Harry S. Houpt was a builder of many homes in Pelham in the 1920s. Though homebuilding was only one of his many money-making ventures, he built more than two dozen homes including such homes as those located at 620 Ely Avenue and 225 Elderwood Avenue. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting details a little about the life of Harry S. Houpt.
Harry Sterling Houpt was the son of Missouri B. Houpt, an “architect, builder, lumberman, etc., of the city of Wilkes-Barre” Pennsylvania. Missouri B. Houpt, in turn, was born in Newport, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, on February 17, 1839, one of ten children of Philip and Susan Arnt Houpt who were both born in Northampton County, Pennsylvania in 1796 and 1797, respectively. They were married in 1815.
On March 28, 1865 Missouri B. Houpt married Sallie Garringher (daughter of Jesse and Catharine Croup Garringher who were born in Hanover and Newport Townships in Pennsylvania.
Harry S. Houpt one of at least two children. He had a brother named Edgar Missouri Houpt. According to one account:
“Two children have been born of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Houpt, viz: Edgar Missouri Houpt (aged sixteen years [in 1893]), now preparing for college, and Harry S. Houpt (aged twenty-six years [in 1893]), yet unmarried, who, with a view of adopting his father’s line of business, and having for that purpose supplemented his academic studies by a course of training, first in The Pierce Business College of Philadelphia, and next in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has recently become associated with his father in the different business enterprises, above referred to [i.e., construction, architecture, painting and paper hanging], which are now and hereafter will be carried on under the firm name of M. B. Houpt & Son. With both his thorough theoretical training at college, and the lessons of practical experience which have been so generously supplied by his father, the son will no doubt greatly relieve the father of many of the latter’s former business cares, and in due time, with his younger brother, carry on the extensive business operations to which we have referred.”
The beck and call of new technology may have been too much for Harry S. Houpt. For whatever reason, by about 1900 he had left his father’s business and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and moved to the New York metropolitan area to involve himself in the infant automotive industry.
According to his obituary, he first served as Vice President of the American Locomotive Company when that company was building the Alco car. In addition he was a sales agent in New York City “for the Mitchell, Lozier and Thomas cars in the infancy of the motor industry.”
The same obituary states “For nearly twenty-five years he was one of the best-known motor car dealers in the New York territory. Ill-health caused his retirement a year ago from the Hudson Motor Car Company of New York, of which he had been President since its organization in 1915.”
Harry S. Houpt met and married Eleanor G. Houpt. Mr. Houpt died in Pelham on November 12, 1925. According to one published account:
“Harry Sterling Houpt, pioneer dealer in motor cars, for many years New York distributor of the Hudson automobile and later a builder and real estate operator in Westchester County, left an estate appraised yesterday at $343,463 gross and $219,622 net. In addition he had $100,000 in life insurance which with the net estate was left to his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth [sic] Houpt, of Pelham Manor. Mr. Houpt gave his residence in Pelham to his wife on June 4, 1925, when it had just been completed. He died Nov. 12 of that year.”
This article was published in Historic Pelham on May 4, 2006,
Here is the link to the article - Harry S. Houpt, Builder of Homes in Pelham, NY in the Early 20th Century