Some of the newspaper and magazine articles highlighting Timothy Starr's research and books over the years are reproduced below.
Tim's only television appearance was on February 6, 2011, when he was invited onto WNYT's show "Forum 13" to discuss his new book "Great Inventors of New York's Capital District."
Collected and compiled while preparing various book manuscripts.
Compiled by Trains Magazine: List of the 127 class 1 railroads in 1950 as defined by the I.C.C. These railroads had revenue over $1,000,000 per year, and does not include terminal railroads. Several of these are just paper railroads which are owned by another class 1 railroad.
Alabama - AGS, ASAB, ACL, CG, GMO, IC, LN, NC, SLSF, SAL, SOU, WA
Arizona - ATSF, SP
Arkansas - RI, IC, KCS, LA, MV, MP, SLSF, SSW, TP
California - ATSF, GN, NWP, SN, SP, UP, WP
Colorado - ATSF, CBQ, RI, CS, CW, DRGW, MP, UP
Connecticut - CV, NH
Delaware - BO, PRR, RDG
Florida - ASAB, ACL, FEC, GF, GSF, LN, SLSF, SAL, SOU
Georgia - AWP, ACL, CG, CWC, GA, GF, GSF, LN, NC, SAL, SOU, WA
Idaho - MILW, GN, NP, SI, UP
Illinois - ATSF, BO, CO, CEI, CIM, CNW, CBQ, CGW, CIL, MILW, RI, EJE, ERIE, GTW, GMO, IC, ITC, LN, MSTL, SOO, MP, MI, NYC, NKP, PRR, SSW, SOU, TPW, WAB, WC
Indiana - BO, CO, CEI, CIL, MILW, EJE, ERIE, GTW, IC, LN, NYC, NKP, PRR, SOU, WAB
Iowa - ATSF, CNW, CBQ, CGW, MILW, RI, CMO, GN, IC, MSTL, TPW, UP, WAB
Kansas - ATSF, CBQ, CGW, RI, KCS, KOG, MV, MKT, MP, SLSF, UP
Kentucky - BO, CO, CBQ, CIL, CNTP, CRR, GMO, IC, LN, NC, NYC, NW, PRR, SOU, TC
Louisiana - ATSF, RI, GMO, IC, KCS, LA, LN, MP, NONE, SSW, SOU, SP, TNO, TP
Maine - BAR, BM, CN, CP, MEC
Maryland - BO, NW, PRR, WM
Massachusetts - BM, CV, NYC, NH
Michigan - AA, BO, CO, CNW, MILW, DM, DTS, DTI, DSA, GTW, LSI, SOO, NYC, PRR, WAB, WC
Minnesota - CNW, CBQ, CGW, MILW, RI, CMO, DMIR, DWP, DSA, GN, GBW, IC, MSTL, SOO, NP, WC
Mississippi - AGS, C&G, GMO, IC, LN, MSC, MP, NONE, SLSF, SOU
Missouri - ATSF, BO, CEI, CBQ, CGW, MILW, RI, GMO, IC, ITC, KCS, LN, MKT, MP, MI, NYC, NKP, PRR, SLSF, SSW, SOU, UP, WAB
Montana - CBQ, MILW, GN, SOO, NP, UP
Nebraska - ATSF, CNW, CBQ, CGW, MILW, RI, CMO, IC, MP, UP, WAB
Nevada - SP, UP, WP
New Hampshire - BM, CN, CV, MEC
New Jersey - BO, CNJ, DLW, ERIE, LHR, LNE, LV, NYC, OW, NYSW, PRR, PRSL, RDG, SIR
New Mexico - ATSF, RI, CS, DRGW, SP, TP
New York - BO, BM, CV, CO, DH, DLW, ERIE, LHR, LNE, LV, LI, NYC, NKP, NYCN, NH, OW, PRR, RUT, SIR, WAB
North Carolina - ACL, CRR, LN, NW, NS, SAL, SOU
North Dakota - CNW, MILW, GN, SOO, NP
Ohio - ACY, AA, BO, BLE, CO, CNTP, DTS, DTI, ERIE, LN, NYC, NKP, NW, PRR, PLE, PWV, WAB
Oklahoma - ATSF, RI, KCS, KOG, MV, MKT, MP, OCAA, SLSF
Oregon - GN, NP, SP, SPS, UP
Pennsylvania - BO, BLE, CI, CNJ, DH, DLW, ERIE, LHR, LNE, LV, MGA, MTR, NYC, NKP, OW, PRR, PS, PLE, PWV, RDG, WM
Rhode Island - NH
South Carolina - ACL, CWC, CRR, GF, SAL, SOU
South Dakota - CNW, CBQ, MILW, RI, CMO, GN, IC, MSTL, SOO
Tennessee - AGS, CG, RI, CNTP, CRR, GMO, IC, LN, MP, NC, SLSF, SSW, SOU, TC
Texas - ATSF, BSLW, RI, FWD, IGN, KCS, KOG, LA, MKT, MP, NOTM, SLBW, SLSF, SSW, SAUG, SP, TNO, T&N, TP, TM
Utah - DRGW, SP, UP, UTAH, WP
Vermont - BM, CN, CP, CV, DH, MEC, RUT
Virginia - AD, ACL, BO, CO, CRR, LN, NW, NS, PRR, RFP, SAL, SOU, VGN
Washington - MILW, GN, NP, SI, SPS, UP
West Virginia - BO, CO, MGA, NYC, NKP, NW, PRR, PWV, VGN, WM
Wisconsin - AA, CO, CNW, CBQ, MILW, CMO, DMIR, DSA, GTW, GN, GBW, IC, SOO, NP, WC
Wyoming - CNW, CBQ, CS, CW, UP
Dist of Columbia - BO, CO, PRR, RFP, SOU
Major US railroads (4,000 miles or more), compiled by Trains Magazine and edited by Timothy Starr.
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe - ATSF
13,073 miles (longest in USA 1950), $522,675,610 total operating revenue, 29,800,000,000 revenue ton miles, 2,022 locomotives (967 diesels, 1,055 steam)
States served - AZ, CA, CO, IL, IA, KS, LA, MO, NE, NM, OK, TX
Chartered in 1859 as the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp created on September 22, 1995 when the BN purchased ATSF's corporate parent. Merged into Burlington Northern Railroad on December 31, 1996, and BN renamed Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway. The ATSF was America's longest railroad during the 1950s, and remained so until the 1968 Penn Central merger. Notable for stability, and their route map went through few changes from the 1930s until it merged the Toledo, Peoria and Western during 1983.
Atlantic Coast Line - ACL
5,542 miles, $133,658,119 total operating revenue, 7,500,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 758 (280d, 478s)
States served - AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, VA
Oldest ancestor, Petersburg Railroad, opened in 1833; it and Richmond & Petersburg merged in March 1898 and in November 1898 took the name Atlantic Coast Line. Merger with paralleling Seaboard Air Line Railroad, proposed in 1958, took place on July 1, 1967, creating Seaboard Coast Line. Seaboard Coast Line also owned several other railroads, the most important of them being the Louisville and Nashville. SCL merged with L&N, A&WP, WRA, GA, CRR, and C&WC to form Seaboard System. The next step involved Seaboard System joining with the Chessie system to form CSX.
