Identity Crisis : Understanding
Yonkers as Both City and Suburb
Yonkers Is divided into wards
The wards system also developed in response to geographical and political conflicts. In 1860, the village was for the first time divided into these wards as “a consequence of having only one election district in the village for village elections.” As Madden asserts,
Thusly, Yonkers’ geography once again played a crucial role in the development of its social and political infrastructure. The mountains that divided the eastern and western areas of Yonkers caused the people to adapt, and it naturally influenced their social relations as it did pre-1788.
In addition to geographical influences, the population had also increased three-fold from 1855 to 1860 such that there were approximately 7,500 people in the village, and 12, 000 in the town. In light of this substantial population, one voting center became phenomenally problematic.
The Charter, specifically Section 15, Title VII, explicitly divided the village of Yonkers, and clearly stated the boundaries. Beginning at the intersection of Main Street with the easterly shore of the Hudson River, the boundary of the first Charter ran easterly along Main Street to Mechanic Street, and then easterly along Mechanic Street to Guion Street. Along Guion Street, it ran to Davidson’s Lane to Maple Street, and then along Maple Street to the easterly boundary line of the village. Along the easterly boundary line of the village, the boundary moved to the southerly line of the village, and then westerly along the southerly line of the village to the easterly shore of the Hudson River. It then ran northerly along the easterly shore of the Hudson River to the place of beginning. Consequently, all the people residing on the south side of Main and Mechanic Streets, Davidson’s lane, Maple Street and the line connecting Maple Street with Davidson’s Lane, and east of Guion Street on this line, were included in the first Ward.
Essentially, when drafting the boundaries of Ward I, the legislatures divided the Yonkers 1858 map straight down the middle, and used the trajectory from Main Street to Mechanic as the primary boundary. This decision utilized the “Main” street i.e. a familiar pathway connecting the river to South Broadway. It was a recognizable and familiar boundary for the residents because they most likely traveled that way a great deal, especially if they needed to transport goods from the river to Broadway and vice versa. Moreover, since Main street was the primary divider, Ward I residents remained connected to one of the busiest streets for business. The boundary placed as the focal point of their geographical identity, a highly charged area that bustled back and forth with various goods. Thus, the ward accomplished a social and political goal, but it also stimulated the economy by encouraging business. 
For the 2nd Ward, the Charter similarly delineated the boundaries, and used Main and Mechanic as a focal point. Beginning at a point where the line of the proposed bridge across the Nepperhan connected Warbuton Avenue with Riverdale Avenue, the boundary intersected the northerly line of Main Street. Then it ran northerly along this line of the Nepperhan to Dock Street to Broadway, then northerly along Broadway to Ashburton Avenue. Running easterly along Ashburton Avenue to Oak Hill Avenue, the boundary then ran along Oak Hill Avenue, in a line continuous with the north line of the village. Then, it ran easterly along the northerly line of the village to the easterly line of the village, and then southerly along the easterly line of the village to Maple Street. Moving westerly along Maple Street, it connected Davidson’s Lane to Guion Street. Then along Guion Street to Mechanic street, and then westerly along Mechanic Street to Main Street. Finally, it ran from Main Street to the line of the opposed bridge across the Nepperhan. Consequently, all the people residing on the southerly side of Dock Street and Ashburton Avenue, and on the easterly side of the proposed bridge, and Broadway and Oak Hill Avenue, and the line continuing Oak Hill Avenue to the north line of the village, and on the northerly side of Maple Street, and the line connecting with Davison’s Lane; Davidson’s Lane, Mechanic Street, and Main Street, and westerly of Guion Street, were included in the Second Ward. Provided Thomas Cornell’s May 20, 1858 Yonkers map, it appears that the legislators placed the 2nd ward north of Main Street but with an emphasis on the eastern end. Thus, the map suggests that Main Street acted as the supreme divider to which all the wards understood themselves relationally. This further affirms the notion that the legislatures not only intended for the wards to accomplish social and political objectives, but economic ones as well. 
Finally, the Charter outlines the 3rd ward and its correlating boundaries. The legislators still used Main Street as the primary divider. The boundary begins at a point where Main Street intersects the easterly shore of the Hudson River, and then it runs easterly along Main Street to the line of the opposed bridge across the Nepperhan. Moving northerly along this line of the proposed bridge to Dock Street, the boundary then runs easterly along Dock Street to Broadway, and then to Ashburton Avenue. Running easterly along Ashburton to Oak Hill Avenue, and then northerly along Oak Hill Avenue, the boundary moves alongside the northerly line of the village. It subsequently runs westerly along the northerly line of the village to the easterly shore of the Hudson River, and then southerly back to the beginning. Consequently, all the people residing on the northerly side of Main Street, Dock Street and Ashburton Avenue, and on the westerly side of the proposed bridge, Broadway, Oak Hill Avenue, and the line continuing Oak Hill Avenue to the north line of the village, on the division line, were included in the Third Ward. These wards were dated, Yonkers, December 3, 1860. Provided Thomas Cornell’s May 20, 1858 map, it becomes evident that the third ward specifically pertains to the North West area of Yonkers. 
 Joseph P. Madden, A Documentary History Of Yonkers, New York. Volume 2, Part 1: The Unsettled Years, 1820-1852. (Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc, 1994), 74.
 Charles Elmer Allison, The History of Yonkers, Westchester County, New York. (New York: Harbor Hill Books, 1984), 169
 Madden, Documentary History, 62.
 Madden, Documentary History, 75.
 Madden, Documentary History, 75-76.