Audubon Park Historic District
the neighborhood Manhattan forgot...
Green-Wood Cemetery: Chapel and one of many stained glass windows within
Cemetery Maps leading to the Hall and Pelham Plots:
Green-Wood Cemetery has an excellent, computerized system for finding permanent residents. Put in the name and up come possibilities, then select the most likely possibility by date and click print. Out come two maps, one locating the plot in the cemetery (left above) and the other locating graves within the plot (right above).
Birds' Nests at the top of the gates.
Scott T. Robinson
The James Hall and Jabez C. Pelham Plots in
Greenwood Cemetery (Brooklyn, NY)
The name "Audubon Park" first appeared May 1854, in the New York Times obituary of Englishman James Hall, John W. Audubon's brother-in-law, who lived in a house the Audubon's built just north of their own houses on the Hudson River. Hall's death was a blow to the Audubon brothers and had a profound effect on the his fellow vestrymen at the Church of the Intercession, which clearly valued his business sense as much as John and Victor did, despite his being a relatively young man – he was only forty-four when he died.
Though James was serving on the vestry at Intercession and apparently a member there, his ties with Brooklyn were strong. After a Sunday afternoon funeral at Brooklyn’s Christ Church (attended by “friends of the family, and member of Excelsior Lodge, I.O. of O.F." ), he was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery. The inscription on his grave marker is now worn, but the place of death is still clearly visible: Audubon Park on the Hudson, a phrase that recalls British usage such as Stratford upon Avon. No doubt, Hall was one of the gentlemen who "honored Audubon" by naming his home "Audubon Park" and was most likely the inventor of the euphonious name that area bore for the next six decades.
A few weeks after Hall’s death, the vestry recorded a resolution in the minutes mourning the loss “of a devoted friend & liberal patron” and offering sympathy to “the afflicted family of our deceased friend in this last and heaviest of a succession of mournful bereavements, which have weighed them down with sorrow.” The nature of the “succession of mournful bereavements” is not clear, but the sentiment was undeniably sincere and the resolution unlike any that had appeared in the vestry minutes until that date. Hall’s widow Mariah soon returned to Brooklyn to live with her father, Jabez C. Pelham, but caused Lucy Audubon no small amount of consternation because, “owing to carelessness” she retained possession of the lease on the house in Audubon Park for “nearly two years paying the interest only 560 per annum and letting it for 1200 per annum.” an arrangement that deprived Lucy “of any benefit from the house” while at the same time, obliged her to “pay all repairs,” which Hall had agreed to pay (at least that was Lucy's version of events).
(Click here to visit the Hall and Pelham grave sites.)