Pillar of the Community
Before I get started with this post, I just want to say that of all the proposals for US commemorative coins in the classic era, the one I'm about to describe is, IMO, the most unworthy of them all!
In early 1937, companion bills were introduced in Congress that called for "the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the changing of the name of Sawpit to Village of Port Chester, New York." The House bill was introduced by Caroline Love Goodwin O'Day (D-NY) in January; the Senate bill by Royal Samuel Copeland (D-NY) in February.
The bills called for a minimum of 25,000 coins (no maximum was specified) to be struck at any/all of the US Mint facilities - three-coin P/D/S sets were in play. The bill did not specify a year/date for the coins or an expiration for when they could be struck - a multi-year program was possible. The coins were to be struck on behalf of the Ways and Means Committee of the Port Chester Centennial Committee to Celebrate the Change of Name from Sawpit to Village of Port Chester, New York. The bill did not place any ordering restrictions on the Committee, allowing one or more orders of any size to be placed at the determination of the Committee.
The city, located on the Byram River in eastern Westchester County, NY (Westchester County borders Manhattan, forming Manhattan's northern border). The original name of the town came from its most well-known local industry - boat building. In the late 1600s, when the village was being established, it was common for pits to be dug into the ground so that tall logs could be stood up in them to facilitate cutting/sawing for subsequent use in construction. In the early 1800s, local residents sought a more stately name for their village and eventually succeeded in get the New York State Legislature to change the name of the village to Port Chester in 1837 - the milestone to be commemorated by the coin.
Port Chester grew and transitioned from largely a farming community to one with a developing industrial base. Thanks to improved transportation connections with Connecticut and New York City, Port Chester continued to grow and remains viable to the present day.
The House bill was referred to its Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures; the Senate bill was referred to its Committee on Banking and Currency. Neither of the Committees reported their bill out for further action, and thus each died for lack of action. Had either bill advanced, I have to imagine that it would have been heavily modified to keep it in line with the Senate Committee's new policies for commemorative coin legislation.
This coin proposal was the epitome of "local-only" significance and was not worthy (IMO) of any more than it got from Congress. The history makes for a nice, interesting story, but not one that needed to be memorialized with a legal tender US half dollar.
Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.