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New Rochelle is a city in Westchester Countymarker, New Yorkmarker, United Statesmarker, in the southeastern portion of the state.

The town was settled by refugee Huguenots (French Protestants) in 1688 who were fleeing Catholic pogroms in France. Many of the settlers were artisans and craftsmen from the city of La Rochellemarker, Francemarker, thus influencing the choice of the name of "New Rochelle."

In 2007, the city had a population of 73,260, making it the seventh largest in the state of New Yorkmarker. In 2008, New Rochelle was recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) as one of the 100 Best Walking Cities in America, and the second best in New York State next only to nearby New York City. In November 2008 Business Week magazine listed New Rochelle as the best city in New York State and one of the best places nationally to raise children.

History

17th century

Some 33 families established the community of la Nouvelle-Rochelle in 1688. A monument containing the names of these settlers stands in Hudson Park, the original landing point of the Huguenots. Thirty-one years earlier, the Siwanoy Indians sold their land to Thomas Pell. In 1689 Pell officially deeded 6,100 acres (25 km2) for the establishment of a Huguenot community. Jacob Leisler is an important figure in the early histories of both New Rochelle and the nation. He arrived in America as a mercenary in the British army and later became one of the most prominent merchants in New York. He was subsequently appointed acting-governor of the province, and it was during this time that he acted on behalf of the Huguenots.

Of all the Huguenot settlements in American founded with the view of being distinct French colonies, New Rochelle most clearly conformed to the plans of its founders. The colony continued to attract French refugees until as late as 1760. The choice of name for the city reflected the importance of the city of La Rochelle and of the new settlement in Huguenot history and distinctly French character of the community. French was spoken, and it was common practice for people in neighboring areas to send their children to New Rochelle to learn the language.

18th century

Thomas Paine Memorial
In 1775 General George Washington stopped in New Rochelle on his way to assume command of the Army of the United Colonies in Massachusetts. The British Army briefly occupied sections of New Rochelle and Larchmont in 1776. Following British victory in the Battle of White Plains, New Rochelle became part of a "Neutral Ground" for General Washington to regroup his troops. After the Revolutionary War ended in 1784, patriot Thomas Paine was given a farm in New Rochelle for his service to the cause of independence. The farm, totaling about 300 acres (1.2 km2), had been confiscated from its owners by state of New York due to their Tory activities.

The first national census of 1790 shows New Rochelle with 692 residents, 136 of whom were African American.

19th century

Through the 18th century, New Rochelle had remained a modest village that retained an abundance of agricultural land. During the 19th century, however, with the rapid growth of New York City by immigration principally from Ireland and Germany, more American families left New York City and moved into the area. Although the original Huguenot population was rapidly shrinking in relative size, through ownership of land, businesses, banks, and small manufactures, they retained a predominant hold on the political and social life of the town.

The 1820 Census showed 150 African-Americans residing in New Rochelle, six of whom were slaves. In 1857 the Village of New Rochelle was established within the borders of the Town of New Rochelle. A group of volunteers created the first fire service in 1861. In 1889 a bill creating the New Rochelle City Charter was signed by Governor Theodore Roosevelt. It was through this bill that the Village and Town of New Rochelle were joined into one municipality. In 1899 Michael J. Dillon narrowly defeated Hugh A. Harmer to become New Rochelle's first mayor. The recently established city charter designated four wards, a board of alderman (two from each ward), and 10 elected from the city at large.

20th and 21st centuries

Map of New Rochelle in 1918
By 1900 New Rochelle had a population of 14,720. In 1904plans were completed for Rochelle Park, one of the first planned communities in the country. In 1909, Edwin Thanhouser established Thanhouser Film Corporation. Thanhouser's Million Dollar Mystery was one of the first serial motion pictures. In 1923, New Rochelle resident Anna Jones became the first African American woman to be admitted to the New York State Bar.

