).2
1.
2.
Thorndike, op. cit.: pp. 167-68.
Thorndike, “American Cities and States,” p. 236
61
The G, _I and P scores are based upon the lists on
pages 62, 6 3 and 64, consisting of 37, 9 and 11 items,
respectively.
The data oonoerns White Plains and
eleven cities considered by Thorndike as being most
interesting in comparison rlth White Plains.
Analysis of Thorndike Scores
White Plains in the G division, scores in eighth
place, tying with Glendale, California.^
Those con­
stituents of the G score in vhioh White Plains was
comparatively low appeared to be:
Infant death rate
Appendicitis death rate
Puerperal diseases death rate
Expenditures for libraries and museums
Percentage of persons 18 to 20
attending sohoolB
Average salary elementary-school teacher
Per-capita expenditures for recreation
Average of public parks
(very low)
Frequency of home ownership per-capita
Per-oapita domestic installations of
radios
**
In the division Indicated as uother items” White
Plains ranks lowest in the per-oapita public property
*
**
Cf. p. 47.
These are based on 1930 census statistics (the latest
available) and in the past decade White Plains has
made tremendous advanoes in all the items listed.
1COMPOSITE SCORES
-
Table VII.
For e a c h oit y and e a c h state t h r e e w e i g h t e d composite scores G, I.
and P have b e e n computed w h i c h m a y be u s e d as indices respectively of
the general goodness of life for g o o d people in the community in question,
the pe r c a p i t a income of its residents, and their personal qualities of
intelligence, m o r a l i t y an d oare fo r t h e i r families.
These G, I. and P
scores are b a s e d u p o n 37. 10. and 11 items respectively, as listed below.
CONSTITUENTS OF THE G SCORE
Relative p o s i t i o n of e a c h o i t y i n relation t o the final score
Final Score in G.
Elements in G Score
Items of H e a l t h
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Infant death-rate r e v e r s e d
*
G e n e r a l death-rate r e v e r s e d
Typh o i d d eath— rato r e v e r s e d
Appondloltis. death-rate r e v e r s e d
Puerperal diseases death-rate r e v e r s e d
♦Reversed so that f e w e r doaths show higher score L o w r a t e s aro scored + and high rates — .
X.
2.
3.
4.
6.
Items of Education
6 . Por
7 . Por
8 * Por
9.
10.
11#
12.
13.
ca p i t a public expenditures for schools
c a p i t a oxpendituros
for toachor*s
salaries
c a p i t a o x p o n dituros
for textbooks
and supplios
Per
c a p i t a e x p e n ditures
for libraries
an d museums
Percentage of porsons sixtoen t o seventeen attonding schools
Porcentage of persons e i g h t e e n to twenty attonding schools
Average salary, h i g h school t o o o h e r
A v e r a g e salary, o l o m o n t a r y school t e a c h e r
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
Itoms o f Rooro a t i o n
14. Per c a p i t a public expenditures for recre a t i o n
15. Por o a p i t a aoroage of public parks
14.
15.
Economic and "Social" Itoms
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21 .
22.
23.
R a r i t y of extreme p o v e r t y
R a r i t y of loss oxtr o m o p o v e r t y
I n f r o q u e n c y of gainful omploymont f o r boy s 10-14
X n f r o q u e n o y of gainful employment f o r girls 10-14
Avor a g o w a g e o f w o r k e r s in factories
F r o q u o n o y of homo ownership (por oa p i t a nu m b o r homos owned)
P e r oapita support of the Y. li. C. A.
Excess of physicians, xnirsos and toaohors over malo
domestic servants
S c o r e s anc 1 r a t i n g s p r e p a r e d b y T h o r n d i k e .
16.
17^
18.
19*
20.
21 .
22.
23.
6 ?..
•
rH
a
o
*
Of
2
i
rH
•
rH
oj
O
r*>
<D
rH
©
Q>
10
4
+14
+19
•
rH
d
O
%
o
H
flj
d
o
rH
Cl
ffl
EO
<a
o
Of
•S
O
w
©
TCr
*
wf
(2
1
+17
+24
*-a
O
pi
8
at
a
£H
*
A
u
•o8
d
*
mPi
W
6
6
+18
©
erf
i—1
o
■P
d
o
+18
4
+19
XI
o
o
orf
£
a>
&ID
Prf
10
2
10
8
2
+14
+20
+14
+17
+20
+ 7
+10
+ 6*
+ 5
+ 1
+ 6
Elements in G Score
Items of Health
+12
+10
+6
+e
+ 6
+10
+14
+ 4
+ 8
+ 6
+10
+ fc
+ S'
+ 1
+ 2
+ 8
0
+ e
+ «
+ a
+*e
+ 7
+10
+ 1
+ 9* + 9
+4 + 9
+ 6
+12
+ 5
+ 5
-19
+ 5
+ 9
+ 7
+ 6
+ 6
+12
0
+ 5
+ 5
+ 3
+ 2
+13
+23
+ 9
+17
+ 6
+16
+22
- l
+ 2
+ 5
+ 7
+ 4
+ 4
•m
i;
2.
+13
+ 7
3,
4,
5,
+17
+ 9
6.
+20
+10
+ 7*
+24
+ 9
+29
+ 7
+ 3
7.
8.
9.
10 ,
11 .
12 .
13.
Items of Education
+ 9
+ 8
+12
+12
+
+
+
9
3
+13
+ 3
+15
+ 8
+11
+12
1
8
+12
+16
+ 6
+ 6
+36
+ 4
+ 6
+25
+ 1
+ 1
+13
+33
+51
+26
+11
+28
+ 3
+ 4
+ 7
- 3
- 5
+13
+ 7
+25
+ 1*
+ 1
+ 3
— 6
- 7
+ 7
+ 9
+23
+ 1*
- 1
+ 3
+ 5
+ 1
+15
+ 9
+26
+ 6
+ 4
+6
+ 9
+ 5
+22
+20
+17
+ 8
+ 6
+ 9
+ 4
+ 2
+ 8
+ 6
+ 7
+13
+ 8
+ 6
+13
+15
+ 2
+16
— 2
+ 7
- 3
— 2
- 1
14.
15.
+20
+39
+43
+ 2
16.
17.
16.
19.
20 .
21 .
22 .
23.
+11
+ 7
+12
Itoms of Recreation
+13
+ 1
+ 6
- 3
- 1
+ 6
+30
+ 9
+ 6
— 3
+8
— 3
+46
+ 3
+29
- 1
0
- 3
Eoonomio and "Social" Items
+ 5
+ S
+10
+
+
+
-
7
7
5
7*
0
+10
+ 7
+ 3
+ 9
+11
+ 4
0
+ 7
+
+
+
+
+
+
7
7
+ 5
+ 8
2
-2 2
5
9
3
+ 4
+15
+ 4
+ 6
+ 8
0
+11
i
o
CO
♦Estimated
+21
+28
+ 2
- 2
+17
- 2
+17
+ 7
+36
+37
+11
+ 7
+33
+ 3
+ 1
+17
+12
+18
+16
+ 9
+ 11 *
- 4
*. 7 *
+25
+16
+13
+16
+19
+13
+ 2
+25
+14
+ 6
- 3
+ 3
+15
+19
+17
+ 6
+13
+ 2
+11
- 1
+21
- 1
0
+10
+20
+ 1
- 4
+ 1
+12
+10
+ 2
+13
0
+17
+ 4
- 7
+18
These olties are generally classified as suburbs. data
therefore incomplete.
Croature Comforts
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
For
Par
For
Per
Por
capita domostio installations of
capita domostio installations of
capita number of automobiles
capita domostio installations of
capita domostio installations of
olootricity
gas
tolophonos
radios
24.
26.
26.
27.
28.
Other Xtoms
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
(rev.) Poroont of literacy in tho total population
Por
capita circulation o f magazinos*
Por
capita circulation of tho Literary Digost
Death rate f r o m syphilis
(rovorsod)
Death rato f r o m homioldo (rovorsod)
D o a t h rato f r o m automobilo aocldonts (rovorsod)
Por capita valuo of public schools, libraries, musoums, parks
Ratio of value of schools, otc., to valuo of Jails, otc.
For capita public proporty minus public dobt
29.
30.;
31..
32.
33.34.
35.
36^
37.‘
Sooro in I
Rolativo position of oaoh city in rolation to tho final I scoro
(Tho first five items aro dirootly rolatod to incorao and roprosont
lovols of it from h igh to low. Tho last four aro measures of
expenditure s .)
Final, sooro in I
k
Elomonts in tho I Scoro
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9*
Income-tax returns (Over
$2500J
Income-tax roturns (Over
$5000)
Average
wagos* toaohors
Averago
wagos* retail storo employees
Avorago
wagost factory omployoos
Expondituros*
rent (or oquivalont in oaso of homos awnod)
Por oapita salos
of retail food stores
Per capita
salos of cigar storos
Por capita salos
of drug storos
(Thorndiko rocognizos ono notablo woaknoss in tho abovo list,
namely, that it considors only rospoctablo oxpondituros, and
that oxpondituros for prostitutos, gambling, forbiddon drugs,
intoxicants, and moro or loss dlsroputablo ontortainmont in
thosa citios could not bo ostimatod.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
-2>>
3
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a) as
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*
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w
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rHWO
O
Creature Comforts
+
+
+
+
+
?4.
25,
26. '
27*
28* .
5
6
5
6
6
+ 6
+11
+11
+ 5
+ 5
+11
+ 8
+18
+ 3
+ 8
+ 6
+12
+30
+14
+ 5
+
+
+
+
+
5
5
5
9
6
+ 5
+ 9
+11
+12
+ 8
+
+
+
+
3
7
6
9
5
7
~-r
+ 4
+ 3
■•15
+ 3
+ 4
427
+10
+10
+ 3
+ 3
+ 3
-
+ 1
+ 4
+ 8
+16
+ 9
+ 5
+ 4
- 5
i-
5*
+ ?#
+ 5*
+ 8
24
25
26
27
28
Other Items
+ 4
+ 1
- 2
+ 5
+ 8
+ 8
+10
+11
+
8
+17
+28+23
+18
+14
+14
+17
+15
+ 8
+
8
- 4* 423
+ 4
+22
+13
+15
+18
+17
+ 3
+28
+ 4
+ 5
+ 6
- 2
+ 1
+ 6
+ 5
+ 3
+ 4
+ 5
+ 5
+ 4
+ 2
+ 3
+ 6
+ 1
+ 1
+ 5
+ 5
+ 6
+ 6
- 1
+ 9
- 7
+ 8
+ 4
+ 4
+ 2
+ 2
•» 2
+ 4
- 0
+ 5
- 1
+16
+ 8
+22
+ 0
+16
+14
+14
+26
+ 1
+ 9
™
1
+32
+19
+
1
- 8
- 6
+10
- 1
+ 5
+13
- 3
+ 9
+ 2
+ 0
+10
- 5
+ 8
+ 8
+ 7
+ 7
- 3
-10
These items follow the order on Pages 169 and 190 of YOUR CITY
+
29*
30.
31*.
32*
33*
34*
35*
36*
37.
5
+
7
+ 8
+13
+ 9
+ 8
+ 7
+ 6
+ 6
+ 9
+18
+12
+ 4
29
30
31.
32.
33
34
35
36
37
Score in I
12
11
10
9
5
1
2
8
2
6
2
6
+ 6
+ 9
+12
+20
+35
+39
+36
+24
+36
+30
+36
430
+29
+32
+14
+45
+13
4- 9
+36
+19
+52
+11
+10
444
+17
+37
+32
?
1
2
+10
3
4
5
+2 8
+20
+2 2
+11
- 7
+ 1
+3
+5
i
(
t
Elements in the I Score
1
i
i*
2*
3*
I
4.
5*
6.
7.
6.
9.
+ 8
+ 6
+14
+ 0
+12
+10
+11
+11
♦
+
+
i
3
7
1
5
2
- 7
+
+
5
1
1
2
+ 5
+17
+20
+ 2
+ 8
+20
+
+
+
—
+
6
+ 7
+15
+15
+ 7
+ 8
+ 0
9
+11
9
4
5
+32
+30
<►■2 *
+42
+17
+22
+20
•* 3
+ 8
+33
+42
- 2*
+45
+33
+47
+ ?
+10
- 3
+ 11 *
+20
+22
+ 9
- 3*
+ 4
+ 4
- 9*
+ 7
+33
?
+ 6
14
-3
18
- 3
- 9
- 2
These items follow the order on Page 192 of YOUR CITY
■•■Estimated Score.
+21
+23
+24
+13
+11
+14
+17
+26
6
+ 1
7
- 9
+ 7
8
9
Tho
Indox, P, of Cortoin Dosirablo PorsonrJ. Qualitios of A Population*
Tho porsonnl qualitios indox# P, is a w o i g h t o d composito of tho
doviations from tho modian i n tho itoras listod bolaw, w i t h spocifio
woightings boing givon to eac h itora b y Thorndike,
Rolativo position of anch c i t y i n relation to tho final P scoro
Pinal Score in P
filononts in the P Score
1*
2*
3*
4,
5*
6*
7*
8,
9*
10*
11.
Por capita numbor of graduates fro n public high schools in 1934
Porcontago of total roquirod for maintenance of public librarios
Porcontago of illiteracy (rovorsod)
Porcontago of Illiteracy among thoso ages 15-24 (rovorsod)
For capita circulation of public librarios
Por
capita nunbor of homes orwnod
Por
capita numbor of physicians, nursos and toachars minus
domostio sorvants
Por capita numbor of tolcphonos
Numbor of male dentists divided b y numbor of nalo lawyers
Por
capita nunbor of doaths fron syphilis
(reversed)
Por
capita nunbor of doaths from honioido (rovorsod)
Thorndike states that tho plus and minus G scoros m a y bo intorprotcd as follows s "If a city h a d as low a scoro in each of tho 37
traits as tho lowest city in that trait had, it w o u l d scoro about
— 38,
If a city had as high a scoro in each of the 37 traits as the
highest city in that trait had, it w o u l d scoro about 446, Tho diff—
oronco botwoon tho two w o u l d bo about 84.
Tho difforcnco botvraon
tho modian city and Pasodenn i3 throo— tenths of this, and tho difforonco bctwoon tho median cit y and the lowost four or five is onofourth of it. Considor a city w h i c h half of the babios bcrn dio
wi t h i n a year, no schooling or rocrcational facilitios is furaishod
froo to anybody, 98 porcont of tho population live in mu d hovole,
oating food costing loss t h a n 1 0 conto por day and owning nothing
bu t a fow rags; in w hich ono person i n fivo hundrod is murdorod ovory
year and another dios fron typhoid; in w h i c h ninoty per cont of boys
and girls ton to fourtoon aro at w o r k and nine out of to n teachers
aro slaves; in w h i c h tho status in a l l tho othor itoms is correspond­
ingly low. Such a city w o u l d scoro about —140 b y our systom.
Call­
ing its wolforo zoro, tho welf a r e of our lowost cities is about 120,
and that of our highost is about 165," A m e r i c a n Citios and Statos p . 241,
1«
2#
3*
4.
5»
6*
7*
61
9i
.
10
64
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id
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-p
7
8
4
1
8
3
5
6
11
12
10
2
+15
+13
+20
+27
+13
+22
+17
+16
+ 7
+ 1
+10
+26
+ 2
- 1
- 2
- 3
+ 5
- 1
+12
+ 7
+12
+ 9
+ 3
+ 8
+ 4
+18
+
+
+
+
+
+
Elements in the P Score
+ 1
+
+
+
+
+
+
-
8
1
5
1
6
5
0
+
+
+
+
+
+
1
5
7
5
4
4
7
+11
+ 5
+ 8
+ 1
+ 6
+ 3
+11
+11
+10
+ 8
+ 5
+11
+ 4
+ 8
+
+
+
+
+
+
3
7
8
5
6
2
7
+ 5
+ 7
+10
+ 5
+ 3
+ 3
+17
- 5
+ 4
+11
+ 7
+ 4
- 4
+25
+ 2
+ 2
+ 5
+ 5
+ 7
+ 3
+10
+
+
+
+
+
5
1
1
5
2
1
+
+
0
1
4
1
2
1
1
+
+
+
+
6
3
3
6
+
+
+
5
2
5
6
+
+
+
+
+14
+ 2
+ 5
+ 4
+
+
+
9
4
4
1
+12
+ 3
+ 5
- 1
+ 9
+
4+
+
+
+
1
5
5
5
+
+
3
2
2
2
3
2
4
3
- 4
+ 6
+ 6
3
2
6
5
-
m
5
5
1
1
5+
3
6
6
♦Estimated Score
V/ - Estimated per capita value of private property, (U. S. Census and
Statistics of Cities*)
Per Capita
X Score
Alameda, Cal#
Berkeley, cal*
Glendale, Cal.
Pasadena, Cal*
$1,487
2,154
2,681
4,616
- 4
+ 3
+ 8
+28
Evanston, 111*
Oak Park, 111*
3,628
3,106
+18
+13
Brookline, M»si.
Neirton, Mae*,
3,777
2 ,609
+19
+ e
Montclair, N, J*
3,997
+21
New Roohelle, N# Y*
White Plains, N* Y«
4,269
4,883
+24
+30
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
3,786
+19
1.
2,
3.
4,
5.
6.
7*
8.
9.
10.
11.
65
minus public debt, and relatively loir in all other items
save the per-oapita circulation of magazines; and its
highest rating in this group is in per-oapita value of
asylums, schools, libraries, museums and parks owned by
the public.
In the J[ score, White Plains was in second
place, with Brookline, Massachusetts, and Montclair, New
Jersey; only Oak Park, Illinois, exceeding their soore.
In this group White Plains held scores exceeding those
of Oak Park in six of the nine items; and it was below
the scores of the leading city only in Income-tax returns;
Average wages, retail store employees; and Average wages,
factory employees.
The P soore plaoed White Plains in tenth position
in this group of twelve cities. Its relative ratings for
this soore are low for all but three of the elements,
namely: Per-capita circulation of public libraries; Peroapita number of physicians, nurses and teachers minus
male domestic servants; and Per-capita number of telephones.
In the W soore White Plains stands first in the
group of twelve cities compared.
(For Thorndike’s explanation of his method of
scoring, see Appendix, page 300.)
Cities are made better than others in
this country primarily and chiefly by getting
able and good people as residents— people
who, for example, are Intelligent, read book's,
do not contract syphilis, or commit murder, or
allow others to do so, own their own homes,
have telephones, and support doctors, nurses,
dentists and teachers, rather than lawyers
66
and domestic servants* The second important
cause of welfare is income* Good people,
rich or poor, earning much or earning little,
are a good thing for a city, but the more they
have and earn the better. They and their
incomes account for at least three-fourths,
and probably more, of the differences of
American cities in the goodness of life for
good people. . . . The safe and prudent course
for any city to pursue is to improve its
population and increase its incomes.1
The causation of the differences between the
cities in the G score is attributable as follows:
14 percent to I
46 percent to P
23-1/2 percent to what is oonmton
to 1 and P
16-l/2 percent to forces not
represented in 1 and P
In Thorndike’s opinion, five-sixths of the variation in
Goodness of life for good people is caused by the
personal qualities and average income of the population,
and the former greatly outweighs the latter.
“Good people make a city good.
The surest way to
have good people is to breed them. . . • The acts and
attitudes of leaders in a small city will be influential
in this.
If the young among them have the wisdom and
courage to Invest in more babies rather than more property,
2
entertainment or culture, their example will be followed.”
The per-capita debt of a city involves improvements
1.
2.
Edward L. Thorndike, “Human Nature and the Social
Order,” Macmillan Co., New York, 1940; p. 431.
Thorndike, “144 Smaller Cities,” p. 91.
67
made in public buildings, services, and the like.
Differences in cost of living, such as in White Plains,
are due to increased trading area, and increased use of
roads and sidewalks, since it is the center of the
reoreational, legal and educational phases of county
life.
The per-oapita debt of White Plains exceeds that
of all the cities compared.
This is a reasonable
indication of the extensive oommunity development and
municipal servioes rendered.
A further discussion of
this phase of governmental financing will be found on
page 90.
In the issue of September 24, 1938, The Saturday
Evening Post published an article on the bonded debt of
various cities.
It was stated that the assessed
valuation of property in White Plains is over ten times
the bonded debt, which, in the opinion of experts, is
an excellent showing for a wholesome progressive city.
The aooompanying tabulation, on page 68, shows
the position of White Plains among twelve suburban
cities of similar characteristics.
68
Table VIII.
Chart Shoving Position of White Plains in the Hatter of
Per-Capita Debt in 1940
City
Population
Assessed
Valuation
Per-Capit*
Debt
Alameda
Calif.
32,256
$ 30,756,160.
$ 32.73
Berkeley
Calif.
85,457
91,868,000.
24.90
Glendale
Calif.
82,582
61,181,620.
56.61
Pasadena
Calif.
81,864
125,862,685.
67.34
Kvanston
111.
65,389
52,868,013.
30.91
Oak Park
111.
66,015
43,265,638.
24.86
Brookline
Mass.
49,786
158,978,500.
23.36
Newton
Mass.
69,873
167,587,000.
74.21
Montolair
N. J.
39,807
82,412,063.
203.62
New Rochelle
N. Y.
58,408
187,855,814.
228.55
White Plains
N. Y.
40,327
145,006,773.
267.18
Cleveland Heights
Ohio
54,992
106,505,580.
14.64
1.
Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, National
Municipal League.
69
CHAPTER IV
GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE
OF WHITE PLAINS
Present Form and Development of the Municipal Government
The Charter of the City of White Plains prescribes
a Mayor-Councll form of government.
are elected by direct vote.
The eight officials
Department Heads, with the
exception of those of the Department of Education, are
appointed by, and responsible to, the Council as a vhole.
Their tenure of office is thus dependent on the pleasure
of the Council.*"
Upon these municipal officers depends
our assurance of a modern efficient and honest
administration of governmental affairs.
The development and growth of the municipal
government of White Plains can be appreciated from
a study of the city’s population figures for
various periods, as prepared by the United States
1.
Cf. Report to the Mayor by the Committee on
Need for a Survey, 1939; p. 6. (Personnel:
Kenneth F. Clark, chairman, John F. Hopf, Jr.,
Allen W. Lent, Fraser P. Prioe, Grover C.
Sniffen, and Walter W. Whiffen.)
70
census:
Year
Population
1870
2,630
(town including village)
1880
2,381
(village alone)
1890
4,042
59
1900
7,899
95
1910
15,949
101
1920
21,031
31
1930
35,830
70
1940
40,327
12
Percent Increase
1
The rapid increase In population has brought
about a transformation in the physloal appearance of
the city, and has lnoreased the duties and responsi­
bilities of the various departments of the city
government.
This growth has likewise led to oomplex
and involved methods of compiling and recording
financial data relative to the everyday flsoal
activities of the city.
2
In order to meet these
fiscal obligations, White Plains has had to tax,
borrow and spend, in order to furnish the many services
1.
2.
Compiled from census reports and data secured from
various souroes, such as B. H. Woodward, “A
Survey and Evaluation of Youth Activities and
Agencies in White Plains, N. Y.u; spring, 1941.
Allen W. Lent, "Financial Practices of Municipalities
as They Affect the Trend of Municipal Credit,”
a treatise on banking; June, 1940.
provided for in the city charter, as well as those
demanded by increasingly higher standards of living.
Many conditions prevail in the City of White Plains,
which may not be present in other communities of
similar size, since this is the county seat and the
center of recreational, legal, educational and other
forces of county life.
City Revenue and Assessment Policy
According to the National Municipal League
Survey of 1940, the relatively high assessed valuations
of real properties in White Plains are attributable to
the combination of conditions prevailing in the city:
" ...
an abnormally large percentage of unimproved
land; inflation resulting from rapid growth and
consequent speculation in real estate; the known high
income level of population; a shopping distriot of
abnormal extent and productivity due to its being the
county seat and the focal point of a large suburban
territory of high purchasing power.”
In addition to
this, the extent of special services provided for the
inhabitants must be considered— rear-door garbage
collection, a highly efficient publlo-works department,
fire and police safety systems, recreational department
and an exoellent school system.
A real-estate survey of the City of White Plains
72
as of April 1, 1938, under the dlreotion of the White
Plains Realty Board, Inc., shoved that the percentage
of vacancies in the various groups of residential
properties at that time vas almost negligible.
In one-
family houses, the percentage of vacancies was estimated
at an average of 4 percent; in the two-family houses, at
2.1 percent; and in apartment houses, at S.2 percent.
With repsect to store vaoanoles, the average occupancy
for all locations was 92,5 percent, ranging from 98*4
percent in the most desirable locations to 90.5 percent
in the side-street looations.
Office space showed a
percentage of vacancies of 17.6, loft space, 21 percent
and industrial space, 20 percent.
The United States census of housing, as of April,
1940, showed there were 11,146 dwelling units in White
Plains of which only 670 were vacant at that time.1
The White Plains 6-peroent dwelling vaoancy rate compares
favorably with a rate of 6,4 percent for all of Westchester.
These figures indicate that the demand for
residential and business space in White Plains is very
aotlve; and it would need little stimulus to break the
deadlock whiob is apparently seriously retarding the
growth of the olty.
1.
U . S . Department of Commerce, 16th Census, Population
and Housing, 1940.
73
The Mayor's Committee on Survey further suggested;
The committee feels very keenly that the
solution of our tax problem is not by unduly
reducing the services whloh our oity is
rendering its residents, but by pursuing such
a course that our city will become so attrac­
tive as a place of residence for desirable
people that our desirable population will
increase, near assessed values be created
and new revenues thus brought to the city
treasury.
Home Ownership Is Protection
The advantages of home ownership have never been
as great or as marked as they are today, in the opinion
of executives of Real Estate Boards.1
Civilization, as
such, began when man desired to own a piece of land.
Today, we call this owning a home.
The inauguration of
the single amortization plan in 1934, with the setting
up of a system of monthly payments like rent, has
actually made owning a home cheaper today, in most cases,
than renting.
That home ownership creates a better and
more substantial type of citizenship has long been
contended by economists and sociologists.
In the City of White Plains, it is generally
conceded that the individual who owns his own home takes
a greater Interest in the problems of government and in
1.
Philip Hf. Kniskern (Philadelphia), President of
National Association of Real Estate Boards,
in New York, Sunday, May 3, 1941.
74
the oare of property.
Located in a well-serviced
suburban area, the people of White Plains and Westchester
County have found home ownership and the advantages of
ample ground for lawns and gardens a haven of safety from
the hazards of traffic for their ohildren.
Further, the existing housing shortage and the
danger of ever-rising rents adds to the Inconvenience of
being forced to move to cheaper quarters in a less
desirable neighborhood in order to keep within one’s
income.
As an investment, losses in real estate as
compared with those In securities have been negligible.
1
In White Plains, as elsewhere, new homes contain
features undreamed of a decade ago.
are modern to the last degree.
Equipment and heating
Basements provide play-
space for adults as well as children.
Old homes, through
financing made possible by the Federal Housing Administra­
tion, may be modernized to approximate a new home.
Only
when motility is essential, due to reassignment of
territory and change of business, might home ownership
be considered inadvisable.
In 1939, the equalization rate for the state
fixing the ratio of assessments to true value in White
1.
John A. Marbach, White Plains, President Real Estate
Association of the State of New York, in the New
York Herald Tribune. Sunday, April 20, 1941.
75
Plains was 90 percent.
At the same time, the rate for
the county was fixed at 97 percent.1
This would tend
to show that the city’s rate of assessment was well
within the limits of practice within the county.
In
1941, the aggregate assessed valuation of taxable real
property was $138,148,490.
At the same time the total
bonded debt was $12,314,274.
The exempt properties
within the city in that year amounted to $33,321,381.
Of this total, about fifteen million dollars represents
private institutions and individuals, and the balance of
about eighteen million dollars represents federal, state,
county and municipally owned properties.
The total
exempt properties represent nearly 23 percent of the
property value in the oity, including public service
and speoial franchises.
The County of Westchester holds
4.67 peroent of the total property values in White Plains.
Assessed Valuations
1937
1.
$
154,492,533.
1938
152,676,400.
1939
149,954,422.
1940
145,006,773.
1941
138,148,490.
Report of the State Tax Commission, Albany, New
York, 1939.
- H UNIVERSITY
S C H O O L OF E D U C A T IO N
o
o
I 1C " - ~ Y
new y j
76
The downward trend In assessed valuations has
been due to a new assessment policy.
Realty values which
no longer can carry the original assessment have been
reduced, while areas in new shopping sections have been
made to carry a more equitable share of the burden.
These
reductions will tend to bring assessed values more nearly
in line with actual market prices and to eliminate
inequalities which have existed between various residential
ne ighborhoods.1
The Civic and Business Federation, through its
various committees, has suggested that a careful study
and analysis be made of exempt properties, as well as
property in tax arrears, and some pland devised whereby
such properties may be restored to the tax rolls.
If
this should be done, values would then move upward on
a more sound basis and the oity would begin to broaden
its tax base and perhaps thus stabilize the tax rate on
2
a more conservative level.
Tax Liens Held bv the City
The City of White Plains now has some 2,400 tax
liens subject to foreclosure, representing about
1.
2.
The Reporter-Dlspatoh, White Plains; Editorial,
Wednesday, July 2, 1941.
Report to the Mayor and Common Council of the City
of White Plains, by the Committee on Meed for
Survey, May 1, 1939.
77
$425,271 In unpaid taxes and Interest*
In the past several
years, the city has foreclosed on fewer than 100 tax liens.
A reduction in the disoount on prepaid taxes from
8 percent to 2 peroent was advooated by the Mayors
Committee on Survey, and subsequently adopted by the city.
The Civic and Business Federation ardently urged that
this recommendation be followed, and as a result an
amendment to the City Charter was subsequently made.
This step alone has probably saved the oity over $10,000
in a year.
Revenues of the City
The government of a oity is comparable to any
other business establishment in that a service or
commodity Is purohased by individuals at a specific
prloe.
The cost of municipal government depends upon
the services rendered to the public.
Some services are
permanently essential and others only temporarily so;
but all represent expenditures to be borne by the public
at large.*
The funds for which these governmental
services may be purohased stem primarily from three
sources: taxes colleoted by the oity on real property,
miscellaneous taxes colleoted by the oity, and remission
1.
Allen I. Lent, "Financial Praotices of Municipalities
as They Affect the Trend of Muniolpal Credit,”
June, 1940; p. 6*
78
to the oity of part of speolal taxes collected by the
state and grants by the state as contributions to
education and welfare.
Heal-property tax levy has been
the mainstay of the city’s income, contributing about
75 percent of the total funds available.
The chart on page 79 shows clearly the
proportionate souroes of revenue.
Water Bureau:
On the basis of supply sources,
pumping facilities and adequacy of pumping reserves,
the White Plains water system may probably be classed
as unlimited and unfailing.1
The city consumes about
3-3/^ million gallons per day, equivalent to slightly
less than 90 gallons per oaplta per day.
The Water Bureau operates 106 miles of water
lines, supplied by two open reservoirs with a oapaoity
of 210,000,000 gallons; the mains of the New York City
water supply; and driven wells owned by the New York
Water Service Company.
In addition to these three
souroes, the oity owns and operates some dug wells
just west of the pumping station on Orchard Street.
There are operating three pumping stations, two cityowned and one owned by a private water service.
In
1938 reoeipts were $418,000, against total expenses
of $198f700.
1,
The oity purchases two million gallons
National Munioipal League Survey, 1940; P.W. 20.
79.
Figure
3 . DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME FROM SOURCES
Miscellaneous
5*7%
Water
Board of
Education
.. Approp.
Future Budgets
7.06^
.. Prior Tax
Levies 1916-39
Current Property Taxes
71.4492
STATEMENT OF GENERAL REVENUE
Year Ended December 31, 1940
Current Property Taxes
P rior Tax Levies
Appropriation for Future Years' Budgets
Board of Eduoation
Water
Miscellaneous
Total Available for Appropriation
$4,014,102.55
396,583.12
76,743.44
395.284.54
416,884.84
319.907.54
$5,619,506.03
80
per day from the New York City Water Supply at a rate
of $105 per million gallons; and one million gallons
are supplied by the Drew driven wells.
Charges are
made to other city departments for the use of water.
Since the water supply for White Plains has been
yielding a return over and above the annual operating
cost and payment of maturing bonds, it ia considered
a source of revenue.
The excess revenues are co-mingled
with the general revenues of the oity from other souroes,
the income from the Water Bureau averaging about 8.5
percent of the total.
Miscellaneous Revenues:
Miscellaneous revenues
colleoted by the city comprise license fees, police
court fines, Interest on bank aooounts, etc.; and during
the worst period of the depression, in 1932 and 1933,
substantial voluntary contributions were received from
municipal salary refunds.
State Aid and Other Revenues of the City:
Grants
from the state in aid of education amounted to about
$440,000 in 1940.
