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New York Airways helicopter at Westchester County Airport, June 1955.  Click image for enlarged view.  Source: Series 248, Airport Scrapbook, 1944-1984 (bulk 1950-1966), A-0313 (2), page 104The Westchester County Department of Public Works was created in 1937, and bears responsibility for designing and constructing an extensive infrastructure system for Westchester County, as well as maintaining highways under county jurisdiction and the county airport.

 

Airport Scrapbooks, 1944-1984 (bulk 1950-1966)
Series 248
3 v. Arranged chronologically.

Newspaper clippings, photographs, personal correspondence, business correspondence, advertisements, event programs and menus, award ribbons and organization and membership cards that relating to the Westchester County Airport. The scrapbooks document press coverage of the airport, which was owned by Gulf Oil Corporation and operated by its subsidiary, County Airport Corporation for Westchester County. The airport supported personal, corporate, commercial and military air traffic. Clippings cover the airports relationship with the Westchester County government, various public events held at the facility, news about local persons, the airport’s importance to the New York area, and significant events including airplane accidents and crashes. Many clippings and other items concern Robert W. Gallaway, airport general Manager.  These include correspondence and photographs. Some material are included about his personal life, primarily clippings about his son, Robert Draper Gallaway.

Airport Subject Files - Commissioner of Public Works, 1944-1977
Series 270
4.5 cubic ft. Unarranged. View box and folder list.

Files maintained by the office of the Commissioner of Public Works relating to the Westchester County Airport. Initially built with the Federal Government as a fighter plane base during World War II, the airport was turned over to Westchester County in 1944, along with the obligation to maintain it as a public airport. The County’s Department of Public Works oversaw the operation of the airport by the concessionaires contracted to handle day-to-day airport functions, including the County Airport Corporation. 

Records in this collection include correspondence, newspaper articles, analyst reports, plans of airport runways and buildings, financial reports, and contracts with concessionaries operating at the airport. Correspondents include the airport’s general manager; Commissioner of Public Works, County Attorney’s office; Board of Supervisors; town representatives from Rye, Bedford Hills and Harrison; individual citizens; representatives of the Civil Aviation Administration and, later, Federal Aviation Administration; consultants; and airline representatives. 

Topics covered include use of the airport by the federal government as a air base; maintenance and repairs of the airports facilities; special activities held at the airport; construction of hangar and runway facilities; concerns of local residents and communities regarding the airport and its operations; financial operations of the airport, including federal aid received and expended; and agreements between the county government and concessionaires contracted to provide services at the airport.

Commissioner of Public Works Files, 1926-1982 (bulk early 1950s – early 1970s)
Series 352
15.5 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically or chronologically into 8 series. View box and folder list.

The Commissioner of Public Works collection contains materials from the office of the Commissioner from the late 1920s to the early 1980s. Most of the collection maintains the order it was received in, but has been slightly reorganized according to the eight major series and underlying subseries that were determined during processing. These series are: Traffic, Major Roads, Traffic Safety Board, Traffic Safety, Bridges, Waste Disposal, Airport, and a Miscellaneous series including papers on statewide issues, IBM, Con Edison, and other county related issues. Subseries in the collection cover interactions between the county and cities, towns and villages regarding traffic concerns; specific roads including numbered routes, state highways, and the major interstates that go through Westchester County; the proposed Long Island Sound crossing; two studies on the Croton Point dump in the 1950s and 1960s; materials from the Pure Waters Authorities; general administration of the Westchester County Airport; and materials regarding the Rye Lake Airport. The primary types of records that make up this collection are correspondence, surveys, permits, meeting minutes, traffic reports, annual reports, published reports, some blueprints and maps, and few photos.

County Office Building Plans, 1968-1974
Series 256
132 items. Arranged by parcel number. Access Restricted.

Architectural, electrical, heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC), elevation, and other construction plans for the Grasslands Complex (1974-1975) and the County Courthouse Complex (1968-1972).

Public Works Engineering Office Correspondence Files, 1966-1975 (bulk 1968-1974)
Series 362
1.5 cu. ft. Arranged by subject. View box and folder list.