Poet and resident James J. Montague captured the image of New Rochelle in his 1926 poem "Queen City of the Sound". The last four lines of the poem are:

In 1930 New Rochelle recorded a population of 54,000, up from 36,213 only ten years earlier. During the 1930’s New Rochelle was the wealthiest city per capita in New York state and the third wealthiest in the country.

By the end of the century, the City had begun a massive revitalization of its 'downtown'. In 1999, part of downtown New Rochelle near the Metro North train station was rebuilt with a $190 million entertainment complex, nicknamed New Roc City, which features a 19-screen movie theater, an IMAX theater, an indoor ice-hockey arena, mini-golf, go karts, an arcade, restaurants, a hotel, loft-apartments and a mega supermarket. The complex was built on the former Macy'smarker and Mall which had opened in 1968.

Geography

New Rochelle is located at , at the southeastern point of continental New York State. It lies on the Long Island Soundmarker, bordered on the west by Pelham, Pelham Manormarker and Eastchestermarker, by Scarsdalemarker to the north and east, Mamaroneckmarker and Larchmontmarker to the east. The city lies north of the New York Citymarker border (Pelham Bay Parkmarker in The Bronxmarker).According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.2 square miles (34.3 km2). The city has a rough triangle shape, approximately 10 miles (16 km) from north to south and 1.5 miles (2 km) from east to west at its widest point.

Demographics

As measured by the census of 2000, New Rochelle had a population of 72,182 people, 24,275 occupied households, and 17,546 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,973.5 people per square mile (2,692.7/km²). There were 26,995 housing units at an average density of 2,608.0/sq mi (1,007.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68% White, 19% African American, 0.20% Native American, 4% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6% from other races, and 3% from two or more races. 20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males. There were 26,189 households out of which 32.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.29.

19,312 residents of New Rochelle were enrolled in school, with 2,743 in pre-school or kindergarten, 8,105 in elementary school, 3,704 in high school and 5,030 in college or graduate school. Out of 42,872 individuals over the age of 25, 20% (9,766) had no high school diploma, 23% (11,325) were high school graduates, 14% (6,710) achieved some level of college education, 5% (2,347) held an associate's degree, 19% (9,120) held a bachelor's degree and 20% (9,604) possessed a graduate or other advanced degree.

The working population was 35,262, 95.7% of whom were employed. The occupational breakdown had 42% working in 'management', 25% working in 'sales', 17% in 'services', 8% in 'construction', and 7% in 'production and transport'. The average daily commute was 30 minutes, with 60% driving to work, 12% carpooling, 18% traveling via public-transportation and 7% using other means.

According to the 2007 Census Bureau estimates, the median income for a household in the city was $64,756 and the median income for a family was $88,004. About 9.8% of the population lived below the poverty line.

Residential profile

New Rochelle is commonly referred to as 'The Home Town' because of the significant amount of single-family, residential development that exists throughout most of the city. While the formerly industrial downtown section is more densely developed, with condominiums, high rises, offices, shopping centers, affordable housing complexes, a medical center, nursing homes, two college campuses and an inter modal transportation hub, the rest of the city consists of sprawling, residential neighborhoods. There are more than 11,500 single family units within the city, more than that of neighboring Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Scarsdale combined. The total number of separate households surpasses 26,000, more than that of neighboring Pelham, Pelham Manormarker, Eastchestermarker, Scarsdalemarker, Mamaroneckmarker and Larchmontmarker combined.

