One hundred and nine years ago this month lots in Harmon were “selling . . . like hot cakes,” according to an article in the May 24, 1907 issue of the Katonah Times.1
“One mile north of Ossining on the Hudson River there has sprung up a new town. Its name is Harmon. It was laid out a short time ago into village lots and they are selling to day like hot cakes. Although the first public announcement of the new property at Harmon was made only two weeks [ago], large crowds have been visiting the property every day.
A special excursion train, leaving the Grand Central Station . . . on Sunday, May 5, carried over five hundred people, of whom almost one fourth purchased property. The total sales for that day were 140 lots. If you desire to get any of this property you should visit it some week day and avoid the rush from New York. On Sunday, May 12, many more came up and lots were sold like hot cakes.
Clifford B. Harmon, of Wood, Harmon & Co., who is planning this new city, did not expect to put it on the market until June 1st as the extensive improvements are only under way. But the public seems determined not to wait for improvements or a formal opening of the property. Since its opening sales have been made to people from New Jersey, Brooklyn and all the river towns as far north as Albany.
A noteworthy feature of the advance sale of lots at Harmon is the popularity of the section reserved for bungalows. This is located around a small lake on the property, which is fed by springs . . . This idea is a decided novelty in suburban development and it is proving very popular. A large number if these sites have already been sold, which indicates that there will be a large and substantial bungalow colony at Harmon this summer.
So much interest has been taken in this new Hudson River property, which is the first to be put on the market at moderate prices and the easy payment plan, that Wood, Harmon &. Company expect to have it entirely disposed of within a very short space of time.”
We suspect everything in this article was fed to a credulous reporter by the master salesman himself, but that only adds to its charm. As we’ve recounted in previous posts Clifford Harmon was a master of real estate marketing, who ran newspaper ads telling everyone that “All New York is Amazed!” at the “Quickest and Most Successful Real Estate Development in the History of New York.” He urged New Yorkers to “Think of Your Children,” growing up in “the Highest, Healthiest, Most Beautiful, Most Accessible, and Most Aristocratic Part of Westchester County.”
Although we can’t really appreciate what visitors to the undeveloped land at Harmon thought in 1907, the promotional post card shown above is a revelation to Crotonites today. If you stand in the parking area of the Dairy Mart, looking down Benedict Boulevard at Vogue Spa & Nails (the original Harmon sales office), you can approximate the view shown in the post card.
Can you believe there was once a huge, flat, treeless field in front of you, going straight down Benedict Boulevard to the hilly area of Lexington, Sunset and Observatory Drives?
- “A New Village in Westchester County—Harmon,” The Katonah Times, May 24, 1907, page 2. ↩︎