State contributions to welfare reach
the sum of about $200,000 yearly.
Any reduction in the
real-estate assessment would result in reduction of aid
moneys.
The city’s share of the taxes collected by the
state for personal Income, mortgage, franchise tax on
corporations, bank stock tax and beverage tax, is
distributed by the o o w t y to municipalities individually.
81
As a further possible source of increased revenue,
the Committee on Finance and Taxation of the Civic and
Business Federation have agitated for a change in the
method of distribution of the motor-fuel and motorvehicle taxes.
Under the present method 74 percent of
the taxes received by the Motor Vehicle Bureau for
vehiole, operator and chauffeur’s licenses goes to the
state treasury to be used for the construction, recon­
struction, maintenance and repair of highways and bridges
under the direction of the state superintendent of high­
ways*
The remaining 26 percent is paid to the county
treasurers, and to the state of New York*
It is
interesting to note that the people of WestoheBter
County contribute annually to the sate some four million
dollars in gasoline taxes, but the oounty receives in
refunds only about $70,000.
This distribution works
much to the disadvantage of Westohester County whose
parkways contribute so greatly to the convenience of
motorists from all parts of the state.
Traffio in Westchester County:
A study1 of the
traffio taken on Saturday, August 17, 1940, at a number
of points in the county and adjoining the county is
shown in the maps on pages 82, 83 and 84*
1*
Exhibit 1
Westohester County Park Commission Report, “The
Needs of Westchester County Parkways from a
Through Traffic S t a n d p o i n t N o v . 8, 1940.
viftl hvuhim
•UIHTATI
Killl
I, KIm
D|rttfli|
WESTCHESTER COUNTY
PARK SYSTEM
Bm iU#
1939
PAM.WOT3 ■—
LS T A tU S H IO M J U V A T I0 N 3
Fif?ure 4, Westchester County Park System
EXHIBIT
1
S3
HMaSWRfl iflflua
n.*u
CHappaqu*
0
?/
HawHwritc
Tarry row rv
A *
Elmtford
"***177
\
PlaiAi
Chaster
Mairuroruc
1MOO
Yorkers
%
7
Vernon
as
14 KOtlL
r
IC
T
h
COUNTS
4 1 *
it
4 IO II1 T
■t«T%
iM
0
4414. COMM IJJ I 0 H
ifh>ht(7m»*»?">)
Figure 5. Traffic Counts, Westchester County, August 17. 1940
EX IIIp iT
1*
84
umuTTvnMnqMWTtn
Chappaqua
11.461
00
o
Armonk#
?f Hawthorne
\
•N? tt»5£L5^riN
Imsford
Whitt Plain*
Chester
ScorscUla
Mam*rovitck*
Yonktr
Rochtlt
IH V trn o
it
r
*
non
T R A F F I C
M t l l U
C O U N T S
T k K.B H
,
WtSTtllSTlfc
W
P T tH ttH
COI NTY
t
1*40
PAUL C0NM1JJ1ON
mnmRinm nuww
Flmirp 6. Traffic Counts. Westchester County, September 2, 1940
e
’
EXHIBIT
2»
85
(page 82) shows the location of Parkways, Parks and
Established Reservations which indicate some of the
factors that make Westchester County a favorite of
motorists.
Exhibit 2-A (page 83) gives the 24-hour
traffic counts taken on Saturday, August 17, 1940.
Exhibit 2-B (page 84) shows a similar count taken on
Monday, September 2, 1940 (Labor Day).
Eighty-five percent of the cars on the
Hutchinson River Parkway were from outside the county,
the report of the Westchester County Park Commission
stated, as determined by the traffic counts, and the
comparisons definitely show that these parkways carry
by far the largest portion of the through traffic, and
not the important state highways.
A recent attempt to
turn over certain of the parkways to the state for up­
keep met with no apparent success.
The changes suggested by the Civic and Business
Federation entailed oity financing on a cash basis, with
quarterly departmental reports by which the Commissioner
of Finanoe oan see that each department will keep within
its budget.
At present quarterly reports are being made.
State legislation should be enoouraged to provde for a
more equitable return of lloense fees and gas taxes, the
greatest portion of which now goes to counties having
the greatest mileage of dirt roads.
Through the installation of parking meters— a
86
plan originally proposed by the Federation’s Committee
on Traffic and Parking— over $38,000 was oollected In
1940 in very nominal parking fees.
The gradual extension
of the use of suoh meters should lead to additional
revenues front this source.
The total income from miscellaneous revenues for
the City of White Plains in 1940 was $319,000, or only
5.7 percent of the total amount of revenue including
taxes received by the oity.
This is considered extremely
low, since many communities average about 10 percent from
similar sources.
Such communities, however, charge fees
for special servloes rendered, suoh as garbage removal,
use of recreational facilities, and the like, for which
the city might well be recompensed.
Aside from these, the oity participates in the
distribution of the mortgage tax, the state beverage
tax, and franchise tax on corporations, and the state
income tax, all of whleh are collected through the
county treasurer, and apportioned by him to the City
of White Plains and other communities on varying bases.
The mortgage tax is allocated on the basis of the situs
of the property covered by the mortgage; the beverage
tax is allocated on the basis of population; the
franchise tax on corporations on the basis of the situs
of the corporation; the state income tax on the basis
of unequalized assessed valuation.
87
Regarding the Inereaae in source of revenues,
It must be recognized that the character of a suburban
city does not permit as extensive development of
miscellaneous revenues as would be possible in an
industrial city.1
As a result of the survey of city
revenues, increased fees are nov being levied for
building permits.
The greater yield from this source
has permitted the extension of activities of this
department.
Expenditures of the City
Cost of Government:
In considering the cost of
city government, it must be borne in mind that although
the census figures for 1940 indicate a population of
over 40,000, services in White Plains must be available
to from 75,000 to 150,000 people, beoause of its status
in the county.
The importance of the problem of the
governmental cost of public welfare has been felt by
all cities.
In White Plains this item alone reaches
enormous amounts of over half a million dollars annually.
In 1924 the cost of government was $1,800,000.
In 1940 it reaohed $6,000,000.
The Department of
Education required over $1,500,000 of this amount.
Onoe a budget is adopted there are two
methods of fiscal operations— the “cash" or
1.
National Municipal Survey, 1940; p. 240.
88
the “accrual” basis. The “accrual form
contemplates that all outstanding
uncollected taxes are all good assets and
thereby available in cash. In other
words, it anticipates 100 percent of all
taxes are collectable and therefore
should be considered the equivalent of
cash*1
The error inherent in this theory has made it necessary
in the past for White Plains budget makers to provide
a tax “cushion” against uncollected taxes— that is,
to create an “operating deficit.”
The finanoial survey by Norman S. Taber and
Company, for the National Municipal League, reveals
that while expenditures have soared; the percent of
the total dollar has decreased as shown by the
following tabulation;
Chart Showing Comparison of Budgetary
Expenditures of the City of White Plains
General Government
Percent
1924
Percent
1939
29.
24.7
.4
8.3
Education
34.3
26.2
State and County Taxes
17.1
15.2
5.
3.4
14.2
22.2
Public Welfare and Relief
Water
Debt Service
This shows how relief and debt service now are
1.
Allen W. Lent; “Financial Practices of Municipalities
as They Affect the Trend of Uunioipal Credit,”
June, 1940; p. 17.
89
responsible for a much larger percentage of the tax
dollar than In 1924, while the relative total of
expenditures for all other purposes has been reduced.
In the chart on page 97 the same conditions are shown
as still existing through the year 1940.
Quoting from
the Taber financial survey of the oity:
Since 1924 indebtedness has increased
469 percent, and the total expenditures in
White Plains have increased some 322 per­
cent, largely due to debt service, relief,
education and state and county taxes. A
population which has doubled, and a wealth
(as expressed by valuations) which has
tripled, alleviate to an extent the
individual burden of this rise in expendi­
tures. Whether the rise in operating
expense and debt has been wholly justified
is a moot question.
What remains definite
is that the functions of government and the
debt are here# The questions are— what can
be done about it, and is the city meeting
this expense with adequate revenues?
The "cash" basis of budget operation permits
the spending of only that portion of the actual
collections allotted to the various departments.
The changed policy of putting the budget of each
department on a cash, and not on the acorual basis,
has resulted in a tendenoy not only to restrict
expenditures to correspond to taxes collected, but
also to provide for closer cooperation between the
Commissioner of Finance and the various department
heads*
The chairman of the Budget Committee of the
Civic and Business Federation has prepared a table
comparing the city’s budget for 1941 with that of
90
the preceding year.
A copy of this appears on page 91.
Debt Service
The bonded indebtedness of any oity presupposes
improvements to be made, as irell as the services provided
for in the normal process of its growth and development.
White Plains has made notable progress in this regard,
a8 witnessed by the development of its streets, schools,
sewer system, water supply and the provision of the
necessary police, fire and safety protection for its
citizens.
Ratings made by Thorndike and Mailer place
this city as a leader in the state and credit it with
a nation-wide reputation as a "good place for desirable
people to live in.”
Restriction on the amount that a community can
collect correspondingly limits the amount that it oan
be expected to expend.
In New York State, the general
credit of a municipality is safeguarded by limiting
debts incurred to an amount roughly equal to 10 percent
of the average assessed valuation over a ten-year
period.1
In 1924, the total bonded indebtedness of the
city was $2,950,282, while in 1924-1927 alone new debt
1.
Allen f. Lent, "Proceedings of the Conference on
Bond Portfolio,” New York State Bankers’
Association, 1939; p. 147.
91
Table IX.
CITY OP WHITE PLAINS
COMPARISON OP 1941 BUDGET WITH THAT OF PRECEDING YEAR
As prepared by the chairman
of the Budget Committee
of the Civic and Business Federation
Increases in revenues:
Water department
State aid for schools
Reserve for uncollected taxes
(reflecting the expectation that
tax collections will be greater)
$ 9,000.
29,000.
45.500.$ 83,500.
Decreases in expenditures:
Police department salaries
Police department equipment
Debt Service:
* Principal (other than snow
removal certificates)
Interest
$ 4,500.
5,500.
171,000. *
40.000.
221.000.
$ 304,500.
Reduction in revenues:
Delinquent tax collections
Share of state income tax
$ 110,000.
_____ 7.000.
117,000.
$ 187,500.
Increases in expenditures;
Contributions to pension funds of:
Police department
$ 16,000.
Fire department
6.000.
Salary of safety engineer
in Department of Public Safety
State and county tax:
General
$ 25,000.
For relief in
institutions
7,000.
Deficiency of current
year
56.000.
Inauguration of vocational
training courses
Other department of public
instruction expenditures
(2/3 of which applies to
salaries)
Redemption of certificates
issued for snow removal
22,000.
2,500.
88,000.
20,000.
29,500.
18.000.
Net reduction in budget
180.000.
$
7,000.
Represents a reduction in principal
amount of maturing debt
$ 634,000.
Less:
Reduction in contributions
from 8inking funds
$ 275,000.
Reduction in principal amount
_
of debt to be refunded
188,000._____ 463,000.
$ 171,000.
A net amount of
—*-----.
92
in the amount of $4,768,500 was created.
From 1929
to 1935, $11,635,000 of additional debt was created.
Thereafter new improvements have been nominal.
It
was unfortunate, however, that such a large amount
of indebtedness was necessarily created during a
period of national depression.
uTax collections were
falling and money rates were extremely high, forcing
the oity to bind Itself to pay large amounts of
interest and building up a mandatory expense for
debt service which permitted no tax relief when needed
and which threatened the general operations of the city
1
during bad tax collection years.”
The computation on page 93 shows the present
condition of the debt of the City of White Plains in
relation to its borrowing oapacity; and this is followed
— on page 94r— by a statement of the per-capita bonded
debt of White Plains in 1940, together with the
corresponding figures for other cities.
It is this comparatively high bonded debt which
places a heavy burden on the taxpayer.
Uesirable
services have been supplied and a systematic retiring
of bonds, amounting at present to about $12,314,274
(on Deoember 31, 1940), has been provided for.
1.
In
Financial Survey of White Plains, by the Norman
S. Taber Co., 1940; p. 2.
93
Table X.
CITY OP WHITE PLAINS
DEBT MARGIN AND BORROWING CAPACITY
1941
Assessed valuation of real estate
1937 )
)
1941 )
Five-year average
$ 148,055,723.60
10 percent constitutes
debt limit
$
Funded debt,
December 31, 1940
14,805,572.63
$ 12,314,274.00
Exemptions:
Water bonds
$ 1,080,000.00
Sinking funds
445,086.49
1.525.086.49
10.789.187.51
Borrowing capacity, Deoember 31, 1940
White Plains Gross Bonded Debt
$ 12,314,274,00
comprised of;
Schools
$ 6,556,000*
Utility
(water)
1,080,000.
General
improvement
4.676.274.
$ 12.314.274.
Per-capita debt
$ 267.18.
$
4,016,384.85
94
Table-' XI.
CITY OF WHITE PLAINS
PER-CAPITA BONDED DEBT
as of January
1941.
(Excluding Utilities)
(In comparison with other cities)
White Plains
YonkerB
Mt. Vernon
New Hoohelle
Perth Amboy, N.J.
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Kearney, N. J.
Stamford, Conn.
Population
1940 Assessed
Valuation of
Real Property
Per-capita
Debt
40,327
$ 145,006,773.
$ 267.18
142,598
67,362
58,408
41,242
40,478
39,467
47,938
302,412 ,477.
150,962 ,397.
187,855 ,814.
45,097 ,280.
52,153 ,939.
77,114 ,443.
111,170 ,143.
197.31
132.42
228.55
223.29
111.30
171.58
97.18
Table XII.
ONLY CITIES HAVING HIGHER NET BONDED DEBT
PER CAPITA________________
West Palm Beach,
Fla.
Ashvllle, N. C.
St. Petersburg,
Fla.
Atlantic City,
N. J.
33,693
$ 32,389,660.
$ 361.15
51,310
54,261,999.
346.03
60,812
80,910,125.
352.71
64,094
92,205,694.
361.27
(Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research,
National Municipal Review — National Municipal
League; Vol. XXIX No. 12 - December, 1940;
Vol. XXX No. 6 - January, 1941.)
95
this regard, a debt equalization plan has been approved by
the State Comptroller, which provides for an extension
of oertain bonds (about 55 percent were due during the
next eight years),1 thus permitting a partial savings to
the taxpayer by using a lower interest rate; and the
consequent easing of the present heavy tax burden by
a general “leveling off” process.
This reduction in
taxes may encourage a greater impetus upwards In
realty conditions.
(For a graphic presentation of the governmental
structure of the City of White Plains, see the
frontispiece to Part I.)
1.
Mayor*s Committee on Survey; p. 40.
96
CHAPTER V
EXPENDITURES OF THE CITY
Department of Finance
The pie-chart on the following page (97) shows
how the tax dollar of the city is spent.
In any coimnunity the question invariably arises
in times of eoonomio distress:
Is it wise to reduce
publio-servioe expenditures?
Each branch of public service should be
considered on its own merits, and the question asked:
Kill the greatest good to the greatest number result
from Increasing, maintaining or decreasing the financial
support allotted to this service?
Each successive
increase in a form of public service, which makes living
more comfortable and secure, helps in raising the general
standard of culture within the community.
To curtail,
limit, or restrict certain aspeots of the worth of the
sohools, for example, may result in inadequate preparation
for citizenship or inability to pursue a future vocation.
To eliminate rear-door refuse collection may result in
unsightly walks and a general appearance of neglect,
97
Figure
7,
DISTRIBUTION OF EXPENSES BY PURPOSES *
City of VPhlte Plains, N. Y.
State and County TaxeB
.2l|
City Debt
Service
Welfare
13
10&
City Operating
Budget
09
18
Schools Operating
•
2&a
STATEMENT OF GENERAL EXPENSES
Year Ended December 31, 1940
State & County Taxes
Welfare
Reserve for Unoolleoted Taxes
City Operating Budget
Schools - Operating
Schools - Debt Service
City Debt Service
Total Budget
♦Taxbill
-
Approved Tax Budget, 1941
$
890,030.53
473,907.13
109,871.07
870,943.40
1,135,355.05
403,708.00
569,558.19
$4,453,373.37
bjh!
o:
eserve for Unoollelted
Schools Debt
Service
98
which may also have tts effect In lowered realty values,
to say nothing of the general health within the community.
Lowering the salaries of public offioials and workers,
tends to lower their training and efficiency.
No
institution can be called upon to oarry an increasing
burden with diminished support, either economically or
socially.
A consideration of the tax situation in White
Plains and the margin of safety based upon the estimated
total taxable ratables in the city for future development,
makes it quite evident that White Plains is financially
able to continue its present program.
In view of the
prospects of future development of industry and building,
it is evident that White Plains, to maintain its present
reputation as a “good place for good people to live in”
must vision the needs of the future and lay plans for
long-term progressive expansion.
Suoh willingness and
ability to pay are important factors in the promotion
of any program.
In any oity where large expenditures must be
made for services, a competent commissioner or director
of finanoe is extremely essential.
Such an individual
must have a sound understanding of flnanoes as well as
a broad vision of the future fiscal trends of the city.
He must know the bond market and interest rates and be
able to assist the oity officers in keeping within their
99
allotted budgets.
Department of Public Welfare
A changing concept of social justice impels the
community to inorease its care of the unemployed, the
sick and those incapable of self support.
Scientific
progress has expanded health control and prevention
of diseases.
The necessity to pay for these services
accounts for higher taxes.1
In 1940 the City of White Plains spent $492,637.012
to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical aid, and
institutional care for needy persons whose legal residence
was White Plains.
A monthly average of 543 families and
109 single individuals was dependent on the oity for
material aid during that period.
Working full time, a
staff of 53 persons, some of them highly trained, was
needed to oarry on this work.
The White Plains and
St. Agnes Hospitals, as well as the county hospital at
Grasslands, were very cooperative in caring for the
physically and mentally disabled poor.
A substantial refund from the state— approximately
40 percent in some classifications—— has made the burden
1.
2.
Allen W. Lent, “Proceedings of the Conference on
Bond Portfolio," Mew York State Bankers9
Association, 1940; p. 6.
25th Annual Report of the Commissioner of Finance
of the City of White Plains, Dec. 31, 1940; p. 29.
100
considerably lighter*
In addition, the federal government
assumed ohlef administrative and major financial
responsibility for the three forms of work relief: W. P. A.,
C. C. C. and N, Y. A.
These three units have required
locally $455,435 in salaries alone.
The Velfare
Department has adopted the cash relief policy.
This
has helped erase the stigma commonly attached to buying
with relief vouohers, and often assists towards an
easier rehabilitation into normal self-supporting life.
A total of $81,455.20, or about 12 percent of
the department’s budget, was set aside for the cost of
administration, including salaries and wages, in 1940.
The aim of really effective administration is to cut
the relief rolls, to get people back into private
employment or to make them once more self-supporting.
This means the restoral of self-confidence and morale
and the opportunity for work, with adequate wages to
provide the basic necessities of life*
One out of
every 17 persons in White Plains— 5.8 percent of the
population— reoeived relief from the oity in 1939.
This does not take into account the federal and county
assistance programs.
Relatively small families are preponderant among
recipients of home relief in White Plains.
Sixty-four
percent of all families receiving relief in August, 1939,
had fewer than five members; in as many as 15.3 percent
101
of the cases there was only one family member*
In
approximately 52 percent of the total number of families
receiving relief in August, 1939, both husband and wife
were citizens of the United States*
In 7 percent of
the relief families, both husband and wife were aliens.
Four and a half percent of the families constituted a
mixed partnership, with either husband or wife not a
citizen.
Departmental records gave no data for 37
percent of the cases.1
Negroes made up roughly 30 percent of the total
case load*
Most families dependent on aid from the White
Plains department in August, 1939, received less than
$30 a month from the city*
Approximately 30 percent
received between $20 and $29, and 8 percent were given
not more than $9 a month*
Only 2*5 percent reoeived
$50 or more.
It is Interesting to note that 30 percent of the
oitlzen-families had broken homes (i. e., the partners
permanently separated from each other, or one of them
dead), while broken homes were found in 21 percent of
the alien families*
This data would indicate that one
of the possible causes of dependency in White Plains
might be minimized if there were a looal non-sectarian
private agency devoting itB attention to helping families
1*
National Municipal League, 1940; P.W. 19.
102
resolve their marital difficulties.
Suoh a general
family service1 would provide available consultation
and advice before the problems become extreme , and
possibly avert a break-up of the home.
This would
be merely carrying out in the social-serviee field
a program analogous to that of the health field.
Private agencies must demonstrate and prove their
value, before one can admit the advisability of public
support.^
The expenditures for public welfare and relief
and the number of families and individuals assisted
during 1940 are indioated in the chart on page 103.
An apparent lack of coordination and cooperation
between medical and home relief care would be eliminated
by the effective presence of a medical oase-worker.
The
appointment of suoh a medical case-worker has been
recommended by the Civic and Business Federation’s
Committee on Public Welfare.
Department of Public Safety
The Department of Public Safety carries ever-
1.
2.
The Family Division of the Department of Family and
Child Welfare Committee of Westchester County in a
Report of January 27, 1941 (p. 10) indicates 183
oases of Home Relief in White Plains aided by the
county dealt largely with economic assistance
rather than social and economic rehabilitation.
Interview with Stanley P. Davies, executive of the
general Welfare Board, New York City, May, 1941.
103
Table -XI11.
CITY OF WHITE PLAINS
Analysis of Relief Costs
1940
Month
Cases
Families
Amount of R
Single Persons
Cases
Amoant of Relief
Jan.
619
$ 32,244.85
127
$ 3,148.29
Feb.
620
31,409.22
125
3,365*69
March
584
31,408.51
123
3,464.78
April
559
26,956.76
129
3,469.51
May
514
25,145.00
120
3,323.69
June
473
21,862.18
117
3,466.27
July
458
19,805.91
116
3,388.75
Aug.
445
20,041.00
127
2,849.29
Sept.
441
19,461.51
115
3,168.96
Oct.
451
22,419.12
124
3,397.11
Nov.
454
22,405.15
132
3,457.32
Dec.
491
24.113.03
142
3,685.66
6109
$ 297,272.24
1497
$ 40,185.32
NonRe iabur sable
724
11.759.96
1497
$ 40,185.32
Total
Note:
6633
$ 309,032.20
Costs shovn are gross— prior to 5-peroent
discount on grooeries.
Report of Commissioner of Welfare to tbe Mayor and
Common Counoll, December 31, 1940.
104
increasing responsibilities.
The continuing growth of
the oity means added area, property and people to
patrol, to safeguard and to protect.
The city covers
an area slightly in excess of ten square miles, and
it is estimated that there are today approximately 115
miles of streets to patrol.
The building of the Kensico
dam and reservoir, with the aqueduct extending from the
Catskill Mountains watershed to New York City, brought
an influx of workers to White Plains.
Many of them
found this a desirable place of permanent residence.
More recently, the construction of the new aqueduct,
extending to the Delaware Water Gap headwaters, has
brought an additional influx of workers to the entire
county, adding to the problems of Housing, Policing
and Fire-protection in White Plains and throughout
Westchester.
Whether the cessation of work on the
aqueduot, when completed, will bring partial relief
to those heavily burdened departments of the city
government, is doubtful.
In addition to the police and fire units, the
Department of Public Safety includes the Bureau of
Weights and Measures, the Bureau of Building and the
Bureau of Plumbing, as well as the Board of Eleotrioal
Control.
These varied functions are under the direct
supervision of the Commissioner of Public Safety.
Fire Chief and a Police Chief assisting him have
A
105
direct command of their respective departments*
In 1940, these combined departments expended
for the protection of persons and property $575,755*74,
which is about 9*6 percent of the total net budget.1
The strategio position of Westchester County in
relation to New York City, and the tremendous importance
of pure water for all nearby communities in unlimited
quantities, has at all times given the Department of
Public Safety a difficult task.
Now the additional
increased vigil due to the National Emergency makes
it a seemingly endless task.
The Commissioner has
stated that considerable exchange of special services
takes place between his department and the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, in the regular pursuit of
criminals and the prevention of crime.
daily
The general
program of the department is divided between
patrol and traffic duty and detective work.
The
prestige and advantage of the oounty seat bring with
it additional problems and costs which do not permit
a ready comparison with cities of similar population,
actual or estimated.
Polioe Personnel:
In 1940, the total budget
for this department was $331,787.21 for 106 men,
1.
Committee on Municipal Finance and Taxation,
Civic and Business Federation, April, 1941.
106
including one chief, one oaptain, one traffic expert,
five lieutenants, six sergeants and ninety-two patrolmen.
The Police Department operates on a three-platoon system,
thus requiring 8-hour duty each day, with one day in
seven as a day of rest.
In order better to regulate
the heavy traffic and to provide adequate parking
facilities, a traffic engineer has been appointed.
Aside from the need for central off-street parking
areas, the management of the traffic division appears
to be efficiently handled, and the traffic is kept
steadily moving through narrow ttbottle-neoku streets,
although more one-way streets are advocated.1
There is, however, need for more adequate police
housing, the cramped conditions of the headquarters having
been considered an impairment to the efficiency of police
2
work and harmful to morale.
Nevertheless, the surveyors
give White Plains a most commendable reoord for this
department, rating it far below the average of other
cities of similar size in burglaries and auto thefts.
A
higher percentage of arrests for major offenses was
also noted. **
The average age of the members of the White Plains
police department, as of July, 1939, was 39.9 years.
1.
National Municipal League Survey of White Plains,
1940; p. 33.
2*
Ibid^; p.
3.
2m ‘
p. 40*
The
107
oldest member was 59, and the youngest 27.
readily he called a young force.
This may
A reduction in the
age limit for applicants will further serve to keep the
force actively “young".
This will not only help to serve
the city in more capable duty-performance, but may present
opportunity for closer cooperation between the police
department of White Plains and the youth of the oity.
In
New York City, much juvenile delinquency and crime has
been prevented by the activities of the Police Athletic
League.
Several of the White Plains patrolmen have
signified a desire to “ooaoh" a club, should such an
opportunity present itself.
The possibilities for a
home baseball league might bring more players and spec­
tators to the recreational areas.
Fire Department: Exceptionally low fire-insurance
rates and the comparatively low fire loss record in White
Plains compels the conclusion that the city has a fire
department of exceptional merit,^ and that the residents
themselves exert great care towards fire-prevention.
The
surveyors further found the departmental organization to
be satisfactory and the number of supervisory officers
held to a minimum.
The officers, it was stated in the
survey, gave every appearance of being qualified,
interested and anxious to keep abreast of the best
1.
Ibid.; p. F-l.
108
modern practioe.
The Commissioner of Public Safety has dlreot
supervision and control of the fire department, as
provided for in the city charter. He is empowered to
make rules and regulations and enforce discipline,
subject to the approval of the Common Council.
The
Fire Chief is the administrative head of the department,
and is responsible for the organization of the fire­
fighting foroes, the assignment of the men, and the
general conduct and activities of the department.
The
work of this department is operated on a two-platoon
system.
Two captains, one in each platoon, are
immediately in charge of fire companies, records, and
routine departmental matters.
They respond to all
alarms and in the absence of the chief are in full
command.
Further personnel includes 6 lieutenants and
71 firemen, making a total of 80 individuals.
The fire department is, further, in charge of
the inspection of all oil-burning heating systems,
either in residential or business sections, and
commercial
air-conditioning and refrigeration plants.
In addition to a low fire-insurance rate, the
efficiency and morale of a fire department may be
judged by the daily care of its equipment.
In this
regard, the National Municipal surveyors state:
The department may properly be congratulated
109
on the excellent manner In which it maintains
its equipment. The companies take pride in
the cleanliness of their apparatus, and
although much of it is old, it appears to be
in excellent condition. The day is not far
distant, however, when White Plains will find
it neoessary to replace much of its present
equipment. . . . The department’s hose is of
good quality and well maintained. . . . All
major repairs are made by the members of the
department, and the quality of the work done
merits commendation. , . . All five fire
stations are in excellent condition and are
well kept.1
In the matter of replacement of old equipment,
the Commissioner stated that the department, in its
effort to maintain a low budget, was purposely delaying
the purchase of more modern equipment, but safety is
not being sacrificed.
This department has been
responsible for the Installation of wire and cable
equipment essential for nearly 200 fire boxes and firealarm circuits.
At present, over 60 percent of the
oirouits are underground, and an accurate map of their
location enables easy aooess for any neoessary repairs.
A flat rate of $15,000 is now being paid to the
water department for fire-hydrant service.
There are
about 1,250 fire hydrantb in White Plains, which brings
the cost per unit to approximately $12.00.
1.
2.
3.
It may at
National Municipal League Survey of White Plains,
1940; p. P 16.
Report of the Commissioner of Safety at a meeting of
the Committee on Municipal Flnanoe and Taxation
of the Civic and Business Federation, April, 1940.
National Municipal League Survey; p. F 20.
110
first seem unusual to find a fire department paying for
the water it uses, but this is merely a matter of easier
bookkeeping and is unimportant since the cost comes out
of the same pockets.
The annual cost of operating the fire department
for 1940 was $257,212.36.
It should be of supreme
satisfaction to the citizens of White Plains to know
that the department is readily meeting all standards of
the National Board of Fire Underwriters, and that the
insurance rates on residential property is at the
minimum established for the country.
A sufficient force
is on hand to protect considerably more inflammable
property than is found in most other cities of its
population class, due to the presence here of countyoffioe as well as state buildings.
In 1939 the City of White Plains and the Civic
and Business Federation received honorary awards for
the effective fire-prevention campaign carried out here.
Building Inspection and Plumbing:
Operating on
a total budget of $7,185 (in 1939), the Bureaus of
Building Inspection and Plumbing enforce all building
laws and regulations as to the construction, remodeling
and demolition of all structures in the city.
It is
through the cooperation of these departments that
necessary renovations and changes in the buildings
considered sub-dwellings may be made.
I l l
Weights and Measures;
This bureau exercises the
police power of the city in regulating the use of weights
and measures to conform with law.
One inspector performs
this task at a budgeted cost of about $3,600.
The
statistical report of the bureau indicates that a high
standard of compliance with the law has been attained.
Animal Protection;
The city has regularly
contracted with the Westchester Humane Society to care
for derelict animals, at a cost of $3,000 annually.
This
is much less than would be the cost of maintaining a
pound, and operating its own organization for that
purpose.
Department of Public forks
The Public Works Department officially consists
of a central administrative offioe and 14 bureaus.
These are listed below, and their activities briefly
described.
In actual practice, these have been
consolidated into the administrative office and only
five bureaus.
However, since the annual report of the
Commissioner of Finance lists each bureau separately,
this report will include their provinces in like manner.
1.
Administration:
The survey stated:
The administration of the department is
undoubtedly in capable hands, both the
Commissioner and his deputy being experienced
men in the publio-worka field. That this is
true is shown in several ways, but particularly
112
by the morale of the force. The employees of
the department are almost aggressively loyal
to the city, to the Commissioner and to each
other, thus showing clearly the effects of
good leadership.
In addition to his leadership responsibilities,
the Commissioner has also the responsibility of the city
purchasing placed on him by charter.
That the purchasing
is wisely and shrewdly handled was the opinion of the
Committee on Municipal Finanoe and Taxation, to whom the
Commissioner and his deputy made a report on the
2
activities of this department.
The records of the
department, aside from those of the Bureau of Sewers,
are meticulously kept and readily available.
The
deputy commissioner is responsible for having planned
and developed the present modern grid-iron system of
water supply.
2.
Municipal Building: The maintenance of this
structure is a function of the Department of Public
Works.
The annual cost of such maintenance averages
about $19,000, or roughly about one dollar per square
foot of usable space per year.
3.
Bureau of Engineering:
This bureau designs
and supervises the construction of all public improvements
1.
2.
National Municipal League Survey, 1940; p. If 7.
Conference of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner
of Public Works with Civic and Business
Federation committee, in May, 1941.
113
within the city and attends to engineering matters
involved in the various projects, whether sponsored
by the local, state or federal governments.
There is
one senior assistant engineer with a staff of 16 full­
time engineering employees and one part-time clerk.
These men have been long employed by the city, the
average term of service in the bureau being 13 years
and seven months.
4.
Bureau of City Planning: This bureau was
oreated in 1928, as a result of the Goodrich and Whitten
“City Plan,” devised to cover a period of 50 years.
Population trends and valuations of taxable real estate
were projected to permit the flnanolng of forty-five
million dollars over the 50-year period of time.
Economies may be made possible in a long-range program
by including a portion of future improvement in the
current budget and thereby lessening the future debt
burden and interest costs.1
Sinoe 1932, the planning
bureau has carried on under difficulties, temporarily
augmenting its Inadequate assistants as the bureau of
engineering was able to spare one or more men.
The National Municipal League surveyors stated
1.
Allen W. Lent, “Financial Practices of Municipalities
as They Affeot the Trend of Municipal Credit,”
June, 1940; p. 33.
