Valhalla, New York
Valhalla, New York is a hamlet of about 5,379 residents in the Town of Mount Pleasant, Westchester County. It is located approximately 25 miles or 40 minutes north of Manhattan by car (map & directions) or by train. Valhalla is 5 miles northeast of the Tappan Zee Bridge, and 6 miles northwest of White Plains, New York and the Westchester County Airport. When taking the train from Grand Central Station in New York City, it is the third local station north of White Plains on the Metro North Harlem line.
Origin of name
It gained its name when controversy arose over the naming of a post office in the 19th Century. According to local historians and published work, the wife of a postmaster was a devoted fan of Richard Wagner and she shared the composer's interest in Norse mythology. Her preference led to the choice of name Valhalla, after the heavenly hall of slain warriors in that mythology. The area still maintains its association with death through its world famous cemetery area.
Kensico Cemetery is a cemetery founded in 1889 in Valhalla at a time when many New York City cemeteries were becoming full and rural cemeteries were founded near the railroads which served the city. Initially 250 acres (1 km�), it was expanded to 600 acres (2.4 km�) in 1905, and reduced to 461 acres (1.9 km�) in 1912 when a portion was sold to the neighboring Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
This is where the remains are found of Herbert Howard Booth, son of Salvation Army founder William Booth and founder of the Salvation Army Musical Department. Billie Burke who played Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz is also buried there and so is bandleader Tommy Dorsey; New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno ;CBS-TV News President Fred Friendly; baseball star Lou Gehrig; film star Danny Kaye; pianist and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff, author Ayn Rand, NBC founder David Sarnoff and many other famous personalities.