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Online LibraryWilliam MacLeodHARPER'S NEW YORK AND ERIE CANAL RAIL-ROAD GUIDE BOOK → online text (page 1 of 12)
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Entoied, according to Act of Congress, m the year one thousjiiui
eight hundred and fifty-five, by

Harper & Brothers,

m the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District
of New York.

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The object of this work is to furnish the traveler on
the New York and Erie K,ail-road with that kind of in-
formation which every one passing over a new route de-
sires to have in his possession. In securing this, we not
only add to the pleasures of rail-road traveling, but re-
lieve it of much of the tediousness which is so often the
companion of a long ride.

The work, it is hoped, will find favor not only with
travelers, but with those who take an interest in the
progress of internal improvements, of which our road is
one of the most important, being the longest rail-road
owned by one company and under one management in
the world.

The engravings form a prominent feature of the book.
The sketches for them, as well as the accompanying de-
scriptions, were all furnished expressly for this work by Mr.
"William MacLeod, and, with the exception of two or three,
have never before been pubHshed. They are intended to
be portraits of the scenery and objects represented.

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No. Pftgo

1. Piermont, from the Hudson 22

2. Works at Piermont 23

3. View at Piermont, looking east 25

4. View at Piermont, looking north 26

6. Station at Blauveltville, looking east 27

6. View looking toward Thorn's Cottage 38

7. Thom's Cottage, near Clarkstown, looking north . 29

8. Suffern's Station 30

9. Intrenchments near Suffern's 31

10. Washington's Head-quarters, Suffern's, looking west 32

11. The Torn Mountain, from the road, looking northeast 33

12. Ramapo Woriis, Station on the left 34

13. Ramapo, from the Bridge, looking west 36

14. Station at Sloatsburg 37

15. Mountain Stream and Ruin with an Arch 39

16. Monroe Works, looking west 41

17. Turner's, looking west 43

18. Monroe, looking east 44

19. Station at Oxford, Sugar Loaf in the distance 46

20. Chester, looking west , 49

21. Gray Court Meadows, /rom Chester 49

22. Sugar Loaf, from the Chester Station 50

23. Goshen 51

24. Station on the Walkiil at New Hampton . 53

25. Middletown Station 54

26. Middletown, from the north , 55

27. View from Howell's ,..,.,,.. 56

28. Eastern face of the Shawangunk, from near Otisville 56

29. Otisville, from the west , 57

30. AVest side of Shawangunk 58

31. Wall Embankment near Otisville 59

32. TiOoking toward the Neversink Valley and Port Jervis 59

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33. Cuddebackville, on the Delaware and Hudson Canal, looking

north 60

34. Thorough Cut near Port Jervis 60

35. The Neversink, Port Jervis in the distance 62

36. View near the Slate Rock Cutting, looking north 63

37. Bridge at Port Jervis . , 64

88. Port Jervis 64

39. Approach to the Station at Delaware, looking we«t 65

40. Station at Delaware, looking northwest 65

41. Canal Bridge near Port Jervis 68

43. Approach to the Bridge over the Canal . : . . 68

43. From the Bridge over the Canal, near the Glass-house Rocks 68

44. Saw-mill Rift Bridge, with Canal, looking north 69

45. From Saw-mill Rift Bridge, looking west 69

46. Saw-mill Rift Rocks, near the Bridge, looking east 70

47. Near the Great Bridge on the Delaware 70

48. View from Stairway Brook Station, Delaware and Hudson

Canal ,, 72

49. Approach to Pond Eddy, with Canal 74

50. Rock Cutting on the Delaware 75

51. The great Rock Cutting near Shohola 76

52. Piece of great Rock Cutting near Shohola, looking south . . 77

53. Rock Cutting near Shohola 78

64. Rock Cutting near Shohola, looking west 78

55. Bridge over the Shohola. 78

56. From Shohola Bridge toward Barryville. 79

57. Barryville, from Shohola Station 80

58. Delaware Bridge 81

59. Delaware Bridge Station 82

60. Narrowsburgh, looking west 82

61. Narrowsburgh, from the opposite side of the Delaware, look-

ing north 83

62. Bridge on the Delaware at Narrowsburgh 84

63. Cochecton, from the Station, looking east 87

64. Cochecton, looking west 87

65. Station at Calicoon, looking west 89

66. On the Calicoon, Delaware in the distance, looking south. . 90

67. Hankin's Station 93

68. A rafting Station near Hankin's 94

69. From Equinunk Station 95

70. Equinunk, from the road 96

71. Stockport . ... 97

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73. On the Delaware, near the junction of its branches, below