114
that this might have been anticipated, since in their
opinion, “the city is obviously too small to require
or to afford permanently an adequate planning bureau.”
The present head of the planning bureau has been with
the city for the past 12 years, and has studied and
analyzed the needs of the oity.
A recommendation of
the surveyors suggested that his efforts be employed
on the preparation of an official city map under the
provisions of the general municipal law of the state*
The investigator studied such a map in the office of
the Regional Plan Association of New York City, and
the wisdom of long-term planning for city expansion
and improvement cannot be questioned.
5.
Street Maintenance:
(Highways and Bridges)
The important items under this bureau are street lighting,
pavement repairs, and care of dirt (cinder or unpaved)
streets.
In 1938 the cost of street lighting amounted
to $647.03 per mile of street.
The total street-lighting
cost for 1938 was $72,369.15; while for the same year,
the cost of street cleaning was $13,738.60.
6.
Street Cleaning is being satisfactorily done
at a low cost by a small foroe using two motor-driven
piok-up sweepers.
In oase of heavy snow-storms, every
available employee of the department is pressed into
this service and additional men and equipment are hired.
The comparative freedom from traffic congestion, even
115
in severe blizzards, is proof of efficiency in this
department*
The survey, in speaking of the pavements
of the city, writes:
“It would be difficult to find
a city in which the pavements are in better condition.
. . . Their condition also speaks well for their
original construction,"1
The care of dirt streets, of which there are 27
miles, provides for biennial oiling and the maintenance
in good condition by sanding.
Wherever neoessary and
possible, streets are paved where it would appear more
than an excessive amount of loose material is being
swept into the catch-basins and storm sewers.
7.
Sewers:
This bureau, from all reports,
is seriously understaffed.
There is a foreman-inspector
in charge who, with a force of eight men, has the
responsibility for the maintenance of 78.46 miles of
sanitary sewers and 36.23 miles of storm-water sewers.
The city is fortunate in being able to use the two
main county trunk sewers for all sanitary sewage; thus
eliminating the need for sewage-disposal plants and
the accompanying disagreeable odors.
The bureau, however, has need for clerical
assistance in compiling adequate records and the
mapping out of present sewer manholes and openings
1.
National Municipal League Survey, 1940; p. P W 11.
H6
for future emergencies,
8.
Refuse Collection and Disposal:
Refuse
collected, and. disposed, of by the city consists of
ashes, garbage and rubbish.
The ashes are taken to
the city dump south of Gedney lifay and east of Old
Mamaroneck Road.
It is estimated that in a few years
a new location must be found in which to dispose of
ashes or possibly a new method of disposing of them.
The garbage and combustible rubbish are mixed during
collection and taken to an incinerator plant north of
tfestohester Avenue and east of Kensico Avenue.
Collections are made twioe a week in the residential
areas and daily in the business areas by a regular
force consisting of a foreman, 12 drivers and 43 men.
About 100 tons of refuse must be collected in 8
hours.
This department has been studied carefully to
eliminate idling due to separation and separate pick­
up of ashes and garbage destined for different disposal
places.
Rear-door collections have eliminated much
unsightliness along the curbs, as well as rendering a
service often impossible for women or invalids to
maintain,
9.
Garbage Disposal Plantt
a 24-hour rating of 150 tons.
The incinerator has
At present, about 500
tons of mixed garbage and rubblBh are bnrned each week.
The rate of burning, therefore, is about 3 tons per
1X7
unit per hour, or 9 tons per hour for the entire
inoinerator, which Is composed of three units.
The
cost of operating during 1938 was $20,618.67, or
approximately 80 cents per ton.
It is estimated that
the present force and equipment could possibly handle
an increase in garbage of about 70 percent with only
a slight increase in expense.
10.
Garage and Shop:
The 45 pieces of motor
equipment are kept in good condition and repair through
the systematic efforts of this bureau located on Kensloo
Avenue•
11.
Storage Buildings:
The old garage of the
department on Mott Street has been remodeled as a storage
building and garage for 7 oars.
The space above the
garage is reserved for all the election equipment of
the city and for miscellaneous items.
A fireproof file
haB also been provided for older city records.
12.
Bus Terminal:
Many of the buses operating
county-wide leave from the terminal adjacent to the New
York Central tracks.
Its convenient location and lack
of traffic congestion make it an ideal spot for this
purpose.
In 1938 the cost of operation was $874.92.
13 and 14.
Forestry and Parks;
Since Yhlte
Plains has only reoreational parks, there is in reality
merely a bureau of forestry.
The City Forester has
several parkways under his supervision as well as the
118
preservation and oare of the many beautiful trees
throughout the city.
By systematic spraying, pruning
and skillful oare, the trees are maintained as a
substantial heritage of beauty in the community*
The
1938 cost of operating this bureau was slightly over
$25,000.
15.
Water:
The Water Bureau is a utility and
has been given consideration under Revenues of the City.
1X9
CHAPTER VI
RECREATION
“The organized function of recreation programs
In today*s society is to provide opportunities for
people of all ages to fill their hours of leisure with
constructive and creative activities in the arts, music,
exploration, drama, sports, reading, writing and speaking.”1
In the early Colonial days there was very little
of organized recreation, and, as a matter of fact, there
was very little time for it.
Every hoy had his daily
chores to perform, and for adults the necessity of
gaining a livelihood forced upon everyone some form of
physical activity.
Today, however, conditions are
different and the matter of recreation and the profitable
use of leisure time is a real community problem.
The
factors contributing to this situation are mainly the
lack of employment, the child-labor laws and the everincreasing speed of national and international
1.
Jay B* Nash, White Plains Survey of Recreation, 1940*
120
communication and transporation which have made marked
changes in the lives of people everywhere.
Organized recreation In White Plains hegan in
1922, when the authority of the State Enabling Act
permitted the establishing of a recreation commission.
The commission was composed of five members who were
appointed by the mayor with the oonsent of the Common
Council for terras of five years.
This commission
continued its functions until 1932, when a director of
recreation was appointed.
He immediately began to
extend the recreational program by organizing leagues,
introducing new activities, and providing supervision
for the facilities available.
Under his guidance the
program has grown rapidly, both in activities provided
for, and in participation.
In 1938 the functions of the commission were taken
over as a department of the city government under the
direct control of the mayor and the Common Council.
citizens1 advisory committee of seven members was
appointed by the Council to make a study of the
recreational program.
This committee, whioh is still
functioning in an advisory capacity, consists of the
following membership:
Chaunoey B. Griffen, Chairman
John J. Irish, Secretary
Mrs. Crescens Hubbard
Frank X. Brlante
John B. Gerety
A
121
P. Irving Gririberg
Frederick D. McLaughlin 1
Plan of Organization
The Bureau of Playgrounds and Recreation Centers
is divided into two departments:
(1) the activities
department under the present Commissioner of Recreation,
with a personnel working on a budget of $59,076.48 (for
1940); and (2) the maintenance department under the
direction of a superintendent of grounds and a foroe
necessary to maintain the playgrounds and their equipment
at the required level of usefulness.
The budget of the
maintenance department for 1940 is inoluded in the above
figure and amounts to about half of it.
The Recreation
Department, in conjunction with the mayor and Common
Council have been considering the problems of blighted
areas in relation to the need for additional playgrounds
and leisure-time activities.
Plans are now under way
through which certain pieces of property now owned by
the city will be converted into additional play space.
This will provide some greatly needed play areas for
underprivileged children.
some
1«
ind i c a t i o n
The chart on page 122 gives
of the facilities now provided.
Report of Commissioner of Recreation to the
Committee on Education of the Civic and
Business Federation, May 6, 1941.
122
Figure 8.
Distribution of Reoreational Activities
______ in White Plains, by Seasons______
Spring and Sunmier
Arohery
Hiking
Baseball
Horseshoes
Boooi
Play Days
Concerts
Paddle Ball
Folk Dancing
Paddle Tennis
Dancing
Softball
Dramatics
Softball (girls)
Handball
Tennis
Handcrafts
Track
Special Events
Autumn
ffinter
Hookey
Football
Six-man Football
Soccer
Badminton
Basketball
Boirling
Coasting
Indoor Horseshoes
Girls9 Clubs
Ice Skating
Toy Repair
Volley Ball
tfomen’s Gym Classes
♦Report of Recreation Department, 1940
123
Playground Fao111tie9
A careful survey of the recreational facilities
and their use was carried out in each of the six wards
of the city.
The Playground-Distribution map on page
124 indicates the locations of the recreational areas
covered by this survey.
One of the most valuable
organizations for recreation was found to be the “Y ”
Rangers in Ward I, which, under the capable and untiring
leadership of one man, has done much to develop worthy
citizenship throughout the groups they have taken in
charge.
The Department of Recreation maintains five cityoperated areas at Recreation Park, Gedney Field, Fisher
Avenue, North Street and Hale Avenue.
It maintains and
operates additional playground facilities on the athletic
fields of the following schools: Battle Hill, Ferris
Avenue, George Washington, Roohambeau, Post Road,
Mamaroneok Avenue, and the White Plains High School.
Recreation Park alone occupies about eight-anda-half aores of fully developed play area, with a fullsize baseball diamond, a quarter-mile cinder track, open
grandstand of brick and stone construction with a capacity
of approximately one thousand people.
Underneath the
stand are fully equipped looker rooms, showers, toilets
and concession stands.
There are seven clay-surfaced
tennis courts available for use at a rate of 40 cents
©
PLAY
GROUN
DISTRlBUTt
ffi
Figure 9
’.Vdodward Stirvje
unde
Vhite
1941
125
per hour per court.
A *00den floor and backstop single-
wall handball court is in use throughout the year and a
substantial playground with the usual equipment is
available for children.
Parking space is provided
adjacent to the park,with a capacity for approximately
150 oars.
It has been estimated that the oity}s
investment in this park is $104,440.18, exclusive of
$40,000 paid for the land some years ago.
for upkeep in 1938 was $11,264.24.
The cost
This park seems to
provide ideal facilities for recreation.
Gedney Field, recently acquired at Mamaroneok
Avenue and Gedney Vay, covers approximately the same
area as Recreation Park, with an open grandstand having
a capacity of about 450 people.
Underneath this grand­
stand are the usual locker rooms, shower baths and
concession stand.
The athletic field consists of a
full-size baseball diamond which is used in the fall
for football; 10 clay-surfaced tennis courts, for use
by the public at a charge of 40 cents per hour per
court; and parking space for approximately 125 cars.
The oity*s investment in this field is estimated at
$95,982.17.
This is in addition to the cost of the
land which was acquired by the Board of Education for
$65,000 and is also in addition to the cost of the
Administration Building of $14,829.76.
upkeep in 1938 was $7,527.26.
The cost of
The site was obtained
126
and developed in anticipation of the growth of the oity
southward, and is now being extensively used by the
residents of that area*
Modern-day trends are encouraging the development
of hobbies and the practice of such games as may be
continued in adult life*
The shorter working day and
the longer weekend have given a newer aspect to the
question of desirable use of leisure time.
Active
participation, rather than mere observing, is the new
keynote in recreation.
In addition to the recreational facilities provided
by the city, the residents of White Plains are particularly
fortunate in living within Westchester County where nature
has been so prodigal in gifts offering abundant means of
reoreation: occasional stretches of gravel beach on Long
Island Sound and along the Hudson River, placid lakes
and rivers, rugged hills, rolling countryside, and wide
tracts of attractive woodland.
(Six percent of the area
constitutes parkways, and there are 750 acres of parks*)
Through the work of the Westchester County Park
Commission and the Westchester County Recreation Commission
nature’s beauty spots have been developed and made easy of
aooess to the general public*
Nor has the work of these
two commissions been oonfined solely to the development
of recreational opportunities of an outdoor type.
The
County Center is dedicated toward centering amusement
127
at home*
Here ample facilities have been provided for
art exhibits, music festivals, dramatic productions and
various other aotivities of a cultural nature.
Thus,
opportunities for both intellectual and physical relaxa­
tion have been provided.
The County Center has a seating
capacity of more than 5,000, and outstanding events of
the year are the Olney Series of Subscription Concerts.1
Likewise, the Ridgeway Summer Theatre attraots
thousands of discriminating playgoers who enjoy the
convenience and Informality of seeing many of the best
Broadway productions and stars right at home.
Library Facilities
The White Plains Library, considered one of the
best in the county, is rapidly expanding in its facilities
and services.
It offers over 70,000 volumes, including
special reference and children*s departments, with which
to serve the public.
The Library*s annual report issued
in 1940 stated that a broad book-selection policy has
been maintained in order to help build a fuller appre­
ciation of democratic living.
A return of wider
employment has led to a 7-peroent deorease (from 1939)
in the number of books borrowed; but the use of books
1.
Westchester County Planning Survey, Emergency
fork Bureau, White Plains, 1936.
128
inside the Library, as observed from the reference desk,
shoved an increase of 14 percent.
A structural addition to the reference department
has made a substantial improvement in convenience and
efficiency.
Adequate consideration of intellectual and
cultural growth of the child is a primary polioy on the
part of the trained librarian.
A book-mobile is advocated
to counteract and replace, as far as possible the cheap
and debasing literature so widely available outside the
library.
By this means books and desired information
could be taken to schools, playgrounds, hospitals and
convalescent homes.
Special attention is given to juvenile needs,
with a representative of the library visiting the class­
rooms of the seven schools.
Seventy-one percent of the
children of the elementary and junior high schools are
registered as borrowers at the public library.
Talks
on children’s books are broadcast regularly over Station
1VFAS.
There are at present 73,350 volumes available.
308,444 volumes were borrowed for home use, with 4,060
listed as borrowers (442 of these from outside White
Plains), and 14,199 (or 35 percent of the population)
registered.
1.
The working budget for 1940 totaled $49,827.06.*
Isabel Douglas, Annual Report of White Plains
Library for 1940.
129
Summary Listing
In addition to the facilities already covered in
this chapter, recreational facilities are offered by the
Parochial schools, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the
Catholic Youth Organization, the Y. M. C. A. and the Y.
W. C. A. and their allied groups, the Young People’s
organizations in the various Protestant groups, the
Urban League and some lesser organizations.
Some of
these will be touched upon in the chapter dealing with
the problems of youth.
130
CHAPTER VII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Historical Background
In tracing the history of education In the City
of White Plains, one learns to appreciate the fine spirit
of patriotism— the tremendous amount of zeal and ardor
found in its earlier citizens.
During the early Colonial
days, the efforts of the residents for the education of
their ohildren did not run at such a high tide as do the
efforts of its citizenry today.
A careful study of the
records of the entire state, and of our local community,
fails to reveal any great amount of public interest in
education; at least, to the extent of making provision
for schools to which the ohildren of all the people
might go for elementary instruction.1
Hardy, in his dissertation, quotes Baird as giving
the following from a written report of one Reverend James
1.
H. Claude Hardy, “Evolution and Development of the
Office of Superintendent of Schools, Westchester
County, New York,” Inor Publishing Co., Inc., 1932.
131
ffetmore In 1728:
As to schools, there are several poor
ones in different parts of the parish
(meaning Rye). Where a number of families
live near together, they hire a man and
a woman at a cheap rate, subscribing every
one what they will allow. Some masters get
20 pounds per annum and their diet, but there
is no publio^provislon at all for a school in
this parish.
Quoting further from Hardy, who has made an
exhaustive study of the evolution of education in
Westchester County, we learn that one Doctor Dwight
in his “Travels” has the following to say about early
conditions in Westchester County:
Neither learning nor religion has within
my knowledge flourished to any great extent
among the inhabitants. Academies have been
established at New Rochelle, Bedford and
Salem, but neither of them has flourished.
A few gentlemen are scattered in various
parts of this county possessing the
intelligence usually found in that class of
men, but the people at large are extremely
stunted in their information.2
Running the gamut of church schools, established
by the Dutoh in 1633, followed by the denominational
Church School of traditional England, “with the ferule
3
and birch rod not merely a thing of fiction,”
with
teacher qualifications limited to ability “to make a
good quill pen, and to write with facility a clear
1.
Hardy, op. oit.: p. 3;quoting from Charles W.
Baird’s “History of Rye,” p. 174.
2* Ibid.: quoting from Dwight’s “Travels,” Vol.
Ill, p. 490.
3. rbidii^ p. 1.
132
and fair hand, and solve the sums and repeat the
tables in Doboll’s arithmetic, he was considered a
X
competent teacher and received a certificate."
Shortly after the Revolution, legislative acts
began to give legality to schools with the encouragement
of state funds, to tax-supported schools.
In 1812, a
state system of common schools was created by legislation,
and in 1831 a county deputy of schools was commissioned.
In 1849 a Superintendent of Public Instruction was
elected, or authorized, and continued to serve until
1910 when the office was abolished.
In its place, each
oity maintains its own Superintendent of Schools, and
the remainder of Westchester County is divided into
four supervisory districts covering 60 school districts.
Z
Undemocratic in nature, since only the financially
able could secure an education for their ohildren, the
schools increased greatly in number.
In 1828 the White
Plains Academy was incorporated by an act of the state
legislature.
A female seminary was elected and
established in the village in 1835.
Thereafter follows
an interesting development of the publio-school system.
Private schools continued to exist until about 1886.
1.
2.
Dally Reporter. White Plains, 250th Anniversary
issue, September 26, 1933; and originally taken
from J. Thomas Scharf, “History of Westchester
County,” p . 696•
Hardy, dp. cit.; pp. 5-11.
133
However, as noted by Hardy, the date of the opening of
the first public school was about 1836.
It was situated
near the now defunct Boston and Westchester depot
adjoining the property of James Dick, then village tanner.
The four-room Court Street school was completed in 1856,
but it was later destroyed by a fire.
The White Plains
High School was established in 1895 with a freshman
class of 30 pupils.
Only five of the 30 students
graduated at the conclusion of the four-year course.
What an interesting story it makes, tracing the
history of our schools— first prodded and fostered by
our early forebears— up to the present time; to our
spacious buildings, with fine equipment and splendid
teaching staff.
What an Interesting story a boy in
each successive school could tell!
Education Today
The education system in White Plains today, to
quote from the Report of the Mayor*s Committee on
Survey, " . . .
to all intents and purposes, is a
separate entity, entirely independent of the general
city government.”
The mayor may recommend to the
Common Council a reduction in the total budget, but
not to affect certain mandatory items, as noted on
pages 136-138.
The Council may then act upon the
mayor*s recommendations.
The taxes for the schools,
134
however, are Included In the annual assessment rolls.
Including debt service and state and county taxes, it
amounted to 36.2 percent of the total budget in 1938,
or $1,977,724.53; and in 1940 to $1,912,528.75.
Of
this total, interest on the bonded debt amounted to
$284,495.25; redemption on the bonded debt to
$123,215.00; and total operating expense to $1,504,818.50,
including salaries, wages, books and other similar
expenses.
Board of Education
The five members of the Board of Education are
eleoted by the qualified voters of the city.
They
maintain their own organization and determine the
educational policies of the school system.
It is the
duty of the Superintendent of Schools to carry out these
policies.
An important service rendered by the
Superintendent consists in interpreting to the public
the school system, its organization and its work.1
One
of the duties of the assistant superintendent is the
preparation of the annual budget and the administration
of the business affairs of the Board.2
That the city
has been fortunate in securing capable leaders in this
1.
2*
A. B. Meredith, in Report of the Survey of the
Public Schools of White Plains, N. Y.; p. 54.
Ibid.; p. 56.
135
field is attested "by the tribute paid by the surveyors,
recently, which gave as one of its conclusions that:
Measured by any standard, the public
school service of White Plains is entitled
to a high rank among the city school systems
of the United States in efficiency of
administration; in the qualifications—
professional and cultural— of its teaching,
supervisory and administrative staff; in
the general exoellenoe and sanitary condition
of its school buildings; and in the general
spirit of cooperation characteristic of the
community in the matter of public education.
That the citizens are in sympathy with good
education and the finer cultural phases of life is
indicated by the liberal financial support of the
budget.
It has long been known that the public will
pay for the kind of schools it really wants.
Curriculum and Kduoattonal Services
An institution,
in order to function properly,
must adequately serve those for whom it was organized.
It is unwise, and often impossible, for a school to
progress or change more rapidly than the social
conditions of its environment.
For this reason, the
community and the school must be united in their
policy and in their program.
Through certain limitations
or constitutional provisions, state laws and regulations
1.
Report of the Survey of Public Schools of White
Plains, N. Y . , made by the National Municipal
League, John W. Withers, director.
136
affecting the conduct of the schools have, In a measure,
forced the administration of our schools into a pattern
often beyond the control of our local board.
Compulsory-
attendance lavs require graduation from high school or
attendance of all youth until the age of seventeen is
reached.
The Board of Regents, through the University
of the State of New York and the education department,
determine the pattern and approve the programs for the
elementary, junior high and senior high schools.
Some of the more recent state requirements are:'*'
1.
Library services
2.
Guidance services
3.
Health and Physical education
4.
Requirements for teachers
Other Mandatory Services:
Among the many services
for which the Department of Education is required to make
provision are the following:
1.
1.
Enforcing safe and healthful conditions of
school buildings and grounds
2.
Fire prevention
3.
The nature of alcoholic drinks
4.
Patriotism and citizenship
5.
Periodic fire drills
Constitutional and Legal Background for the Public
Schools of the State of New York, White Plains
Public Schools, White Plains Board of Education,
March 13, 1939; p. 7.
137
.
6
7.
8
.
9,
10
.
11
.
12
.
Humane treatment of animals and birds
Observance of Arbor Day
Purchase and display of Flag
Physical training and kindred subjects
School census “to be taken and amended
from day to day”
Compulsory attendance.
The compulsory
school age has been raised to 17
(16 with working papers). “A
person over 5 and under 21 years
of age is entitled to attend the
public schools— without the pay­
ment of tuition.”
Continuation of part-time schools
13.
Children with retarded mental development ,
special classes required
14.
Medical inspection and health services:
Medical inspection of all pupils
required; Health Department
mandatory
15.
Eye and ear tests; tests for hearing
required with “audiometers”
16.
Kindergartens
17.
Night schools required on at least 50
nights (if 20 or more persons
over age of 16 make application
for Instruction)
18.
Americanization
19.
Instruction in the Constitution of the
United States
20
.
21.
Salary schedules for members of the
supervising and teaching staff
required
Physically handicapped children
138
22.
Courses of Instruction in highway safety
and traffic.
“The regents of the
University of the State of New York
shall determine the subjects to be
included in such courses of
instruction.”
23.
State teachers retirement fund.
In 1939 these mandatory costs in White Plains
reached the sum of $188,242.82.
School Attendance
The high point of the enrollment in the White
Plains schools was reached in 1937, when 7,610 pupils
were enrolled, of which 23.4 percent were in senior
high school; 23.7 percent were in junior high schools;
and 52.9 percent in the elementary schools and kinder­
gartens.
In 1939 the enrollment was 7,574, 26.3 percent
of which was in senior high school; 24 percent in junior
high schools; and 49.7 percent in the elementary schools
and kindergartens.
This decrease in enrollment of the
younger children is a state-wide situation.^
The
enrollment in junior high schools has remained fairly
constant, while the senior high school enrollment has
increased during this period.
In 1924 the White Plains High School was chiefly
1.
Julius B. Mailer, “School and Community, Regents
Inquiry Into the Character and Cost of Public
Education in the State of New York,” 1938*
139
intended to prepare pupils for college or other schools
of higher learning.
18.5 years.
The average age at graduation was
In 1930 the average age at graduation of
the college-preparatory group was 17.7, and in 1940,
17.5.*
This lowering of graduation age plaoes many
socially immature youths in college at a time when they
are not properly equipped to deal successfully with the
new freedom that is a part of college life.
On the
other hand, those who plan to enter some form of
occupation find that they are still too young for many
of the occupational opportunities that might otherwise
he open to them.
O
During this period of uncertainty
and indeoision a “youth organization11 might direct them
towards a purpose or plan broader in scope than their
own, and assist in maintaining or developing their morale.
I n addition to the public schools of the city,
there are three parochial schools, one of which is of
high-sohool grade.
These three schools accommodate
about 10 percent of the pupils of school age.
Registration in public and parochial schools since
1935 is as follows:
1935
Public
Schools
Parochial
Schools
1.
2.
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
7473
7636
7580
7511
7216
6925
702
795
795
814
851
824
Brainard H. Woodward and youth survey group.
“The Junior Citizen of White Plains," 1941; p. 8.
Loo, oit.
140
The significant drop in enrollment at the public
sohools since 1936 is characteristic of the nationwide
trend, and a fact that should be given serious thought
by those who realize the real need for a dynamic,
progressive people.
IVoodward notes that the outstanding statistical
change in the national and local school situation in the
last decade is the inorease in the percentage of pupils
who go on to high school and to college.
From 1910 to
1940, high school enrollment in the United States has
more than doubled in each successive decade.
In White Plains there were 320 pupils in high
school in 1920; 920 in 1930; and 1890 in 1940.
The graph on page 141, constructed by Woodward*s
youth survey group,
indicates that the period showing
the greatest proportional Increase in attendance was
from 1928 to 1933—— chiefly the period of eoonomic
depression, a time when opportunities for employment were
scarce, and those who normally would leave school remained
for want of anything else to do.
To meet the need for the changing character of the
high-school registration, a greater variety in course
selection has become necessary.
The great increase in high-school attendance is
further shown by the number in eaoh graduating class
141
Figure 10*
Trend Of High School Enrollment.*
600
600
fOO
500
400
300
300
20(
100
100
iytiU'21'22 '23*24'25'26*27*2R f29'30,3 1 ,32
,3 7 ,38'39i40 <41
Resident EiWcLlment in White Pl&ins
High School, per j|QP00 population, 1920-1941
Woodv/ard p. 16.
142
slnoe 1930:^
1930
191
1936
411
1931
239
1937
419
1932
302
1938
465
1933
371
1939
494
1934
339
1940
510
1935
404
1941
550
The class of 1940 was analyzed to show courses
chosen, with the following results:
College Preparatory
General Academic
Praotioal Arts
Borne Economics
Commercial
Summer School
Composition
Totals
p
Boys
Girls
Total
102
105
29
92
115
15
2
45
194
220
29
2
60
4
1
5
255
255
510
The chart on page 143i shows the trend oi
ourrlcula enrollment in the graduating classes
years 1931, 1935 and 1939.
There has heen a drop in
the percent of pupils taking the college-preparatory
course and a corresponding increase in the percent of
students taking the general course.
The general trend in course choice for the class
1*
2,
Woodward, et a l . , op. oit. p. 10.
Loo, oit.
143
of 1941 Indicates:1
Boys
Girls
Total
College Preparatory
General Academic
Practical Arts
Commercial
121
107
29
18
75
164
2
45
196
271
31
63
Totals
275
286
561
This comparative data would show that 4 percent
more hoys and 10 percent fewer girls are taking the
college-preparatory course.
An inorease in girls of
12 percent is noted for the relatively less useful
general academic course, while the practical arts and
commercial courses remain fairly constant.
A orying need in this city, as in other communi­
ties throughout the nation,
is for better guidance in
the selection of life’s vocations, as well as further
training in those moral qualities upon which our
democracy must rest.
In a challenging sermon, “The
Eduoatlon of the Heart,” a prominent member of the
clergy of the city recently stated:
“In our educational
scheme culture and character are poles apart.”
It was
his contention that the system of partial eduoatlon, of
cramming the head with knowledge, but leaving manners
and morals out of account, leaves much to be desired,
and that only throngh education of the heart can the
!•
Ibid.: p. 11.
144
world progress.1
In White Plains a newly formed Civic Youth
Council has been organized under the Civic Education
Division of the State Department of Education, to
counteract subversive influences among young people*
The members will study health, recreation, unemployment
and civic educational problems.
Nursery or pre-kindergarten schools in White
Plains are still in the experimental stage.
Such a
school has been operating in the Rochambeau School
since 1937, and now cares for 29 children.
There are
several private schools o f this nature located within
the city, and the pre-school child may find therein
supervised play and work of inestimable value for the
early training of the child; this is especially true
of children from homes where the mother is occupied
with housekeeping and other matters.
The purpose of
such schools, also, is to provide proper companionship
and soolal activity for young children who have little
opportunity in the limited family group of today.
School Facilities
With regard to the physical equipment of the
1.
The Reporter Dispatch. June 19, 1941; editorial
on sermon of the Reverend Arthur S. Wheelock
at the Church in the Highlands.
145
schools, White Plains ranks among the best.
Institution­
ally the school system consists of the Board of
Education, the senior high school, three junior high
schools and ten elementary schools.
Other units, called
“schools” are conducted as administrative units; e. g.,
evening schools, continuation schools and schools for
atypical children.
The fourteen schools are housed in eleven
buildings.
(See map on page 146 for the location of
these schools.)
At the Battle Kill school, the East
View and the Post Road, the same building serves for
both an elementary and a junior high school unit.
In
one of the so-— the East View school— there are at
present two principals, one for each of the organiza­
tional divisions.1
Their capacity, calculated on a
basis of 85 percent of their pupil-classroom stations,
is shown by the table on page 147 to be 8,520 pupil
stations.
Average Number of Pupils per Teacher
In the elementary schools there is an average
of 31 pupils per teacher; in the junior high schools,
the average is about 25; while the average in the
1.
Report of the Survey of the Public Schools of
White Plains, N.Y., National Municipal
League, Balletto Sweetman, 1940*
Washington School
/ « '
0
Ferri s A v e n u e S c hool
sT'/UfilJttx
II
on of
*
Pla ygr o u n d s
?1;..Vlew_Avenue S cho ol
E l e m e n t a r y Schools
indicated by
Junior H i g h Schools
indicated by
Pla yg r o u n d s indicated
bv
Rochotnbeau S c hool
- W ,
Plains, N.Y.
m
\
■■
£
st Road School
PLAY
CROUN
DISTRIBUTI
M a m s r o n e c k A v e n u e School
Ul
l o r Jli
R id ro v .’oy Sohoo
4
R o s ed ale School
Figure 11*
Schools '
fit
♦Material taken from
♦School Zone MapCity of
White Plains, N. Y.
-as of September, 1940.
in£ Playgrounds.
147
Tables XIV.
CITY OF WHITE PLAINS
School
School
Capacity
Pupil Classroom
Stations
Average Daily Attendance
1938
1940
Battle Hill
Elementary
Jr. High
1163
S97
2060
643
523
1168
570
516
1086
East View
Elementary
Jr. High
1125
995
2120
583
714
1297
553
743
1296
Ferris Avenue
320
220
223
Geo. Washington
390
327
310
Hillside Avenue
285
212
191
Mamaroneok Ave.
1000
710
593
Post Road *
Elementary
Jr. High
Ridgeway
Rochambeau
Rose dale
Senior High
Total
*
420
530
950
429
459
888
408
413
821
30
13
8
735
476
433
30
12
16
2120
1725
1888
10,040
7,046
6,865
If all basement rooms are considered as satisfactory,
pupil olassroom stations should be considered as
Elementary
Jr. High
450
670
1,120
The above chart is compiled from material taken from page
94 of the Mayor*s Committee on Need for a Survey and from
the office of the Board of Education.
148
senior high school is about 28.
Personnel:
The table on page 149 shove the public
school personnel considered adequate for the years 1940
and 1941.
Instructional Salary Schedule
The salary of the teaching staff proper runs from
$1,700 to $2,900 in the lowest grade, and from $2,200 to
$4,000 in the highest grade.
The maximum salary in any
grade is reached through a series of annual increments
figured in the schedule, which average from $75 to
$150, according to the years of service rendered.
Approximately 70 percent of the staff are
receiving salaries at $2,900 or above; 50 percent are
above $3,000; and more than 40 percent at $3,100 or
higher.
Through the years from 1932 to 1938, the
employed staff of the Educational Department made a
return to the city treasury, the total voluntary
contributions amounting to $531,295.39.
(A chart of the organizational structure of
the public school system appears on page 150.)
School Revenues in 1940 were:
State aid
Federal aid
Tuition
Miscellaneous
Total
$ 335,047.61
0.00
55,891.07
4.345.86
$ 395,284.54
149
Table XV.
CITY OF SfHITE PLAINS
Number of Employees of Different
Classifications Provided for
in the 1940 Budget
and in the 1941 Proposed Budget*
Principals
Supervisors and
Special Teachers
Teachers, Regular Substitutes
and Additional Teachers
Library Teachers
Dental Hygienists
Nurses
Physicians
Part-*time Health Director
Office Secretaries and
Clerks
Administration:
Operation and Maintenance
Employees
Attendance Officer
Visiting Teacher in Charge
of Attendance Department
Superintendent and
Assistant Superintendent
Cafeteria Director
Total
*
(a)
(b)
9
11
299
6
3
5
1
1
27 (a)
67 (b)
1
1
2
1
434
Not including evening school instructors, summer
playground instructors, or any employee working
on less than one-third time basis or on a perdiera basis.
