Changes I Have Seen Over 85 Years
by Arthur C. Lee

  1. The Town of Yorktown has changed from a dairy farm area to a development area with one dairy and one fruit farm.
  2. The invention of the automobile and its appearance in 1910.
  3. The fashion for women to wear long skirts to slacks, pants, mini skirts and blue jeans.
  4. Our police force in the early 1900’s comprised one cop - now we have 42 men around the clock.
  5. Central School District No. 2 used to have, in the 1940’s or ‘50’s, three school busses to transport the children to school. Now we have over fifty busses.
  6. The whole Town of Yorktown in 1872 and even in 1904 had 13 one-room school houses; one teacher for each; children walked to school in their area; and took their lunch. The teacher had to cover 8 grades if needed. The exception was Shrub Oak which was a two-room school with two teachers. Some of the school houses were converted to bungalows.
  7. School District No. 2 operates a high school, a middle school, three elementary schools, cafeterias, swimming pool, baseball fields and parking areas.
  8. For about 20 years, around the turn of the century, a post office known as Yorktown, New York was located in a private house near the Presbyterian Church on Route 202. There was no rural free delivery, the mail coming from Peekskill, New York. After the Post Office was closed, this area had the address as RFD #3, Peekskill, New York.
  9. Sunday was a day of rest; family centered at home; church attendance; and only necessary farm work to care for the live stock. Now Churches are holding their own; stores are open about all day; flea markets thrive; marathons are popular; and you do your own thing; or jog if you want to.
  10. The children and young adults used to have farm chores to do and as time permitted make their own play and games, with coasting and skating in the winter. Now the town provides supervision, tennis courts, swimming pools and picnic areas.
  11. We used to have blacksmith shops for wagon repair and shoeing of horses. Now we have garages, gas stations and auto body shops.
  12. The stork used to bring the babies to the birthing room in the mother’s home. Now, for many years, the mother has hurried to the hospital to meet the stork, but the trend may be back to the home. The hospitals have raised their rates.
  13. The health of the town population was taken care of by three doctors - Drs. Rich and Schollderfer in Yorktown Heights, and Dr. John H. Jenkin in Shrub Oak. They made offices in their homes. House calls were made by horse and wagon. Now the doctors have their offices in professional buildings with large staffs. They make few or no house calls.
  14. We used to have outside toilets, stoves for cooking in the kitchens and heat in the living room with wood. Now indoor plumbing and heating with fuel oil although the latest trend is toward the use of wood and solar heat.
  15. We used to celebrate the actual birthday of our Presidents of the U.S. in their memory. Now we extend the day to several days or a week and call it a "Presidential Salebration." The birthday has lost its significance.
  16. Children used to have many childhood diseases such as whooping cough, German measles, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, typhoid fever and chicken pox. Now, due to inoculation and better medical science, such diseases are at a minimum.
  17. The population of the Town of Yorktown was around 1,900 to about 2,000 persons. Now the population is 33,000 according to the Town Clerk.
  18. Until after the Great Depression and the middle 1900’s, banks were organized as State or National Banks all independent of each other. Now, we have branch banking and mergers and also a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation so that our deposits are insured by the Government.
  19. For the year 1984, the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown has had a woman as Seminary Assistant helping the pastor and preaching on occasion. Three young women members after finishing college decided to enter the ministry, completed 3 years at a seminary and received the call to a church. Several young men members have done the same and even 2 men with families and a business or profession changed courses and pursued more education for the ministry in order to fulfill their desires for a better life. "Women’s Lib."

(Courtesy of Mary Lee Gellhaus)