Baltimore and Ohio - BO
6,188 miles, $402,541,896 total operating revenue, 27,546,419,000 revenue ton-miles, 1,982 locomotives (512 diesels, 1,460 steam, 9 electric, 1 gas)
States served - DE, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA, WV, DC
Baltimore & Ohio was chartered on February 28, 1827, and opened on May 24, 1830, as the first common-carrier railroad in the U.S., and was the first to offer scheduled passenger and freight service to the public. Chesapeake & Ohio acquired control in May 1962. On April 30, 1987, B&O, at age 160 the nation's oldest railroad, ceased to exist as it was merged into Chesapeake & Ohio, by then a subsidiary of CSX Transportation. The former B&O mainline between Chicago and Philadelphia continues to play an important role for CSX, but several other lines have been abandoned or sold off.
Chesapeake and Ohio - CO
5,118 miles, $318,676,867 total operating revenue, 30,300,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 1,322 (263d, 1,059s)
States served - IL, IN, KY, MI, NY, OH, VA, WV, WI, DC
Chesapeake & Ohio was created in the 1868 consolidation of the Virginia Central, whose ancestor dated to 1836, and the Covington & Ohio, chartered in 1853. C&O acquired control of the Hocking Valley in Ohio in 1911, and of Baltimore & Ohio in 1962. C&O became a subsidiary of the new Chessie System entity on June 17, 1973. CSX has hung on to most of the C&O trackage it inherited. The West Virginia coal lines and the line to Newport News continue to be important.
Chicago and North Western - CNW
8,001 miles, and with Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha, 9,569 miles, $222,659,151 revenue, 12,800,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 1,266 (376d, 890s)
States served - IL, IA, MI, MN, NE, ND, SD, WI, WY
Galena & Chicago Union, Chicago's first railroad, began construction in 1848. In 1855 the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac was organized to extend northwestward from near Chicago. CStP&F was reorganized in 1859 as Chicago & North Western, which in 1864 consolidated with Galena & Chicago Union. C&NW became employee-owned in 1970. After years of operating affiliation on its main line with Union Pacific but no UP control, all C&NW stock was acquired by UP on April 27, 1995, and UP merged C&NW on June 23 of that year. Acquisition of the Chicago and North Western gave Union Pacific entry into the Powder River Basin, and extended the mainline from Council Bluffs to Chicago.
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy - CBQ
8,830 miles, $245,247,561 total operating revenue, 16,755,823,000 revenue ton-miles, 1,108 (448d, 657s, 3 gas)
States served - CO, IL, IA, KS, KY, MN, MO, MT, NE, NM, SD, TX, WI, WY
Aurora Branch chartered February 12, 1849; renamed Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
on February 14, 1855. Control acquired by Great Northern and Northern Pacific in 1901. Absorbed in March 1, 1970 Burlington Northern merger, along with Great Northern; Northern Pacific; and Spokane, Portland & Seattle. The mainlines of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy pay a key role for BNSF and provide access to the Powder River Basin coal fields.
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific - MILW
10,671 miles, $255,541,649 total operating revenue, 16,300,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 1,307 (358d, 837s, 112e)
States served- ID, IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, ND, SD, WA, WI
Milwaukee & Waukesha Rail Road chartered in 1847, opened in 1850 as Milwaukee & Mississippi. Milwaukee & St. Paul, an 1863 reorganization of the 1858 La Crosse & Milwaukee, in 1872 acquired the St Paul & Chicago. In 1873 it built from Milwaukee to Chicago and added "Chicago" to its name to become CM&StP. Between 1905-09 it built the Pacific Extension to Seattle and Tacoma. After a 1925 bankruptcy, it emerged in 1928 as Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific. Bankrupt again in 1977, it shed the Pacific extension and other lines in 1980-83, then was courted by Chicago & North Western, Grand Trunk Western, and Soo Line, and was awarded to Soo in February 1985. Soo Line merged the Milwaukee Road on January 1, 1986. About 4500 miles of the Milwaukee Road's track still exists, with the Iowa, Chicago and Eastern and BNSF Railway having over 1100 miles each.
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific - RI, ROCK
7,610 miles, $17,888,594 total operating revenue, 12,100,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 661 (255d, 405s)
States served - AR, CO, IL, IA, KS, LA, MN, MO, NE, NM, OK, SD, TN, TX
Construction began on the Chicago & Rock Island in 1851; renamed Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific in an 1866 reorganization that included the Mississippi & Missouri across Iowa. In 1964, Union Pacific applied to merge CRI&P; the Interstate Commerce Commission took a decade to approve it, with a condition that Southern Pacific purchase the southern half. By then RI had deteriorated and UP and SP no longer wanted it. RI declared bankruptcy in 1975; after a labor strike, it ceased operation on March 31, 1980. The vast majority of RI's 7000 miles wound up being acquired by other carriers; among the largest chunks were 965 miles to SP's Cotton Belt; 750 to Chicago & North Western; 750 to regional Kyle Railroad; 645 to a subsidiary of the former Katy (now part of UP); and 550 Iowa Railroad, succeeded by today's regional Iowa Interstate. Union Pacific now has about 2000 miles of the former Rock Island, mostly from St. Paul in the north to Fort Worth and out to New Mexico. More than a dozen other railroads have another 2000 miles or so of line.
Great Northern - GN
8,316 miles, $221,722,945 total operating revenue, 16,000,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 1,012 (424d, 568s, 20e)
States served - CA, ID, IA, MN, MT, ND, OR, SD, WA, WI
Minnesota & Pacific chartered in 1857. Its successor, and others, renamed by James J. Hill to Great Northern in 1881. Absorbed in March 1, 1970 Burlington Northern merger, along with Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Northern Pacific; and Spokane, Portland & Seattle. Burlington Northern's Chicago to Seattle mainline was mostly GN west of Minneapolis, and remains an important part of the BNSF Railway.
Illinois Central - IC
6,539 miles, $275,968,155 total operating revenue, 19,200,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 1,262 (133d, 1,129s)
States served - AL, AR, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MN, MS, MO, NE, SD, TN, WI
Illinois Central was chartered in 1851 to build north-south through Illinois. Renamed Illinois Central Gulf after August 1972 GM&O merger. After shedding more than two-thirds of its mileage in the 1980's, mostly to new regionals, ICG on February 29, 1988, changed its name back to Illinois Central. Canadian National purchased IC on February 11, 1998, and merged it on July 1, 1999. Illinois Central became North America's most efficient railroad during the 1990s.
Louisville and Nashville - LN
4,778 miles, $219,696,677 total operating revenue, 15,000,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 842 (202d, 640s)
States served - AL, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MS, MO, NC, OH, TN, VA
Louisville & Nashville was chartered by the State of Kentucky in 1850 to link its namesake cities. Control acquired by Atlantic Coast Line in 1902. ACL successor Seaboard Coast Line merged with L&N on December 29, 1982, to form Seaboard System Railroad, a subsidiary of CSX Corporation. Louisville and Nashville's line are still playing an important role for CSX.
Minnesota, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie - SOO (including Wisconsin Central)
4,197 miles, $67,800,767 total operating revenue, 4,900,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 296 (94d, 202s)
States served - IL, MI, MN, MT, ND, SD, WI
Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic was incorporated in 1883 to build from the Twin Cities east to a connection with Canadian Pacific. In 1888 MSSM&A, Minneapolis & Pacific, and two others consolidated to form the Minneapolis, St. Paul, & Sault Ste. Marie. The nickname "Soo Line" comes from the pronunciation of the word Sault. On December 31, 1960, MStP&SSM merged with subsidiaries Wisconsin Central Railroad and Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic to form Soo Line Railroad. CP for decades owned 56% of Soo, and tried in the 1980's to sell it, but in 1990 wound up acquiring full ownership. Soo remains a CP subsidiary but is operated as part of the system. Canadian Pacific operates the MSP&SSM mainlines west of the Twin Cities, while Canadian National has most of the former trackage on the eastern half.