26 full-time, and 1 part-time.
55 full-time, and 12 part-time.
This data is compiled from the City of White Plains
Budget for the Department ofEducation,
1941, page 8.
Figure 12.
150
the white p l u m s public school system .*
BOARD
OF
EDUCATION- 5 MEMBERS
Superintendent of Schools
I
Office Staff
2 total
Assistant Superintendent
of Schools
School Principals
Operation
& Maintenance
of SchoolPlant 5 Elementary
11 to 18 total 1 Junior High
2 ElementaryJunior Highs
lSenior High
9 total
Supervisors A
Special Teachers
9 total
Health
Service
13 total
Attendance
Department
3 total
Building
Operation Staff
43 Full Time
13 Part Time
Teachers
13 Units
297 total
Secretaries
for all schools
15 total
Business
administration
o total
Functional Organization of the Public School System.
Solid lines indicate direct responsibility, and of
administrative authority.
Dotted lines indicate less formal relationships.
♦taken from Survey of White Plains Schools-Board of Education, p.69
151
Mandatory Services
Atypical Classes:
As required under provision of
the state law, there are special classes for mentallyretarded children in White Plains.
These classes— nine
in number— are housed in four of the regular school
buildings, as follows:
Three classes at East View Avenue school
Four classes at Battle Hill school
One class at Ferris Avenue school
One class at Rochambeau school
The children (150 in number) in these classes all
conform to state legislature requirements of ranking
between 50 and 75 I. A.
The “parental objection to
transfer" into these olasses is partially overcome by
the placement of the classes in the regular buildings
and by informing the parents regarding the benefits
1
of such transfer.
Potential special-class children
are identified early through a battery of tests, but
are given the benefit of a trial in regular class
instruction until a later test and the confirmation
of the teacher suggest the needed change.
In these
special classes the curriculum is based upon the
interests, abilities and needs of the children.
1.
The
Brian E. Tomlinson, in the White Plains School
Survey, 1940; p. 360.
152
surveyors noted an attitude of courtesy, cooperation
and friendliness between children and teachers.
Guidance Program:
Each school is equipped with
apparatus essential for a broad program of visual
eduoatlon.
A film library of over 350 selective titles
on all subjects is the property of the Board of Education.
Children are encouraged to pursue problems and projects
of special interest, thus stimulating to individual
oreativeness.
Borne-rooms and activity organization
are given the opportunity to prepare an occasional
assembly program, and exhibits in every art and craft,
as well as musical festivals for the entire school
system, are annual events.
Teachers are personally
interested in the welfare of the children, and the
heavy attendance at most Parent-Teaoher meetings attest
to the cordial relationship existing between teachers
and parents.
The effort of the teacher to adjust instruction
to individual differences, or those activities which
grow out of the relationship of teacher and pupil on
some personal problem, is sometimes referred to as
guidance.
In White Plains, the “guidance program" is
a conscious attempt to improve and extend the
guidance
work by the use of two guidance counselors in the
senior high school, and counselors in each
junior high sohools.
of the
153
Guidance is based upon accurate and up-to-date
information as to the post-school careers of former
students.
An effort is made to tie up more closely
with the future employer by permitting part-time
employment during school attendance.
Placements have
also been made through the State Employment Bureau and
by means of the cooperation of the Civic and Business
Federation*s Committees on Education and Retail Selling,
and through other organizations as well.
A course in
retail selling has reoently been included in the
curricular offerings and has been instrumental in
preparing many boys and girls for employment within
the community.
From 25 to 30 percent of the placements
1
made through the schools are in sales work.
Health;
Health requirements are also mandatory,
and consist of periodical physical examination of the
children, dental hygiene, physical education, games and
the like.
Through the cooperation and donations of the
graduates of White Plains Hospital School of Nursing,
the Parent-Teaohers Association Council, and other
civic groups— plus the time given gratis by dentists—
needy children may have dental treatment at a local
clinic for a modest fee, based on what the patient oan
1.
Robert Hoppock, in the Survey of White Plains
Schools, 1940; p. 217.
154
afford.
The clinic is open six mornings a week, from
nine in the morning to noon, with two volunteer dentists
always in attendance. Persons on relief are excluded
from treatment here, it was pointed out, because they
are taken care of by the Welfare Department.
A check­
up is being made of elementary, junior high and senior
high school pupils; and time off from classes will be
allowed students next fall and winter for necessary
dental work, it is said.
Nash speaks of health as “the ability of the
human organism to sustain adaptive effort.”'1' Health
is thus a product of many efforts.
A report of the
school physician indicates that the program is primarily
one of detecting defects and urging parents to have them
O
corrected.
Lip-reading cases are detected by means of
an audiometer test.
The surveyor of this department stated that in
his opinion the Health Service Program in White Plains
schools is in the hands of a competent staff.
School Libraries:
All junior and senior high
schools are required by state law to have full-time
librarians*
There are two in the senior high school
and one in each of the junior high schools.
1*
2.
With less
Jay B, Nash, in the Survey of White Plains Schools,
1940; p. 297.
Ibid.; p. 304.
155
stress on the use of one textbook has come the demand
for many books on all subjects related to the
curriculum and to the interests of children.1
Curricular Opportunities
In the sooial studies field, teachers are keenly
aware that they face a tremendous problem in the
adaptation of the subject-matter to meet the varying
abilities of students in the academic, practical arts,
commercial and other specialized divisions of the school.2
In English— Spoken and Written Language and
Reading— the surveyor
found a spirit of cooperation
inspired by skillful teaching.
A report of the various
phases in mathematics showed that more work of a
laboratory character should be done in all the grades.4
Vocational, Industrial and Technical Education
in the City of White Plains are organized to provide
practical educational experiences for boys and girls
in preparation for possible future vocations.
The
courses are being expanded each year as the need
1.
2.
3.
4.
Alice L. Fevre, Library service, White Plains
Survey of Schools; 1940; p. 236.
John M. Andrews, “Social Studies Program,” in
Survey of White Plains Schools, 1940; p. 130.
Howard R. Driggs, English, in Survey of White
Plains Schools, 1940; p. 144.
J. Andrew Drushel, Mathematics, in Survey of
White Plains Schools, 1940; p. 167.
156
arises and the budget permits.
Projects In all divisions
are encouraged, and Include those providing experience
that may be of future value.
Horticulture and estate
work, food trades, automobile mechanics, electricity
and appliancing, as well as beauty culture and infant
care, are being taught, or will be included in the
program for the near future.*
The occupational choices of White Plains highschool students is revealed by the curricula enrollment
of seniors as shown in the chart on page 157.
The Music Education Program of the White Plains
schools has been a vital functional factor in character
education, both in recreational as well as cultural and
esthetic interests.
The realization that “music is a
universal language and that it knows no race or creed11
is an important factor in the success of any well
balanced music program.'"
In the field of Art, the surveyor stated:
No city could have more uniformly
beautiful school buildings in a better
setting. . . . The pupils* work in this
subject is exceptional. The equipment
in the art rooms is well designed, being
efficient and not costly when compared
with that in cities of like size. The
1.
2.
Oakley Furney, Vocational Eduoatlon, in Survey
of White Plains Schools, 1940; pp. 171-202.
Ernest G. Hesser, Music Education, in Survey
of White Plains Schools, 1940; pp. 203-16.
Figure 13.
CHART
of
CURRICULA ENROLLMENT IN GRADUATING CLASSES
WHITE. PLAINS HIGH SCHOOL. *
21^.
Bus»/v
Business
17»67sx\
;e
/
' PreVtical
i i y ^ A
/
89
^^rac.XYtB/College
£ 11.5# 1 I Prep.
---- -] I 38.7?*
79
General
/ \\
J
/
/
Arts j.2.2^
■
54.3%
f
/
48
Busine;
College 29.8%
Prep
Girls I 41.7%
College
Prep*
41.3#
Busine®
24?S
yjollege Businee
' Prep. 17.3 & X
32.3%
^ *1 2 8
General
f 33.
50.4^
General
28.7#
Total
110
55
>
Colleg< Busines
Prep. 23.5#
47?*
_____
X 163
69
x
/College Busines
Prep.
17#
40.2#
^>^3 P
f 69
General
29.5%
S.
171
xJollege
Prep.
36.5#
/l41
Xreneral
/
34.8#
♦Survey of Public Schools of White Plains. N. Y, 1940, P. 278
158
teachers have been well., selected and have had
excellent preparation.
There is a g ro w in g recognition of the importance
of developing sound education for family living.
For
this reason, Home Economists should assume leadership
in the movement for the extension of family education.
As has been noted by the surveyor, to be effective,
this will require the combined and coordinated efforts
of all school and community groups concerned with
education and active dynamic leadership on the part
of school administrators.
In the matter of Business Education, it was found
that the White Plains business community absorbs a large
percentage of those students who receive vocational
business training in the schools of White Plains, and
that this business community tends to be typical of
other urban communities in the kinds of opportunities
3
it offers for office and sales workers.
The highly
residential character and the wide trading area dependent
upon services through the media of the White Plains
businessmen would indicate the need for a very large
force of sales persons.
1.
2.
3.
In a study made in 1938 of
Robert A. Kissaok, Art Education, in Survey of
White Plains Schools, 1940; p. 233.
Dora S. Lewis, Home Economics Education, in
Survey of White Plains Schools, 1940; p. 247.
Paul S. Lomax, Business Eduoatlon, in Survey
of White Plains Schools, 1940; p. 259.
159
the fathers of White Plains high school students, 417
(32 percent) of the 1,320 fathers of students cooperating
in the study were engaged in "business occupation.
The
vocational occupations most frequently found among them
were:
Salesmen
Merchants
Insurance
Business
Executive
Heal Estate
Accounting Auditing
Advertising
Office
Managers
Bankers
Brokers
Store
Managers
119
49
39
36
28
28
18
18
16
14
14
379
In the evening school, adults are given
vocational training in "business and other subjects.
The general principle upon which such courses are given
in a desirable field depends upon the number enrolling
for it.
Elementary subjects for those who have had
little opportunity in earlier years, English for
foreigners, and commercial subjects with special classes
in retail selling, millinery and dressmaking have made
up the major portion of the evening sohool program.
The Civic and Business Federation cooperated in securing
membership in the course in retail selling by canvassing
160
its own membership and assisting in securing the services
of a competent instructor.
The annual enrollment has been
as follows:
1937
976
1938
1,375
1939
1,225
1940
755
1941
795
The evening school course for aliens seeking
citizenship has been of inestimable value.
Of the 456
attending this course since 1927, 339 have been helped
in securing their first citizenship papers, and 117 to
get their final papers.
It is interesting to note the
effect of the depression upon immigration, as revealed
by the following data on registration for citizenship
classes:
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
81
112
57
45
39
16
15
13
10
This drop is undoubtedly due to a required fee
of $2.00 in these years for each person
registered, even though this was returnable
if the total attendance amounted to 75 percent
of the term. Woodward suggested that the fee
probably merely weeded out the less serious
students.
161
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
5
14
14
18
16
14
At present a Defense course is working on a twoshift program at the East View Avenue school.
This is
under governmental supervision, and is adaptable to the
labor needs of defense industries.
About 125 prospective
defense workers are enrolled in these courses, subsidized
by the government and under the direction of 4 teachers.
Welding, electricity, sheet metals, mechanical drawing
and design, automobile mechanios, radio communications,
and radio code are being taught.
The training of
unemployed workmen rather than those already holding
skilled jobs, promises to make the program of sub­
stantial and lasting value.
Day students take 400
hours of training, and evening pupils 150 hours.
Used machinery from nearby factories have been made
available for the training of prospective employees.
Jobs are readily procurable for those ivho complete
this training.
Classes are also open for dressmaking,
cooking, handcraft, accounting, shorthand and type­
writing, English for foreigners, photography and
1
elementary drawing.
1.
“Direotory of Training Opportunities,” compiled
jointly by the Westchester County Guidance
and Personnel Association and the Committee
on Employment and Vocational Services of the
Westchester County Council of Social Agencies,
February 15, 1941.
162
Student Bodies
As a preparation for citizenship training, the
survey herein frequently referred to revealed that at
Post Road each of the 17 home-rooras used "by the junior
high school was organized with president and other
officers.
These presidents make up the Student Council,
and the Council, with supervision, sponsors projects of
interest to the school sooiety and occasionally presides
at assemblies.
Each term the entire student body enjoys
the thrill of a political campaign, when candidate
sponsorship and general voting takes place.
There are
traffic officers indoors, and a safety squad regulates
bicycle traffic outside.
Offenders are given a summons
to appear before a traffic court composed of a group
from the Council.
At the Battle Hill school a “J. 0.” , or junior
student organization, determines much of the student
activity and helps control behavior within the school
by means of safety squads and monitor groups.
At the East View school, quoting again from
Woodward, “a particular feature of student government
is the arrangement whereby six judges, sitting as courts
of three, with one in turn presiding, try oases of student
violators of school rules.
A clerk of the court records
‘tickets* given and penalties imposed.
Here again, a
group of monitors and traffic officers direot the
163
behavior of their fellow students, make arrests, and
give warnings.”
At the Iligh School, a General Organization with
representation from each class proportionate to its
numbers, and a member from each chartered organization
in the school, exercises considerable authority over
student affairs.
There is a general student president,
vice-president and secretary elected under a two-party
system composed of the fraternity-sorority group and
the independents.
There seems to be a decided lack,
however, as recorded by ffoodward, of student control
over behavior, penalties being imposed by the principal
or teaohers and the detention room threatening as a
jail for offenders of the established order.
It is at this time that citizenship training
should reach its fullest extent.
The Education
Committee of the Civic and Business Federation,
recognizing the harmful effects of rowdyism and
destruction occurring at hallowe’en and other traditional
festive occasions, were considering some plan of youth
organization to be associated with the Federation as a
Junior Division, and a course of training in the
rudiments necessary for law-abiding citizenship.
The
Civic Youth Council, previously referred to, may be a
step in the right direction.
A summer vacation school is carried on at the
164
senior high school for the convenience of pupils (from
White Plains and nearby communities) who wish to make
up back work or undertake advanced studies.
In the
junior high schools, introductory courses in business
and occupations help students to better knowledge of
opportunities and their own particular Interests.
Elementary Schools
In the elementary schools observers noted
oommendable physical equipment and a cordial happy
coordination between pupil and teacher.
Visual
education, individual projects, and the personal
interest of teachers have been effective in bringing
about this agreeable relationship.
Recommendations
made by the surveyors for the development of the
elementary school Included a supervisor, teachers*
committees and curriculum revision.'1'
In Science instruction, committees of the
teachers have been able to develop a functional science
closely adapted to the child and his life.
Efforts are
being made to coordinate the science instruction from
kindergarten through the high school.
1.
The observer
Survey of White Plains Schools, 1940; pp. 325-30;
compiled by Beryl Parker from reports by Doris
Bock, Clara Skiles, Alvina Treut, Ursula
Brlnghurst, Franc J. Thyng and Robert K. Speer.
165
noted that the “pupil s demonstrated real, dynamic
interest in the science work*"1
In the field of Testing and Research, a
committee is responsible for the selection of tests,
administration of the tests, the scoring of the tests
and the report of the results.
Standardized Achievement
Tests are administered to all children throughout the
system, followed by departmental tests which are made
by the respective subject committees.
Intelligence and
achievement tests are given to transfers from other
school systems, so that they may be properly placed.
2
In conclusion, the National Municipal surveyors
stated:
The school system as a whole is well
organized and efficiently managed.
Improve­
ments are, however, possible in the general
supervision of instruction.
A major problem
is to determine how these improvements can
be accomplished with the greatest wisdom and
economy. Here the burden of responsibility
rests primarily upon the Superintendent of
Schools. . . • The efficiency of the
Superintendent and his staff in the material
and business administration is clearly
evident.
There is little room for improve­
ment in this respeot.
The great need is to
open the way for a fuller, and more effective
exercise of the Superintendent’s ability as
a leader in stimulating and coordinating the
service and encouraging the professional
Improvement of the teaching staff.
1.
2.
Charles J. Pleper, Instruction in Solenoe, Survey
of White Plains Schools, 1940; p. 336.
Ernest R. Wood, Testing and Research, Survey of
White Plains Sohools, 1940; p. 373.
166
The school is fortunate in its teachers.
Throughout the system there is evident a fine
spirit of cooperation and general good will.
Both the teachers and the children seem happy
in their work.
There is also among the great
majority of the teachers the desire for further
personal and professional growth and improvement,
sixty percent of the staff at present are
enrolled in such courses.
The progressive educational opportunities within
the city are reflected by this statement of the
Superintendent of Schools:
The basic philosophy of the White Plains
schools reoognizes the needs of the Individual
as the justification and evaluation of all
instruction.
It is the belief of the White
Plains schools that effective democratic
institutions constitute the best means for
insuring justice and liberty, for maintaining
equality of political, social and economic
opportunities, for fostering growth and
progress, and for furthering truth and
honesty. Public education should produce
character and not mere intellectuality.
Parochial Schools
White Plains got its first college in 1923,
when the Sisters of the Divine Compassion organized
Good Counsel College.
It is located on the east side
of Broadway, directly in the center of one of the
city’s most beautiful scenic as well as historically
famed spots.
1.
The college offers courses in liberal
John W. Withers, General Policy and Program,
Survey of White Plains Schools, 1940; p. 40.
167
arts leading to either the A. B. or B. S. degree.
The
campus occupies 36 acres and has 15 buildings.
St. John’s School, founded 46 years ago by the
Sisters of Charity, has a present enrollment of about
700 students.
St. Bernard’s School was opened in
1932, and has a registration of nearly 300 students.
This, too, is conducted by the Sisters of the Divine
Compassion.
Every possible effort is made to conform with
the Board of Education requirements in the program
of the older students who may expect to transfer to
the public schools for junior high or senior high
school studies.
Proposed University or Junior College in White Plains
In February of 1936, factual information
relative to the prospects of establishing some sort of
an educational institution above the high school level
was compiled by the Superintendent of Schools, H.
Claude Hardy.
It was noted, in retrospect, that when
White Plains became a city in 1916, that community
gave to the State of New York thirty acres of land
on North Street (south of St. Agnes Hospital), for
the specific purpose of establishing a state normal
school under the New York State Board of Regents.
At the time, this land represented an investment
168
of $75,000,
The project, however, was abandoned when
the then Governor of the state, Franklin D. Roosevelt,
announced that there was no need for creating additional
normal schools.
Thereafter, between 1925 and 1929, the
Board of Supervisors, under the leadership of Surrogate
George Slater, attempted to create public sentiment in
support of a University of Westchester project.
The
ensuing depression interrupted any further plans at that
time.
Advocates of the plan watched with interest, the
success of the Collegiate Center, maintained at the
White Plains High School.
Classes met between 2:30 in
the afternoon and 7:30 in the evening, as a part of
the federal program of Emergency Relief, and under
direct control of the College of the City of New York.
When the Collegiate Center was discontinued in
1936, influential people, Elardy states, began to
agitate for some sort of a substitute, and this has
led to a revival of the subject of a University of
Westchester.
Since then, also, the city has again
acquired the North Street property, and it stands
available for use.
The Need for a College in Westchester:
A real
need for such an institution is clearly recognized by
many educators.
The Collegiate Center regularly
enrolled over 300 students.
Between 4,000and 5,000
students graduate annually from the high schools of
169
the county.
Many of these students, it is assumed, would
welcome the opportunity of a college nearby.
In addition,
the adjoining comities of Rockland and Putnam, as well as
Connecticut, would no douht he eager to take advantage
of a college course within easy commuting distance.
Also, estimates of the population growth in tfestchester
C o u n t y made by the Regional Plan Association indicate a
probable gain from the present 600,000 to about 850,000
by 1970.
Through planned extension and improved
services, the county can do much to determine its
future quality of citizenry.
Public-school teachers also have a need for “inservice" teaching courses.
About 500 teachers have been
taking part in the extension classes of the county.
As
a pre-requisite for the Bachelor degrees and for the
Master degrees a minimum residence credit is essential.
An available branch of a university would obviate the
necessity for costly commuting to secure the needed
residence requlrments.
New state regulations as to teacher certification
require more or less constant in-service training of all
publio-sohool teachers.
Here again a nearby university
would be a great convenience.
Another suggestion which has met with favor is
that the county is in great need of a junior oollege
type of education, devised to train youths for a two-
170
year term in business education and merchandising.
The Saxon Woods Development (A Convenient Site):
Located on a beautiful hill bordering Mamaroneok Avenue
and within view-distance of Long Island Sound stands
this former estate.
It is adjacent to a forest preserve
of approximately 1,000 acres of land acquired by the
Westchester County Park Commission.
Three of the four
buildings on the old estate are usable.
The principal
building is a spacious and imposing structure, built of
sandstone and covered with a red tile roof.
It contains
about 32 rooms, more than half of which, quoting from
the Hardy report, could be used for classrooms.
No
evidenoe of deterioration was noted, and the estate
shows the benefit of previous expert care.
A riding arena, 160 feet by 100 feet, constructed
of steel, glass and composition material, with available
heating plant, could be made into two good-sized
gymnasiums.
A third building, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide,
also steam-heated, could be converted into locker rooms,
and a section also developed into a social center or
enterta inment room.
An apartment on the top floor is
available for the custodian of the property.
Should any plan be consummated for the
establishment of a university or junior college in
White Plains, not only would the city and also the
171
county be aided culturally, but the merchants
would thus secure economic advantages accruing from
a highly desirable type of elientele.*
1,
The above information is based on WA Summary of
Facts” compiled by II. Claude Ilardy in 1936,
and on recent meetings with the Mayor of the
City of White Plains, the director of the
National Youth Administration and also the
Superintendent of Schools.— August 18, 1941.
172
CHAPTER Till
HOUSING IN WHITE PLAINS
Food, clothing and shelter are the three
fundamental needs of human existence.'1' Some of the
reasons advanced by those who have chosen White Plains
for their permanent homes, are the extent of public
servioes provided, the convenience of transportation,
probability of employment and the opportunity to own
their own homes in a oommunity with plenty of freedom
and play spaoe for their ohildren.
The number of persons
who anticipate profiting by such a situation is always
greater than the number who aotually realize their
expectations; and there is consequently a resulting
frustration of a large number of individuals and an
2
inorease in criminal tendencies.
1.
2.
"Basic Principles of Healthful Housing”-— Committee
on the Hygiene of Housing, American Public
Health Association, May, 1939; p. 7.
John Dollard and others, "Frustration and
Aggression,” Yale University Press, 1939.
173
Because of Its geographical location as the
“hub” of activities vithin the county, White Plains
Is In an enviable position to continue Its rapid growth
and prosperity despite the absenoe of the heavy In­
dustries.
The rapid growth of large cities has
reflected their Increasing Importance as communication
and service cities rather than Industrial cities.*
White Plains during the years from 1016 to 1923 was In
reality a village, in spite of its oity charter.
Only
in 1924 did the real development of the oity begin.
Already the demand for increasing city services had
led to the building of an incinerator in 1923; and six
months after its completion it was entirely Inadequate.
In 1927 a new Inoinerator was built on a plan allowing
o
for a 50-percent inorease in population.
During the deoade from 1920 to 1930 the population
increased over 70 peroent.
This tremendous influx of
new residents taxed the facilities of the city beyond
its normal ability to adjust itself to changing
conditions.
Schools, streets, sewers, polioe and fire
systems were greatly expanded and the o ity indebtedness
1.
2.
U. S. Resources Commission, "Our Cities, Their
Rdle in National Economy,” report of the
Urbanism Commission, Washington Government
Printing Office, 1937; p. 37.
Eugene Halpin, Commissioner of Public Works, report
to the Mayor’s Committee on Need for a Survey,
November, 1939.
174
correspondingly inoreased.
New sections of the oity
were developed, and into these new hones and apartments
went a large portion of the new residents.1
In the old
residential areas, wholly within and fringing the
business and oommeroial section, were left those people
who were economically unable to avail themselves of the
newer developments.
These eoologioal clusters then
formed natural areas because they were the product of
social foroes and natural groupings, and not of artifice
2
and design.
These natural areas of which there are three
within the oity of Hhite Plains, have not yet reached
the "slum” stage, as classified by Thorndike and also
the Majority Report of the Mayor9s Committee on Housing.
That they were fast approaohlng this degree of social
disintegration oannot be questioned after a reading of
the latter report.
That a movement is now under way
to alleviate the unwholesome and undesirable condition
of numerous dwellings within these areas will be
1*
2.
Report of Uayor9s Committee on Housing, February
28, 1941^ p. 13.
Pauline V. Young, “Scientific Social Surveys and
Researoh," Prentice Hall, Ino., New York, 1939;
p. 466.
Calvin F. Schmid, “Social Saga of Two Cities-— an
Ecological and Statistical Study of Social
Trends in Minneapolis and St. Paul,"
Minneapolis Council of Social Agencies,
Minneapolis, Minn., 1937.
175
considered shortly.
Housing characteristics have sometimes been used
as indices of neighborhood conditions.1
These
characteristics include the general requirements as
outlined in the Building Code of the oity.
Migration and its Effect upon White Plains
People move about, under pressure of circum­
stances and in search of new opportunity, with little
regard for the restraining barriers set up against them
by the states and their subdivisions
Many communities,
in order to discourage undesirable visitors, have
attempted to erect barriers by more strict relief
policies, or by limiting available low-oost housing.
In the itinerant or
migrant, such difficulties and
limitations may create an antagonism which robs him
of much of his personality3 and may result in future
delinquency and crime.
It is in this respeot that sohools have an
important function to perform, in ameliorating the
affects of unfavorable social conditions and in
developing within children habits of favorable
2.
3.
Russell Kurtz, Foreword in Philip E. Ryan’s,
•Migration and Social Velfare,” Russell Sage
Foundation, 1940.
Park and Miller, “Old World Traits Transplanted,»
Harper and Bro., Hew York, 1921.
176
reactions which will stay with them through life*1
The
polloe and social agencies meet with little oooperation
or response on the part of the population of a blighted
area.
Rather does this population regard them with
suspicion and indifference, and sometimes even meets
their efforts with open opposition*2
Overcrowding does
not encourage respeot for law; and this must necessarily
be so when living quarters are limited.
It is generally
known, for example, that in the matter of eking out
income negroes, more quickly than others, double up in
apartments, take in lodgers, and in general permit the
number of occupants per room to grow beyond any
reasonable limits*
“Personal tastes and conveniences,
vocational and economic interests infallibly tend to
segregate and thus to classify the population of
4
oities.
Conditions Existing in White Plains
Neither the social map nor the physloal one,
indloates all the details of any given area.
1«
2*
3.
4*
“The
Otto Kllneberg, “Race Differences,” Harper and
Bro*, New York, 1935*
Harvey V* Zorbaugh, “The Gold Coast and the
Slum,” University of Chioago Press, 1929*
Philip Klein, “The Burden of Unemployment,”
Russell Sage Foundation, 1923*
Park, Burgess and McKenzie, “The City,”
University of Chicago Press, 1925*
177
mariner* b map ordinarily does not inform one about the
vegetation along the shores of the island around which
he is navigating, nor does the social map tell one of
the speoiflo events within a status or between it and
1
other status . **
In 1939 a combined “Real Property Survey” and
“Low Income Housing Area Survey” of certain seotlons
of the oity was made through the cooperation of the
Vorks Progress Administration.
This was in reality
a basic inventory of all residential structures and
dwelling units in selected areas.
This survey was made
to determine conditions and to provide employment for
uneoqployed local white-oollar workers on relief.
Eleven workers took part.
The Real Property Survey showed that of the
12,070 persons in the area surveyed, 8,876 were white
and 3,194 other than white.
Also that of the 5,387
persons living in the 1,103 allgeged substandard*
dwelling units, 2,292 were white and 3,095 other than
1.
*
V. Lloyd Varner, “Social Anthropology and the
Uodern CUnaumlty,” American Journal of
glares, XLVI, No. 6 , toy, A W l T
Substandard as to physioal characteristics, needing
repairs, toilets, heat, gas, light, bath, eto.;
or substandard as to oooupanoy— where there are
more than 1.5 persons per room, if there are two
or more families in the dwelling unit and the
rentals are less than $40 per month.
178
white.
These were in a 75-block area.
The Low Income Housing Area Survey showed that
of the Ey387 persons there were 947 white persons in
families on relief as compared with 1,110 persons in
families other than white on relief.
There were 657
white persons, and 726 other than white, gainfully
employed.
There are 313 families, or 1,486 persons,
whose annual family income is less than $600.1
Analysis of Survey Data
The City of Vhlte Plains contains approximately
6,400 aores or ten square miles.
The areas Included
in the Heal Property Survey covered about 260 acres,
or 4 percent of the area of the oity.
ilore than 50
peroent of structures in the surveyed area were over
25 years old.
The median monthly rental of 783 dwelling
o
units, or 27.42 peroent, was from $40 to $50.
Housing:
In a recent conference with the
Committee on Finance and Taxation of the Civic and
Business Federation of White Plains, the Commissioner
of Safety said in answer to a question on housing:
There are about 400 substandard houses.
The Council wants to give renovation a trial.
The Housing Project would not be self-sustaining
1.
2.
Report of Real Property Survey, City of White Plains,
Department of Public Works, Bureau of City Plan,
December, 1939.
Loc. clt.
179
at $7 per room. On the whole, the survey
was not drastic, and the reoommendations
of the Housing Committee’s Report are now
being put into effeot.1
As an example of good housing facilities, the
Queensbrldge W. P. A. Housing Projeot, visited by the
investigator on April 10, 1941, reveals opportunities
for ideal homes at $5 per week or $20 per month for
the average four-room apartment.
Committee Reports on Housing
As recommended by the Clvio and Business
Federation and other oivio groups, and in pursuance
of a resolution adopted by the Common Council, the
mayor appointed a oltlzens* Housing Committee,
consisting of seven persons, to consider housing
conditions in the City of White Plains, and to make
recommendations relative to possible action.
Three
blighted areas as delineated in the W. P. A. Real
Property Survey were the subject of the study, and
nine months were spent at the work.
Personal
inspections were made and unwholesome conditions were
noted.
Ninety structures were found to be unfit for
use; 1,103 dwelling units were considered substandard.
This number, however, may be decreased, advised the
1.
Thomas Foley, Commissioner of Safety, City of
White Plains, N. Y., April, 1941.
180
Housing inspector, sinoe the compilations vere made by
I. P* A. assistants who vere inexperienced in this
work**
The substandard conditions are "spotty” and
exist in locations that might be defined as blighted
and which, for the most part, are widely scattered
throughout the business, oommerolal and Industrial
sections.
Their use for purposes other than those
intended in the City Plan may tend to extend these
areas.
The outward spread of business and industry
from the center of the city with the lack of full and
proper utilisation of its center is going to increase
rather than decrease our blighted areas.
Residential
usage of a changing zone forms the nucleus of a
blighted area.
The following facts from the Housing Survey
reveal an unhappy oondition:
I** Income Housing Survey
144 families (694 people)
169
**
(792
" )
378
”
(1,889
tt )
with no income
with income under $600 per year
with income from $600 to $1,000
per year
It is a noteworthy fact that substantially all of
the blighted areas in ffhlte Plains are embraced within
industrial and commercial areas.
1*
Considering the course
Report of the Mayor *s Committee on Housing,
February 28, 1941; p. 7.
181
of the development of White Plains, this is probably a
natural phenomenon.
As a village the development was
around the New York Central station, many of the residents
living vlthln walking distance of the oenter of transporta­
tion,
As the village grew and business began to encroach
on the residential area, the residents of these areas
moved further out into more modern homes, leaving their
old quarters to be occupied by the less prosperous.
The
advent of the automobile as a means of individual trans­
portation aooelerated this movement; so that we have in
White plains a situation to be found in many similar
communities: a gradual concentration of business
adjacent to transportation; the less prosperous group
living interspersed with the business and contiguous
thereto; a wider belt of more modern residential areas;
and the outlying areas awaiting development as the city
grows.
Finally only those who can afford no better will
oooupy the business-section dwellings— these are the
substandard dwellings, and soon to become the slums.1.
The Mayor’s Committee on Housing further pointed
out— although it was not actually included in their
recommendations— the advisability of the city’s purchase,
through condemnation, df all of the property in one
oentral area that now contains a number of substandard
182
dwellings; all structures are to be razed and the entire
site converted into a park and parking are»— about 10
acres— combining beautification for the oity and space
for some thousand cars.
A new business and shopping
area would be built around the park and an unfavorable
condition would be advantageously remedied.
A proposed Housing Ordinance passed by the Common
Council April 14, 1941, provides for vacating, repairing,
removal or demolition of any residence building or other
struoture which is, or threatens to become, a Public
Nuisance or dangerous to health.
This ordinance covers
the faotors:
Dangerous buildings
Residence standards defined
Duties of building inspectors
and commissioners
Violations and penalties
A Minority Report made by Lina Direktor stated
that the Majority Report had failed to recommend action
in line with its findings.