Chehocton 98

73. East Branch of the Delaware, near Chehocton, looking east 98

74. Station at Chehocton 99

75. Chehocton, from the road above the Station 100

76. West Branch of the Delaware, after leaving Chehocton,

looking south 103

77. West Branch of the Delaware, looking west 103

78. Near Cochecton 103

79. The approach to Deposit, from the east 103

80. Deposit Station, looking west 103

81. Deposit, from the west 104

83. Beginning to ascend Summit from Deposit . 105

83. Gravel Bank, four miles from Deposit 106

84. Near the Gravel Bank, four miles from Deposit, looking west 106

85. Curved Embankment near the Gravel Pit 107

86. Halfway between Summit and Deposit 107

87. Scene near Gulf Summit, looking north 108

88. Great Cut at Gulf Summit, from the east 108

89. From the top of Summit, Snow effect 109

90. Cutting at Summit, from the west. . Ill

91. Cascade Bridge, from the east 113

93. Cascade Bridge, from below 113

93. West Abutment of Cascade Bridge . 114

94. Cascade Bridge, from the Quarry, looking south 114

95. Cascade Bridge, from the opposite side of the river 116

96. First View of Susquehanna, beyond Cascade Bridge 118

97. First View of the Starrucca Viaduct, from the east 130

^^8. The Starrucca Viaduct, looking west 131

99. The Starrucca Viaduct, from the opposite side of the Sus-
quehanna 133

100. Lanesborough, and Trestle Bridge 133

101. Starrucca, from the west 134

103. View of the Starrucca, Lanesborough, Trestle Bridge, &c.,

from above the Rail-road 136

103. The Works at Susquehanna, from the Station 138

104. Double Bridge over the Susquehanna at Lanesborough . . . 139

105. Looking west to the first Rock Cutting near Great Bend. 130

106. Distant View of the Rock Cutting near Great Bend 130

107. Great Rock Cutting near Great Bend 130

108. On the Susquehanna, looking toward Great Bend ....... 131

109. Station at Great Bend, looking west 131

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110. Village of Great Bend, from the vStation, looking south. . . 132

111. Station at Binghamton, from the east 135

112. Binghamton, from the Bridge 136

113. Bridges on the Chenango and Susquehanna, looking north 137

114. From the Bridge over the Chenango, looking north 139

1 15. Uni6n, from the Station 142

116. View looking toward Union, from the west 143

117. Bridge over the Susquehanna near Campville, looking north 144

1 18. Station at Campville 145

119. Owego, from the Road 145

120. Station at Owego, looking west 146

121. Owego, from the Station, looking south 146

122. Smithborough, looking west 148

123. Cut near Barton 149

124. Barton, from the old road 149

125. Straight Section between Barton and Waverley, looking

northwest 149

126. Waverley 150

127. Station at Waverley, looking west 150

128. Station at Waverley, Spanish Hill 151

129. On the Chemung 153

130. On the Chemung 153

131. Gravel Cut near Wellsburg, looking east 154

132. Rocky Cut near Wellsburg 154

133. Station at Elmira 155

134. Elmira, from the west 157

135. Corning, from the opposite side of the Chemung 163

136. Painted Post, from the east 164

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It can not be doubted that the Erie Rail-road is one of
the grandest achievements of modern intellect. More may-
be said. It is one of the greatest works the world has ever
known. We are accustomed to look with solemn awe on
the pyramids of Egypt, and to wonder what Herculean pow-
er reared their colossal forms ; we regard with astonishment
the ancient aqueducts, whose ruins attest their magnificence,
and all ages since they were built have been accustomed to
admire the E-oman military and other roads, and do homage
to the genius and daring of their designers and constructors.

But should a new nation or a new race two thousand
years hence find in the solitude where now the Starrucca
flows to the Susquehanna the remains of the viaduct of
the Erie Road, or stumble suddenly on the evidence that
the Cascade ravine had been spanned by a bridge and iron
rail, or trace through mountain fastnesses, across deep valleys
and strong rivers, for BiVe hundred miles, the track of this
splendid road of the men of the nineteenth century, doubt-
less that new race or nation would do more homage to our
memory than we have done to that of any former period in
the history of our world.

A 2

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We live in an age of wonderful works of man, and are
therefore apt to disregard the evidence of his immense pow-
er which every day furnishes us. The pyramids are me-
morials of a tremendous exertion of force ; but the simplest
discoveries of science explain the methods used to build them.
Patience and a lever would move Mount Washington ; but
the man of the nineteenth century would not pause to move
it out of his way, but would penetrate and pierce through it.

