Born in Cleveland, Ohio to German Jewish immigrants, Hiram Halle bought his first house in Pound Ridge on Trinity Pass Road, February 1929. From 1916-1944 he was head of the petrochemical giant, Universal Oil Products. From 1933 through the onset of the Holocaust, Halle worked to rescue persecuted Jews from Europe, most notably funding the University in Exile at the New School in New York City.
By the early 1940s Halle had acquired and remodeled over 30 historic buildings in Pound Ridge. His renovations coupled old with new, emphasizing the early-American roots of his houses while adding modern features to adapt them to the twentieth century living. Halle rented his houses to people he felt would have a positive impact on the community. His other vital contributions to Pound Ridge included helping construct the elementary school and the fire department.
By-preserving- and building upon – the town’s past, Hiram Halle helped shape the future of Pound Ridge.
Erected April 28, 2019 to commemorate the 90thanniversary of Hiram Halle’s arrival in Pound Ridge by the Pound Ridge Historical Society and the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation
The waiting area for my flight in Ft. Lauderdale to New York on the 28th had a large number of observant Jews waiting for the same flight. They wore Keepahs. Many had children with them. A few stood in a small group covered by their Prayer Shawls saying the morning Shacharit prayers. The Jews were returning home to New York, most likely having spent the closing days of Passover with elderly family in Florida. I looked at them. They were all potential targets. I thought, how courageous they were. They wore their Jewishness outwardly. Others like me, wore it inwardly. We all were making our choices.