Missouri Pacific - MP
6,960 miles, $220,366,395 total operating revenue, 14,800,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 863 (295d, 568s)
States served - AR, CO, IL, KS, LA, MS, MO, NE, OK, TN, TX
Chartered in 1851 as Pacific Railroad, opened in 1852, renamed Missouri Pacific in 1870. Major early components included St. Louis & Iron Mountain, chartered in 1851; International & Great Northern (1873); and Gulf Coast Lines, a 1913 merger creation. All, plus others, came under Jay Gould control in 1879. Union Pacific absorbed MP on December 22, 1982, and absorbed operations but didn't formally merge MP out of existence until 1997.
New York Central - NYC
10,727 miles, $759,684,769 total operating revenue, 39,100,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 3,489 (828d, 2,522s, 139e)
States served- IL, IN, KY, MA, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, PA, WV
The Mohawk & Hudson Rail Road was incorporated in 1826 and opened in 1831 between Albany and Schenectady, N.Y. In 1853, several railroads linking Albany and Buffalo consolidated as New York Central, which through the years assumed control of Boston & Albany; Michigan Central; Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis ("Big Four"); Lake Shore and Michigan Southern; Ohio Central; and Pittsburgh & Lake Erie. NYC in 1957 announced intent to merge with rival Pennsylvania, and merger as Penn Central was finally effected February 1, 1968. Following soon after was the largest corporate bankruptcy in history. After Penn Central joined several other railroads to form Conrail, much of the traffic was concentrated on the former NYC routes, and Conrail became a modern day New York Central. CSX acquired most of Conrail's NYC lines, and Norfolk Southern also picked up some key parts.
Northern Pacific - NP
6,899 miles, $167,228,070 total operating revenue, 11,200,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 868 (207d, 661s)
States served - ID, MN, MT, ND, OR, WA, WI
Construction began in 1870, six years after charter as the land-grant Northern Pacific. Absorbed in March 1, 1970 Burlington Northern merger, along with Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Great Northern; and Spokane, Portland & Seattle. BNSF continues to operate most of the former Northern Pacific mainlines, although several hundred miles across Montana is now Montana Rail Link.
Pennsylvania - PRR
10,112 miles, $895,918,119 total operating revenue, 49,900,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 3,800 (1,175d, 2,356s, 267e, 2g)
States served - DE, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA, WV, DC
Pennsylvania Railroad chartered April 13, 1846; by 1852, ran from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. PRR extended its empire by leasing, acquiring, and consolidating other roads including Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis ("Panhandle"); and Vandalia. Altoona Shops were the largest of its kind in the world. PRR announced in 1957 its intent to merge with rival New York Central, and merger as Penn Central effected Feb. 1, 1968. Penn Central declared bankruptcy June 21, 1970, and was taken over by Conrail on April 1, 1976. Conrail concentrated traffic mostly on their former New York Central routes, and the PRR system became segmented. About 4200 miles of PRR lines remain in use, about half under Norfolk Southern, and the rest by about 40 other operators.
St. Louis-San Francisco - SLSF
4,635 miles, $121,383,409 total operating revenue, 7,800,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 629 (288d, 363s)
States served - AL, AR, FL, KS, MS, MO, OK, TN, TX
Begun in Missouri as branch of Pacific Railroad in 1853. Name changed from Atlantic & Pacific to St. Louis-San Francisco-"Frisco" for short-as part of 1875 receivership. Acquired by Burlington Northern on November 21, 1980. The St. Louis-San Francisco also owned the class 1 St. Louis-San Francisco and Texas Railroad, along with class 2 railroads Quanah, Acme and Pacific in Texas, and the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern in Alabama. Most of the SLSF is operated currently by BNSF.
Seaboard Air Line - SAL
4,146 miles, $135,536,777 total operating revenue, 8,300,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 628 (348d, 280s)
States served - AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, VA
Portsmouth & Roanoke Rail Road formed in 1832, reorganized as Seaboard & Roanoke in 1846. Several subsequent mergers, including the Raleigh & Augusta Air-Line being acquired by the Raleigh & Gaston in 1871, by 1881 created a collection known as Seaboard Air-Line System. Merger of Seaboard Air Line Railroad with paralleling Atlantic Coast Line, proposed in 1958, took place on July 1, 1967, creating Seaboard Coast Line. The Seaboard Coast Line became the Seaboard System, and then merged with the Chessie System to form today's CSX.
Southern - SOU
6,344 miles, $320,634,172 total operating revenue, 18,300,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 1,536 (624d, 912s)
States served- AL, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MS, MO, NC, SC, TN, VA, DC
First ancestor South Carolina Canal & Rail Road Company, was completed from Charleston to Hamburg in 1833. Southern Railway was chartered in 1894. Under Southern Railway System, many components retained a corporate identity (e.g., Alabama Great Southern; Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific; New Orleans & Northeastern). Southern merged with Norfolk & Western Railway on June 1, 1982, to form the Norfolk Southern Railway, a component of Norfolk Southern Corp. The Southern Railway also included four other class 1's, the Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific, the Alabama Great Southern, the New Orleans and Northeastern, and the Georgia Southern and Florida.
Southern Pacific - SP
12,441 miles, including the Texas and New Orleans, $598,262,728 total operating revenue, 58,400,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 2,383 (811d,1,572s)
States served - AZ, CA, LA, NV, NM, OR, TX, UT
First SP ancestor chartered in Texas in 1851. Sacramento Valley opened in California in 1851. Central Pacific incorporated in June 1861, connected its line to Promontory, Utah, with Union Pacific to form first transcontinental railroad May 10, 1869. San Francisco & San Jose opened in 1864 and was merged by Southern Pacific. CP acquired SP by 1868. Four Texas properties consolidated in 1934 as Texas & New Orleans. T&NO was merged into SP in 1961. Anschutz Corp, owner of Denver & Rio Grande Western, purchased SP on August 8, 1988, retained Southern Pacific Lines as system name. Union Pacific acquired control of SP on September 11, 1996. Southern Pacific owned three other Class 1's, the St. Louis Southwestern, the Northwestern Pacific, and the Texas and New Orleans.
Union Pacific - UP
9,720 miles, $465,283,516 total operating revenue, 30,300,000,000 revenue ton-miles, 1539 (564d, 975s)
States served - CA, CO, ID, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Union Pacific is the last major U.S. rail system whose name has never changed, dating from its charter in 1862 to build the nation's first transcontinental westward from Omaha, Nebraska. Construction began in 1865 and was completed on May 10, 1869. Also notable for their longevity are Union Pacific's shield-shaped emblem (1886) and yellow color scheme on its passenger cars and locomotives (1930s). Union Pacific has grown into the largest railroad in North America by absorbing the Missouri Pacific, Western Pacific, Missouri Kansas Texas, Chicago and North Western, Denver and Rio Grande Western and the Southern Pacific.
The following list of existing roundhouses was compiled and then cross-checked against multiple existing databases, updated to the summer of 2021. Although the list will quickly become outdated as more roundhouses are lost to history, it will serve as a snapshot in time. The community in which each is located, the original railroad, and its disposition are included. If no disposition is listed, the roundhouse is either being used by a non-railroad business or sits empty.