Housing variety

Some of the country's most expensive real estate can be found in New Rochellemarker. The north end of the city (10804) is ranked in Forbes Magazines list of the '500 most expensive zip-codes' in the country . According to the list, the average household income was $199,061 and the average home price was over $752,000. Homes in Premium Point, a gated section of the city on Long Island Soundmarker, are priced anywhere from $2 to $20 million. The three newest residential developments, 'Kensington Woods', 'The Greens at Cherry Lawn' and 'Riviera Shores', are all gated communities with single family homes priced from $2 million. With a population approaching 80,000 residents, New Yorkmarker State law dictates that the city provide an adequate amount of affordable housing units for the less fortunate. New Rochelle has historically met and surpassed state requirements, currently working to replace the existing Weyman Avenue Projects with more forward thinking, community centered townhouse-style housing units. By embracing the needs of the poor, New Rochelle sets a precedent for other suburban communities to follow. Neighboring towns including Mamaroneck, Larchmont and Scarsdale neglect to address such concerns, failing to meet the minimal affordable housing requirements set by the state. Popular consenus is that the presence of the poor precludes that of the middle-class and the wealthy. Considering the large number of working-class and affordable housing units found 'Downtown', the high property values prevalent throughout most of the city reflects the true economic diversity of New Rochelle. It is home to the financially disadvantaged and the very wealthy. One of 'the wealthiest people in the United States' according to Forbes Magazine was longtime New Rochelle resident and multi-billionaire Sidney Frank.

Communities

Within the greater city borders are many established neighborhoods and subsections, several of which are larger in both size and population than neighboring towns of Larchmont, Bronxville and Pelham Manor. The public community areas most noted include: Bayberry, Beechmont, Bloomingdale Estates, Bonniecrest, Daisy Farms, Davenport Neck, Echo Manor, Forest Heights, Forest Knolls, French Ridge, Glen Island, Glenwood Lake, Heathcote, Lake Isle, Larchmont Woods, Lyncroft, Northfield, North Ridge, Paine Heights, Pinebrook, Premium Manor, Quaker Ridge, Residence Park, Rochelle Heights, Sans Souci, Scarsdale Downs, Shore Road, Sutton Manor, Vaneck Estates, Ward Acres, Wilmot Woods and Wykagylmarker. Premium Point, Kensington Woods and Cherry Lawn are gated neighborhoods accessible only by those immediate residents.

Government

New Rochelle City Hall
Since 1932 New Rochelle has operated under a Council-Manager form of government. The City Manager is the chief administrative officer of the city selected to carry out the directives of the Council. The Manager monitors the city's fiscal condition and enforces its ordinances and laws. The City Manager is involved in the discussion of all matters coming before Council yet has no final vote. The City Council is the legislative body consisting of the Mayor and six council members. The Mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Council. Since 1993 the City has had six council districts, with one council member elected from and by each district. The Council functions to set policy, approve the annual budget, appoint the City Manager and City Clerk, and enact local laws, resolutions & ordinances .

Crime statistics

According to the New Rochelle Police Department, New Rochelle is the safest city of its size in New Yorkmarker State and the fifth safest city of its size in the United Statesmarker. The majority of crimes committed within New Rochelle are non-violent property crimes, including burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Property crime, on a scale of 1 (low crime) to 10, is 4 compared to the US average of 3. Violent crime (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) is 3, equal to the US average.

Emergency services

Police

The Town of New Rochelle formed its first professional police department in 1885, 14 years before the city incorporated in 1899. The Department currently has 186 sworn officers and a total staff of more than 250. In 1993 the Department was certified as an accredited agency by the New Yorkmarker State Law Enforcement Accreditation Council. Special programs include community oriented policing through the 'Police and Community Together' (PACT) program, harbor patrol, and a bicycle patrol.

Fire Department

New Rochelle's Fire Department actively pursues code enforcement and fire prevention. By keeping buildings up to code, controlling illegal occupancies, monitoring the safety of living-areas and issuing licenses and permits, the department works to control the potential for dangerous situations. With five state-of-the-art facilities stationed throughout the city, the department is capable of handling fires, rescues, extrications, medical emergencies, hazardous material incidents and natural disasters. The NRFD operates a frontline fire apparatus fleet of five engines companies and two reserve engines, three truck companies and one reserve truck, one rescue company, two ambulances from Transcare New Rochelle EMS, and many other support units. The NRFD is known as the premiere fire department in the area because of its wide range of services and is frequently called on by nearby communities to assist in handling emergency situations. Unlike nearby communities that depend on volunteer fire and emergency medical resources, the city's emergency services are municipally funded.