Her report requested prompt
aotion by the mayor and Common Council to remedy
unsanitary and indeoent dwelling conditions for the
residents in the blighted areas.
A table on page 183 shows the general trend of
building and construction in White Plains since 1920.
183
Table -XVI.
VALUE OP BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
________ IN WHITE PLAINS__________
1920
$ 2,230,915*
1921
1,851,828*
1922
3,900,174.
1923
5,273,109*
1924
7,994,275.
1925
8,337,775.
1926
14,152,143*
1927
10,126,792.
1928
12,633,281.
1929
7,194,967.
1930
6,001,825*
1931
6,334,160.
1932
636,238*
1933
399,669*
1934
361,055*
1935
763,195*
1936
1,502,781.
1937
1,500,374.
1938
2,010,611*
1939
1,995,845*
1940
1,539,048.
Investigator*s Recommendations
The concern of the government with the
housing problem 1b to ascertain to what
degree the housing supply Is adequate, to
stimulate or regulate privately owned
housing in order to meet the needs, and
as has been undertaken In reoent years,
to effect slum clearance and the o o n s truotlon of houses through governmental
expenditure.1
That White Plains has no slums-— but merely
“blighted areas**— is borne out by Thorndike*s report,
as well as by the Majority Report of the Mayor’s
Committee on Housing.
We must, however, face realities
That we have a very undesirable housing situation in
certain areas is known by all those Interested in the
subjeot.
With the doubllng-up of negro families In
the blighted areas, an unsanitary, unhealthful and
morale-destroying Influence is apparent.
o
The Common
Council of the oity, as a “last bulwark** against
Inoreased taxeB, has delayed a “housing project”
largely because of Inoreased taxes resulting.
The city has now adopted a Housing Ordinance
whloh is similar to the Objectives of Housing
Inspection for the City of New York.3 Living conditions
1*
2.
3.
Sydney Maslen, “Housing and City Planning,” Social
Work Year Book, 1941, Russell Sage Foundation.
Philip Klein, “The Burden of Unemployment,” Russell
Sage Foundation, New York, 1923; p. 15.
Stanley P. Davies, “Realism in Housing,” Tenement
House Committee of the Charity Organization of
New York City.
185
as such, will undoubtedly be Improved, and the city may
be spared the immediate burden and problem of an extended
housing program for the underprivileged.
However, the eity now enjoys a shopping population
of 150,000 people.
It is highly problematical that these
people will continue to oome to White Plains to buy when
they must contend with adverse shopping and parking
facilities.
There is needed sufflolent off-street
parking to aooommodate possibly an additional 1,000 oars.
The old City of White Plains has been left as a decaying
oore while a new city, with its own shopping area, is
being ereoted on the outskirts.
Old-time firms,
pioneers in the development of White Plains, are being
forced to olose their doors on lower Main Street, and
we are faoing a possible collapse of realty values
and business in the designated area, which may be a
serious blow to the prestige and economic rating of
the city.
In view of the need for dwellings for the lover
and middle-wage-earning groups, the city, according to
oasual observers, would be wise to entertain the
^proposed Central Park and Parking Area" as suggested
by the Mayor*s Committee on Survey (page 31), and
cooperate with limited-dividend corporations in the
ereotion of low-cost housing units as provided for
under the recently enaoted Urban Redevelopment
186
Corporation lav.
“Such a project, while appearing to entail large
initial city outlays, might easily he the cheapest polloy
over a relatively short term in the general benefits that
might aocrue to Vhite Plains as a result of its adoption.
Under the reoently enacted White Plains Housing
Standards Lav, a number of owners have improved their
buildings to oomply with the nev health and safety
requirements.
A number of substandard dwelling units have
already been demolished, and this inspection
and enforcement
are going forward in an effective manner.
The mayor has been requested to appoint a
permanent Housing Committee to control rent schedules in
White Plains, and to prevent exploitation of low income
families.
Interested oltizens state that they have noted
sharply rising rents, due largely to the demolition of
some substandard dwellings and the renovation of others.
The Housing Committee reports that it has been successful
in bringing landlords and tenants together in an
2
experimental undertaking.
The Commissioner of Safety
reports progress, and with the full oooperatlon of the
owners, effective results are steadily being acconq>lished.
1.
2.
3.
Report of the Mayor*s Committee on Housing,
February 28, 1941; p. 32.
The Renorter-Plauatoh. White Plains, N. Y. ,
Tuesday, July 29, 1941.
Interview with the Commissioner of Safety,
August 20, 1941.
3
187
By stimulating within the group living in the
blighted areas sufficient pride and desire to Improve
their own conditions through their own efforts, we may
eventually assist them to regain any lost morale, and
in time relieve the welfare rolls of its exoessive
burden.
Rehabilitation of the individual and of the
family is of far greater importance to the internal
strength and morale of the nation than is the mere
provision of shelter and food, but the two are
inseparably dependent upon one another.
Recent Housing Construction in White Plains
More than a million dollars of private capital
has been Invested in construction since January of 1941,
a period of seven months.
This indicates a steady, well-
diversified oonstruetlon pace, according to a recent
report of the building inspector.
There has been an
lnorease of 7 percent over the same period in 1940, an
amount totaling $1,035,707.
Averaging July construction for the past 10
years, the building inspector further found the normal
amount for the month to be $184,890; but this July, he
said, the total value was $834,065, or 26 percent over
the average.
He indicated the lack of available labor
prevented the erection of further contemplated projects.
188
Construction carried on in White Plains, he
said, has been sound beoause it is planned building
for permanent use, and not a war-time boom.
An analysis of the building permits during the
past month showed that eight were for new dwellings
to be built at an average cost of $7,000 as compared
with an average cost of $5,700 a year ago— an
indication that a larger house is the most popular
here*
Of the eight permits, the report read, five
were for contraot jobs, and only three for
speculative homes.
Other permits included two for
mercantile alterations, two for ezoavations and
four for rehabilitation of residential buildings
required by the new housing ordinance.1
1.
The Benorter-Pispatch. White Plains, N. Y,
Thursday, August 7, 1941.
189
CHAPTER IX
HEALTH AND MORAL INFLUENCES
IN THE CITY OF WHITE PLAINS
No ohapter in the recent history of human progress
is more impressive than the story of the forward March of
Health.
During the past quarter of a century, life
expeotanoy has inoreased.
has steadily deolined.
The toll of preventable diseases
The child born today has a better
chance to reaoh maturity than the child born in any
earlier generation.
This has come about through better
living standards, better water and milk supply, medical
servloe, clinics and hospital facilities; advances in
preventlv. medicine, dentistry, nursing and prenatal
care, in the relentless drive of health-promotion
agencies, public and private.
These are some of the
forces that have oombined to permit better control of
some of the diseases of mankind.
The City of White Plains has reoently (in 1930)
merged its health program with that of Westchester
County.
The step was taken not only as a measure of
eoonomy, but in order to seoure the best in available
190
standards of cooperative health endeavor*
The county
Health Department maintains one of Its six health centers
in White Plains*
There are 523 private dootors in the
district, and the county Health Department employs 13
physloians on a part-time basis to man its clinios, with
specialists always available for emergencies*
Nine of
the ten general hospitals are under voluntary auspices,
only Grasslands being publicly supported*
These ten
hospitals provide a total of 1,472 beds for general
purposes.
There are, in addition, more than 50 specialized
institutions In the district; these care for oases of
cancer, heart disease, tuberculosis, mental diseases and
orippling conditions*
There are a number of convalescent
homes, many of them organized through souroes in New York
City, but even these are open to residents of Westchester
County*
The public clinics oharge only nominal fees for
the services rendered; but patients unable to meet the
charges are treated gratis*
Not all health work can be readily measured and
judged; but the aim of any community should be to build
a strong publio health machine geared to community needs
and designed to strengthen its weak parts*
Both White
Plains and Westchester County have met with recognition
of their achievements in this respeot:
In the spring
of 1936, in a Rural Health Contest conducted by the
United States Chamber of Commerce, Westchester County
191
received first-plaoe award.
And prior to that— in
1930— -White Plains was selected as winner of the
National Health Award in competition which was nation­
wide for cities ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 In
population; and Vhlte Plains was ranked second as
against all cities in its own state.
The Westchester County Council of Social
Agencies— used in 1940 hy 101 social welfare and
health agencies— effects about 27,000 clearings
annually.
It coordinate the efforts and prevents
duplication of work in all agencies promoting Individual
and community well-being.
Twenty or more of these
organizations are set up on a county-wide basis, and
there are about 250 other listed local or district
agencies which concern themselves with problems of
health among the indigent and otherwise unfortunate.
One of the services of the County Council of
Social Agencies is a central index which contains the
names and all pertinent details regarding those soliciting
help.
This information is available to organizations
directly associated with the Council of Social Agencies.
Outstanding during the last year was the work of the
Council’s division of nursing, seeking to meet the
problems which arise as the nurse personnel of
Westchester Is drained by the national demand.
There
are committees seeking to provide the best facilities
192
for children’s camps, the promotion of ohuroh cooperation
for a better understanding between private and public
and religious oharities; the family and child division
as well as the committee on vocational and employment
servioes have been efficiently organized.
A White Plains
Council of Sooial Agencies works in harmony with the
County Agency towards bringing attention and assistance
to problems directly related to this community.
The Health Department of the county provides for
periodic inspection of its water and sewage systems, as
well as the processing and handling of all varieties of
food and drink, including the milk supply.
Much effort
is directed toward the eradication of tuberoulosls: with
this in view there are frequent surreys among school
children and adults, and so far as is possible every
germ carrier is located and isolated.
The more recent
syphilis oontrol program has met with well-earned
success.
yearly.
Orthopedic clinics handle nearly 300 patients
Host of the work comprises the supervision of
home exercise, the periodic adjustment of braces, and
general advice.
Burses on the department’s staff made over
40,000 calls during 1940, 5400 of whloh were on
communicable diseases alone.
Largely through their
concentrated effort, 68 peroent of the children of
Westchester have been immunized against smallpox and
193
70 peroent against diphtheria*
Between 7,500 and 8,500 persons annually attend
the department’s ollnlcs on tuheroular trouble, where
around 140 new oases are detected each year, and many
of them cured.
Similarly, In their dynamic fight
against syphilis, ollnios are performing a notable
service, particularly through the taking of blood
tests of expectant mothers in an effort to reduce the
danger to future generations.
In 1937 there were 37
such “inherited” syphilis cases of children under 15;
this number was out to 17 in 1940.
Among adults there
were 120 oases of this disease reported in 1937, but
only 77 last year.
Nearly all Westchester-oounty mothers go to the
hospitals to have their babies.
Only about 6 percent
of infants in the dlatriot are delivered at home.
Today
deaths of children under five make up only one-twentieth
of all deaths, instead of one-fifth as they did a quarter
of a century ago.
Health Bduoation
Through the clinics and through various forms of
general publicity, much information is being spread
regarding oanoer, tuberculosis and other diseases, as
well as on the use of radium and X-ray treatment.
Through health instruction in the public schools and
194
through the work of various youth organisations, emphasis
has heen placed upon the value of learning to live within
physical limitations and the performance of useful and
healthful tasks.
The old proverb “an ounce of prevention is worth
a pound of cure” provides one of our most effeotive
weapons in the attack upon preventable illness and death.
This important part of the work has been encouraged and
abetted in reoent years through generous cooperation of
the press, radio stations, newspapers and periodicals,
transportation agencies, insurance companies, and others;
and we are now enabled to do an outstanding job of health
Sduoation.
Moral Influences
The sooial conditions of a community are, to a
large extent, what its people allow them to be.
Responsibility for them, as far as they oan be locally
controlled, lies directly with the citizens.
There are
conditions surrounding the plight of helpless children,
the health of the oommunity and its individuals, the
welfare of families, the moral and civic stability of
the rising generation, whloh are the personal ooncern
of all of us.
In these days of accepted citizen
responsibility, olties become known for the degree to
which they voluntarily participate in the construction
of welfare programs or fail to do so.
195
In any oommunity, even In one as social-minded
as White Plains, there are always sooial needs to be
met—— some old and ohronlo, some new and of a temporary
nature— but all of them susceptible to treatment.
The
community which faces them squarely and battles the
problem through the means of a permanent orderly
program Is the one which makes the greatest ultimate
gains*
Progress comes from a widely disseminated under­
standing of what these sooial needs are.
The more
enlightened the oitizens are on sooia1-welfare problems,
the greater will be the results from public functions,
from private sooial work, and from education.
Because of the failure of the Community Chest in
White Plains, the educational polioy regarding information
concerning pressing sooial needs is now curtailed or left
to individual agency finanoe drives.
This has worked a
real hardship both upon the individual contributor who
is constantly harassed for donations and upon the
smaller and less publicized— though thoroughly worthy—
agenoies which may be contributing much to the welfare
and happiness of those it serves.
Neighborhood Coordinating Councils:
Junior
delinquency, crime, disease, and all other sooial evils
flourish in the slums.
It is here, where wholesome
living conditions and employment are lacking, that
196
neighborhood forces and leadership for the building-up
of character, citizenship, good health and general
security are also week.
The more privileged families,
and even many churches, have moved out of such areas.
It is, therefore, important that sooial and relief
agencies unite and marshal their foroes with particular
zeal in these blighted areas, and that every effort be
made to develop leaders among the people living in such
neighborhoods.
Only in such manner can the degenerating
foroes be most effectively met and overcome by construc­
tive sooial foroes.
This is the aim of the Neighborhood
Coordinating Councils.
Such a plan is effectively used
in the neighboring Westohester city of Yonkers.
The
tthlte Plains Council of Social Agencies referred to on
page 192 may do much to assist in this work*
Government watchfulness can never catch up with
the needs.
Private effort, therefore, must continue
to supplement governmental activities.
Through the
combination of private initiative and limited public
responsibility, higher standards of living than the world
haB ever seen grew up in Axnerloa.
Government participation
in sooial work is a certainty in the ooming years.
Old-
age pensions, unemployment insuranoe, help for the
destitute and afflicted are gradually being acoepted as
the responsibility of the people, to be shared through
the government.
197
However, tax-supported efforts do not reduce In
the least the responsibility that can, and must, be
oarried by privately-supported publio-welfare work*
The united efforts of public and private agencies, business,
government relief and guidanoe will be needed if the coming
generations are to realize our hopes and ambitions*
The
private agencies will oontinue to be, in the future as
they have in the past, the laboratory where methods are
fomalated and tested for meeting human needs*
They will
oontinue to represent the united efforts of oitlzens in
all walks of life directed toward making their communities
better places in which to live and to labor
Ethics and Ideals of Some White Plains High Sohool
Seniors:
An indication of the choice of some of the seniors
at the White Plains High School is shown by the results of
a questionnaire submitted during the Woodward survey:
375 students voted on the preference of three types
of governmental systems— as represented by outstanding
features of democracy, fasoism and oonmmnlsm, none of
whioh were mentioned by name*
Of the 375, 276 voted for
a system in whioh wealth is privately owned and men work
for wages or profits*
communism 2 8 ,
Fasoism reoeived 65 votes and
It was the opinion of the students that
the govern— nt should provide jobs for those not employed,
and that married wonen be permitted to hold government
positions without restrictions*
On the question of liquor, 114 students said
196
“yes,” they did take a drink, and 264 said “no*”
Only
80 thought prohibition should be revived; but 143
thought an educational program on the “evils” of liquor
would be benefioial; 81 voted for governmental monopoly
in the liquor trade, and 123 favored higher liquor taxes.
If they were parents, the seniors answered, 182
would advise their children not to drink; 167 would
counsel drinking in moderation, and 39 would not attempt
to give advice.
Of 373 answers to the query regarding tax support
of education, two said it should extend through the sixth
grade; 11 through the ninth grade; 175 felt that it should
extend through four years of high school; 103 through
one post-graduate year; and 82 thought that free eduoation
should extend through a four-year oollege term or its
1
equivalent.
Problems Involving Moral Judgment:
tfoodward
further notes that in the oase of nine problems intended
to test the delicacy of keenness of moral judgment, the
students made a poorer reoord in every oase than the
grownups.
He concludes, in this respect, that the
knowledge and praotioe of plain right and wrong behavior
is nowhere in the school system being given adequate
attention, and that “fear of being oaught or apprehension
that someone else would suffer were evidenced repeatedly
1.
B. H. Woodward and Economics class, 1941, “The Junior
Citizens of White Plains,” pp. 59-65.
199
by both service club groups and school children as
reasons for being honest, rather than a clear judgment
that the thing was dishonest and henoe wrong."
Religion
The early history of the churches of White Plains
and their developmental transition from primitive
facilities to present-day edifices is an interesting
and instructive subject.
Colonel Heathoote, mentioned once In our
historical background of the City of White Plains wrote
in 1703: “When I first came among them (1693) I found
it (Westchester) the most heathenish county I ever saw
in my whole life, which oalled themselves Christians,
there being not so much as the least marks of foot­
steps of religion of any sort, Sundays being the only
time set apart by them for all manner of vain sports
1
and lewd diversions.”
Among the older religious orders in the city
are the Graoe Episcopal Church, dating back in
reoords to 1724, 2 and the Presbyterian Church whioh
was organized sometime before 1727.
1.
2.
The first mass
J* Thomas Soharf, "History of Westchester County,"
p. 723.
The Daily Reporter, 250th Anniversary issue,
September 26, 1933.
200
said In Vestohester C o w t y took place at the home of
Dominlok Lynoh, on Throg’s (sio.) Point in the town of
Westchester, where the Academy of the Saored Heart was
formerly looated.1
Father O ’Reilly was the first
Catholic priest to oonduot services in White Plains,
about the year 1848, according to RHsoh who reoelved
this information from the oldest living member of the
parish, Mary McCarthy, in her 86th year at the time of
RHsch’s publication (1939).
St. John’s Roman Catholic
2
church was incorporated on March 25, 1863.
The Methodist
Episcopal church dates back to 1785, and changes were made
aa the exigencies of the times demanded.
The strong foroes which motivated large numbers
of the early citizens and regulated or controlled their
behavior is conspicuously absent today.
Many parents
have failed to make ohuroh life a regular part of family
instruction.
In White Plains there are today 24 Protestant
ohurches, 3 Jewish synagogues and 5 Catholic churches.
By questionnaire and by direct count by members of
Woodward’s survey group, approximate ohuroh attendance
and membership for these ohurohes was fotnd*
average Sunday, about 6,500 persons
1*
2.
On an
.ttend Catholio
John RHsoh, "Historic White Plains,” Balletto
Sweetman, White Plains, 1939; p. 260.
Ibid.: p. 261.
201
services, while 2,600 go to Protestant churches.
Jewish
servioes have a lighter attendance, since they are
conducted on Saturday— a regular business day.
It is
estimated that a few hundred regularly attend these
services.
Host liberal estimates made by Woodward would
place no more than 14,000, or 35 percent of the city’s
40,327 residents, in direct relationship with any church.
Sunday-school attendance presents an even more
discouraging picture, with the membership being far
below the church attendance.
202
CHAPTER X
JUVENILE DELINQUENCY AND CRIME
* . . . in some way the foroes of the pattern
In whioh we live are of great dynamic value to the
personality.
Those who stumble light our way, those
who fall teaoh us our next step.
Enmeshed in the
censure of society, the price they pay is dear, can
we who ask that prioe justify it in using what we learn
from them to make a better world for those who come?”*
It Is unfortunate in our time, that the law has
seen fit to reoognize a personality only if the individual
acts in an anti-social manner.
“I can remember the desk
sergeant*s satisfied finality, in response to a query as
to a threatened suicide, ‘We can’t send anyone around
until he tries it.*”2
Although we have no aorlme wave” as such in White
1.
2.
James S. Plant, "Personality and the Cultural
Pattern,” Commonwealth Fund, New York, 1937.
Loo, cit.
203
Plains, statistics throughout the county show a slowly
hut steadily rising crime rate.
Many conditions,
Including poverty, ignorance, poor housing and over­
crowding, high mobility of population, lack of
sufficient and proper recreation faoilltles are
contributing faotors of anti-social acts.
"The
beginnings of delinquent oareers are to be found
in restricted areas.',1
The problem of the youthful offender who is
still in transit from boyhood to manhood, has of late
been projeoted on the screen of publicity with telling
effect.
This problem is a real challenge to the
church, the school, to soienoe, to public and private
agencies, and, above all, to the home.
The machine age has brought with it much spare
time whioh often falls heavy on the hands of our young
people.
Much evidence can be shown that an overabundance
of leisure time may result in much harm.
In this regard,
Thorndike states that "a benevolent and intelligent
trustee for the welfare of these young women should
move rather oautiously in the dlreotlon of increasing
the amount of their pure pleasure time.”^
1.
2.
Improvement
Frederick M. Thrasher, "Unit Area Method of Sooial
Researoh, Part Two - The Causes of Delinquency,”
(confidential copy, not for release or publica­
tion) , 1933.
Edward 1. Thorndike, “How We Spend Our Time and What
We Spend It For," Scientific Monthly. May, 1939.
204
of their general health, he says, improvement of the
quality of their homes and of their offices or shops,
is infinitely preferable.
The problem of juvenile delinquency is a matter
of serious concern, primarily because the delinquent of
today is going through the formative period for the
attitude and habits that make the criminal of the
future.
Trend of Delinquency in llhite Plains
J. Edgar Hoover has stated:
"Delinquency and
crime are costing the country fifteen billion dollars
1
annually. n
In the City of White Plains a breakdown of the
total oases handled in 1939 shows:
white and 20 percent colored.
80 percent were
In 1940 there were 16
oases disposed of by the Children’s Court, and 23
oases disposed of "informally” , the latter indicating
no need for the stigma of a court reoord.
According to a worker in the Children’s Court,
there is an upward trend in delinquency In the spring
of the year.
The gang spirit appears to be at its
strongest, and attempts are made at selling copper to
1.
George D. Butler, "Introduction to Community
Reoreatlon,” McGraw-Hill Book Co., New
York, 1940.
205
the junkman,
White Plains, this worker stated, is
fairly fortunate in haying interested persons who oan
he rery helpful, including the Children’s Court Advisory
Board and Anthony Taiano, leader of an underprivileged
hoys’ oluh.
Case workers, he oontinued, have noted the
trend toward breakdown of the family and the apparent
lack of the moral and educational training usually
emanating from the good home atmosphere.
The Y. M. C.
A. has been doing good work, hut usually with the “oream
of the crop” who alone can pay the $5 membership fee,
although installment payments are permissible, and
occasionally, a very needy and worthy boy is assisted.
There is, he suggested, a growing lack of interest in
the Boy Scouts.
The sohools, it was agreed, are
progressively attempting to meet the situation as
the symptoms arise.
These oases should be reported
to the probation officers.
This is usually done by
Katharine Vandervoort of the Department of Eduoation.
A Family Service Worker should be secured and
assistance given to families about to develop marital
strife and difficulties.
He concluded by suggesting
that the work of the bureau would be aided by periodic
assembly talks in the sohools, publicising the facts
regarding the causes and dangers of delinquency and
1
the suffering caused by broken homes.
1.
Interview made by the investigator, April 22, 1941.
206
Changing Theories and Programs of Treatment
of Delinquents and Criminal**
There is a growing emphasis on the individualized
study and treatment of the delinquent child.
The oase
study method attempts to gain a comprehensive picture
of the total situation by looking into almost every
aspeot of the delinquent’s biological and social history.
Anyone familiar with the complex problems of juvenile
delinquency is aware that the court deals only with those
offenders who are apprehended.
Many deserving and
serious offenders do not reach the court, and often many
1
oases are brought before the court for trivial reasons.
The Juvenile Court, a development of the present
century, though far from being perfect, is promising in
its theory and procedures.
"In its best manifestations,
the Juvenile Court is not an agenoy for dispensing
justice, but is rather a social institution with legal
9
powers to deal with the problems of ohildren.”
Informal though dignified procedure is aimed at.
The
purpose of the court is the rehabilitation of the
offender in the formative years in a human and
1.
2.
J. B. Mailer, “Juvenile Delinquency In New York
City," If.P.A. Project 67-97-295; Journal of
Psychology, 3,1-25, November, 1936.
J o a n C. Coloord, “Your Community,” Russell Sage
Foundation, 1939.
307
sympathetic manner.1
Need for Family Cooperation;
“It is hardly
neoessary to state that parents in particular should
cooperate with every agency making for good in the
oommunlty.
They are the home builders and should
2
still he the first school and the first church.”
Adolescent offenders need wholesome advice and the
example of worthy parents.
“No police department,
no sooial agency, can replace parents.
No agenoy
can assume the function of parents toward neglected
3
children.”
In the oase of abnormal home conditions,
however, other arrangements for their oare must be made.
The prinoiple of probation in supervising
persons whose sentences have been suspended appears
sound.
“In the rise and development of the probation
system we have the first practical synthesis of science
and sympathy.
1.
3.
3.
This synthesis is the essential
Patrick J. Shelly, “Justice for the Wayward Minor
Girl,” Chief Probation Officer, New York City;
Report, March 3, 1941.
Shelly, “Socio-Legal Treatment of the Youthful
Offender; Analysis of the Work of the Adolescent
Court,” Brooklyn, N. Y., November, 1940.
John H. Morris, Deputy Police Commissioner of the
New York City Police Department (Member of
Committee on Programs for the Prevention of
Juvenile Delinquency and Crime of the Inter­
national Association of Chiefs of Police);
from an address on Tuesday, September 10,
1940, at Milwaukee, Vis.
208
contribution of the probation system to American criminal
procedure*”*' In the system of probation, a very close
cooperation with other agencies is essential.
All agencies must cooperate in giving youth an
opportunity to secure the guarantee of his American
birthright so well defined in the Children’s Charter:
aA community whioh recognizes and plans for his needs,
protects him against physical dangers, moral hazards
and disease, provides him with safe and wholesome
places for play and recreation, and makes provision
for his cultural and social needs,” 2
Polioe Athletic League
The work of the Polioe Athletio League, whioh
is sponsored by the Juvenile Aid Bureau of New York
City Police Department, is a clear manifestation of
sooial change from a repressive agenoy to the establish­
ment of youth centers in the neediest areas of New York.
During the past few years over 200,000 children have
found in the Police Athletio League an opportunity for
the constructive use of their leisure time and have at
all times found adequate leadership in an atmosphere
1*
2.
See the reference to John H, Morris, on the
preceding page, 207.
John H, Morris, President of Polioe Athletio League
of New York City; Open letter to “Pals,”
Juvenile Aid Bureau; February, 1940.
209
suitable to the development of good charaoter.1
In a letter to John &• Morris, president of the
Polioe Athletio League of the Juvenile Aid Bureau of
New York City, Herbert H. Lehman, governor of the State
of New York, wrote:
“Too often in the past polioemen
in this oountry have given boys and girls the impression
that the law was something to shun and the enforcement
a
officer someone whom they should fear and hate.”
The work of this Leagus of the Police Department
in New York in organizing athletio and recreational
programs for youth Is worthy of much praise*
Recreation
plays an important part in the process of adjusting the
young individual; and within our own city of Vhlte Plains,
a fine athletic group of polioemen would no doubt welcome
such an opportunity to work and play with youth*
The
resultant development of responsibility and respeot for
law would aid in bringing about a remarkable change in
the behavior of many of our youngsters.
Unemployment
The problem of unemployment, nationwide in soope,
undoubtedly has much bearing on the related problem of
juvenile delinquency*
1»
Zm
The machine age, with its
A*. lu. News. published by Polioe Athletio Leqgue,
Juvenile Aid Bureau, New York, February, 1940.
Letter published In Pj. L L*. News.
210
lightening of manual tasks, has rendered many jobless.
At the present time, due to many and varied factors,
opportunities for employment are far brighter than they
have been.
But this situation may be only temporary,
and leaders must reoognize the difficulties which all
communities must ultimately face when today’s emergency
and the preparation for national defense are past.
Modern civilization must be aware also of the oyole of
industry and take steps to Insure that economic
depression will no longer mean wholesale ruin*
Government cooperation and systematic savings will be
necessary for times of emergency.
Agenoies In White Plains which have assisted in
the disoovery of job opportunities and the promotion
of eduoational facilities for young people in the
community are:
The Clvio and Business Federation which assisted,
through its Merohants Division, in arranging for parttime employment for students in shops, offloes and
elsewhere.
Attempts have been, and are being, made
to disoover needs, and to reveal these needs to the
Vocational Department of the schools.
One example was
in the Inauguration of the Retail-Sales course in the
adult evening classes.
The Guidanoe Bureau of the White Plains High
School, through modern tests and through Vocational
211
Interest surreys, has attempted to give students the
efficient and adequate individual vocational guidance
essential to proper choioe of life vooations.
The National Youth Administration, with spacious
quarters in the abandoned high-sohool building directly
opposite the Municipal Building, has been constantly
engaged in placing unemployed youths, surveying job
opportunities, and in cooperating with all agencies
interested in the welfare of youth.
The New York State Employment Bureau has been
very active in making placements of its White Plains
registrants.
The Bureau makes use of aptitude tests
and job-analysis techniques to discover the qualifications
of its registrants.
1938.
About 900 placements were made in
During the month of June, 1941, 346 jobs were
filled, including 10 placements in manufacturing plants,
82 in household service and 154 in other miscellaneous
capacities.
The Y. M. C. A., and its sister-organization,
the Y. W. C. A., hove long been doing admirable work
along employment lines; but their activities in this
field are so well known as to require no further
mention in this study.
The White Plains Youth Advisory Council, with
the valuable aid of the White Plains Daily Reporter
and the New York State Employment Bureau, conducted
212
a survey in 1937 of unemployed youth in White Plains.
Six hundred and eighty-one young people between the
ages of 16 and 25, including 432 young men and 249 young
women were surveyed.
Fifty percent of the group were
American, 28 percent Italian, 16 percent Negro, and the
remaining 6 percent were divided among other groups.
More than half of this unemployed group were
between the ages of 18 and 21, inclusive, indicating
the gap that tends to exist between the time of leaving
school and the time of getting work.
The tabulation following, taken from page 265
of the Lomax findings,1 shows some interesting data on
these out-of-school young men and women.
Reasons Advanced for Leaving School by Unemployed Youth
Filling Out Questionnaire in Survey of Unemployed
Youth in White Plains, Conducted by the White
Plains Youth Advisory Council Assisted by
the White Plains Daily Reporter. 1937.
Reason
Men
Women
Total
To seek work
Graduated
Sickness
Did not like
school
To get married
131
63
1
74
50
10
205
113
11
2
0
0
1
2
1
197
135
332
Total
Lomax notes that “about two-thirds of the unemployed
1,
Paul S. Lomax, Business Bduoation, “Report of the
Survey of the Public Schools of White Plains,
N. Y.w, 1940; pp. 258-96.
213
had not graduated from high sohool.
The reason given
"by the great majority of this group for dropping out
of sohool was to seek employment."
Another White Plains survey, conducted in 1937,
discovered that 45 of the 50 businessmen (90 percent)
felt that a vocational sohool for the purpose of
training youth should be set up by the Board of Education.
The guidance director of the high school made a
follow-up study of high-sohool graduates of the Class
of 1938 who were still attending sohool and those not
attending school.
The value of the vocational
curriculum was evident by the suocess of graduates
in being placed.
A further study made in the fall of
1938, to discover the vocational interest of White
Plains high-school students, revealed, among other
things, that only a small percentage of high-school
students indicated a desire to get into sales
occupations, and almost half of the girls named
stenography as their occupational choice.
The guidance directress at the high school
asserted that two-fifths of the graduates go to work
after high sohool, and that a survey of the 450
entering junior high sohool here shows that 63 left
to get jobs for various reasons.
This situation makes
it necessary to have job training oourses, she stated
further, and a oheok of the type of position obtained
214
by these students had helped form the basis of vocational
training here.1
These surveys, in the main, reveal that the boys
and girls of White Plains must reoognize more fully the
opportunities provided for employment by the many stores
and offices in this city which enjoys such a very wide
trading area.
How Can Youth Contribute?
The Police Athletic League of New York City also
have a Mutual Plaoement League, to assist young people
In getting jobs.
Looking for, finding and holding a
job, or living up to and beyond its demands, requires
application and study.
Here again is a fine opportunity
for cooperation between youth and the police.
In many cities, boys have an opportunity to share
in a combined community program.
aThe Boys* Club has an
essential funotion to perform as a unit in a concerted
community program designed to achieve crime prevention
O
rather than as a single preventive agency.”
1.
2.
Cleo Richardson, girls’ guidance directress, at
a meeting of the Council of Sooial Agencies,
in the Y. M. C. A. at White Plains; May 5,
1941— from the Reporter-Dispatch of May 6 , 1941.
Frederic: M. Thrasher, aThe Boys’ Club and Juvenile
Delinquency,” The American Journal of Sociology,
Vol. XLII, No. 1, July, 1936.
