100 Fascinating Facts About Westchester County

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61. In 1912, Edwin Armstrong, an inquisitive college student from Yonkers, invented FM radio. His close friend C. R. Runyon later logged the first FM broadcast from his home at 544 North Broadway in Yonkers.

62. Almost 45 percent of Westchester residents older than 25 hold at least a bachelor’s degree, while 22 percent have a graduate or professional degree. All New York City counties outside of Manhattan fall below 30 percent of the population having a bachelor’s. Manhattan, though, beats us, with almost 58 percent of the 25-and-older population holding one.

63. A Dominican nun named Mother Mary Alphonsa founded the first Rosary Hill Home for patients with terminal cancer in 1901. Mother Mary, who was born Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, was the daughter of American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. When she opened a second home in a town called Unionville in 1903, the town was renamed Hawthorne in her honor.

64. New Rochelle, not surprisingly, has a French connection. La Rochelle, a port city in eastern France, is the “sister” to our own Sound-side jewel. French Huguenots fleeing La Rochelle in 1688 came to New York and founded the new Rochelle, and the two cities have had an official relationship of good will—including business and tourist exchange—since 1910.

65. Beatle wives Linda McCartney and Yoko Ono (who emigrated from Japan) lived in Scarsdale; McCartney attended Scarsdale High and  both women attended Sarah Lawrence College.

66. Believe it or not, Robert Ripley, creator of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, lived in Mamaroneck. He owned a 28-room house on an island just off Taylor’s Lane in Rye Neck, and the house was the location of extravagant parties, attracting many stars of the era, including Babe Ruth.

67. Nelson Rockefeller lived at Kykuit, the family’s ancestral home in Pocantico Hills, for 16 years and brought works by Giacometti, Calder, Picasso, Noguchi, and Nadelman, among others, to its now-legendary sculpture garden. The former New York governor and eponym of the Rockefeller Republicans served as Gerald Ford’s vice president.

68. According to Eastchester’s website, when a yellow fever epidemic forced President John Adams to leave the then-capital of Philadelphia in 1797, “His Rotundity” (and you thought the press was less cruel and partisan in the past!) took up residence in the home of his daughter, who lived a short distance from St. Paul’s Church, today on Route 22 in Mount Vernon.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

69. The first president to spend time in Westchester was…the first president. Before his rout at the Battle of White Plains in 1776, Washington stayed at the Elijah Miller House, which still stands on Virginia Road in North White Plains.

70. Meanwhile, toward the end of the Revolutionary War, with the British still controlling Tory Manhattan, Washington’s troops were stationed in Dobbs Ferry (which is named for the 18th-century Hudson River ferry service that ran there). The Continental Army set out from there to the Battle of Yorktown in Virginia and victory in the War.

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