Medical

Sound Shore Medical Center is a not-for-profit health care organization located in New Rochelle that treats over 85,000 patients annually and operates the only New Yorkmarker State Area Trauma Center in southern Westchester Countymarker.

Landmarks and attractions

Overlooking Davids' Island
  • Columbia Islandmarker - a small island (appx. square) situated between Davids' Islandmarker and Pea Island. Up until 1940 it was known as Little Pea Island. CBS purchased it and built a concrete foundation to support a transmitter building topped by a tall antenna tower for WCBS-AMmarker. The transmitter remained in operation until the 1960s, when the station was moved to nearby High Islandmarker.
  • Execution Rocks Lighthousemarker - centered in the middle of Long Island Sound, just south of Davids' Islandmarker.The structure was built in 1849 and includes a tall tower and the ‘keeper's house’. It is rumored that the lighthouse's site got its name before the American Revolutionary War when British colonial authorities executed people by chaining them to the rocks at low tide and allowing the rising water to drown them. In reality, the name was chosen to reflect the historically dangerous shipping area created by the rocks exposure during low tides.
  • Huckleberry Islandmarker - a island owned by the Huckleberry Indians, Inc., a club within the New York Athletic Club. The island is an important nesting site for waterbirds such as egrets and night herons.
  • Leland Castlemarker - a 19th century Gothic Revival castle built as the summer residence of Simeon Leland, a wealthy New York City hotel entrepreneur. It has since been acquired by the College of New Rochelle and is used as an art gallery available to the public.
  • St. John's Wilmot Church - a historic Episcopal parish located in the northern end of the City at the intersection of North Avenue and Wilmot Road, formerly referred to as “Cooper's Corner”.
  • Thomas Paine Historical Sitemarker - a historical nexus within the city, the site comprises: the country home of the American pamphleteer and Revolutionary War hero Thomas Paine, his burial site, monument, and a museum. Paine's Cottage was built in 1793 and is a National Historic Landmark. The Thomas Paine Memorial Building, built in 1925, houses the library and museum collection of the Thomas Paine National Historical Association. Also on the site is the Brewster Schoolhouse, one of the oldest structural relics in Westchester County.
  • Trinity-St. Paul's Episcopal Churchmarker - added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. It is located at the northwest corner of Huguenot Street (also known as the Boston Post Road) and Division Street. This church represents the body of the majority group of New Rochelle's founding Huguenot French Calvanistic congregation that conformed to the liturgy of the established Church of England in June of 1709. King George III gave Trinity its first charter in 1762. After the Revolutionary War, Trinity became a parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America.


Parks and recreation



Waterfront

The shoreline within the City of New Rochelle measures , but due to many irregularities and off-shore islands, the actual length of the waterfront is . The unusual coastal features have over the years earned it the nickname, "the Queen City of the Sound."

  • Yacht, sailing and rowing clubs dot the coast on Long Island Sound and beach clubs line the shores of Davenport Neck. Beckwithe Point, The Greentree Country Club and The Surf Club are the largest of the private shore clubs, providing waterfront recreation to members during the summer season. The New York Athletic Clubmarker sits on Travers Island, located on the border of New Rochelle and Pelham Manor.
  • Echo Bay Yacht Club and Huguenot Yacht Club are several well known, private yacht clubs in the city.
  • New York Sailing School and New Rochelle Rowing Club each have histories dating back over 100 years.
  • The City operates a large marina with 300 slips and 150 mooring spaces.


Parks

Echo Bay
New Rochelle's 'Lower Harbor'
Five Islands park
The City has an impressive collection of parklands and nature preserves, with of inland waters, of public park lands and of park lets.