Birmingham: Alabama Great Southern
Huntsville: Memphis and Charleston (Huntsville Depot Museum, built in 1990)
Tarrant: Louisville and Nashville (in the CSX Boyles Yard)
Tuscumbia: Tuscumbia Depot and Roundhouse (built in 2013)
Clarkdale: Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix (later Verde Copper Smelter, in use)
Tucson: El Paso and Southwestern
Malvern: Hot Springs Railroad (later Arkansas Midland, near ruin)
Jonesboro: St. Louis and South Western
Brisbane (southern San Francisco): Southern Pacific (Bay Shore, ruins)
Folsom: Sacramento Valley (built for the museum)
Jamestown: Sierra Railway (Railtown 1897 State Historic Park)
Sacramento: California State Railroad Museum (built in 1981)
Samoa: Eureka and Klamath River (Timber Heritage Association)
San Francisco: San Francisco State Belt
Colorado Springs: Midland Terminal
Colorado Springs: Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (used by Pikes Peak Historical Street Railway)
Como: Denver, South Park and Pacific (Como Roundhouse Complex, restoration)
Denver: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
Durango: Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Museum (rebuilt in 1989)
Golden: Colorado Railroad Museum (built in 2000)
Hugo: Union Pacific
Leadville: Colorado and Southern (used by Leadville, Colorado and Southern, tourism)
Norwich: Norwich and Worcester (enclosed)
Putnam: New York, New Haven and Hartford
Willimantic: Columbia Junction (used by the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum, built in 2000)
Atlanta: Southern Railway, Pegram Yard
Atlanta: Southern Railway, North Avenue Yard (business park)
Savannah: Central of Georgia (used by Savannah Roundhouse Railroad Museum)
Hilo: Hawaii Consolidated (near ruin)
Amboy: Illinois Central
Aurora: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
Beardstown: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
Centralia (Wamac): Illinois Central (owned by Canadian National)
Cicero: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (used by Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
Moline: Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific
Murphysboro: Mobile and Ohio
South Deering: New York, Chicago and St. Louis (owned by Norfolk Southern, Calumet Yard)
Villa Grove: Chicago and Eastern Illinois (near ruin)
Evansville: Louisville and Nashville (used by CSX, Howell Yard)
Frankfort: New York, Chicago and St. Louis (fire damage in 2020, ruins)
Gary: Elgin, Joliet and Eastern (used by Canadian National, Kirk Yard, 40 stalls)
Hammond: Chicago, Indiana and Southern (used by Indiana Harbor Belt, Gibson Yard)
Princeton: Southern Railway (ruins)
Calmar: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific
Council Bluffs: Chicago and North Western
Iowa City: Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern
Manly: Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (owned by Canadian Pacific)
Nahant: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific (owned by Canadian Pacific)
Oelwein: Chicago and Great Western
Sioux City (North): Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific (used by Sioux City Railroad Museum)
Waterloo: Illinois Central (later Chicago Central and Pacific)
Phillipsburg: Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (near ruin)
Covington: Chesapeake and Ohio
Louisville: Kentucky and Indiana Terminal (used by Norfolk Southern)
Paris: Louisville and Nashville
New Orleans: Illinois Central (used by New Orleans Public Belt)
Alna: Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway Museum (built in 2021)
Calais (Milltown): Maine Central
Derby: Bangor and Aroostook (later Montreal, Maine and Atlantic)
Caribou: Bangor and Aroostook (near ruin)
Hermon (Northern Maine Junction): Bangor and Aroostook
Millinocket: Bangor and Aroostook
Phillips: Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes (modern, tourism)
Portland (East Deering): Grand Trunk
Rockland: Maine Central (used by Maine Eastern)
Rumford: Maine Central (owned by Pan Am, near ruin)
Waterville: Maine Central (in use, Waterville Yard)
Baltimore: Baltimore and Ohio, Mt. Clare Shops (used by B&O Railroad Museum)
Baltimore: Maryland and Pennsylvania (near ruin)
Cumberland: Baltimore and Ohio (used by CSX)
Athol: Boston and Albany
Chester: Boston and Albany (near ruin)
East Deerfield: Boston and Maine (owned by Pan Am Southern, ruins)
Hyannis: New York, New Haven and Hartford (under renovation)
Plainville: New York, New Haven and Hartford
Revere: Boston and Maine
Springfield: New York, New Haven and Hartford (ruins)
Adrian: Lake Shore and Michigan Southern (near ruin)
Alpena: Detroit and Mackinac (used by Lake State Railway)
Bay City: Michigan Central
Calumet: Calumet and Hecla Mining Company
Champion: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific
Elberta: Ann Arbor (near ruin)
Gladstone: Minneapolis, St. Paul and Saulte St. Marie (owned by Canadian National)
Greenfield Village, Dearborn: Detroit, Toledo and Milwaukee (Henry Ford Museum, built in 2000)
Hancock: Quincy and Torch Lake
Manistee: Manistee and Northeastern
New Buffalo: Chicago and West Michigan (later Pere Marquette)
Niles: Michigan Central
Saginaw: Pere Marquette (used by Lake State Railway)
Wells: Escanaba and Lake Superior (in use)
Biwabik: Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range (in use)
Breckenridge: Great Northern
Ely: Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range
Grand Forks: Northern Pacific (owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
International Falls: Minnesota, Dakota and Western (in use)
Proctor (East Railroad Avenue): Duluth, Missabe and Northern (owned by Canadian National)
Proctor (2nd Street): Duluth, Missabe and Northern
Rollag: Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion (modern, tourism)
St. Paul: Great Northern (used by the Minnesota Transportation Museum, Jackson Street Roundhouse)
St. Paul: Minnesota Commercial Railway (in use)
St. Paul: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific (used by Canadian Pacific)
Thief River Falls: Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie (owned by Canadian Pacific, near ruin)
Wabasha: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific
Amory: St. Louis-San Francisco (ruins)
Columbus: Southern (later Columbus and Greenville)
Joplin: Missouri Pacific
Kansas City: Kansas City Southern
Kansas City: Kansas City Terminal
Scott City: St. Louis Southwestern (near ruin)
Steelville: Arborway (built in 2000)
Anaconda: Butte, Anaconda and Pacific
Butte: Great Northern
Glendive: Northern Pacific (owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
Harlowton: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific (near the Milwaukee Depot Museum)
Whitefish: Great Northern (owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
Bridgeport: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
Chadron: Chicago and North Western (later Nebraska Northwestern)
Emerson: Chicago and North Western
Holdrege: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
Lincoln: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Hobson Yard)
McCook: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
Bartlett: Portland and Ogdensburg (Bartlett Roundhouse Preservation Society)
Dover: Boston and Maine
Keene: Cheshire (later Boston and Maine)
Nashua: Boston and Maine
North Conway: Portsmouth, Great Falls and Conway (used by Conway Scenic)
Portsmouth: Boston and Maine (near ruin)
Walpole (North): Boston and Maine (used by Green Mountain)
West Lebanon: Boston and Maine (Westboro Roundhouse, near ruin)
Cranford: Central Railroad of New Jersey
Hawthorne: New York, Susquehanna and Western
Newark: Lehigh Valley (used by Norfolk Southern)
