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Scarsdale Begins With Royal Heartbreak

A broken heart led to the creation of Scarsdale, a community with a romanticized image around the country and the world.

Caleb Heathcote, the sixth son born into the family of Mayor Heathcote of Chesterfield in the Hundred of Scarsdale, Derbyshire, England, needed a change of scenery after his intended bride fell in love with one of his older brothers. He boarded a sail boat unmarried and headed for New York in 1692.

An American success story, Heathcote began buying land in Westchester. In 1698, Heathcote purchased land from Englishman John Richbell's estate. Richbell had bought this land in 1660 from the Siwanoy tribe of the Algonquians. Heathcote also purchased the Fox Meadow from Native American chiefs and acquired additional land to the south along the Bronx River. In 1701, Heathcote's acquisitions became one of nine royal manors in New York and the last ever granted by the crown. This manor was named Scarsdale Manor, after Heathcote's far away homeland. Heathcote's two daughters inherited Scarsdale Manor after their father's death in 1721. Fifty-three years later the manor was broken up. Scarsdale officially became a town on March 7, 1788.

Historical events and prominent people have taken place and residence in Scarsdale over the centuries.

A Revolutionary War battle between George Washington's troops and British General William Howe's troops took place on modern day Mamaroneck and Garden roads.

James Fenimore Cooper, author of the first American novel. "The Spy," lived and wrote on his Scarsdale farm. David Dean Rusk, the United States Secretary of State under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and a recipient of the Cecil Peace Prize, was a longtime Scarsdale resident. Jeffrey Hoffman, a former NASA astronaut, graduated from Scarsdale High School, as did many other people of excellence.

Scarsdale's prominent history, people and wealth lends itself to pop-culture references of Scarsdale as a suburban symbol of American prestige and wholesomeness.

In Broadway's Guys and Dolls a man criticizes a woman's marital aspirations by saying "You have wished yourself a Scarsdale Galahad, a breakfast-eating, Brooks Brothers type." The character Ross Geller from the famed sitcom Friends, tells character Rachel Green they will be moving to Scarsdale to raise their children. Steely Dan's song "Hey Nineteen," mentions Scarsdale when talking about having nothing in common with a girl. Two lines of the song read, "Moved down to Scarsdale. And where the hell am I."

What else do you know about Scarsdale's history? Please share below.

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