215
Hanna writes:
“This boundless energy of childhood
can be either wasted or directed to individual and social
good.
To be sure, a large share of it should be used in
the sheer joy of living and playing.”1
He continues:
“Diotators realize that their chanoe of political
survival lies in winning and holding the support of the
growing generation, the citizens of the future nation.”2
Yourman said, “There is a neoesslty for youth to sit in
at the council of adults who endeavor to solve the
problems of adolescents, . . . Adults made the problem
of youth and youth is intelligent enough to help greatly
in their solution.”3
The youth of White Plains should be enoouraged
to assume a share in the coordination of socially
useful activities within the community.
In this respect,
a hopeful sign is noted in the present aotivity of the
newly-formed White Plains Civic Youth Council.
Previous to the present time, each church and
organization planned for youth betterment has made
sporadic attempts to enlist the active interest of
the younger people, but these groups have been small.
An effective program must take in a much larger group
1.
2.
3.
Paul H. Hanna, “Youth Serves the Community,” D.
Appleton-Century, New York, 1936; p. 31.
Ibid.: p. 265.
Julius Yourman, speech at regional conference of
New Jersey Welfare Council, Jersey City Y. W.
C. A., April 24, 1941.
216
than has heretofore been the case.
The New York State Department of Education Is
sponsoring a program of civic education for national
defense for out-of-school youth.
A small group of
young people, known as the Civic Youth Council, have
been meeting weekly at the “Y” to coordinate a
membership which will Include all youth organizations
within the community.
An estimate has been made and
shows an available 6,000 youths living within the city
limits.
It is the plan of this committee to further
the interests of democracy by taking a direct part in
civic activities and in the preparation for present
national defense and the development of morale to face
post-war problems.
They have already organized sub­
committees on Health, Recreation, Unemployment and
Civic Education*
A dynamic interest by youth in
problems affeoting self, city and nation, is a worthy
ideal, and one which the Board of Eduoatlon and the
oity government will be happy to encourage.
The week-day sohools of religious training have
been in existence for the past fifteen years in four
church centers nearest the elementary schools.
These
have been giving religious training, under the direction
and supervision of Bertha Enderle, to nearly 500 children
each year in grades three to six, inclusive.
Parents
make the request for dismissal one hour earlier on the
217
day of the week when it is given; and attendance there­
after is compulsory*
The teachers are specialists
trained in presenting biblical Information in an
interestingly and oarefully organized manner.
Pastors,
parents and teachers have given testimony as to the
functional value of suoh training.1
In September, 1940, this plan was extended to the
seventh grade and to the senior high sohool classes*
About 150 Protestants and 160 Catholics are now enrolled*
It is recognized that the ohuroh and state share with the
family in giving youth adequate religious training.
This
program of religious education is sponsored by the White
2
Plains Council of Religious Education.
The Y. M. C. A. and Y. tf. C. A., free of religious
bias or prejudice, offer a complete program for physloal,
religious and social growth.
The Martlne Avenue branoh
of the Y. is organized for the welfare of negro youth
alone.
A group on Perris Avenue in a foreign-born
quarter, under the oapable direction of a sympathetic
leader, has effected excellent results in an area that
had been previously a source of considerable juvenile
delinquency and crime.
1*
2.
Woodward survey, tfThe Junior Citizen of White
Plains,” p* 55*
George P. Payson, Pastor Chatterton Hill Congre­
gational ohuroh, editorial article in ReporterDispatch. Saturday, June 28, 1941.
218
The Y. W. C. A, renders for the girls and young
women of the community social, reoreational, physical,
educational and cultural opportunities not available
elsewhere in the city*
Girls and women from the ages
of IS to 44, of whom 65 percent are unable to pay their
own way, include high-school girls, stenographers and
salesgirls, domestics and those living away from home,
as well as women from the higher-income groups.
It
affords a common meeting ground for women of all races
and religions.
The total attendance for the year 1940
was more than 2$,000 women and girls.
The annual budget
is about $14,000.
Maps prepared by the Woodward survey follow on
pages 219 and 220, and indicate the membership in the
Y. M. C. A. and the Y. W. C. A. organizations.
In its worlc of assisting youth who have come
upon evil oiroumstances, not through their own fault,
the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
cooperates with the Children*s Court and the oounty
Department of Family and Child Welfare.
In 1940, help
was given to 2,303 children in the oounty.
They oame
from 1,103 families of which 102 were from White Plains.
Again a map prepared by the Woodward survey group (map
on page 221) shows the oase distribution, and it will
be noted that the majority of oases are found in the
blighted areas.
V
YMCA.
MEMBERSHIP
DISTRIBUTION
Figure Liv.pistri
\ **
Woodward p.'vST,.
White Plains, 1941*
denote homes of less privileged) •
p4CM0CR3Hrf*
jDJSTWIQUTIpN
Figure '-^6,
Y.
Woodward purvey p*2:
of %hite Plains, 1941
Figure 16* Case
Woodward 'Svjrvey-p
222
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
The latest annual report of the Fenimore Cooper
Council, Boy Scouts of America, shows 22 troops of Scouts
meeting in White Plains, with a total membership of 624.
In the 1940 annual report of James H. Sowerby, chief Scout
Executive of White Plains, it is estimated that 838 boys
annually reach the age of twelve years in that part of
the comity covered by the Fenimore Cooper Council.
In
1940 a total of 416, or 50 percent of the eligible boys,
joined the Scouts at the age of twelve.
The number of
Scouts in the district has grown from 911 in 1928 to
1,715 in 1940.
The distribution of Scout membership in
White Plains is shown in the map on page 223.
A similar map (page 224) shows the distribution
of Girl Soout membership.
The Girl Scouts are aotively
organized in White Plains and consist of three groups—
the Brownies, the Intermediates and the Seniors— to
accommodate girls of varying ages.
There are 42 troops
with a registration of 743 and 58 leaders.
As is true
also of the Boy Scouts, the Girl Soouts provide
opportunity for the pursuit and development of worth­
while hobbies during the adolescent period, and the
possible establishment of habits and interests that
may continue into later life.
BO V
SCOUT
MEMQCR5W
&
girl
SCCJL
rAO*BE«5hlfc
^3TRJBUTIDN
Figure 18# Diet:
\ \
"
Woodward pi\C6.
• White Plains 1941
PART III
CASE STUDY OF THE
CIVIC AND BUSINESS FEDERATION
OF WHITE PLAINS , INC.
Figure 19.
Photostatic Copy of newspaper Clippings.
225
FEDERATIONSAW
PUNSMED OUT
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C IV IC and BUSINESS FEDERATION
Bu n iu C hino**,
OF W H IT E PLAINS
7l fi.Ki
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Accomplishments and Activities
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SOUGHT FOR CITY
A
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StreetLights G ty Streets
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HereAtHome D*iicnt4 by F«dtraUoa EUkonte P l a n It
H
THURSOIY, FHIRUlRr «. 194
vie Groups Here Plan Obserr^.
mm
f 4th O f July, Fireworks Dit
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226
Introdiiotory:
Social Determination of a Community*s Needs
“In planning how to provide a good life for good
people (or for all people, good and bad), it is wise to
consider separately short-time provisions for the present
generation under existing conditions, and long-time
provisions for future men in a changed world.’11
The
thoughtful planning of any institution designed to answer
social needs, presupposes the existence of needs for
which no adequate provision has been made.
Before
undertaking the work of showing how the Civic and Business
Federation of White Plains is planning to meet suoh local
needs, this section begins with the assumption that it is
entirely relevant and necessary to make an examination of
actual community conditions.
It has been considered
necessary to tap all sources of information that might
possibly throw light on the needs within the city for
which more adequate provision ought to be made.
The recent surveys made of the financial,
governmental and education phases of the community life
has aroused consciousness in the community of its needs.
The surveys have helped produoe a better understanding
1.
Edward L. Thorndike, “Human Nature and the Social
Order,” Macmillan Co., New York, 1940; p. 433.
227
and finer appreciation of the many problems which present
themselves daily to those who are entrusted with the
functioning and control of the city’s activities and
interests.
To quote again from Thorndike, “The selection
of governmental employees in minor positions, as policemen,
soldiers, sailors, teachers, postmen, clerks, jailors, game
wardens, and so forth, is important.
They govern us as
well as serve us.”1
It is hoped that this discussion will, likewise,
furnish a starting-point for the study and determination
of the functional means that might be effectively
continued and expanded in the Civic and Business Federation
towards helping to make UThlte Plains a better place in which
to live and work.
Frererlc M. Thrasher has stated, “The whole future
of democracy depends upon the efficiency of its
institutions— they are the social mechanisms through
which the individual has his wishes fulfilled.”2
In the
prooess of determining the efficiency of an institution
it is advisable to study it as one would study an
individual— both may have similar qualities as affecting
growth and development, and possible internal
disorganizations as well as opportunities for worthwhile
!•
2.
Ibid.: p. 768
Frederic M. Thrasher, lecture in New York University
seminar, liiaroh 29, 1941.
228
sooial endeavor*
A case study of an institution is a type of
research which discovers and presents a well-rounded
picture of the institution for some specific scientific
or practical purpose, a picture of its characteristics
and behaviors In their genesis, development and present
status, in all their relationships with a corresponding
aocount of Its habitat and social backgrounds and their
relationships to its personality and behavior.1
It is
by means of the case study that we may dlsoover causal
and varying factors which contribute to the production
of a given type of behavior.
The case study is to
sooial science what the experiment is to physical
science.2
It is only through the study of individual
oases, presented fully and in detail, that we do find
the answer to the questions suggested by statistical
analyses*3
The case study of the Civlo and Business
Federation of White Plains, Inc. presents an example
of an institution designed to meet certain stated
objectives.
The suooess or failure of this organization
in achieving these objectives determines its social
1.
2*
3.
Frederic M. Thrasher, leoture in New York University,
April, 1941.
John Dollard, “Criteria for Case Studies.”
E. W. Burgess, “Statistics and the Case-Study as
Methods of Sociological Research,” Socieiogy
and Sooial Research. November-Deoember, i»S7;
pp. 103-20*
229
usefulness.
This study will analyze the conditions of
the institution and its achievements, and may thereby
prove of value to sooial theory, and to other communities
in a similar situation.
Identifying Data
This organization, according to the by-laws, shall
be:
“Clvio and Business Federation of White Plains, Inc.”
The principal office of the Federation shall be in the
City of White Plains, New York.
This office is located
on the second floor at 201 Main Street in the City of
White Plains.
It is known to all organized agencies
within the community, as well as to state and nationwide
agencies.
It was incorporated on February 19, IBS?,1
and has been beneficially energetic in assisting in the
organization, cooperation and coordination of certain
activities within the community directed at the oommon
sooial and economic good.
Statement of the Problem
This study is being made in order to determine
the extent and degree (if any) of coordination now
existing between the Federation and other organized
sooial, business and civic agencies within the community.
This study may further be valuable in three ways:
(1)
to the local community proper; (2) to other communities
XI
Certificate of Incorporation of the Federation.
230
which may have similar problems; and (3) as a contribution
to sooial and economic theory underlying community and
institutional organization.
In order to determine the amount and degree of
coordination, it is essential to make a complete study
of the activities of the Federation, which will involve
a study of the by-laws to determine its object and general
policy.
A complete study must be made of each committee
functioning under the sponsorship of the Federation, and
of any possible coordination with public or private
social agencies which may be doing a similar work.
This
study may be valuable (1) to the Oity of White Plains in
that it will provide a basis for enlisted intelligent
support from the community for an effective coordinated
program and formulated basis for planned changes in the
sooial servioes and development of trade in the community;
(2) other communities may be aided by having presented
for them a case study of how this balance is being
achieved in one type of community and suggesting possi­
bilities for further development in such a community;
(3) finally, the study will make a significant contribution
to sooial theory in that it will provide a detailed study
of the actual workings of a progressive form of community
coordination.
It is by the building up of detailed
community studies of this type that the theories of
community organization may be formulated*
231
Study of the Federation
White Plains, New* York, is a oity of approximately
40,000 inhabitants, located at about the geographical
center of Westchester County, recognized as being one
of the wealthiest counties in the country and admittedly
having a system of highways and parks of worldwide renown.
The oity itself is considered a satellite in the metro­
politan area of New York City, and is thus significantly
conditioned by this proximity to the leading oity of
America.
The culture within the smaller community is
that usually found within the area of a densely populated
region amid the opportunities of a high standard of
living.
Its schools, churches and other sooial agencies,
together with its organized government, are rated very
highly in a broad survey by Thorndike of 310 cities on
the basis of a criterion of thirty-seven items which
developed a relative ttG” (goodness)
A ten-item
yardstick for rough analysis of any city, gives White
Plains a rating of eighth in the United States, second
in the east and first in New York State for this
particular type of community.
The dominant political group within the city is
largely Republican, although a very strong aggressive
minority group of Democrats have consistently made
1.
E. L. Thorndike, “YourCity.”
232
their wishes felt and have thus contributed toward
honest and fair practices of governmental policies.
Geographically situated as it is, White Plains is
the county seat of Westohester County— the hub or focal
point of recreational, civic, legal and other phases of
communal life.
This has resulted in giving White Plains
the general charaoter of a city amost three times its
actual population.
Its daily newspaper, the Reporter-Pispatoh. no
longer has any recognized competition in its field, since
it has but very recently taken over its only local rival.
Whether or not this is a healthful situation can be
determined only by developments through the caning years.
The same newspaper controls the local radio broadcasting
station, IfFAS, atop the Roger Smith Hotel.
The city has practioally no manufacturing, and as
a result of this a large amount of unemployment exists
among the men of the negro group.
The women in this same
group are employed within the homes of the fairly
prosperous, and tend to solve the problem of necessary
household help.
The alumni of the schools are, to a
certain extent, absorbed by local business establishments
which have of late been making their employment require­
ments known and felt largely through the medium of the
Federation.
Retail merchants are cooperating with the
schools on a part-time study-work plan.
233
The objects of the Federation, as outlined by
the b y - l a w s ^ a r e :
To make White Plains a better oity in
which to live and do business.
To promote the healthy growth of the city
on a quality basis, and to encourage and
protect trade in White Plains.
To further cooperation between all civic,
business, sooial, educational, professional,
charitable, and trade persons and groups, by
cultivating a spirit of friendship, by
promoting reforms in law, and facilitating
aotion to accomplish beneficial results for
the good of the community, by elevating the
standard of Integrity, honor and courtesy
and cherishing the spirit of brotherhood
among the members, both individual and groups,
to the end that all may receive the mutual
benefit, betterment and real welfare that
will result from such association.
History of the Federation
The forerunner of the Federation was the Chamber
of Commerce which was itself preceded by the Board of
Trade.
From articles in the newspapers that have been
indexed, some historical facts have been gathered about
2
the former Chamber of Commerce:
The Chamber of Commerce of the City
of White Plains was organized and incorporated
August 1, 1921. It was the successor of the
1.
2.
By-laws of the Civic and Business Federation of
White Plains, Inc*
Material made available through the courtesy of
Emily Garnett, reference librarian of White
Plains Public Library.
234
old Board of Trade and the Business and
Professional Men’s Association,, which had
existed previously for many years. The
first president was Edward M. West. Of
the twenty incorporators, ten were still
members of the Chamber of Commerce on
January.1, 1933.
The object for which the Chamber was
organized was to promote and provide for
the civic, economic and social welfare of
the people of White Plains and its vicinity.
The Chamber of Commerce in the past has
been, and should be, representative of the
best and the strongest business and pro­
fessional elements of our oity, irrespective
of politics, nationality or creed. It has
much to be proud of in what it has achieved.
It has seen its field of usefulness and its
opportunities enlarged with the growth of
the city. It is growing and becoming more
powerful in all directions: it can but give
strength to the city and will be found equal
to all the demands made upon it.
The history of the White Plains Chamber
of Commerce from 1921 down to the present day,
1933, has been one of achievement sustained.
Not a single item, having for its object the
welfare and advancement of the City of White
Plains, but what has either had its inoeptlon
in the Chamber of Commerce or has had hearty
backing and endorsement of the same. The
question of who or what may be hurt never
comes into its deliberations. The only
question considered is, will the City of
White Plains as a whole benefit.
Mention is made that there was some reorganiza­
tion by Wells Wise, when he came as director in 1927,
and an account of the organization meeting of the last
Chamber of Commerce in October, 1935.
It was thought
that a change in the organization was neoessary because
there was an apparent laok of coordination between
business and civic interests.
235
A personal Interview with John C. Bailey,
managing director of the Civic and Business Federation,
reveals that he was appointed to his position shortly
after the demise of the Chamber of Commerce to assist
in drawing up the by-laws and the formation of the
Federation.
Mr. Bailey received both his Bachelor of
Science and Master of Science degrees at Columbia
University, in 1931 and 1932, respectively.
Because
of his study and thesis on “Trade Promotion Through
Cooperative Effort” he secured a position in the city
of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania t as director of the
Businessmen’s Association there, an organization
interested in promoting sales, attracting new industries,
and increasing shopping facilities.
Influential in getting Bailey to come to White
Plains were Frederick McLaughlin, chairman, Dorothy Olney,
Jerome W. Gates, Walter V. Hogan, the late Humphrey J.
Lynch, and Robert Mulwitz.
These people had met to
discuss the need for reorganizing the civic and business
interests for the common welfare.
Together with John
Bailey this group developed the by-laws, and with the
charter of incorporation executed in February, 1937, the
Civic and Business Federation of White Plains, Inc. came
into exlstenoe.
The by-laws attaohed herewith (pages 236-42)
oover the qualifications and classifications of member­
ship, the selection of the board of directors and their
236
BY-LAWS
of the
CIVIC AMP BUSINESS PBDgftATION OF WHITE PLAINS. INC.
ARTICLE I - NAME
The name of this organization shall he: “Civic
and Business Federation of White Plains, Inc.”
The principal office of the Federation shall he
in the City of White Plains, New York.
ARTICLE II - OBJECTS
The objeots of this Federation shall he:
To make White Plains a better City in which to
live and do business.
To promote the healthy growth of the City on a
quality basis, and to encourage and protect trade In
White Plains.
To further cooperation between all oivic,
business, soolal, educational, professional,
charitable, and trade persons and groups, by culti­
vating a spirit of friendship, by promoting reforms
in law, and facilitating action to accomplish beneficial
results for the good of the community, by elevating the
standard of Integrity, honor and courtesy and oherishlng
the spirit of brotherhood among the members, both
individual and groups, to the end that all may receive
the mutual benefit, betterment and real welfare that
will result from such association.
ARTICLE III ~ MEMBERSHIP
Membership shall consist of five general classes:
(a)
(b)
(o)
(d)
(e)
Individual member
Civic organization
Business firm
Limited business firm
Sustaining member
Each member shall be a resident of the City of
White Plains or have a regular place of doing business
in said City when making an application for membership.
Application for membership shall be in writing
upon an application card signed by the applicant and
237
endorsed by tiro members In writing on said card. Such
applicant’s card shall be posted in the office of the
corporation for more than one full week and then such
applicant shall be considered by the Board of Directors
at the next monthly meeting of the Board.
Upon election to membership by the Board of
Directors, and payment of dues, each member shall
receive a printed card each year certifying that such
member is in good standing which card shall be sigend
by the secretary or officer acting in that executive
capaoity and also signed by the treasurer. The card
shall constitute a receipt for the payment of current
dues for the year therein specified.
Wives of members, and members of affiliated
women’s organizations shall be eligible for appointment
to standing committees.
ARTICLE IV - BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors shall consist of a
maximum of not more than 100 members and a minimum
of not less than 10 members, and said Board of
Directors as constituted at any particular time shall
have the management of the affairs of the corporation.
Each civic organization member shall name a
representative on the Board of Directors, to be
certified by said group for nomination for election
at the annual meeting or to fill a vacancy.
Individual members shall have a proportion of
two to one representation upon the Board of Directors
as compared with civio organization members.
The six officers of the corporation, with
four division chairmen, representing respectively,
the Civio, Business, Women’s and Professional
Divisions, shall constitute an executive committee
who shall carry on the ordinary routine business
of the corporation, between meetings of the Board
of Direotore— a quorum to oonslst of five.
The Board of Directors shall consist of three
classes, one-third of their number shall be elected
at each annual meeting. This shall not apply to the
first annual meeting when all direotors shall be
eleoted for one year.
A quorum of the direotors shall consist of
one-third of the members of the board as then
238
constituted and a majority vote thereof shall he
necessary to a decision of the board.
The Board of Directors shall meet at least onoe
each month on a specified date to be fixed by the Board
of Directors. Absence from three regular consecutive
meetings irlthout excuse deemed valid and so recorded by
the Board of Directors, shall be construed as a
resignation.
Directors shall hold meetings, if called by the
President, upon forty-eight hours* notioe, either
personally or by mail, but such meeting oan be held on
less notioe, if all of the direotors are present and
sign a written waiver thereof.
If a vaoanoy occurs in the Board for any reason,
the Board of Direotors shall elect a member to fill the
vacanoy until the next annual meeting and then such a
vaoanoy shall be filled by election for the unexpired
term of the direotor causing the vacancy.
The Board of Directors shall have the power to
hire and discharge all necessary employees, including
a managing director or executive secretary, and fix
their salaries.
The Board of Directors shall have the power to
lease a place for an office and for the holding of
meetings and shall pay the reasonable rent therefor.
ARTICLE V - OFFICERS
The officers of the corporation shall be
elected by the Board of Directors from its member­
ship immediately after the annual meeting or at
any special meeting of said Board of Direotors to
fill a vacancy.
The officers of the corporation shall be:
(a) President
(b) First Vice President (Representing
Business Division)
(o) Seoond
”
u
(
11 Women’s
”
)
(d) Third
**
**
(
“
Professional ” )
(e) Fourth
u
”
(
” Civic
"
)
(f) Treasurer to be under bond; premium to
be paid by the corporation
(g) Managing Direotor aoting in the capacity
of an executive secretary and to act as
239
secretary at all the meetings of* the mem­
bers and directors as such. The
Managing Direotor need not be a member
of the Board.
(h) Four division co-chairmen to serve on
executive committee.
All officers and direotors shall hold offioe until
their successor is elected except when a vacancy occurs.
ARTICLE VT - COMMITTEES
The Board of Direotors shall from time to time
indicate by resolution the standing committees of the
organization and how they shall be constituted and the
purposes thereof.
ARTICLE VII — ANNUAL MEETING
The annual meeting of the members, both individual
and group, shall be held at a place within the City of
White Plains designated on the notioe of the meeting, on
the second (2nd) Tyesday of January in each year,
pursuant to the provisions of Seotion 42 of the Membership
Corporation Law, at 8:00 o*clock in the evening of that
day. The secretary or any exeoutive acting in that
oapacity shall serve personally or by mall at least ten
days before suoh meeting, a printed or written notioe
signed by an exeoutive officer direoted to each member
at his address as it appears upon the books or records
of the corporation. A quorum at such annual meeting
shall consist of not less than nine members.
ARTICLE VIII - SPECIAL MEETINGS
Special meetings may be oalled by the Board of
Direotors on ten days written notioe, addressed to each
of the members stating the business which it is proposed
to oonsider. Only suoh business may be transacted at a
special meeting as is speolfled In the call. A quorum
at suoh apeelal meeting shall consist of nine members.
ARTICLE IX - VOTING AT MEETINGS
Bach member paying $25 .00 dues or more and who
is present at a meeting, or by proxy, shall be entitled
to one vote. Bach member shall have the privilege of
multiple votes to equal eaoh payment of $25.00 during
any one fisoal year, provided, however, that the
number of votes so cast by any suoh individual, firm
or organization at any meeting shall not exceed ten
240
percent of the total vote cast at suoh meeting. Each
civic organisation member shall he entitled to one
vote and each business firm member shall pay a minimum
of $50.00 each fiscal year as dues and shall be
entitled to two votes therefor, and any organization
shall have the same rights as a member in multiple
payments and votes.
All questions shall be determined by a majority
vote at any meeting of the members.
ARTICLE X - ORDER OP BUSINESS
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Roll oall
Proof of notioe of meeting
Reading of minutes of preoeding meeting
Reports of officers
Reports of committees
Election of
Inspectors of election
Inorease or
decrease of number ofdireotors
Eleotlon of directors
Unfinished business
New business
ARTICLE XI - ELECTIONS
The president, at least ten days before each
annual meeting shall appoint a nominating committee
consisting of five members who shall seleot a number
of names from the membership equal to the number of
direotors whose office would expire at suoh annual
meeting.
Direotors may succeed themselves,
Suoh
list as nominated by said committee shall be posted
in the offioe of the corporation at least one full
week prior to the date of the annual eleotlon. Any
member in good standing is eligible for election if
regularly nominated at the annual meetings.
All elections for directors shall take place
at the annual or quarterly meetings of the members.
Two inspectors of eleotlon shall be elected by the
members at suoh annual meeting before nominations
shall be made for the election of directors. In
such eleotlons for direotors, multiple, group and
individual voting shall prevail as provided in
these by-laws. There shall be quarterly meetings
of the members, at which time direotors may be
elected and the same proceedings taken as after
annual meetings.
ARTICLE XII - DUBS
241
Upon eleotlon to membership, notioe shall be
sent to suoh newly elected member by the exeoutive
secretary with notioe or the amount of dues payable
In advance within thirty days after said notioe of
eleotlon, and upon payment of dues, suoh new member
shall receive a oard of his membership for one year
and the year shall be designated thereon.
Membership dues shall be paid in advanoe as
follows, on an annual or semi-annual basis:
(a)
(b)
(o)
(d)
(e)
(f)
Civic Division Member
Contributing Member
Individual Member
Limited Business Firm Member
Business Firm Member
Sustaining Member
$ 5.00 (New)
10.00 (New)
25.00
25.00
50.00
100.00 or more
each year
The fiscal year shall end on the 31st day
of December.
ARTICLE XIII - DISCIPLINE
Any member, against whom a written charge has
been filed with the Board of Direotors upon due notioe
thereof to suoh member, may be disciplined for activity
detrimental to the purposes of the organization,
pursuant to the provisions of Section 20 of the
Membership Corporation Law. Members falling to pay
their current dues within sixty days shall be
considered in arrears and may be suspended or dropped
from membership by aotion of the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE XIV - GENERAL POWERS AND LIABILITIES
A. The Board of Directors shall do all the
necessary things to carry out the lawful purposes of
this organization and suoh powers are given in
extension and not in limitation thereof pursuant
to the provisions of Sections 46-7 of the Membership
Corporation Law.
B. These BY-LAWS shall be extensive and
include any oonstitution, by-law or rule and
regulation of the corporation pursuant to the
provisions of SECTION 20 of the MEMBERSHIP CORPORATION
LAW OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.
ARTICLE XV - AMENDMENTS
These by-laws may be adopted or amended by an
242
affirmative vote:
(a)
At an annual meeting of the members without
previous notioe; or
(b)
By the Board of Direotors by a majority vote
of the Board of Directors at a meeting
called for that purpose, when notice
of suoh proposed amendment is given
with notice of the meeting, at least
three days in advance.
(.c)
By a postal card referendum one-third vote
of the members after a notioe is
mailed to each member at least ten
days before the date fixed for the
return of such postal card containing
the proposed amendment, alteration,
repeal or addition.
243
policies, the manner of eleotlon of officers, the
formation of committees, annual and special meetings,
the voting at meetings, the order of business, elections,
dues, discipline, general powers and liabilities, and
amendments.
Plant and Equipment
The offioe, as has been stated, is located at 201
Main Street, on the second floor, overlooking the
thoroughfare.
It is about 30 x 40 feet in area, with
a semi-partition running midway, enabling one to secure
a partial degree of privacy and yet permitting free
ventialtion and ease of communication.
There are three
desks, and a long table for general meeting purposes.
On one wall is a large blueprint map, 9 x 10 feet, on
which is indicated the present occupancy of the central
business district.
a sofa.
There are five filing cabinets and
The library includes city and telephone
directories, Polk*s New York Directory, a Thomas
Registrar and subscriptions to the following publications
for up-to-date information: The National Municipal Review
(published by the National Municipal League); Public
Management (published by the International City Managers*
Association); The American City: Planning and Civic
Comment (American Planning and Civio Association); The
Nation*s Business (Bulletin of the National Retail
244
Drygoods Association); and exchange of bulletins and
general Information for comparison of cities is being
made with such localities as Oak Park, Illinois;
Lakewood, Ohio; Montclair, New Jersey; and other olties.
A convenient display rack is used for folders on
travel and transporation facilities; and in one obscure
corner is a small workshop containing mimeograph and
addressograph machines and the necessary supplies for
them.
Included in the equipment is a screen and
projector for film display, flags and occasional window
displays.
Program
Functions and Policies:
The policy of this
organization has been mentioned under “Objects” (on
page 236, in the by-laws! There are forty-five members
on the board of direotors, who have charge of the
management of the affairs of the corporation.
Eaoh of
15 affiliated civic organizations is entitled to a
representative on the board of directors.
The by-laws
state that individual members shall have a proportion
of two to one representation on the board of direotors,
as compared with civic organization members.
A quorum
shall consist of one-third of the members of the board
as then constituted; and a majority vote thereof shall
be necessary to a deolsion of the board.
245
The oonsttittee plan developed has been patterned
after that of the Town Club of Soarsdale.
In this plan
experts In various fields are called on to serve their
community through their standing committees*
All
interests of the community thus have an opportunity to
be represented*
There are at present eighteen standing
committees, averaging about ten members each.
Their
influence has been felt throughout the community.
On
many occasions city officials have openly requested the
advice and assistance of the Federation in an advisory
capacity on subjects pertaining to the welfare of the
community.
Membership:
Number and how selected.
There are
at present 451 members, of which 355 are in the business
division and 96 in the civic division, inoludlng fifteen
affiliated civio organizations.
It is Interesting to
note that 224 individual firms have subscribed for the
355 business memberships.
Business firms subsoribe for
from one to twelve memberships, depending upon the firm’s
investment and volume of business; and these memberships
are paid for at the rate of $25 each.
as expressed by the Federation* are:
The qualifications
“Membership is open
to every individual, firm and organization in White
Plains. . . • Any White Plains organization exoept
1.
The Daily Reporter (White Plains), Maroh 22, 1937;
extract from a ful1-page advertisement run by
the Civio and Business Federation of White Plains, Inm.
^46
political groups may apply for membership and, if accepted,
name a representative to be elected to the board of
direotors, thus creating a true federation of all civic
groups in the oity.”
Vital Statistics:
The mortality among memberships
is largely due to the inability of members to attend the
meetings and to contribute.
Some drop-outs have occurred
beoause of removals and business failures.
In total, the
shrinkage amounts to about 5 percent; but this is offset
by an approximate yearly inorease of about 10 percent.
During 1940, 60 new members were elected; and during the
first half of 1941, 65 new members have applied and been
aocepted.
Personnel:
The duties of the managing direotor
are "to act in the oapacity of executive secretary and
to act as secretary at all the meetings of the members
and directors as such.”*
It is the purpose of his office
to encourage membership and interest in all activities of
the Federation as stated in the objects of the by-laws.
He has a full-time assistant who takes care of the general
office routine.
It has always been the practice of John Bailey,
managing director, to be present at all meetings of
Federation committees and directors and meetings of
1.
Civic and Business Federation By-Laws, Article V;
(see pp. 238-39).
247
other organizations which may in any way affeot the
Federation or the interests of the community.
He
continuously makes personal calls on each member of
the Federation at his place of business; and his advice
or assistance in the solution of problems is at all times
valuable.
He has a very cordial disposition and is
frequently invited to speak before civic groups on the
matters of civio government and local business.
records and files are kept in good order.
His
Personal
matters are second to those of the Federation in his
estimation.
Finances:
The accompanying financial statement
(on page247a) for the year terminated December 31, 1940,
shows in detail the income of the Federation and the
budgetary expenditures, with a cash balance of $748.38
on hand at that time.
This shows that a full program
of activity is nicely adjusted to the annual income.
Committees:
Each committee has a chairman
selected because of his special abilities, and suoh
chairman is enoouraged to draft his committee from
the membership who may be helpful and who are interested
in, and by training and experience qualified in, the
particular activity of that oommittee.
The committees
are as follows:
1.
2.
3.
Retail Merchants
Municipal Finance and Taxation
Education
Table XV1J
247a
CIVIC AND BUSINESS FEDERATION OF 'WHITE PLAINS, INC.