Chama: Denver and Rio Grande Western (used by Cumbres and Toltec Scenic)
Las Vegas: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe
Batavia: New York Central (later Depew, Lancaster and Western)
Binghamton (East): Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (near ruin)
Buffalo (West Seneca): Pennsylvania, Ebenezer Yard
Buffalo: West Shore (New York Central)
Buffalo (Lackawanna): South Buffalo (in use)
Cortland: Lehigh Valley
Manchester: Lehigh Valley (35 stalls, near ruin)
Retsof: Genesee and Wyoming (in use)
Richmond Hill: Long Island (in use, Morris Park shops)
Rochester: Baltimore and Ohio
Rochester: Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh
Rouses Point: Delaware and Hudson
Sodus Point: Pennsylvania (ruins)
Troy: Boston and Maine
Utica: Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg (later New York Central)
Spencer: Southern (used by North Carolina Transportation Museum)
Grand Forks: Great Northern (used by Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
Ashtabula: Pennsylvania (near ruin)
Bellevue: Baltimore and Ohio (later New York, Chicago and St. Louis, owned by Norfolk Southern, near ruin)
Cleveland: Baltimore and Ohio (used by the Midwest Railway Preservation Society)
Cleveland: Newburgh and South Shore (in use)
Columbus: Hocking Valley (later Chesapeake and Ohio, now owned by CSX, Parsons Yard)
Jackson: Detroit, Toledo and Ironton
Minerva: New York Central
Sugarcreek: Age of Steam Roundhouse (built in 2010)
Altoona: Railroaders Memorial Museum (built in 2010)
Bethlehem: Philadelphia and Reading
Brookville: Brookville Equipment Corp. (built in 2011)
Chambersburg: Cumberland Valley (later Pennsylvania)
Greenville: Bessemer and Lake Erie (in use)
Marienville: Knox and Kane (built in 1985, near ruin)
McKeesport: McKeesport Connecting
Monroeville (Hall): Union (in use)
New Castle (Mahoningtown): Pittsburgh and Lake Erie
Newell: Pittsburgh and Lake Erie
North Bessemer: Bessemer and Lake Erie (near ruin)
Pen Argyl: Lehigh and New England
Pittsburgh (Hazelwood): Monongahela Connecting (used by the Pittsburgh Innovation Center)
Pittston/Duryea: Lehigh Valley (near ruin)
Rockhill: East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company
Scranton: Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (used by the Steamtown National Historic Site)
Tamaqua: Lehigh and New England
Peace Dale: Narragansett Pier
Aberdeen: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific (owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
Huron: Chicago and North Western (used by Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern)
Huron: Great Northern
Lead: Black Hills and Fort Pierre
Madison: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific
Madison: Historic Prairie Village Museum (built in 1997)
Rapid City: Chicago and North Western
Sioux Falls: Illinois Central
Sioux Falls: Chicago and North Western
Bruceton: Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis (near ruin)
Knoxville: Southern (used by Norfolk Southern, John Sevier Yard)
Nashville: Louisville and Nashville (used by CSX, Radnor Yard)
Amarillo: Fort Worth and Denver (near ruin)
Texarkana: St. Louis Southwestern
Texline: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (later Fort Worth and Denver, rebuilt)
Burlington: Rutland (used by Vermont Railway)
Newport: Boston and Maine (later Quebec Southern)
St. Albans: Central Vermont (used by New England Central)
White River Junction: Central Vermont (rebuilt replica)
Bristol: Norfolk and Western
Norfolk: Norfolk and Western (used by Norfolk Southern, Lambert’s Point Yard)
Roanoke: Norfolk and Western (used by Norfolk Southern)
Seattle: Great Northern (used by Burlington Northern Santa Fe)
Shelton: Simpson Timber Company (used by Sierra Pacific)
Martinsburg: Baltimore and Ohio (used by The Roundhouse Museum)
Williamson: Norfolk and Western (used by Norfolk Southern)
Green Bay: Chicago and North Western (later Wisconsin Central)
Janesville: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific (later Wisconsin and Southern)
Madison: Chicago and North Western
North Fond du Lac: Wisconsin Central (later Soo Line)
North Fond du Lac: Chicago and North Western (used by Canadian National)
Rhinelander: Minneapolis, St. Paul and Saulte St. Marie (owned by Canadian National)
Spooner: Chicago and North Western (used by Spooner Railroad Park)
Stevens Point: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific (used by Canadian National)
Wisconsin Rapids: Green Bay and Western (owned by Canadian National)
Cheyenne: Union Pacific (Cheyenne Depot Museum)
Cheyenne: Colorado and Southern (owned by railroad)
Evanston: Union Pacific (owned by railroad)
Lusk: Chicago and North Western
Boston and Albany
Rensselaer (Greenbush, East Albany): classification yard, shops, two roundhouses and turntables
Boston and Maine
Mechanicville: classification yard, roundhouse and turntable
Rotterdam Junction: classification yard, roundhouse and turntable
Troy: yard, roundhouse and turntable
Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh
Ashford Junction: enginehouse and turntable
Buffalo: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable
Gainsville: enginehouse and turntable
Perry: enginehouse and turntable
Rochester: yard, roundhouse and turntable (Lincoln Park)
Salamanca: roundhouse and turntable
Delaware and Hudson
Albany-south: shops, roundhouse and turntable (early)
Albany-lumber district: roundhouse
Ausable Forks: turntable
Ballston Spa: turntable
Binghamton" yard, roundhouse and turntable (Bevier Street yard)
Colonie: shops, roundhouse and turntable
Cooperstown: roundhouse and turntable
Green Island: shops, roundhouse and turntable
Lake Placid, turntable
Lyon Mountain: narrow gauge, turntable
Mechanicville: classification yard
Mooers Junction: turntable
North Creek: turntable (still exists)
Oneonta: yard, shops, two roundhouses and turntables
Oneonta: roundhouse and turntable (largest in the world, 52 stalls)
Plattsburgh: yard, roundhouse and turntable
Rouses Point: roundhouse (still exisits) and turntable
Salem: enclosed roundhouse and turntable (early)
Schenectady: yard, roundhouse and turntable
Whitehall: yard, roundhouse and turntable
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western
East Binghamton: yard, roundhouse (still exists) and turntable (Conklin Yard)
Buffalo: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable (Bison Yard)
Buffalo: roundhouse and turntable
Cortland Junction: turntable
Cortland: roundhouse and turntable
Elmira: roundhouse and turntable
Groveland Station: roundhouse and turntable
Ithaca: roundhouse and turntable
Oswego: roundhouse and turntable
Richfield Springs: enginehouse and turntable
Sloan: yard, roundhouse and turntable
Syracuse: yard, roundhouse and turntable (Fayette yard)
Utica: roundhouse and turntable (first)
Utica: yard, roundhouse and turntable (second, Oriskany Boulevard)
Avon: roundhouse and turntable
Buffalo: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable (SK yard)
Carrollton: enginehouse and turntable
Corning: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable
Elmira: roundhouse and turntable
Hornell: shops, roundhouse and turntable
Jamestown: roundhouse and turntable
Mt. Morris: turntable
Newburgh: roundhouse and turntable
Niagara Falls: yard, roundhouse and turntable
Nyack: roundhouse and turntable
Pine Bush: turntable
Port Jervis: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable (early)
Port Jervis: shops, roundhouse (razed) and turntable (still exists)
Rochester: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable
Salamanca: yard, shops, four roundhouses and turntables
Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville
Gloversville: shops, roundhouse and turntable