This collection consists of the correspondence files kept and organized by DPW’s Chief Engineer Frank E. Bohlander, during the years 1966-1975 (bulk 1968-1974). The correspondence, between various county departments, contractors and vendors, focuses on three main subjects: Grasslands, government buildings, and county parks and roads. In addition to letters and memoranda, the collection includes maps, drawings, sketches, legal cases, budgets, punch lists, newspaper clippings and minutes of meetings. Bohlander went on to serve as Commissioner of Public Works from 1974-1986, so these files overlap with those responsibilities for a short period of time.

Public Works Parks and Parkways Acquisition Maps, c.1920s-1970s (bulk 1920s-1930s)
Series 313
7 packets of maps. Unarranged or arranged by park or parkway.

Maps maintained by the Westchester County Department of Public Works that document the acquisition of land for county parks and parkways, much of which was completed before the 1940s. There are some recent additions for the Westchester Community College, the Westchester County Airport, and the Grasslands Reservation in Valhalla. Land acquisition maps are supposed to be filed with the office of the Westchester County Clerk, so many maps in this collection may duplicate those on file with that office. In addition, however, many of these acquisition maps have been marked up to indicate portions of parkways and other formerly owned County properties that were taken over by New York State, and to identify residual parcels that are owned by Westchester County. Such marked information is unique to the maps in this collection. The Archives’ in-house Maps Database individually indexes these maps.

 

Public Works Subject Files, Drainage and Flood Control, 1941-1980
Series 357
2 cu. ft. Arranged by subject. View box and folder list.

This collection details forty years of attempts in Westchester County to deal with drainage and flood control over six rivers: the Blind Brook, Bronx River, Hutchinson River, Mamaroneck River, Saw Mill River, and Sprain Brook River. These rivers historically overflow during various storms and hurricanes, and cause damage to property and people. The collection consists of official memos, letters, reports, and maps. In addition, these records detail the actions of various city, town, village, state, and federal government. Also included are newspaper articles, drawings, and billing statements.

Public Works Vehicle Safety Program Slide Collection, c.1978-1990
Series 283
Over 21,600 slides / 46 cassette tapes. Unarranged. See subject index.

Slides maintained by the Department of Public Works along with some cassettes and paper documents that accompanied those slides. There is a wide range of topics covered including: traffic safety such as the promotion of the use of seat belts and child safe car seats; DWI; traffic safety educational programs; traffic safety events at Playland; the federal Traffic Safety Board; highway safety and its improvement; bicycle safety; accidents, pictures of traffic accidents and accident data and analysis; traffic technician training programs on a variety of subjects ranging from computers to roadway construction; general construction including maintenance, barriers, barricades, delineations, general safety, and pavement markings; roadways/ highways and their components such as impact attenuators, ramps, and guiderails; and examples of signs, their placements, traffic signals, and all other forms of traffic control.

Westchester County Control Survey Reports, 1939, 1941, 1944 
Series 170
Less than 1 cubic foot. Arranged chronologically.

The Westchester County Control Survey conducted ca. 1934-1941 mapped boundary lines throughout the county through use of a triangulation survey. A 1939 report provides a short history of the project; details with words and photographs the work of the field and office crews involved in the project; and explains the triangulation process used to establish the horizontal grid of elevations throughout the county resulting from the survey, which continue today to serve as “known points” to surveyors mapping property. The report also lists every individual from the county involved in the Control Survey project.  This series also includes a 1941 “Final” report, and another report dated 1944, providing conclusions on the achievements of the project, uses that have been made from it, costs involved, etc.

Related records: Series 268, Westchester County Control Survey - Department of Public Works Files, ca. 1930s-ca. early 1950s.

Westchester County Control Survey -- Department of Public Works Files, c.1930s-early 1950s
Series 268
Approximately 4 cubic ft. Arranged by subject. View box and folder list.

Computational records, correspondence, maps, and other materials relating to the Westchester County Control Survey, which, ca. 1934-1941, mapped boundary lines throughout the county through use of a triangulation survey.

Related records: Series 170, Westchester County Control Survey Reports, 1939, 1941, 1944.