  • Glen Islandmarker — In 1879 John H. Starin, a former U.S. Congressman and New York transportation king, bought five islands which he named 'Glen Island ' and created perhaps the first theme park open to the public. His 12 steamboats transported millions of New Yorkmarker residents and others to the attractions which included a zoo, a natural history museum, a railway, a German beer garden (around the castle-like structure which still stands today), a bathing beach, and a Chinese pagoda. Today the park is a island property connected to the mainland by a drawbridge built in the 1920s. One of the main features of the park is its pristine, crescent shaped beach offering access to Long Island Soundmarker.
  • Five Islands Park is a series of islands connected by small footbridges and pathways, offers playground, sports, hiking and camping facilities for all residents to enjoy.
  • Hudson Park encompasses along the city's harbor front and includes a beach for residents, the city boathouse, greenhouses, the shore station of the United States Coast Guard and several yacht and rowing clubs. The park is traditionally accepted as the original landing place of the Huguenot settlers. A granite boulder with bronze tablets commemorates the event.
  • Davids' Islandmarker, a island of the coast of the city, is being transformed from a former American military base (Fort Slocum) into a park and environmental preserve. Beginning just after the Civil War, the island was a military base used to protect New York Harbors, during World War I it served as an army recruitment station and up until 1967, it maintained various ‘Cold War’ facilities. Today it is home to a variety of plants, birds, and animals. These include the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, and rare birds such as osprey and least terns. Davids Island also supports valuable wetlands, rare rocky intertidal areas, and sandy beaches. The waters surrounding the Island are home to Winter Flounder, Atlantic Herring, and Atlantic Silversides.
  • Ward Acres, located in the North End, is a combination of untouched forest, wild lawns and meadows, acres of hiking, exercise trails and historic horse stables/cemeteries. In 2007, The Westchester County Department of Conservation produced a Natural Resource Management Plan in order to identify and protect the natural resource needs of the park. It encompasses , with the forests divided into four main sections, each distinct in both general characteristics and species presence. It's formed by a portion of a former private state that contained a horse farm, and by an old railroad right of way. It includes a fenced-in dog run, and it is the only park in the City in which residents can walk a dog without a leash.
  • The Leatherstocking Trail is a long, inter-municipal hiking trail situated between New Rochelle and Mamaroneck, eventually linking into Saxon Woods County Park. It is part of a larger "Colonial Greenway Trail" in which it connects to Twin Lakes/Nature Study and Saxon Woods parks.
  • Sheldrake Lake which formerly served as a reservoir supplying the areas drinking water, is now a park and nature conservancy promoting an increased understanding of the local ecology.
  • Twin Lakes Park, combined with the adjacent Nature Study Woods comprise of woods, marsh, lakes, ponds and some fields along the Hutchinson River in New Rochelle’s Northend. There are many foot trails weaving through woods, marshlands, fields and around two large lakes (formerly reservoirs).


Golf

  • Wykagyl Country Clubmarker is located in the Wykagylmarker section of New Rochelle on North Avenue just south of Quaker Ridge Road. Golfweek magazine ranks Wykagyl as one of America's Top 100 Classic Courses.
  • Pelham Country Club, straddles the border of New Rochelle and Pelham Manormarker. The course is a mile from the Westchestermarker, New York Citymarker border and Pelham Bay Park.


Tennis



Education

First public school in New Rochelle

Public

The city is served by the City School District of New Rochelle, which operates a renowned public high school, two junior high schools and ten elementary schools. On seven separate occasions, the City's schools have received the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education. New Rochelle High Schoolmarker is one of the most diverse high schools in the country; the student body represents over 60 different countries from around the world. The school offers over 240 courses including honors, research and advanced placement courses.

Libraries are operated by the New Rochelle Public Library System which is part of the county-wide Westchester Library System.

Private

Primary and secondary

  • Hudson Montessori - private Montessori school in Wykagyl serving pre-kindergarten level through fifth grade.
  • Iona Grammar - all-boys Catholic grammar school in Wykagyl serving grades one through eight.
  • Iona Prepmarker - all-boys Catholic school serving grades nine through 12.
  • Mount Tom Day School - private day school serving pre-k level through second grade. The school is housed in the mansion of renowned 20th-century American artist and illustrator J.C. Leyendecker. The school bordered New Rochelle Academy, a prep school (N-12) which closed down in 1987.
  • The Thornton Donovan School - co-ed preparatory school in Beechmont.
  • The Ursuline Schoolmarker - all-girls Catholic school in Wykagyl serving grades six through 12.
  • Salesian High Schoolmarker - all-boys Roman Catholic high school (grades nine through 12)
  • Blessed Sacrament-St. Gabriel High Schoolmarker - coed Catholic High School in Downtown.


