Pelham is the oldest town in Westchester County. Thomas Pell signed a treaty in 1654 with the Siwanoy Indians to buy what is not only the Town of Pelham but is all of the Bronx, and the land along Long Island Sound, north to the Rye border. The State Legislature incorporated the Town of Pelham on March 7, 1788, and at that time included all of City Island and what is now Pelham Bay Park east of the Hutchinson River. In 1895, the Town of Pelham was reduced to its current area. Two Villages were incorporated within the Town, the Village of Pelham Manor in 1891, and the Village of Pelham, in 1896.
The community of the Town of Pelham is located in the south end of Westchester County, bordered by three major cities, including New York City, Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle and the Long Island Sound. The municipalities residing in the Town are the Village of Pelham, Village of Pelham Manor, and the Pelham Union Free School District #1. Each Village and School has its own governing board and controls their operations. In addition, the Villages are responsible for all of the properties within their domain.
Each Village has retail shopping areas, inclusive of Professional Services, parking areas for resident, guests and other conveniences. The Pelham Union Free School District school organization accommodates four elementary schools, a Middle & High Schools covering K-12 grades. Dating back to about 1835, a one-room building on Split Rock Road served as the first schoolhouse in Pelham. Approximately 45 pupils, four to 18 years of age, filled this 18x30 foot room with a stove in its center. The town at that time included City Island and much of what now is Pelham Bay Park. Pelham’s public school district was organized about 1857, and free public schools began about ten years later. Compulsory attendance for children ages 8 to 14 began in 1874.
The Pelham School District sets high expectations and supports students, faculty and parents to reach their full potential in a learning environment that fosters mutual and self respect. The District has recently added a Bio Tech Lab, the first of its kind in Westchester. The High School facility was updated as part of a 2008 bond construction project, including the library, classrooms, teacher resource centers, the auditorium, and other facilities. Special facilities include a bio tech lab, fitness center and World Language learning multi media centers. Students participate in more than 20 clubs and 40 athletic teams and a variety of fine arts performance groups. In addition, a second Foreign Language Learning Center in the middle school and high school, and new Information Centers in each of the elementary school libraries, gifts from The Pelham Education Foundation. Community approval in 2002 and 2008 for facility improvements, including construction of a new middle school addition, modernization of high school classrooms, library, science labs, music rooms and other centers; an addition for Colonial School and improvements in each of the elementary schools.