- Financial Statement, December 31, 1940 INCOME t
Cash Balance - January 1, 1940
Total Dues Collected l/l/40 to 12/31/40
Annual Dinner Meeting, 1940
Christmas Lighting, 1939
Christmas Lighting, 1940
Business Division Dinner Dance
Retail Merchants*
White Plains Day
#367.25
Mother's Day Program
65.00
Commercial Development - W. P. Prospectus
Social Security
Miscellaneous
Total Receipts for 1940
Total Disbursements for 1940
Cash Balanoe on Hand December 31, 1940
#1,197.16
8,446.26
360.00
535.46
1,286.00
217.81
430.25
'40.00
115.96
____ 31.00
#12,659.89
11,911.51
^
748.38
BUDGET & EXPENDITURES (January to December 31, 1940)
Salaries*
Managing Director
Office Manager
Relief Stenographer
Finnish Relief Fund
Checking Account Services
Sooial Security
Office Rent
Expense Account - Managing Director
Telephone & Telegraph
Office Supplies
Office Expenses
Postage
Printing & Stationery
General Expense
Education Committee
Municipal Finance & Taxation (Membership
Westohester Federation of Taxpayers Assoc.)
Civic Beautification
Traffic, Parking A Safety
♦Business Division Dinner-Dance
Retail Merchants*
Easter Spring Adv.
# 64.48
♦
Mother's Day Program
373.32
*
White Plains Day
650.10
American Flag Fund
♦Commercial Development - W. P. Prospectus
♦Convention Expense (U. S. Chamber of Commerce)
Publicity Committee - Non-Budget Item.
♦Annual Dinner Meeting
Christmas Lighting 1939"
Chris-tanas Lighting 1940"
Christmas Party, 1939 "
Christmas Publicity, 1940
Membership Campaign
Miscellaneous* (Parking Plan Adjustment)
Budget
#3,600.00
1,300.00
30.00
406.46
900.00
160.00
225.00
125.00
50.00
250.00
180.00
200.00
100.00
Expended
#3,564.00
1,287.00
25.00
40.00
25.00
406.46
900.00
159.53
237.58
161.65
24,79
270.05
193.95
250.60
64.20
200.00
100.00
50.00
100.00
53.75
48.38
5.20
307.40
750.00
50.00
88.75
60.00
1,087.90
50.00
88.75
50.00
53.07
387.50
872.50
800.00
21.88
#8,915.21
116.00
336.87
22.50
#11,911.51
♦(See also Income received for these items)
D. J. PASTORELLE, Treasurer
248
4*
5*
6.
7.
8*
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
Social Dynamics:
Traffic, Parking and Safety
Commercial Development
Legislation
Better Housing
Control of Solicitors
Information Bulletin
Civic Beautification
Slum Clearance
Streets, Sidewalks and Lighting
Planning and Zoning
Fire Prevention
Membership
Credit Bureau Advisory Committee
Publicity
Christmas Lighting
Progress and Conflict ffithin the
Institution
A visit to any meeting, whether it he that of a
standing committee, executive committee, or of the board
of directors, reveals the life blood of the Federation
as it courses in its normal way*
Since the membership
of the Federation is a heterogeneous one in relation to
its general interests and homogeneous in its desire for
a “better way of life" as well as in the general wish
for reduction in taxes, certain tabus are necessarily
apparent*
The feeling that “public servants" are suoh and
are expected to remain in their plaoe, is not universally
popular among the citizens who have often openly opposed those
who would indiscriminately out salaries in order to meet a
set proposed budget.
That some rabid “salary slashers"
are boring within the various committees of the Federation
is apparent by suoh statements as “If we cut the annual
salaries of the polioemen and firemen by $125, we would
249
still be paying them the highest salaries in the country!"
and, “Mr. Commissioner, what specifically are you doing
to help reduce the budget for next year without cutting
the service?"
But that the majority of the membership realizes
the need for harmonious cooperation with teaohers,
firemen, police and public officials, cannot be doubted.
To offset the attitude of the first group, which is
sometimes misinformed, there is the more conservative
bloc of members who recognize in “public employees"
honest, sincere individuals who consecrate their lives
for the preservation of the life and property of others,
and for the improvement of democratic living.
On the
whole, harmonious democratic action prevails within the
Federation.
A few forceful leaders of committees may
surround themselves with like-minded committee members
and sacrifice much time and energy in arriving at
certain conclusions.
Their recommendations, then,
must be placed before the exeoutive board and from there
these are referred to the board of direotors and aoted
upon as provided for in the by-laws.
The surveys of the city’s general governmental
departments and of the Board of Education, which came
as a result of the Interested aotion on the part of
the Federation’s Committee on Taxation and Finance,
proved unquestionably their keen desire to determine
250
the purposes for which the tax dollar was being spent,
and whether any eoonomles In administration ootxld be
effected.
It Is Interesting to follow the flow of action
that preceded the Common Counoil’s approval for general
surveys of the looal government and of education.
The
Federation’s Committee on Municipal Finance and Taxation
had made a recommendation in which it was suggested that
the mayor proceed to have the surveys made.
The response
of the membership was somewhat hesitant and one voluble
member of the Committee, becoming excitedly impatient,
jumped to his feet and stated that "If something isn’t
done right now, I ’m going to resign from the Federation
and start a taxpayers’ league of my own!
I ’m going to
insist that the mayor and Common Council effect the
surveys.
The Common Council meeting is open now at
City Hall; let’s go up and see them right now.”
A hasty
ballot decided the matter, and the Federation meeting
formed a delegation who presented themselves immediately
before the mayor and Common Council.
The mayor and
counoilmen ceased deliberation on other matters and
permitted the spokesman for the Federation to state
his case.
This was done in a masterly way •
Outlining a
brief plan whereby a reduction of $300,000 in the new
budget might be made, the committee chairman stated,
251
White Plains citizens want to see their
tax rate appreciably lower than the present
rate. We believe that just as soon as this
city can announce that its finances are on a
more soundly controlled basis and that its
tax rate and Its taxes are on a downward
trend, it will help materially to get more
people to come here to White Plains to rent,
to buy homes, and to build. Such an influx
of new residents we must have, if we are to
see new real estate valueb created and old
ones restored.*
The mayor promised to give the matter his immediate
attention.
This he did, and a committee of six, hereafter
called the Mayor*s Committee on the Need for a Survey, was
formed.
This ooramittee was in no sense picked for their
adherence to the then present regime, since in their
midst were those who had been known frequently to challenge
openly the mayor’s policies and budgetary practices.
After almost ten weeks of careful study and
deliberation during which time all Important offioials of
the city government and of the Board of Education were
invited to present a policy and plans, together with
budgetary items of importance and suggestions on what
could be done to make their department more efficient,
o
a report was prepared.
There had been a gratifying
frankness to the committee on the part of all offioials
1.
2.
John P. Hopf, Jr., “A Survey Committee Submits
Its Report.”
Report to the mayor and Common Council of the City
of White Plains, N. Y., by the Committee on
Survey, May 1, 1939.
252
queried.
The committee then submitted its report,
consisting of 113 pages.
One of the recommendations
suggested that the discount on prepaid taxes be reduoed
from 8 percent to 2 percent.
This alone would afford
an annual saving of over $20,000, which would more than
pay for the proposed surveys.
All other recommendations
made were later incorporated into those formulated by
the National Municipal League which eventually made the
survey.
These included.
1.
The adoption of a cash-basis budgeting
of the city’s revenues.
2.
A plan to make the city’s financial
officer a real controller of the
city’s funds.
3.
A plan to establish a quarterly allotment
system for operating appropriations,
which will limit departmental spend­
ing to the degree to which revenues
are collected.
4.
A liberal extension of the equalization
plan for debt retirement.
5.
Charter revision and active support of
pending bills to reorganize city
employees’ pension systems.
6.
Replacement of City Assessor by a
Board of Assessors.
7.
A full-time mayor.
8.
Merging of the Parks and Forestry Bureaus
with the Bureau of Recreation.
9.
Employment of a Public Relations officer.
10.
Complete segregation of the revenue of the
Hater Bureau to emphasize the extent
to which the city aotually finances
its operations currently through
taxation.
253
The survey did reveal that efficiency could “
be
improved, but no corrupt practioes whatever were found*
Several changes were made that readily conform with
modern techniques of city management.^
The survey did
show that White Plains had a school system rated as one
of the best in the country and that as a "good place
for good people to live,” it stood first in New York
State, second in the East, and eighth in the entire
country.2
It revealed to every far-thinking citizen
the real need for more Information and better cooperation
in progressively maintaining our city on its present high
plane.
Vested Interests:
That the formal organization
of the Federation may sometimes be dominated by a certain
group or clique who have created in their defense,
"vested interests, vested habits and vested ideas”
possible.
is
The policy of aotion of the Federation
prescribes:
"As the representative of citizens and
businessmen, the Federation has no function when business
itself is divided on an issue, unless the public interest
is involved.
1.
2.
3.
Then the Federation should take whatever
See recommendations of the Survey of White
Plains, N. Y., 1940.
E. L. Thorndike, "Your City,” Haroourt Brace and
Co., New York, 1940; p. 37.
Walton H. Hamilton, "Institutions,” Bnoyolopedla
of Social Soienoes. Vol. VIII; p. 87.
254
position the public interest requires a"*A school man is naturally interested in further­
ing the welfare of the school and the pupil.
His work
on a committee would be directed toward furthering the
extension of ourrioulum offerings and the relating of
individuals to possible business opportunities.
This
is in itself an example of a vested interest, although
its aim is altruistic and for the best possible outcome
for the ultimate good of the oity.
The businessman
wishes to present his good to the public and to the
greatest advantage possible, to induoe purchasing by
members of the community.
His interest would be shown
in participation on oommittees on special business sales,
fair-trade polioies and proper parking facilities.
He
is also Interested in keeping the oity clean and
attractive.
The civic members likewise have “vested interests” .
They wish the real values of their homes to continue; they
wish their oity to be progressive and inviting to newcomers;
they wish the schools to have the best possible educational
facilities for their children; they wish special servioes
1.
Civio and Business Federation of White Plains,
Inc., folder — An Open Letter to the
Residents, Businessmen, and Officials of
White Plains — Frederick C. McLaughlin,
president; September 1, 1938.
255
which will help make their oity a finer and better place
in which to live*
Coupled with all this is their desire
to enjoy ease in shopping and ample police and fire
protection.
It is inevitable that the interests of groups and
individuals should overlap at various points.
But the
Federation has but one job— -namely, service— in mind.
At present no indication of "institutional lag”1 is
apparent.
A recent effort to extend Federation support
and influence resulted in securing over sixty new members
in a "Campaign Drive” lasting only one week.
The usual
answer of those who decline to join is a plea for "more
time for leisure at home” and a ory of “I belong to too
many organizations already.”
2
The Social Role of the Federation as a Coordinating Agency
An institution, in order to be socially valuable,
must be an answer to a felt need and contribute to the
general social and economic betterment.
It must, of
neoessity, have a direct relationship to individuals
and agencies within the community.
If it is to be an
organization worthy of its name and objective, it will
1.
2.
Paulive V. Young, “Scientific Social Surveys and
Research,” p. 458.
Personal experiences of the investigator while on
the membership drive; April, 1941.
256
neoessarily endeavor to encourage uplifting, activities
and discourage and defeat any program or policy that may
he even slightly detrimental to the general good*
To
substantiate this assertion, Cooley suggests that a
soolal institution, though created through the need of
a group and though serving the group, rises above the
group and derives its vitality from “an organic whole
of transmitted ideas which have the power to enlist the
activities of a group, but does not, for the most part,
originate with the group, and cannot be explained as a
mere product of their personalities.”*
These transmitted
ideas, as suggested in the quotation, develop from studies
and experiences of members within the group, and will
continue the functional activity of the Federation.
common interest in the present “housing” problem2
The
has
led to studies of the problems of delinquency, aotivity
of religious groups, health and other community factors.
There has been a spontaneous movement
in Amerioan communities, especially during
the last few years, to coordinate the
1.
2.
Charles H. Cooley, “Case Study of Small Institu­
tions as a Method of Research,” in E. W. Burgess,
“Personality and the Social Group,” p. 187. As
found in Young, “Scientific Social Surveys and
Research,” p. 442.
A Mayor’s Committee on Housing developed a Majority
Report in favor of Homeowner Renovation and a
Minority Report for a Housing Project.
257
services and planning of agencies and individuals
concerned with the solution of social problems.
This movement has been accelerated by the obvious
pressures and interrelationships of the problems
of delinquency, health, housing, eduoatlon,
recreation, relief, taxation, and government; by
the extension of public Interest and public
agencies concerned with the solution of these
problems; and by the apparent overlapping and
competition among the various interests and
agencies in the oommunity. Particularly
significant are the new emphases on general
oommunity participations in place of professional
agency control, and on neighborhood organization
in addition to more centralized planning and
direction. These emphases are important as
symptoms of a growing effectiveness of the
democratic procedure. Equally significant is
the Increasing dependence on community research
as the basis of coordinated planning and action.1
A study of the coordinating activities of the
Federation reveals an active, harmonious relationship
with all agenoies directly concerned with sooial welfare
and betterment.
The accompanying chart, on page 258, reveals the
manner in which such coordination and oooperation does
take place.
As an example, the Eduoatlon Committee, in
its study of the recommendations of the Survey of
Education, advocated immediate inauguration of courses
in Vocational Eduoatlon.
These were designed to fill
the job-opportunities offered by the merchants within
the oommunity and as expressed by merohant members of
1.
Julius Yourraan, “Progress in Community Coordination,”
The Journal of Educational Sociology, Vol. 12,
No. 6; February, 1939; p. 332.
268
CIVIC AND BUSINESS FEDERATION OF WHITE PLAINS
Purpose: To correlate and coordinate the activities,
within the community, both civic and business, to the
end that the interests and needs of the citizens and
business firms may more efficiently, adequately, and
_______________ economically be met._______________
Board of Directors (45) elected
to manage the affairs of the
corporation.
Executive Committee (10)
President, Treasurer, 2 Business, 2 Civic, 2 V/omans'
and 2 Professional Division Representatives
Managing Director
appointed to act as executlve-secretary
and to encourage membership and interest in
all Federation activities
Internal Organization
Policies and Programs
Budget
etermines
inanela1
policies
Business
365
members
Membership
to enoourage wider
interests and activities
to increasingly more
people ______
Committees on
Community Activities-Experts assist in the correlation £
coordination of Civic and Business
____________ Programs_____________
Information Service
Exchange data with other cities
Retail Merchants
and affiliated local
Legislation
organizations
Better Business
Commercial Dev'pt,
Community Publicity
Publicity
Credit Bureau
Providing information and advice
Better Housing
to present and prospective
Xmas Program
business firms and home-owners
Streets. Sidewalks
& Lighting
0, Traffic, Parking
Member:
Sc Safety
U. S. Chamber of Commerce
1, Control 1
of
Solicitors
---------National Municipal League
Federation of Westohester
Taxpayers Associations
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Civic
82 members
also representatives
of 15 affiliated
organizations
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
X
Civic Beautification
Eduoatlon
Consumers Council
Civic Celebration
Fire Prevention
Municipal Finance
& Taxation
7. Slum Clearance
6. Planning & Zoning
I
FUNCTIONAL AGENCIES AFFECTING MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY
City
Government
Board of
Education
7
County
Government
Other Agencies
In the city
public & private
State
Government
Federal
Government
£59
the Committee.
On this Education Committee was also the
Dean of Boys from the White Plains High School.
His
function as adviser on guidance placed him in a key
position to know the occupational openings within
the industries and shops.
The Board of Education has
acted partly as a result of such recommendations, and
this program will he in operation in September, 1941.
Already the Vocational course has been extended to
inolude retail selling, automobile mechanics, food
trades, home eoonomlcs, horticulture and estate
management; and the Board anticipates the inclusion
of two new courses each year, as the need and opportunity
present themselves.
The Committee on Traffic and Parking has been
instrumental in having parking meters installed.
Through
questionnaires distributed by the merchants to their
customers, a canvass was made of the desires of the
shoppers.
Armed with the resulting evidence and backed
by the Federation*s recommendation, the police depart­
ment was eager to act.
A pressing need for off-street
parking has resulted in a careful study of possibilities
toward solution.
A traffic engineer has been employed
by the Department of Safety, and his recommendations
will be considered by the Federation’s Committee on
Traffic and Parking, and the weight of their recommenda­
tion will indicate a course of action for the authorities.
260
A brtef resume of the activities of the various
committees for the year 1940 follows:*
Municipal Finance and Taxation— Analyzed and
studied the recommendations by the survey groups
covering public schools, finance and budgetary
procedure, assessments, police and fire depart­
ment pensions, public safety, public works,
welfare, recreation, and administration and
personnel. Many of the recommendations made
have been put into effect, such as the city’s
new “pay-as-you-go” financial basis; and
others are in the process of being carried
out. Citizens and city officials have stated
that these surveys have been most valuable in
charting a Sound course of municipal govern­
ment action for years to come. The total
amount of the city tax levy for 1941 is
$18,000 less than the tax levy for 1940.
Assessments for 1941 have been reduoed by
$6,800,000, which accounts for the
proportionate increase of the tax rate.
Traffic, Parking and Safety— Two hundred
and ten new parking meters were installed on
side streets by the oity at the Federation’s
request, in April of 1940, after oonq>lete
surveys of merchant and consumer opinion had
been made; and with these added meters the
annual receipts from all parking meters was
$37,282.70 for the year 1940. Permanent offstreet parking areas to be operated by the
city on a self-liquidating basis, is being
considered. Other activities included
endorsement of new bus routes and loading
zones and taxicab ordinance study.
Streets, Sidewalks and Lighting— the
Common Council, acting upon the Federation’s
petition, has adopted an ordinance providing
three years time for the removal of signs
which projeot over eighteen Inches. Visits
made to other communities having this type
of ordinance show the results to be a more
1.
“Activities Report of the Civic and Business
Federation of White Plains” for the year 1940.
261
attractive and up-to-date community.
National Defense— The purpose of this
committee was to prepare a complete mobilization
plan to meet any emergency and to coordinate all
looal efforts In cooperation with local, state
and federal civil and military agencies. Before
the end of 1940 the maynr named this committee
the offioial White Plains Council for National
Defense.
Retail Merchants— Pour special events of
importance to member merohants and White Plains
shoppers were sponsored during 1940:
(1) PreEaster advertising; (2) Mother’s Day, at which
time a grand award of $100 was presented to an
u ideal” Westchester mother chosen by means of
35,000 ballots; (3) White Plains Day— a fall
sales-promotion plan during whioh time 3,000
nickels were given to shoppers to pay for their
parking meter fees; (4) Special Chrlstmasshopping editions of the Evening Dispatch and
Daily Reporter were sponsored by the Federation,
and 10,000 extra copies were distributed to
mark the Federation’s Christmas lighting program.
A uniform six-o’clock closing policy for
stores was adopted for every night except
Saturday. This uniform closing plan is in
the best Interests of the olty’s consumers,
retailers and merohants.
Commercial Development— Two thousand copies
of a fourpage prospectus on White Plains, giving
up-to-date trade, population and employment data,
were printed and distributed. The matter of a
Westchester airport has been studied and federal
aid is being sought.
Legislation— Approval of amendments to the
National Labor Relations Act was expressed by
letters and telegrams to our representatives in
Washington relative to making labor unions and
employers equally responsible under the Act.
Referendums on national laws and polioies have
been replied to through the United States
Chamber of Commerce regularly, as well as
having the Federation’s national councillor
attend the Annual National Chamber meeting at
Washington.
262
Better Housing— Efforts to stimulate new
building and modernization have been directed
towards securing cooperation of city and
community officials in bringing about more
sound conditions as to taxes, assessments,
planning, building costs and employment for
looal labor, capital and use of local building
materials* The foreclosure of tax liens held
against paroels of property was urged in order
to place such property again on the oityJs tax
rolls*
Control of Solicitors— -Much progress has
been made this year in the proper control of
solicitation of residents and businessmen.
Non-charity solicitations have been strictly
discouraged, and with polioe-department
cooperation much of the objectionable doorto-door peddling has been eliminated. Acting
as the city1s Better Business Bureau, numerous
complaints have been checked and adjusted
satisfactorily*
Information, Bulletins and ServiceRegular bulletins and special reports keep
members informed of Federation activities.
Available in the office are information on
every phase of civic and business activity,
including city parkways, census reports and
statistics of federal, state, county and
city official reports.
Civic Beautification— In April, this
committee sponsored Clean-up, Paint-up,
Fix-up week. Extensive newspaper publicity,
five poster panels, and letters sent direct
to owners of unattractive properties brought
forcefully to the attention of the public the
importance of a clean attractive city* A
Federation florist member donated the planting
of three flower bowls at the corner of Main
Street and Uamaroneok Avenue during the spring.
Cooperation was extended to other committees
in matters of regulating overhanging signs
and slum clearance* A fund of $500 was used
for planting trees and grass in the plot at
Depot Plaza*
Opportunity is given to school children
to cooperate by essays and posters on the
subject.
263
Slum Clearanoe— The official 1940 City
Survey on Housing Conditions in certain
blighted areas of the city was given a
thorough study, and the Federation assisted
in securing the appointment of an official
committee on local housing conditions. This
committee was authorized by the mayor to
follow up all studies and reports in order
to make practical recommendations for
improvements.
Planning and Zoning— Continued study was
devoted to planning and zoning problems of the
city, with the purpose of aiding in the direction
of the growth of White Plains for future better­
ment. Such matters as the city zoning ordinance,,
opposition to “spot-zoning” and the requirements
for adequate parking areas in new apartments
and throughout the business area were considered
and aoted upon.
Fire Prevention— White Plains* splendid
record for fire-prevention work was entered
in the United States Chamber of Commeroe InterChamber Fire Waste Contest, and during 1940 the
Federation received the certificate of honorable
mention award for the report submitted and
activities outlined.
Membership— To increase the effectiveness
and influence of the Federation, progress was
made toward increasing the membership and
income. During 1940 fifty business firms and
civic-minded residents became active members.*
Credit Bureau— Federation members have
made increasing use of the Westchester Credit
Bureau, 171 East Post Road, which offers very
effective oredit reporting services at special
rates to members. In cooperating fully with
the Bureau, Federation members have made
available a valuable protection to their
system of granting oredit, and this service
The reflection of the inoreased interest in the
activities of the Federation is revealed by the
Increase in membership by 65 members during the
space of one week of “Campaign Drive” in April,
1941. The Business and Professional Women’s
Club and the White l'lains Polioe Benevolent
Association also joined as affiliated civic
organizations, which now total 15, each having
representation on the board of directors.
264
will oontinue to receive the attention of our
Credit Bureau Committee.
Community Publioity— An active program to
publicize White Plains as an ideal home and
trade center was carried on throughout the
year through local and oounty-wide newspaper
coverage. In cooperation with the White Plains
Realty Board, 15,000 copies of a 32-page booklet
entitled “White Plains, the Beautiful,” were
printed for distribution to prospective home
owners, giving a complete picture-story of the
city’s assets and advantages. A special radio
program, as a salute to White Plains was
arranged with the Major Bowes hour on the
Columbia Broadcasting System, to broadcast
the assets and advantages of White Plains to
a nationwide audience of 25 million listeners.
Christmas Lighting— -As in previous years,
the Federation again took charge of the
Christmas lighting decorations in the central
shopping area. Illuminated Christmas-tree
designs, each 12 feet high, containing 70
red and green lights, were erected on 70
boulevard lighting standards. These were
lighted each night from November 29 to January
2. This unique Christmas lighting display,
which originated with the Federation, has
been a model for other communities in several
other cities. Special Christmas advertising
and agreement on uniform store hours were
also effective accomplishments of this
committee.
It is ever to be borne in mind that the Federation
does not presume to undertake any of the functions vested
within the various departments of the city government,
but merely acts as a “self-starter” and coordinator of
activities for oommunlty improvement.
Evaluation in Terms of Objectives
In order to determine the most important or most
highly desirable activities for the Federation to promote
and develop during 1940, a questionnaire containing 30
choices of proposed activities was sent to each member
early that year.
A rating of A, B, or C was to be
placed on the spaces preceding the suggested projects.
From the questionnaires returned, the choices were
noted and tabulated.
It was found that the projects
considered most desirable were as follows:
First
Off-street parking
Tax studies
*
3rd
Slum clearance
4th
Sponsoring home-building program
5th
Commercial development *
Expansion of free parking plan
*
7th
Continue Better Business Bureau *
Patronize local business
9th
City planning and zoning
10th
Study of legislation— local
state and national
Control of solicitations
12th
Overhanging signs
13th
Traffic safety
Sales-promotion events
Publicize White Plains
16th
*
*
*
*
Courses in retail selling *
Christmas lighting and party
Information service in
Federation office *
*
In answer to the question regarding the out­
standing accomplishment of the Federation during the
period of its aotivity, some members suggested the
Tied for the position indicated
following:
Christmas Lighting and Rear Door Garbage
Collection.
The arousing of a new enlarged oivio
consciousness.
The celebration of the 150th Anniversary of
the signing of the Constitution of the
United States.
Fall Window Display Contest.
The promotion of better understanding and
cooperation among consumers and merchants.
General functional organization work with
resultant creation of great civic pride
in the growth and welfare of our city.
The Better Business Bureau work.
Having trolley tracks removed from main
thoroughfares.
Free parking facilities, and rear door garbage
collection.
Tree planting at Depot Plaza.
Getting well and ably organized and creating
a feeling of oooperation among merohants
and associations.
Cleaning up of Main Street sidewalk obstruc­
tions— grocery stands, etc.
Survey on Municipal Budget secured through
Federation activities.
Its continual effort to make White Plains a
fine place to live in.
Promoting activities which tend to keep White
Plains as an attractive and ideal
shopping center.
Development of the off-street parking plan.
Fall Shopping Week Campaign.
267
Clearing house for dates worked very efficiently;
Christmas lighting; Sign Ordinance;
Municipal Finance and Taxation Committee’s
splendid work in bringing about survey on
municipal government; Investigation of
solicitations; Collecting of funds from
various organizations for Amerioan Flags
for street decorations, and presenting
same to the city.
New sign ordinance.
Appointment of Traffic Engineer.
Traffic Survey.
Arranging Uniform Business Closing Hours.
Typical of the reaction in response to the
questionnaire is the letter from one member, which
follows:
I think all objectives stated are worthy,
but about two-thirds have to do with commercial
aspects— boosting White Plains business. We
who only spend in White Plains are more
Interested in the oivio-betterment possibilities.
Compared to many other desirable suburban areas
throughout the United States, our property taxes
and water rates are abnormally high.
The Federation in my judgment is doing a
fine job all along the line, but could make
more progress and speed accomplishment if the
present un-balanoe was corrected by getting
in a oouple of hundred more olvio-minded
members, preferably ones who are dis­
associated with local politlos and business.
Following are the Federation aims, as outlined
by the Federation itself:3'
To create an intense local pride in White
Plains, by awakening all its residents to the
value of their city as a plaoe in whloh to live
1.
Bulletin of the Civio and Business Federation
for the year 1939.
268
and do business, with the idea that White Plains
people can, and will, be a powerful force in
convincing outside folk of the many advantages
of this community.
To develop plans to beautify the city, and
to study methods of improving every-day city
problems.
To give special consideration to various
matters that affect the community welfare,
through standing oommittees which will make
an intelligent study of them. Committees
proposed to date include Planning and Zoning;
Education; Parks, Recreation and City
Beautifioatlon; Events and Celebrations;
Traffic and Parking; Membership; Budget;
Publicity; and Better Business Bureau.
To prepare and carry out, through a
standing committee, a program of publicity,
designed to attract attention to White Plains
as a desirable home oommunity; to promote
building in all lines, and to carry the message
of White Plains as the retail trading center
of Westohester County.
To prepare and carry out, through a
Better Business Bureau, plans to make this the
principal and most attractive business
community in the county by (1) furnishing data
and assistance to members on store and business
operating problems; (2) promotional activities,
cooperative events, solicitors, etc., sales
training institute, and other worthwhile group
activities; and (3) institutional program on
trade relations, consumer’s council, and
trade area survey.
To establish and maintain a complete
information headquarters, where data of
business and civic importance can be secured
by members at all times.
To serve as a clearing house for important
dates.
To protect the public against worthless
advertising schemes, investment in fraudulent
securities and "rackets” of all kinds.
Part IV.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SURVEYOR
269
To hold regular meetings or the four
divisions of the organization, and to have
Forum meetings, of the “Town Meeting” type
for all members, so that quick and united
decisions and action may be secured on all
matters affecting the community.
To expand the Federation program to
meet whatever needs may be required.
It is the opinion of the investigator who has
also served as a member, officer and committee
chairman, that these aims are successfully met, and
that a progressively ambitious program is continually
under way.
The Federation has brought into play unique
procedures, and many advanoes have been achieved which
could not have been achieved, exoept through its
influence.
The functional value of its program and
activity have been considered in the foregoing pages.
From the conclusions that immediately follow,
the reader may more clearly visualize the trend
of aotlvity of each committee of the Federation,
and thus determine the beneficial progress since
this coordinating agency began to function in
White Plains.
Conclusions
The investigator does not presume to estimate
the definite value of the Federation to the community,
nor to intimate that certain changes which have
occurred since the advent of the Federation into the
270
dally life of the city would not have taken place
through the motivation and exeoutioh by some already
existing agency within the community.
The reader may, by an appraisal of the general
condition and trend of any activity, determine whether,
in his own estimation, the Federation was effective in
bringing about the wholesome changes which did taka
place.
Other organizations intent upon effecting good
government and social harmony are, and have been, of
invaluable benefit to the general welfare of the
community, but only a sustained effort as made by the
Federation oan possibly secure lasting changes in the
most efficient manner.
Other communities may best determine for them­
selves whether a similar Civic and Business Federation
would be helpful in attaining desired changes by
comparing their own situation with that of White Plains.
That the Federation has been successful in
attaining many of its expressed aims, as outlined on
pages 267-269, cannot be questioned; the approval of
fellow members, the hearty cooperation shown by the
city officials, as well as the achievements of the
various committees, will readily guide the reader in
this respeot.
That it is not entirely democratic, in the pure
sense of the word, may be noted, since membership is
271
limited to those only who can afford to pay the
membership dues.
become members.
Thus, citizens on relief cannot
A larger membership is desirable.
The steady and healthy growth of the Pederatlon admits
of Increasing popularity and Influence,
The deterrent
appears to be the lack of time of a people overorganized socially.
In Its last membership drive, this
reason was predominantly the one given for not wishing
to join the Federation.
The coordinating activities of the Federation
have been instrumental in saving much time and money
by reducing the duplication of effort on the part of
its associated member organizations.
To the Sooial Theory of Community Coordination
has been added a case study of an active agency— the
Civic and Business Federation of the City of White
Plains, New York— successful in attaining certain
desired results.
Committee Activities Pursued and Results Attained
Municipal Finance and Taxation:
Before this
committee began its activities, the cost of running
the city government had catapulted,
from a total of
$1,800,000 in 1924 to $6,000,000 in 1940 (see page 87
in Part X).
Criticisms against excessive spending and
high taxes were heard on all sides, but few people took
272
the initiative in attempting to understand the causes.
The actual method of fiscal operation contemplated
that all outstanding uncollected taxes are good assets
and thereby available in cash, yet statistics showed an
annual average of about 8 percent of uncollected taxes.
Consequently, the city must constantly operate in the
red or carry an excessively high “tax cushion” to
offset these unpaid taxes.
Urgent recommendations and the flow o f action
developing from this committee ]ed to the appointment
by the mayor a committee to determine the need of a
complete survey of all city functions.
This latter
committee recommended to the Mayor that the complete
survey be made, suggesting the surveyors and the sum
to be expended.
The mayor and the oommittee acted in
accord, and the citizens of White Plains are secure in
the knowledge that modern methods of efficient
governmental procedures are now in effect.
In addition
to this, the operating budget of the city for the year
1941 showed a drop of about $28,000 from the 1940
figure.
In view of the increased payments on the
bonded debt, this would indicate a substantial reduction,
the initial steps toward which were taken by the
Federation.
Traffic. Parking and Safety:
Main Street had
been a bottle-neck for traffic passing through, and
273
for shoppers.
A large proportion of the polioe force
was needed to handle traffic.
frequent.
Motor accidents were
Shoppers evaded the congested areas.
Merohants were alqrmed by falling sales.
had to be done.
Something
The officials in charge were bogged
down with daily tasks and complaints.
Need for future
expansion to accommodate the wide shopping area and to
continue the city’s general popularity as the county
seat, were perhaps beyond the visual scope of these
heavily-laden executives.
This Committee on Traffic, Parking and Safety,
consisting of interested citizens, studied the subject
thoroughly and cooperated extensively with all agencies
and individuals involved.
The local newspaper facilitated
the project with assistance in determining the needs, and
by printing maps of the city showing suggested areas
available for off-street parking.
This phase of the
oonmittee’s work is still in progress.
Parking meters
were installed after the Federation’s investigations
and tabulated questionnaires from merohants and
shoppers had indioated the need for them.
New bus routes and loading zones, as well as
taxicab ordinances, were proposed to the city officials,
and many ohanges were effooted as suggested.
Retail Merohants:
This committee is oonqiosed
of a cross—section of the business people of the city.