Higher education



Transportation

Road

Major highways include Interstate 95 and the Hutchinson River Parkway. Interstate 95 serves as the main route through New Rochelle with four exits directly serving the city. The Hutchinson River Parkway, which is designated for passenger vehicles only, runs through much of the city. Substantial congestion on the Parkway occurs in both directions during the morning and evening rush-hour.

The Boston Post Road, also known as Main Street in downtown New Rochelle, is used as a major artery during the morning and evening commute. Most traffic via the Post Road is short distance or fairly local, yet vehicles have utilized Route 1 during times of heavy congestion on I-95 as a re-route.

Railroad

The city has a commuter railroad stationmarker served by Metro North as well as Amtrak.

Railroad history

By 1848, the New York & New Haven opened their line along Long Island Sound. After the end of the Civil War, proposals for new railroads reached new levels. Banking that the city would continue to grow northward, the New York, Westchester and Boston Railway Company developed new lines of service to serve the large populations moving to the suburbs. Two main lines were built as part of the NYW&B; the Port Chester line and the White Plainsmarker line. While the populations of some communities served by the NYWB did grow between 1912 and 1937, the growth was not large enough or fast enough to provide sufficient business for the railroad, and service was discontinued on December 31, 1937.

Economy

New Rochelle has been home to a variety of industries over the years, including: Thanhouser Film Studios, Terrytoons Studios, P.J. Tierney Diner Manufacturing (now DeRaffele Manufacturing Company), Flynn Burner Company, New York Seven Up (Joyce Beverages, Inc), RawlPlug, Inc., the Longines Symphonette Society, Conran's USA. Manufacturing and warehousing has declined since the 1990s as industrial land near both exits from Interstate 95 have been converted to "big box" retailer use.New Rochelle remains a center of business, home to the corporate headquarters of Sidney Frank Importing, Blimpies, and East River Savings Bank.

New Rochelle in media and fiction



Notable residents







Sister city

New Rochelle’s ‘sister city’ is La Rochelle, Francemarker, a city and commune of western France with a (population 78,000 in 2004). There has been a 'friendly relationship' between the two cities since 1910.

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  76. The New York Times > Arts > Music > Hip-Hop Producer Surrenders in Money-Laundering Case
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  80. Peter Lind Hayes, 82, of Radio, TV and Films - New York Times
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  82. Tell Me a Story: The Don Hewitt Saga
  83. Henry Holt's Home Burned,The New York Times,April 23, 1904
  84. The Autobiography of a Play Papers on Play-Making, II
  85. Westchester.com - Pro Wrestling Returns To New Rochelle
  86. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide By Nathan Brackett, Christian David Hoard, page. 102
  87. Art James Finds Suburbs Safer Than Manhattan, The Hartford Courant, April 26, 1972
  88. Lou Jones, 74, Sprinting Star, Dies - New York Times
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  96. About Don McLean: Biographical Overview
  97. The Restless Foot, Time Magazine, 1952
  98. Walking a Beat With an Officer of the Jazz Police, October 6, 2006
  99. New Rochelle, N.Y.: From 'Ragtime' to Rich Mosaic
  100. New Rochelle Opera presents an April 17th concert honoring Robert Merrill
  101. Tommy Mottola - AskMen.com
  102. Dr. Selig Neubardt, Early Birth Control Proponent, Dies at 78, New York Times, September 5, 2004
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  111. Reiner, Carl
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  114. IN BUSINESS; A King-Size Fee Dispute New York Times, May 15, 2005
  115. Fire and Ice, by Andrew Tobias
  116. NFL Players Bring March Madness to New Rochelle High School
  117. Circus Barker and Strongman, 6/3/16 Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover
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  132. Joan Tower
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