The Erie Eoad is the greatest achievement of this age of
rail-roads. No one who has not gone over it frequently can
fully appreciate the truth of this remark. No one who did
not know the route before it was projected can have any idea
of it. It passes through sections of country that it would
have been and was thought insanity to talk of building a
rail-road through. It crosses mountains deemed impassa-
ble ; it goes over valleys which timid men said it would
cost billions to fill in ; it leaps ravines where bold engineers
paused, shook their heads, and turned back. It reaches from
the Hudson to the great Lakes, now by the side of the lordly
Delaware, now by the placid Susquehanna, now by the yel-
low Chemung, and now by the swift Alleghany. The tour-
ist never wearies of looking at the splendor of the scenery
around him until he finds himself on the shore of Lake Erie,
looking at its green waves, and a glance at his map leaves
him astounded at the distance he has achieved over such a

It is to introduce this route, whether to the tourist or the
quiet reader at home, that this work is designed.

In connection with the internal improvement system
of New York, many curious facts may be found by look-
ing into the Statute-book of the Colony of New York —
instructive as to the begiiming of the great rail-road and
canal system which is now nearly completed, and, from
the various connections between the port of New York
and the Lakes, ultnnately to be extended to the Pacific
Ocean. In the time of Queen Anne, the Assembly of the

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Colony of New York appropriated the sum of £500 to
John Smith and some other persons for the purpose of
constructing a puMic road leading from New York to the
"West, and the appropriation was coupled with the condi-
tions that within two years from the time of the passage
of the act the beneficiaries should have constructed the
road, wide enough for two carriages to pass, from " Nyack
on the Hudson River to Sterling Iron- works," a distance
of twenty or thirty miles ; and that they should cut away
the limbs of trees over the track, so as to allow the car-
riages to pass. That was the beginning of the internal im-
provement system of the State of New York, which, after
the lapse of more than one Hundred and twenty years, has
proceeded no further than to open a canal and two rail-roads,
one of which is completed, and the other nearly so, from the
city of New York to Lake Erie.

The Legislature of New York, at their session of 1825
(the Erie Canal having been opened in 1824), directed a
survey of a "State Hoad," to be constructed at the pubHc
expense, through the southern tier of counties, from the
Hudson Hiver to Lake Erie. The unfavorable profile ex-
hibited in the survey, the discordant views and interests,
resulted in the abandonment of the project. The subject
did not, however, cease to occupy the attention of many,
and the manifest and growing benefits of the canal did but
increase the conviction in the southern tier of counties of the
importance and necessity to them of an equivalent thorough-

At length "The New York and Erie Rail-road Com-
pany" was incorporated by the Legislature, on the 24th
of April, 1832, with power to construct a rail-road from
the city of New York, or some point near, to Lake Erie,
to transport persons and property thereon, and to regulate
their own charges for transportation. Since that period,
every succeeding year has added to the force of all the
considerations in favor of such a thoroughfare ; the popu-

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lation, trade, and wealth of this city, and of this and the
Western States, and the intercourse between New York
and the region of the Lakes, have been vastly augment-
ed ; and the necessity of greater facilities for constant and
rapid communication throughout the whole year have be-
come more and more evident, especially since the means of
such communication have been in progress on several more
southerly routes, between the waters of the Atlantic and the
Ohio River.

No survey of the route had been made prior to the act
of incorporation ; but in the summer of 1832, a reconnais-
sance was conducted, under the authority of the govern-
ment of the United States, by Col. De "Witt Clinton, Jr.,
w^hich resulted in presenting strong inducements for obtain-
ing a more complete and accurate instrumental survey of the
whole line.

In 1833, $1,000,000 was subscribed to the capital stock,
and the company organized in August for active operations,
by the election of directors and officers. In 1834, an ap-
propriation for the survey of the route was made by the
Legislature, to be conducted under the authority of the
state government, and Governor Marcy appointed Benjamin
Wright, Esq., to conduct the survey. During the year, a
survey was made of the whole line, 483 miles in length, and
complete maps and profiles, with the report and estimates
of Judge Wright, were deposited in the office of the Secre-
tary of State.

At the time this report was made, much was said in
the Legislature and in the public prints to discourage the
undertaking "as chimerical, impracticable, and useless."
The road, it was declared, could never be made, and, if
made, would never be used. The southern counties were
asserted to be mountainous, sterile, and worthless, affording
no products requiring a road to market, or if they did, that
they ought to resort to the Yalley of the Mohawk as their
natural outlet !

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The favorable results of the state survey dispelled all
reasonable doubts of the feasibility of the improvement,
and measures were taken preparatory to further and more
active operations. An additional amount was subscribed
to the capital stock, amounting, with the previous sub-
scription, to $2,362,100. The entire route was resur-
veyed in 1836, and a part of the road located and com-

But the commercial revulsion and universal derangement
of. the currency of the country about the close of 1836 oc-
casioned a suspension of the work until 1838, when the
Legislature modified the law of 1836, granting to the com-
pany, in aid of its construction, a loan of the credit of the
state for $3,000,000. At the session of the Legislature in

1840, the Loan Bill was further amended, and this, together
with the collections on the stock subscriptions, enabled the
company to locate and vigorously prosecute the work on a
distance of 300 miles of the road.