274
Large firms, with home offices in New York City, work
in cooperation with local independent merchants in
making White Plains a better place for homes and
business.
Previous to the activity of this committee,
little regard was shown for “fair-play” to fellow
merchant or to customers.
Unstable profit-seekers
merely tried to aget-while-the-getting-was-good”.
As
a result of this type of unscrupulous business activity
legitimate merohants often suffered through loss of
business and found a buying public assuming an attitude
of suspicion.
The refusal of one branch store to close in
observance of a national legal holiday, and in
conformanoe with the uniform closing plan hitherto
agreed upon, was climaxed by a procession of merchants
and shopper members of the Federation picketing the
store with flags of the United States and the City of
White Plains.
An immediate consultation between the
local manager of the store and the out-of-town owner
ended in a speedy compliance.
The policy of this committee has done much to
cement a bond of confidence between merchant and
shopper; it has aided in increasing sales; and the
merchants have enjoyed a more normal home life, with
the uniform business hours.
275
Commercial Development:
White Plains has always
been fortunate in having loyal supporters in its midst,
who have worked and planned to make it an outstanding
city.
In the early 90*s, and probably before that,
reoords spealc of picture folders and brochures to
bring home-seekers to White Plains.
Some of the "old-
timers” today tell about pictures of this city which
induced them to make White Plains their permanent home.
Throughout its history every effort has been
exerted to keep White Plains what it now is (see page
36 in Part I)— a city of homes.
Clean light industries,
laboratories and central offices have many desirable
features and are encouraged by the Federation.
There
is little smoke nuisance, confusion or labor difficulty,
and therefore desirable people see many advantages in
buying homes here.
The activity of this oommittee in distributing
up-to-the-minute data on business and living conditions
here has resulted in attracting many desirable residents.
The advantage of an airport for Westchester County have
been carefully studied, and the Federation has
consistently enoouraged this project as a commercial
and defense asset.
Bffort still continues toward this
end.
Better Business:
in all walks of life.
Fair competition is essential
That this is especially so in
276
the business world is known by all merchants.
In
White Plains, merchant members of the Civic and
Business Federation have the advantage of working
shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow merchants,
with the knowledge that increased buying in the city
will mean increase in their own sales.
Much helpful
advioe relative to national affairs is received from
such organizations as the National Chamber of Commerce.
More than 500 retail merohants in White Plains
have been encouraged to participate actively in
"Retailers for Defense” week, in cooperation with the
fourth annual National Demonstration of the National
Retail Merchants.
The original purpose, according
to President William H. Evans of the Federation, is
better to acquaint the consumer with the efficient
service of retail distribution.
Despite shortage of
material and rising prices, the consumer must be
protected, he suggested.
Retailers are told that they
can help to keep prices down by maintaining stocks to
provide consumers with necessities; by assisting in
the development of new products to replaoe those no
longer available; and by discouraging speculative
buying.
They are urged to support national defense
by investing in defense bonds.
Consumers are advised to buy carefully; to
keep goods bought, except in oases of imperfections
277
or incorreot size; and to carry small purchases home
with them.
They, too, are urged to buy defense bonds.
Under the direction of the Committee on Better
Business a fall fashion promenade was held at one of
the local theatres on September 17, 1931.
Professional
models displayed garments of eleven member dress shops.
A commentary was given by Alice Richardson, associate
editor of Harper’s Bazaar.
On the following day, a special-event windowdisplay contest was held, based on the theme "Retailers
for Defense.”
The winner, seleoted by judges from the
Westchester County Defense Council, received as a prize
a $25 defense bond*
Credit Bureau:
Previous to the operations of
this Bureau, merchant members had to gamble on the
integrity of people with whom they did business.
Much
of today’s commerce is transacted without direct cash,
a personal checlc being considered acceptable.
Many
firms have lost heavily in this manner, in the past.
To protect the merchant against such possible losses,
the Federation members first evolved their own oredit
bureau, and later found it more advantageous and
economical to merge with the Westchester Credit Bureau
for efficient and unified service.
Consumers * Council:
This committee is composed
of a group of women organized under the direction of
278
one of the vioe-presidents— a woman.
Its main purpose
is to oooperate with other committees in assuring the
consumer of value for moneys expended.
One of the ohief accomplishments of this committee
has heen the Consumers* Shopping Survey, oompleted in
April of 1939.
At that time, 100 women participated.
They made their regular purchases, after which they
filled out questionnaires regarding their impression
of the general attractiveness of the store windows and
interiors, the condition and prioe of the merchandise
as compared with competing stores, and the oourtesy of
the staff.
Over 1,000 questionnaires were distributed,
and every merchant evidenced great interest in knowing
what was the customers* reaction to his store.
On the
cards returned, only 45 oases of lack of oourtesy were
reported.
The merohants division, before engaging upon a
special-sales program, request this committee to pass
on their plans.
Women of the committee investigate
values and pass judgment in a pre-sale inspection.
The assurance to the public that good values are being
offered is of real value to the consumer and to the
merohant.
And a better feeling of understanding is
the invariable result.
Education.!
Working towards inter-racial unity,
the Committee on Eduoation advocated a program of operas
279
to be presented by the Westchester Opera Association
with local talent.
More recently, however, this
project has had to be abandoned in favor of more
urgent activities*
After three years of study and effort, this
committee submitted its recommendations for a practical
program of vocational training to the Board of Education,
and action has been taken to start vocational training
in the high school this year.
Courses in retail selling,
auto mechanics, estate work, food trades, and home
economics have been set up, with the aid of an advisory
committee of local businessmen and financed to a large
extent with federal and state funds.
Forty-two local sales people attended the
Federation-sponsored evening course in “Selling Fashion
Merchandise,” conducted by Helen M. Walsh, Assistant
Personnel Director of James MoCreery and Company of
New York City.
A fall evening course in “Principles
of Retail Selling11 for member store employees was also
sponsored, with the same instructor, meeting twice
weekly at the Eastview Avenue school.
To help in meeting our nation*s requirements
for national defense, in view of the war abroad, the
Federation submitted to the Board of Education
recommendations for the establishment of military
training courses as part of the physical-eduoation
280
program in the high school, junior and senior classes,
and evening classes in aviation meohanics for training
civilians in this and other related meohanioal trades
vital to national defense*
Vocational training courses
for defense industry have been in operation constantly
sinoe August, 1940; and the Board of Eduoation reports
an additional federal appropriation to continue this
program until July, 1941.
The chairman of the committee has been meeting
regularly with the Civic Youth Council.
This work with
out-of-school youth has the full support of the Civic
and Business .Federation who see in this group an
admirable sign of increasing interest in civic better­
ment and a rising morale.
This committee plans to pursue the "University
of White Plains” idea referred to in detail on pages
167-71.
Fire Prevention:
White Plains has enjoyed a good
reputation, in comparison with other cities, in regard
to fire prevention.
Historical records speak of several
disastrous fires: one of these was the burning of the
Gedney Farms Hotel.
to action.
An aroused citizenry was stirred
It is a far ory from the solitary cistern
partially buried at the intersection of Lexington
Avenue and Main Street (earlier known as Railroad
Avenue) to the elaborate gridiron system protecting
281
the city today.
Volunteers were loyal, but often
untrained In fire-fighting technique.
Today an expert
force of professional flre-flghters keeps damage by
fire at a minimumj and Insurance rates are consequently
the lowest procurable In the state.
The Federation through this committee has
encouraged the development of fire-prevention habits.
Poster contests conduoted in the school bring the
subject to the attention of pupils, and through them to
the homes.
Federation members, in this present crisis, stand
ready to assist in the program already Inaugurated by the
Safety Commissioner for action in a possible emergency.
Legislation:
White Plains, as the county seat,
has been the center of legal acitivty of the county.
Staunch supporters, with tremendous zeal and loyalty,
have done much to make White Plains the fine city that
it is.
Laws are sometimes made, and ordinances devised,
relative to community activities, which may or may not
be adequate or desirable.
Outside agencies, vested
Interests and the like, through influences exerted upon
some representative have perpetrated laws often misunder­
stood or entirely alien to the best interests of the
community as a whole.
Busy officials have sometimes
failed to fully understand or make known to the publio
282
the importance of oertain laws and. regulations.
This Committee on legislation, composed largely
of members with legal talent, has studied and explained
to the membership the implications surrounding certain
measures.
As stated on page 261, referendums on
national laws and policies have been acted upon
intelligently.
Communities may be able to “carry on” by change
legislation working for their general best interests,
but a fuller understanding and better cooperation must
result from the action of an efficient committee designed
to interpret existing and new legislative measures.
National Defense:
A White Plains Committee for
National Defense was appointed in August, 1940, by the
president of the Civic and Business Federation.
It
served in this oapaoity until November of that year,
when it was officially designated by the Common
Council to serve also as the White Plains Council for
National Defense.
Its purpose is to coordinate all
looal defense efforts among the various agencies in
the city with established military and civilian
defense authorities of the state and federal govern­
ments.
One example in which an existing agency was
utilized is the designation of the Exchange Club to
collect aluminum sorap.
They succeeded in securing
5,160 pounds of the metal.
283
The Civic and Business Federation was one of the
organizations which took part in securing a registration
of civilians for volunteer defense service.
The
registration cards were tabulated, and information is
now available as to which oltizens will perform duties
of auxiliary firemen, police, air-raid wardens, home
nursing and other vital services.
This Council on National Defense further acts as
a clearing house to furnish information on all phases
of the defense program.
It gives aid to men now in
service, encourages defense industries and assists in
securing vocational courses for defense workers.
Other
interests of the committee include the study of consumer
prices, the promotion of better understanding between
consumer and merchant, and the encouragement of the use
of buses instead of private cars in order to conserve
gasoline.
Planning and Zoning:
Regional planning,
emanating from the metropolitan area, was not neglected
in Westchester County.
Heavy-rtrafficked parkways
brought thousands of visitors.
As shown on page 70,
between 1920 and 1930 the population of White Plains
increased over 70 peroent.
The City Plan devised by
Goodrich and Whitten in 1928 (see page 113) at a oost
of $25,000, was aooepted by the City Fathers, but
apparently shelved for the time being.
Constantly
284
recurring problems, often involving legal action, made
rezoning advisable*
The Committee on Planning and Zoning, with a
membership including prominent realtors and home owners,
has studied the problems confronting the city*
Recommendations coming from this committee have aided
in the growth of White Plains for future betterment.
Opposition was voiced against
spot-zoning”; and
requirements for new and adequate off-street parking
facilities are still reoelvlng constant study and action.
Here again, close association is maintained with the
Committee on Slum-olearanoe, in the matter of securing
needed parking areas.
The establishment of a restricted
business zone, for high class shops, on East Post Road
oame as a result of this committee*s opposition to spotzone changes.
Better Rousing:
This city has had the benefit of
wise leadership in matters pertaining to zoning and the
building of homes of the better type.
Close proximity
to the metropolitan area and lessons learned from
thriving counties nearby, have Induced its leaders to
reoognize the advantages of fine homes and good people
to live in them.
Good people, good homes and a good
city are synonymous.
One generally follows the other.
As noted in the history of the growth of the
City of ffhlte Plains (see chapter on Housing
285
beginning on page 172), the old residential areas,
wholly within and fringing the business and commercial
section, were gradually oooupied by residents of the
lower income groups.
In comparison with the conveniences
of modern homes they were inadequate, and when left in
disorder by both landlord and tenant alike, the terms
“sub-standard dwelling” and “blighted area” became
applicable.
As recommended by the Federation and other civic
organizations, the Report of the Mayor’s Committee on
Housing (see page 179) was made*
After careful study
of all available surveys and an inspection of the
“blighted areas” the extensive reports described on
pages 180-82 were made.
With the cooperation of all interested citizens,
adequate housing will ultimately be made available for
all, and recommendations of the committee relative to
tax liens will help make the tax burden lighter.
Slum Clearance: The old city of White Plains
described in the chapter entitled “Historical Background
and Development” was a homelike place for its staid
populace.
Conditions were no better, and perhaps no
worse, than were found in other nearby Westchester
communities.
But new business interests coming into
the community would not heed the suggestion of real­
es tate brokers.
Instead of locating near the depot
286
and the already congested shopping center along Main
Street, they envisioned something perhaps heyond the
grasp of the city*s planners— a broad modern shopping
center on Mamaroneok Avenue.
This, in a gradual and
steady movement, tended to leave the old trading center
as a core or “area” , and a modern city grew around it
as indicated on page 36.
Such “natural areas” are problems of major
importance today.
On the successful solution of these
problems hinges much in community health, happiness and
morale.
The activities of the committee have already been
more fully described in the chapter on Housing.
The mayor
and Common Council, aided and encouraged by an increasing
civic interest in this and similar problems, are doing much
to help the cause.
Through its interest in the slum-
clearanoe problem, the Federation has shown that it is
actively concerned with the future development of White
Plains; and the new housing standards ordinance, endorsed
by the Federation, should go far towards improving local
housing conditions*
Civic Beautification:
“White Plains, the City
Beautiful” has long been a slogan among its inhabitants.
Pride of historical background and the prestige of
prominence due a county seat have given added impetus
to oivic-minded inhabitants in making White Plains a
287
tetter place In which to live and work.
No doubt, even without the Federation’s efforts,
other organizations would continue to work for civic
beautification and improvement.
But in all justice, it
is reasonable to indioate some of the changes which
have taken place due to the efforts of this committee
and the Federation.
On page 262 the reader will note
that a sum of $500 was spent for planting trees and
shrubbery on Depot Plaza.
A Federation florist planted
flowers in the attractive bowls provided at other points
by Federation member-organizations.
Through extensive
publicity, home and business have cooperated in a united
effort towards making the city a more beautiful one.
Since the Interests of this committee extend
into areas directly concerning the activities of other
committees, such as slum-clearance and overhanging signs,
joint action leads to more speedy improvements.
Streets. Sidewalks and Lighting;
Previous to the
activity of this committee, ambitious but often
unscrupulous merchants displayed their wares far over
the general building-line, obstructing pedestrians and
giving the business area an untidy appearance.
Over­
hanging signs stretched far outward, and additional
signs were attached.
Uerohants quarreled over rights,
and in time their attempts to outdo each other only
made matters worse.
288
As stated on page 260, this committee, after
visits made to other modern and attractive communities,
presented to the Common Council a petition endorsed by
merchants, both members and non-members, requesting
action in the matter*
The ordinance adopted provides
a three-year period of time for the removal of all signs
which project more than eighteen inches.
At about the
same time an additional ordinance provided for a uniform
building-line on Main Street.
The activity of this committee has resulted in a
cleaner, healthier and more beautiful oity.
Control of Solicitors:
The busy housewife and the
efficient exeoutive generally find the outstretched palm
a source of irritation and embarrassment.
Whether it be
door peddlers, solicitors for needy organisations or
some other form of canvassing, those calls are generally
untimely and unwelcome.
The Community Chest, devised to eliminate the
constant solicitation for worthy projects, had been
functioning until this past year.
The trial of independent
solicitations by various agencies within the community has
resulted in considering a Chest reorganization.
The committee, with the cooperation of the police,
are assisting in eliminating muoh undesirable solicitation.
Acting also as the city’s Better Business Bureau, this
oommittee stands ready to give immediate information
289
relative to the genuineness of any appeal, and will
assist in adjusting complaints.
Solicitors are requested
to fill out a blank giving information as to their purpose
and finanolal plans, and if the project is for the
community good and charitable in purpose, the Federation
extends its endorsement.
Members are warned against oases
of misrepresentation.
Community Publicity:
itself alone.
No community can live by
White Plains, the county seat of one of
the world’s wealthiest counties, but facing ever-mounting
taxes due to its ever-expanding services, must have
increasing revenues to meet current indebtedness.
Reductions in assessed valuation of properties have
caused an increase in the tax rate.
More desirable
home-building and business development must be encouraged.
Adequate community publicity is one answer.
Through the medium of special folders, bulletins
and regular news-letters, this committee makes available
to all those interested information on pertinent matters
for local or distant distribution.
In oooperation with
with the White Plains Realty Board, 15,000 copies of a
32-page booklet entitled “White Plains the Beautiful”
were printed for prospective home-owners.
A “Major
Bowes Hour” on the radio, as a speoial salute to White
Plains, was arranged on the Columbia Broadcasting
System, and it is estimated that about 25 million
290
listeners heard a brief story of White Plains,
Christmas Lighting:
It had been customary, in
the years past, to arrange a suitable program for the
youth of the community and special gifts for the under­
privileged were distributed at the City Hall.
An annual
Christmas Eve celebration took place on the Court House
lawn facing Main Street, but each merchant was left to
plan his own decorative arrangements.
The Federation has for the past few years sponsored
a speoial Christmas-lighting project.
Illuminated Christmas-
tree designs were lighted evenings throughout the month of
December.
Funds to cover the cost, about $2,500 yearly,
are collected from merchants, pro-rated on the basis of
store frontage.
Uniform closing hours and cooperation
on the special advertising features instill in merchants
a feeling of mutual confidence.
A special theatre party for children is arranged
eaoh year, and over 2,000 underprivileged children are
made happy with a movie show and gifts.
Recommendations
1.
The investigator believes that some plan
for instilling in youth the impetus to help serve the
community should be encouraged.
A Junior Order of the
Civic and Business Federation could be organized, should
the present Civic Youth Counoil cease to function.
291
Through the excellent irork of Brainard H. Woodward, hlghsohool economics teacher, a group of serious-minded
students are planning some method by which they oan
discuss with adults definite problems of mutual Interest,
and oan accomplish worthwhile objectives*
2*
That further consideration and study be
given by the Federation to the matter of housing for
the low-income groups, is likewise recommended*
This
may simultaneously indicate a means of providing offstreet parking facilities seriously needed.
3*
The investigator further recommends that a
plan be sponsored for more play areas and recreational
facilities to be plaoed at the disposal of the youth of
the community.
Available city property should be
converted, wherever advisable, for permanent play-time
and leisure-time use, and willing leaders be encouraged
to aid in furthering the planned programs.
4*
That the Recreation Department of the city
be encouraged and supported in placing at the disposal
of parents, programs and advice on available areas for
recreational activities.
Parents should be encouraged
to spend more time, at work or at play, in the company
of their children*
More general use of the county
parks and facilities should be urged.
5.
That the Federation encourage and support
the Westchester County Probation Commission in
292
publicizing its reports.
Information relative to
delinquency and its probable causes should help parents
in appreciating the dangers ensuing from lack of normal
family life.
6.
That the necessary support be given by the
Federation toward developing the “University of
Westchester” idea, or a junior college at White
Plains.
7.
That new business enterprises— commercial
and light clean industry— be encouraged to locate
here to provide employment for the large groups of
semi-skilled workers available for productive
occupations.
8.
That home ownership and new building be
encouraged as a means of increasing employment and
assessed values.
9.
That White Plains* outstanding stores and
shopping advantages be advertised throughout Westohester
County, thus increasing local employment, realty values,
and the chances of maintaining high standards in city
government.
10.
That the Federation continue its interest
in city, county, state and national policies of
government and finance, and properly present to the
established authorities the opinions of the citizens
of White Plains.
293
In short, and In oonclusion, every progressive
community requires the coordinating efforts of some
dynamic agency to assist in developing cooperative
spirit on the highest possible level, and to direct
it in vital ohannels.
Without the aotivity of such
a force oeaselessly engaged in fostering the common
welfare, public interest oannot be long sustained.
In the City of White plains this goal is continually
striven for by the Civic and Business Federation, Inc.
294
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Beam, Kenneth S., “A Guide to Community Coordination,”
Coordinating Councils, Los Angeles, Calif.; 1941.
Beard, Henry M . ,
“History of Rye,” New York; 1883.
Bolton, Robert, “The History of the County of
Westchester,” Vol. 2, New York; 1881.
Brandes, Fred C., Real Property Survey, White Plains;
December, 1939.
Burgess, E. W., “Statistics and the Case-Study as
Menthods of Sociological Research,” Sociology
and Social Research: Noveraber-Deoember, 1927.
Burgese, Park, Burgess and McKenzie, “The City,”
University of Chicago Press, Chicago; 1925.
Butler, George D., “Introduction to Community
Recreation,” McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York;
1940.
Coloord, Joanna C., “Your Community,” Russell Sage
Foundation, New York; 1939.
Committee on the Hygiene of Housing, “Basic Principles
of Healthful Housing,” American Public Health
Association; May, 1939.
Daily Reporter, The, White Plains, 250th Anniversary
issue, September 26, 1933; and other issues.
Davies, Stanley P., “Realism in Housing,” Tenement
House Committee of the Charity Organization of
New York City.
Department of Public Works, White Plains, Report of
Real Property Survey; Deoember, 1939.
Do Hard, John, and others, “Frustration and
Aggression,” Yale University Press; 1939.
Douglas, Isabel, Annual Report of White Plains
Library for 1940.
295
DuBois, Cora, “Some Psychological Objectives and
Techniques in Ethnography,” Journal of Social
Psychology. Vol. Ill; 1937.
Hamilton, Walton H. “Institutions,” Encyclopedia
of Social Sciences, Vol. VIII.
Hanna, Paul R. “Youth Serves the Community,” D.
Appleton-Century Co., New York; 1936.
Hardy, H. Claude, “Evolution and Development of
the Office of Superintendent of Schools,
Westchester County, New York,” Inor Publishing
Co., Inc.; 1932.
Hufeland, Otto, “Westchester County during the
American Revolution, 1775-1783,” published for
Westchester County by the Westchester County
Historical Society, i¥hite Plains; 1936.
Klein, Philip, “The Burden of Unemployment,” Russell
Sage Foundation, New York; 1923.
Klineberg, Otto, “Race Differences,” Harper and Bro.,
New York; 1935.
Kluckhohn, Florence R., “The Participant-Observer
Teohnique in Small Communities,” The American
Journal of Sociology. Vol. XLVI, No. 3;
November, 1940.
Kurtz, Russell, Foreword in Philip E. Ryan’s
“Migration and Social Welfare,” Russell Sage
Foundation, New York; 1930.
Lent, Allen W. “Financial Practices of Municipalities
as They Affect the Trend of Municipal Credit,” a
treatise on banking; June, 1940.
— . ■■
“Proceedings of the Conference on Bond
Portfolio,” New York State Bankers’ Association;
1939.
Linton, Ralph, “The Study of Alan,” D. Apple tonCentury Co., Inc., New York; 1936.
Lohman, Joseph D., “Participant-Observation in
Community Studies,” American Sociological
Review, Vol. Ill; 1937.
296
Lundberg, George A., “The Sociography of Some
Community Relations,” American Sociological
Review, Vol. Ill; 1937.
Mailer, Julius B., “Juvenile Delinquency in New York
City,” W. P. A. Project 67-97-295; Journal of
Psychology. 3, 1-25; November, 1936,
— —
“School and Community, Regents Inquiry into
the Character and Cost of Kduoation in the State
of New York,” 193B.
Maslen, Sydney, “Housing and City Planning,” Social
Work Year Book, 1941; Russell Sage Foundation,
New York.
Mayor’s Committee on Need for a Survey, “Report to
the Mayor,” White Plains; November, 1939.
McKenzie, Park, Burgess and McKenzie, “The City,”
University of Chicago Press, Chicago; 1925.
Miller, Park and Miller, “Old World Traits
Transplanted,” Harper and Bro., New York; 1921.
Nash, Jay B«,
1940.
White Plains Survey of Recreation;
National Municipal League,
1940.
Survey of White Plains;
Ogburn, William F., “Social Characteristics of
Cities— a Basis for New Interpretation of the
Role of the City in American Life,” International
City Managers Association, Chicago; 1937.
Park, Burgess and McKenzie, “The City,” University
of Chicago Press, Chicago; 1925.
Park and Miller, “Old World Traits Transplanted,”
Harper and Bro., New York; 1921.
Plant, James S. “Personality and the Cultural
Pattern,” Commonwealth Fund, New York; 1937.
Benorter-D is pa tch. The,
White Plains; various issues.
Rbsch, John, “Historic White Plains,” BallettoSweetman, White Plains; 1939.
“Historical Souvenir Programme,” 1933.
297
Ryan, Philip E. “Migration and Social Welfare,”
Russell Sage Foundation, New York; 1930*
Soharf, J. Thomas, “History of Testohester County,”
L. E. Preston and Co., Philadelphia; 1886.
Schmid, Calvin F., “Social Saga of Two Cities—
an Ecological and Statistical Study of Social
Trends in Minneapolis and St. Paul,”
Minneapolis Council of Social Agencies,
Minneapolis, Minn.; 1937.
Shelley, Patrick J., “Justice for the Wayward Minor
Girl,” Report, New York City; March 3, 1941.
--
“Sooio-Legal Treatment of the Youthful
Offender; Analysis of the Work of the Adolescent
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Shonnard, Frederic and Spooner, W. W., “History of
Westchester County,” New York History Co.; 1900.
Taber, Norman S. and Co.,
Plains,” 1940.
“Financial Survey of White
Thorndike, Edward L., “American Cities and States;
Variation and Correlation in Institutions,
Activities, and the Personal Qualities of the
Residents,” Annals of the New York Academy of
Sciences, Vol. XXXIX, Art. 4; December 22, 1939.
— i — —
“How We Spend Our Time and What We Spend
It For,” Scientific Monthly; May, 1939.
■■
—
“Human Nature and the Social Order,”
Macmillan Co., New York; 1940.
—
“144 Smaller Cities,” Harcourt Brace and
Co., New York; 1940.
— —
— ■ “Your City,” Harcourt Brace and Co., New
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Thrasher, Frederic M., “The Boys* Club and Juvenile
Delinquency,” The American Journal of Sooiology,
Vol. XLII, No. 1; July, 1936.
i
“Unit Area Method of Social Research, Part
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298
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Their R$le in National Economy,” Report of the
Urbanism Commission, Washington Government
Printing Office; 1937,
Warner, W, Lloyd, “Social Anthropology and the
Modern Community,” American Journal of Sociology.
Vol. XLVI, No. 6; May, 1941.
Westchester County Department of Health,
“Forward to Health,” 1941.
Report:
Westchester County Park Commission, Report: “The
Needs of Westchester County Parkways from a Through
Traffic Standpoint,” November 8, 1940.
Wilson, Charles G.,
White Plains.
Articles in The Daily Reporter.
Withers, John W., director, Report of the Survey of
Public Sohools of White Plains, New York, made by
the National Municipal League.
Woodward, Brainard H. (and a class in community survey)
“A Survey and Evaluation of Youth Activities and
Agencies in White Plains,” 1941.
(and youth survey group), “The Junior Citizen
of White Plains,” 1941.
Young, Pauline V., “Scientific Social Surveys and
Hesearoh,” Prentioe-Hall, Inc., New York; 1939.
Yourman, Julius, “Progress in Community Coordination,”
The Journal of Educational Sociology. Vol. 12, No.
6; February, 1939.
Zorbaugh, Frederick, “The Gold Coast and the Slum,”
University of Chicago Press, Chicago; 1929.
■ — ■ ■ “Town and Gown,” Ph. D. Dissertation, New
York University; 1939; unpublished.
APPENDIX
299
EDVARD L. THORNDIKE
501 Vest 120th Street
New York City
June 3, 1941
Ur. John F. Hopf, Jr.
34 Presoott Road
White Plains, N. Y.
Dear Ur. Hopf:
I enclose the data concerning twelve cities
most interesting in comparison with White Plains.
You will find the study of the sources listed In
pp. 214-223 of Thorndike, “American Cities and
States,” a copy of which I am sending you with
my compliments. It will he valuable in your
study.
I give you permission to quote as furnished
by me the items on the enclosed sheets, and to
quote any of the data from the monograph
“Amerioan Cities and States” for the twelve
cities in question. You will find those on pp.
241-245 of interest to you.
Yours truly,
(signed) E. L. Thorndike.
elt :b
end.
Thorndike explains his method of rating as
follows:
After the 37 soores were multiplied by
amounts such as to make their standard
deviations be proportional to the numbers
listed above as approximate weights, the
sum for each city (called G 3) was combined
with a soore (G 1) which was computed by
subtracting the number of features among
the 37 in whloh that city was below the
median of the 295 cities from the number in
which it was above the median of the 295.
(In computing the standard deviations of
G, I and P, the influence of extreme and
possibly erroneous measures was minimized
by taking as the standard deviation, one
half the distance along the scale required
to exclude 47 cities or 8 states at each
extreme.)
A reasonable combination of a city’s
soores in these 37 items gives a significant
measure of the goodness of its life. The
simplest reasonable combination is to give
a credit of 1 for each of the features in
which the oity in question is better than
the ordinary oity and a penalty of — 1 for
each of the features in which it is worse
than the ordinary city.
1.
Edward L. Thorndike, “American Cities and States,
Annals of New York Academy of Sciences, Vol.
XXXIX, Art. 4; December 22, 1939; p. 237.
301
COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER
Department
of Health
County Office Building
White Plains, N. Y.
April 16, 1941
Mr. John F. Hopf, Jr.
34 Prescott Road
White Plains, New York
My dear Mr. Hopf:
I spoke to Dr. Holla about the possibility
of figuring the per capita expenditure for health
services in the oity of White Plains and he said
that, under the present organization, no accurate
figure would be given for the oity apart from the
surrounding county. The expenditure for the county
for the year 1940 is $ .85 per capita.
The other information which you desired is
listed.
1940 Infant Mortality Rate - White
Plains (Deaths per 1000 live
births)
1940 General Death Rate - White
Plains
1940 Birth Rate - White Plains
39.3
10.0
15.7
Number of births recorded in White Plains
1936 - 571
1937 - 578
1938 - 608
1939 - 575
1940 - 636
If I oan be of further servioe to you, please
let me know.
Very truly yours,
(signed) Marion McKinney
Health Education Service
302
COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER
Department
of Health
County Offloe Building
White Plains, N. Y.
July 18, 1941
Mr. John F. Hopf, Jr.
201 Main Street
White Plains, N. Y.
My dear Mr. Hopf,
In reply to your request of July 12th, I am
sending the number of reoorded deaths in White Plains
for 1936-1940. They are as follows:
1936 - 353
1937 - 396
1938 - 406
1939 - 393
1940 - 404
I am wondering where you gained the Impression
that the infant mortality rate for 1940 of 39.3 per
1000 live birthsis very high.
This does not seem to
be thegeneralopinion.
Looking up rates ofother
counties in the state, I find they are as high as 58
in some counties and the rate for the state as a whole,
exclusive of New York City, was 39.5. In judging health
conditions from the infant mortality rate, it is wise
to consider the rates over a period of years and find
out whether the trend has been up or down as the rate
fluctuates from one year to another. The trend in the
last twenty years for White Plains has been downward
from
a rate of 70 deaths per 1000 live births in 1921.
Of course, there is a decline in the birth rate
all over the state and county also and the population
is not only becoming stationary but, in general, is
changing to one preponderantly of older age-groups.
This was discussed in one of the reports made by the
Regents Inquiry, published a few years ago, in its
relation to the decline in the number of children in
sohools. So you see this situation is general rather
than local.
to you
I am having a copy of "Forward to Health” mailed
and I hope it will be of service.
Very truly yours,
(signed)
Marion McKinney
Health Education Service
303
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Bureau of the Census
Washington
July 30; 1941
Dear Mr. Hopf:
I have your letter of July 13, addressed to the
Director of the Census.
The latest detailed population statistics thus
far available for White Plains, New York, are those for
1930 as published in the Fifteenth Census Reports on
Population, which oan he consulted in your local public
libraries. Volume III (Part 2) gives the figures on sex,
oolor, age, school attendance, country of birth, marital
condition, etc.; Volume IY presents the statistics for
workers in speoific occupations; and Volume VI gives the
family data, including tenure of homes, value or rental,
figures on radios, etc.
There is enclosed a press release, which may be
of interest, showing the total population of White Plains
for 1940 and indicating the number of occupied and vacant
dwelling units. The number of occupied dwelling units is
approximately the same as the total number of families
and may be used quite satisfactorily for the same purpose
as the 1930 figures for private families. The average
population per oocupled dwelling unit oan be ascertained
by dividing the total population figure, as shown, by
the number of occupied dwelling units. We shall perhaps
have 1940 family statistics some time next year, but they
will be available only for very large areas— states and
principal cities.
Our 1940 data on age, sex, employment status,
sohool attendance, etc., will not be available for
White Plains before February of 1942. If this is not
too late to serve your present purpose, however, upon
request your name will be kept on our mailing list to
reoeive a copy of the bulletin in which these and other
detailed statistics will be published for White Plains.
At about the same time, we shall probably have figures
on dwelling structure by number of units, value or
rental, tenure of home and the like, according to the
Census of Housing. The 1940 statistics of occupations
will doubtless be issued during the spring of next year.
NE W Y W K U N I V E R S I T Y
SCHO O t CF EDUCA TION
•
L IUM AriY
©
Very truly yours,
(signed) L. E. Truesdell,
Chief Statistician for Population.
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