by Kevin Walsh

THERE is a very short street in Pelham Bay, a few blocks west of Pelham Bay Park, called Libby Place. It still retains touches from a previous era, such as no sidewalks in spots, bluestone sidewalks in others, and salt box houses that look old even though they’re covered in siding these days. The name could refer to a 19th Century landowner, Elizabeth Cornell, whose friends might have called her Libby. I think Elizabeth and Margaret are tied for having the most pet names.

I have circled in red on this 1900 map the section of Libby Place that is still there. As early as that time, though, you can see that the “colonial” names Mayflower and Pilgrim Avenues were already in place. The old Pelham Road exists today in curving sections of Buhre Avenue and Willow Lane. Pelham Bay Park had already been mapped and would gain territory in the coming decades. Today’s Bruckner Expressway was then a country road called Eastern Boulevard; it would not be named for the former Bronx borough president until the 1940s. The complete map can be seen here.

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