The first portion, a section of 46 miles, from Piermont
to Goshen, was put in operation on the 23d of September,

1841. In 1842, under its complicated embarrassments,
arising from the nature and amount of its indebtedness,
the affairs of the company were placed in the hands of
assignees. After encountering many obstacles and em-
barrassments attending and following the suspension of
the work, and after various efforts to obtain the means
necessary to extricate the company from its difficulties,
and to a resumption of the work, the law was passed by
the Legislature, 14th of May, 1845, relating to the con-
struction of the road, the release of the state claim, sub-
scriptions to the stock, &c. The Board of Directors, in
no little anxiety about the result^ entered upon the
discharge of their responsible duties of resuscitating a work
which is destined to add permanent wealth and prosperity
to the city and state, and presented a plan to the public
which placed the work in a position to be successfully

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prosecuted to completion. The appeal was responded to by
the merchants and business men of New York, and the sub-
scription of $3,000,000 to the capital stock was speedily
filled up. Successive portions of the road were put in opera-
tion from time to time, until, in the spring of 1851 (May
14), amid the firing of cannon, that reverberated through all
the southern tier of counties, and the shouts of hundreds of
thousands of the inhabitants, who lined the road at all the
stations from Hockland to Chautauque, two trains of cars
conveyed the President of the United States, the immortal
"Webster, and a large and noble company of the most dis-
tinguished citizens of America as guests of the gratified and
justly-proud directors of the road, from the Hudson to Lake

The writer of this well remembers the strange scene pre-
sented along the line of the road on that memorable evening of
the 27th of December, 1848, when was celebrated the opening
as far as Binghamton. To him the country had long been
familiar as hunting-ground, and it v/as a sort of sacrilege
in his view to build a rail-road through the haunts of the
deer. Old hunters that he had known in the forest solitudes
stood at Deposit, in the snow-storm, lit up by the tar-barrels,
leaning on their rifles, and watching with curious eyes the
apparition of the iron steed and his splendid train. Troops
of girls entered at one end, and walked through the whole
row of cars, gazing with astonishment at the velvet seats
and the cloaked citizens, who were no less astonished at the
bright eyes and rosy cheeks that Delaware county could turn
out in a winter storm to welcome strangers. It was a new
era in the history of the southern part of the State, and men
said it was folly to build an iron road through Sullivan, Del-
aware, and Broome counties.

But time has shown that it was no false calculation that
promised a splendid result to the enterprise. Step by step,
mile by milej over mountains, across valleys on airy viaducts,
from the river to the great lakes, the work was at length

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accomplished, and immediately, as if a magic wand had
touched the great West, roads connecting with it sprang into
existence, leading to every state in the Union north of the
Ohio and Missouri, and the wealth of the great northwest
was poured into the lap of New York.

St. Louis formerly bought goods at New Orleans. Now
. it comes to us. Illinois bought at St. Louis. Now it pur-
chases on the Atlantic coast. Ohio went bodily to Cincin-
nati for its supplies. Cincinnati itself now seeks them in
the metropolis of the Empire State.

All honor, therefore, to the men who projected and the
men who built the Erie Rail-road.

The general features of the route can not be summed up
in one paragraph. There is no variety of scenery, grand or
calm, magnificent or placidly beautiful, that is not presented
at one or another point on the road. Leaving the Hudson
at Jersey City or at Piermont, it passes across Hockland and
Orange counties to the Delaware Hiver, which it strikes at
Delaw^are Station. The boldest scenery on the road is in
the next ninety miles, in which the road follows the winding
bank of this river. It then crosses the summit to the Sus-
quehanna, and continues through the southern tier of coun-
ties to Lake Erie.

The length of the road, as now run from Jersey City, is
459i miles. As may well be imagined, it requires an army
of men to take care of its numerous affairs and do the labor
on the line. Some idea of the magnitude of its affairs may
be gathered from the following facts, which refer to the state
of the road in the year ending September 30, 1854 :

Number of engines. 183

Number of cars . 2,935

Miles run by engines 2,963,484

Average miles run by each engine 16,194

Average miles run each day . . 8,119

Tons of freight carried in cars, 743,250, or an amount equal

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Online LibraryWilliam MacLeodHARPER'S NEW YORK AND ERIE CANAL RAIL-ROAD GUIDE BOOK → online text (page 1 of 12)