Auburn: roundhouse (still exists) and turntable
Buffalo: classification yard, shops, two roundhouses and turntables (East Buffalo Yard)
Buffalo: classification yard, roundhouse and turntable (Tifft Yard)
Camden: enginehouse and turntable
Canastota: roundhouse and turntable
Cortland: roundhouse (still exists) and turntable
Elmira: roundhouse and turntable
Fair Haven: roundhouse and turntable
Manchester: classification yard, shops, roundhouse (still exists) and turntable
Naples: turntable (still exists)
Niagara Falls: yard, roundhouse and turntable (Suspension Bridge Yard)
Rochester: roundhouse and turntable
Richmond Hill: yard, roundhouse and turntable (still exists, Morris Park Shops)
Oyster Bay: turntable
New York, New Haven and Hartford
Harlem River: roundhouse and turntable
Maybrook: classification yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable
New Rochelle: roundhouse and turntable
New York Central
Albany, West: classification yard, shops, three roundhouses and turntables, transfer tables
Albany: roundhouse and turntable (Bull Run Yard, early)
Auburn: roundhouse and turntable
Batavia: roundhouse (still exists) and turntable
Buffalo: yard, roundhouse and turntable (early)
Buffalo: classification yard, roundhouse and turntable (Seneca Yard)
Buffalo: classification yard, shops, two roundhouses and turntables (Gardenville)
Buffalo, classification yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable (Frontier Yard)
Canandaigua: roundhouse and turntable
Chatham: roundhouse and turntable
Corning: roundhouse and turntable (city center)
Corning: yard, roundhouse and turntable (northside)
Croton-on-Hudson (Harmon), diesel and electric shops, two roundhouses and turntables
Depew: locomotive shops
Dunkirk: roundhouse and turntable
Green Island: roundhouse and turntable (early)
Herkimer: roundhouse and turntable (Mohawk and Malone)
Hudson: roundhouse and turntable
Kingston: roundhouse and turntable
Lyons: roundhouse and turntable
Malone Junction: roundhouse and turntable
Manhattan, west side: yard, roundhouse and turntable
Montgomery: turntable (Wallkill Valley)
Niagara Falls: yard, roundhouse and turntable (Suspension Bridge Yard)
Oneida: roundhouse and turntable
Penn Yan: roundhouse and turntable
Renssealer: shops, roundhouse and turntable
Rochester: yard, shops, two enclosed roundhouses and turntables (Kent Street Yard)
Rochester: yard, roundhouse and turntable (Goodman Street Yard)
Rochester: yard and turntable (Charlotte Yard)
Rochester, east: car repair and building (Merchants Despatch)
Selkirk: shops, classification yard, two roundhouses and turntables
Schenectady: shops, roundhouse and turntable (early)
Syracuse: classificaton yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable (Dewitt Yard)
Watertown: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable
Westfield: roundhouse and turntable
West Haverstraw: roundhouse and turntable
White Plains: roundhouse and turntable
New York and Ottawa
Santa Clara: two turntables
New York and Pennsylvania
New York, Ontario and Western
Brandon: roundhouse and turntable
Campbell Hall: turntable
Cornwall on Hudson: turntable
Edmeston: enginehouse and turntable
Middletown: roundhouse and turntable
New Berlin: enginehouse and turntable
Norwich: yard, shops, two roundhouses and turntables
Oneida: roundhouse and two turntables
Oswego: roundhouse and turntable
Rome: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable (early)
Rome: roundhouse (still exisits) and turntable
Utica: yard, shops, two roundhouses and turntables
Sidney: roundhouse and turntable
Brockton: roundhouse and turntable
Buffalo: yard, shops, two roundhouses and turntables (still exist)
Canandaigua: roundhouse and turntable
East Aurora: turntable
Elmira, roundhouse and turntable
Olean: roundhouse (still exisits) and turntable
Rochester: yard, roundhouse and turntable
Sodus Point: roundhouse and turntable
Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg
Norwood: roundhouse and turntable
Ogdensburg: yard, shops, two roundhouses and turntables
Oswego: roundhouse and turntable
Potsdam: roundhouse and turntable
Rochester: roundhouse and turntable ("Hojack" line)
Sackets Harbor: roundhouse and turntable
Utica: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable
Watertown: roundhouse and turntable
Malone: shops, roundhouse and turntable
Ogdensburg: yard, roundhouse and turntable
Ulster and Delaware
Oneonta: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable
Buffalo: yard, shops, roundhouse and turntable
Earlville: roundhouse and turntable
Frankfort: shops, roundhouse and turntable
Genesee Junction: yard and turntable
Kingston: roundhouse and turntable
Newark: roundhouse and turntable
Newburgh: enginehouse and turntable
Below is a list of the Class I railroads (more than $1 million in revenues) operating in New York State in 1950. Only railroads with significant miles or rail facilities within the state are included. After each railroad (in parentheses) are total railroad miles, the dollar amount of revenues for the year 1950, and the number of locomotives owned.
BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD
(6,188 miles, $402 million, 1,982 locomotives)
Primary locations: Buffalo, East Salamanca, Orchard Park, Rochester, Perry, Salamanca, Staten Island
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Buffalo and Susquehanna; Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh; Staten Island Rapid Transit (partnership)
Primary rail facilities: Buffalo yard and shops, Rochester roundhouse and repair shops, St. George Terminal (Staten Island)
BOSTON AND MAINE RAILROAD
(1,702 miles, $86 million, 436 locomotives)
Primary locations: Eagle Bridge, Mechanicville, Rotterdam, Saratoga Springs, Schuylerville, Troy
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Boston, Hoosac Tunnel and Western; Fitchburg; Troy and Boston; Troy and Greenfield
Primary rail facilities: Mechanicville yard and roundhouse, Rotterdam Junction interchange yard and roundhouse, Troy Middleburg yard and roundhouse
DELAWARE AND HUDSON RAILROAD
(793 miles, $55 million, 333 locomotives)
Primary locations: Adirondacks, Albany, Ballston Spa, Binghamton, Cobleskill, Cohoes, Glens Falls, Green Island, Lake George, Mechanicville, Rouses Point, Saranac Lake, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Schuylerville, Troy, Plattsburgh, Waterford, Watervliet, Whitehall
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Adirondack Railway; Albany Northern; Albany and Susquehanna; Chateaugay and Lake Placid; Cherry Valley and Mohawk River; Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley; Greenwich and Johnsonville; Rennselaer and Saratoga; Saratoga and Schenectady; Schenectady and Duanesburgh; Ticonderoga; Troy, Salem and Rutland
Primary rail facilities: Binghamton classification yard, Chateauguay Ore and Iron (Plattsburgh), Colonie Shops (Watervliet), Oneonta roundhouse and repair shops, Green Island Shops, Plattsburgh shops and roundhouse, Schenectady Mohawk Yard, Schenectady Seneca Yard
DELAWARE, LACKAWANNA AND WESTERN RAILROAD
(966 miles, $82 million, 311 locomotives)
Primary locations: Binghamton, Buffalo, Corning, Cortland, Elmira, Fulton, Ithaca, Johnson City, Lancaster, Norwich, Oswego, Syracuse
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Erie and Central New York; Oswego and Syracuse; Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg; Syracuse and Baldwinsville; Syracuse, Binghamton and New York; Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley
Primary rail facilities: Binghamton Yard, East Buffalo Car and Machine Shops (Sloan), East Buffalo Yard, Oswego shops and roundhouse, Syracuse yard and roundhouse, Utica shops and yard
(2,245 miles, $166 million, 574 locomotives)
Primary locations: Attica, Batavia, Binghamton, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Corning, Dunkirk, Elmira, Endicott, Goshen, Hamburg, Haverstraw, Hornell, Horseheads, Johnson City, Kingston, Lancaster, Lockport, Jamestown, Monroe, New York City, Newburg, Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda, Nyack, Owego, Port Jervis, Rochester, Salamanca, Spring Valley, Suffern
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Atlantic and Great Western; Buffalo and Jamestown; Buffalo and South Western; Buffalo, New York and Erie; Chicago and Erie; Conesus Lake; Lockport and Buffalo; Montgomery and Erie; New Jersey and New York; New York, Lake Erie and Western; New York, Susquehanna and Western
Primary rail facilities: Binghamton Yard, Buffalo Bison Yard, Buffalo Car Shops, East Buffalo Repair and Machine Shops, Elmira shops and roundhouse, Elmira Yard, Endicott freight yard, Hornell Shops, Newburgh yard and roundhouse, Niagara Falls freight yard, Nyack roundhouse, Port Jervis roundhouse and repair shops, Rochester roundhouse, Salamanca repair shops and roundhouse, Union Dry Dock (Buffalo)
LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD
(1,279 miles, $71 million, 262 locomotives)
Primary locations: Auburn, Buffalo, Camden, Finger Lakes, Geneva, Ithaca, Naples, New York City Rochester
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Auburn and Ithaca; Buffalo and Geneva; Buffalo Creek; Cayuga Southern; Cazenovia, Canastota and De Ruyter; Depew and Tonawanda; Elmira, Cortland and Northern; Geneva, Ithaca and Sayre; Lehigh and New York; Utica, Ithaca and Elmira
Primary rail facilities: Buffalo Car Shops, Buffalo passenger and freight terminal, Buffalo Tifft Farm Yard, Ithaca repair shops, Manchester classification yard and roundhouse, Rochester freight yard and coal company
LONG ISLAND RAILROAD
(365 miles, $49 million, 124 locomotives)
Primary locations: Bronx, Brooklyn, Freeport, Garden City, Hempstead, Lindenhurst, Long Island, Lynbrook, Manhattan, Mineola, Northport, Queens, Patchogue, Port Jefferson, Rockville Centre
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Central Railroad of Long Island; Flushing and North Side; New York and Flushing; New York and Manhattan Beach; New York and Rockaway Beach; South Side
Primary rail facilities: Arch Street Yard, Atlantic Terminal, Babylon Yard, Holban (Hillside) Yard, Montauk Yard, Morris Park shops and roundhouse, Penn Station Terminal, Port Jefferson Yard, Riverhead Yard, Ronkonkoma Yard, Vanderbilt Yard (Brooklyn), West Side Yard
NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD
(10,727 miles, $760 million, 3,489 locomotives)
Primary locations: Adirondacks, Amsterdam, Albany, Brockport, Brooklyn, Bronx, Buffalo, Catskills, Dunkirk, Haverstraw, Herkimer, Kingston, Malone, Manhattan, Massena, Medina, Niagara Falls, Ossining, Oswego, Queens, Palmyra, Peekskill, Penn Yan, Port Chester, Potsdam, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Rome, Saranac Lake, Scarsdale, Schenectady, Syracuse, Tarrytown, Tonawanda, Troy, Utica, Watertown, White Plains, Yonkers
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Attica and Buffalo; Auburn and Rochester; Auburn and Syracuse; Boston and Albany; Buffalo and Niagara Falls; Buffalo and Rochester; Canandaigua and Niagara Falls; Carthage, Watertown and Sackets Harbor; Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley and Pittsburgh; Hudson River; Mohawk and Hudson; Mohawk and Malone; New York and Harlem; New York and Ottawa; Niagara Falls Branch; Oswego and Rome; Rochester and Syracuse; Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg; St. Lawrence and Adirondack; Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris; Syracuse and Chenango; Syracuse, Ontario and New York; Tonawanda; Troy and Schenectady; Ulster and Delaware; Utica and Schenectady; Utica and Black River; Utica and Syracuse; Wallkill Valley; West Shore
Primary rail facilities: Albany Bull Run Yard, Albany Selkirk Yard, Bronx Mott Haven Yard, Bronx Wakefield Yard, Buffalo Frontier Yard, Buffalo West Shore shops and yard, Buffalo car shops, Buffalo Union Depot, Buffalo stockyards, Buffalo Central and Allied Lines Terminal, Depew Locomotive Works, East Buffalo car shops, Frankfort repair shops, Grand Central Terminal (Manhattan), Harmon Shops (Croton-on-Hudson), Kingston Rondout shops, Malone roundhouse, Manhattan West Side Yard, Massena roundhouse, Niagara Falls machine shop and roundhouse, North Corning Shops, Ogdensburg roundhouse and freight yard, Oneida freight yard and roundhouse, Peekskill shops and roundhouse, Poughkeepsie roundhouse and repair shops, Rochester passenger depot and train shed, Rochester repair shops and roundhouse, Rensselaer terminal and yard, Schenectady roundhouse, Syracuse repair shops, Syracuse DeWitt Yard, Utica roundhouse and yard, Watertown yard, West Albany shops and yard, Troy Adams Street yard and roundhouse
NEW YORK, NEW HAVEN AND HARTFORD RAILROAD
(1,794 miles, $151 million, 530 locomotives)
Primary locations: Bronx, Harrison, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Port Chester, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Rye
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Boston, Hartford and Erie; Central New England; Harlem River and Port Chester; New York and New England; New York and Oswego Midland; New York Connecting (joint ownership); Poughkeepsie and Eastern
Primary rail facilities: Bronx Harlem River Yard, Bronx Oak Point Yard, Maybrook classification yard, New Rochelle Yard, Port Chester freight yard
NEW YORK, ONTARIO AND WESTERN RAILWAY
(541 miles, $7 million, 49 locomotives)
Primary locations: Kingston, Middletown, Monticello, Norwich, Oneida, Oswego, Rome, Utica, Port Jervis
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: New York and Oswego Midland; Rome and Clinton; Utica, Clinton and Binghamton
Primary rail facilities: Middletown shops, Norwich roundhouse and shops, Oneida roundhouse, Oswego yard and roundhouse, Oswego New Harbor coal pocket,
(10,112 miles, $896 million, 3,800 locomotives)
Primary locations: Attica, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Corning, East Aurora, Elmira, New York City, Niagara Falls, Olean, Penn Yan, Sodus Point, Tonawanda
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia; Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Western; Elmira and Lake Ontario; Elmira, Canandaigua and Niagara Falls; Long Island; New York Connecting (joint ownership); Northern Central; Western New York and Pennsylvania
Primary rail facilities: Buffalo shops and yard, New York Penn Station, Olean repair shops, Queens Sunnyside Yard, Rochester terminal
(407 miles, $6 million, 48 locomotives)
Primary locations: Adirondacks, Chatham, Eagle Bridge, Malone, Ogdensburg, Rouses Point
Notable predecessors and controlled lines: Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain
Primary rail facilities: Malone shops and roundhouse, Ogdensburg roundhouse and yard
Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway
Buffalo (terminates); West Seneca; Springville; junction at Ashford to East Salamanca or Machias; State Line to Pennsylvania; branch at East Salamanca to Salamanca (terminates); branch at Silver Lake Junction to Silver Springs, Silver Lake, and Perry (terminates); DL&W Junction; LeRoy; Maplewood; Rochester (terminates)
Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway
Buffalo (terminates); Hamburg; branch at Arcade to Attica; Crystal Lake; Belfast; Belmont; Wellsville; Genesee to Pennsylvania; branch from Pennsylvania to Addison
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
Buffalo (terminates); branch at East Buffalo to Black Rock (terminates); Depew; Lancaster; BR&P Junction; Pennsylvania Railroad Junction; Mount Morris; Dansville; Wayland; Bath; Corning; Horseheads; Elmira; Waverly; branch at Owego to Ithaca (terminates); junction at Binghamton to Pennsylvania or Chenango Forks; junction at Chenango Forks to Cortland or Richfield Junction; Jamesville; Syracuse; Oswego (terminates); junction at Richfield Junction to Richfield Springs (terminates) or Utica (terminates)
Delaware and Hudson Company
Binghamton (terminates); junction at Nineveh to Pennsylvania (south) or Sidney (north); Oneonta; branch at Cooperstown Junction to Cooperstown (terminates); Schenevus; branch at Cobleskill to Cherry Valley (terminates); Delanson junction to Voorheesville or Schenectady; Albany; Watervliet; Troy; Green Island; Cohoes; Johnsonville junction to Eagle Bridge or Greenwich; Schuylerville (terminates); Salem; Granville to Vermont; junction at Waterford Junction to Mechanicville or Troy; Ballston Spa; branch at Saratoga Springs to North Creek (terminates); branch at Fort Edward to Glens Falls and Lake George (terminates); branch at Whitehall to Vermont; Ticonderoga; Port Henry; Westport; Port Kent; branch to Ausable Forks (terminates); branch to Saranac Lake and Lake Placid (terminates); branch at Plattsburgh to Mooers Junction (terminates); Rouses Point to Canada
Jamestown to Pennsylvania; junction at Dayton to Dunkirk (terminates), Buffalo, or Salamanca; junction at Carrollton to Pennsylvania or Olean and Hornell; junction at Buffalo to Tonawanda or Attica; junction at Tonawanda to Niagara Falls, Suspension Bridge (terminates) or Lockport (terminates); junction at Attica to LeRoy or Hornell; branches at Avon to Rochester (terminates) and Mount Morris (terminates); Bath; Corning; Horseheads; branch at Elmira to Pennsylvania; Binghamton; branch at Susquehanna to Starrucca (PA); branch at Lackawaxen to Pennsylvania; Port Jervis; branch at Middletown to Pine Bush; branches at Goshen to Pine Island (terminates) and Montgomery (terminates); branch at Greycourt to Newburgh (terminates); Piermont to New Jersey
Long Island Railroad
Main Line Manhattan to Greenport via Brooklyn, Morris Park, Jamaica, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Farmingdale, Pine Lawn, Deer Park, Central Islip, Medford and Riverhead; North Side Division from Long Island City to Port Washington via Flushing, Whitestone Landing and Great Neck; Rockaway Beach Division; Montauk Division from Long Island City to Montauk via Jamaica, Valley Stream, Massapequa, Babylon, Patchogue, Eastport, the Hamptons, and Sag Harbor; Wading River Branch via Long Island City, Hicksville and Port Jefferson; Oyster Bay Branch via Long Island City, Brooklyn, Jamaica, Garden City and Mineola; Far Rockaway Branch via Jamaica and Valley Stream; Long Beach Branch via Long Island City, Jamaica, and Valley Stream
Lehigh Valley Railroad
Suspension Bridge (terminates); Niagara Falls; North Tonawanda; Tonawanda; Buffalo; Depew; Batavia; branches at Rochester Junction to Rochester (terminates) and Hemlock Lake (terminates); Manchester; Geneva; branches at Geneva Junction to Seneca Falls (terminates) and Naples (terminates); branch at Hyatt’s Corners to Willard (terminates); junction at Ithaca to Elmira (terminates), Interlaken, Freeville, or Van Etten Junction; junction at Freeville to Cortland or Auburn; North Fair Haven (terminates); Cazenovia; Canastota; Camden (terminates); Owego; Barton to Pennsylvania; branch at Sayre (PA) to Waverly (terminates)
New York Central and Hudson River Railroad
Manhattan (Grand Central Station, terminates); Spuyten Duyvil; Yonkers; Tarrytown; Ossining; Peekskill; Poughkeepsie; Hudson; Rensselaer; Troy; Albany; Cohoes; Schenectady; Amsterdam; junction at Utica to Adirondacks; branch at Fulton Chain to Old Forge (terminates); branch at Clear Water to Raquette Lake (terminates); branch at Lake Clear to Lake Placid (terminates); junction at Tupper Lake Junction to Malone or Moira; Moira to Canada; junction at Malone to Canada or Rouses Point; branch at Norwood to Massena Springs (terminates); branch at Rome to Richland; branches at Watertown to Sackets Harbor (terminates), Cape Vincent (terminates) and Carthage; branch to Edwards (terminates); branch to Clayton (terminates); branch at Carthage to Newton Falls; branch at Syracuse to Earlville (terminates); junction at Syracuse to Lyons, Auburn, or Oswego; Cayuga; Canandaigua; junction at Oswego to Windsor Beach or Pulaski; junction at Lyons to Geneva or Rochester; branch at Dresden to Penn Yan (terminates); Corning to Pennsylvania; branch at Rochester to Charlotte; junction at Rochester to Albion or Batavia; branch from Batavia to Attica (terminates); Lancaster; Depew; East Buffalo; junction at Buffalo to Niagara Falls, Batavia, Dunkirk, or Canada; Lockport; Tonawanda; junction at Dunkirk to Jamestown and Titusville (PA) or Erie (PA); Harlem Division from Manhattan to Chatham via Mount Vernon, White Plains, and Brewster; New York and Putnam Division; Wallkill Valley Branch via Kingston, New Paltz, and Campbell Hall; Boston and Albany Division via Chatham, Rensselaer, and Albany; Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Division via Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Oswego; Rutland Railroad Division from Rutland (VT) to Ogdensburg via Rouses Point, Malone, and Norwood
New York, Ontario and Western Railway
Cornwall to New Jersey; Campbell Hall; Middletown; branch to Kingston (terminates); branch to Port Jervis (terminates); branch to Monticello (terminates); branch to Scranton (PA); branch at Walton to Delhi (Catskills); Sydney; branch at Berlin Junction to Edmeston (terminates); junction at Randallsville to Clinton or Castle; branches at Clinton to Utica (terminates) and Rome (terminates); Central Square; Oswego (terminates)
Manhattan (Penn Station, terminates) to Jersey City (NJ) and Philadelphia (PA); Pennsylvania to Elmira; Penn Yan; branch at Stanley to Canandaigua; Sodus Point (terminates); Pennsylvania to Olean; junction at Hinsdale to Buffalo or Rochester; Pennsylvania to Mayville; Dunkirk; Silver Creek to Buffalo (terminates)
Ulster and Delaware Railroad
Oneonta (terminates; Bloomville; branch at Phoenicia to Tannersville and Kaaterskill (Catskills, terminates); branch at Kaaterskill Junction to Hunter (Catskills, terminates); Shandaken; Kingston; Kingston Point (terminates)
West Shore Railroad (part of New York Central)
Jersey City (terminates); Haverstraw; Cornwall; Newburgh; branch at Kingston to Campbell Hall; Catskill; junction at Ravenna to Albany; Voorheesville; Schenectady; Rotterdam Junction; Fultonville; Canajoharie; Mohawk; Frankfort; Utica; Canastota; Chenango Branch from Syracuse to Earlville via Manlius and Cazenovia; Weedsport; Lyons; Pittsford; branch at Churchville to Rochester; Genesee Junction; Maplewood; Akron; East Buffalo; Buffalo; Tonawanda; Niagara Falls; Suspension Bridge (terminates)
Source: The Official Guide of the Railways and Steam Navigation Lines of the United States
Number after each location = miles from terminal
From the book "Railroad Atlas: New York State"
ALBANY AND WEST STOCKBRIDGE
ALBANY, Greenbush 1, Schodack 8, Kinderhook 16, Chatham Centre 20, Chatham Four Corners 23, East Chatham 28, Canaan 33, State Line 38
ALBANY, VERMONT AND CANADA
ALBANY, Cemetery 4, West Troy 6, Cohoes 9, Waterford 11, Waterford Junction 12, Schaghticoke 22, Pittstown 23, Johnsonville 26, Buskirk 31, Eagle Bridge 33
BLACK RIVER AND UTICA
UTICA, Marcy 6, Stittsville 10, Holland Patent 12, Trenton Falls 16, Remsen 21, Boonville 35, Collinsville 44, Turin 46, Lowville 58, Carthage 73, Philadelphia 86, Lafargeville 101, Clayton 109
BUFFALO, NEW YORK AND ERIE
BUFFALO, Lancaster 10, Town Line 15, