History of 159 Corlies Avenue

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Built in 1902, the home had several owners before being acquired by the nationally-known architect, James Riely Gordon (1863-1937) in the early 1930s.  Gordon was a prominent architect in San Antonio, Texas where he designed 18 major court houses throughout the state in the period 1885-1901.  His wife, Mary Gordon, was the aunt of the American writer, John Dos Passos.  The couple moved to New York in 1904, where he designed such landmarks as the extant neo-Gothic apartment house at 36 Grammercy Park East, and served for 13 years as the president of the NY Society of Architects. The house was inherited by Gordon’s daughter and husband, Mr. & Mrs. Byron Brown Ralston who lived at the house into the 1960s.   Ralston (1890-1971) was a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy, serving during WWI aboard the USS New York and later as engineer officer for the US Presidential Yacht, The Mayflower.  He retired in 1928, graduated from law school and became head of the legal department at Chemical Bank & Trust Co.  He was recalled back into active service in the navy in 1940.  As a resident of Pelham, Ralston also served as Town Justice.

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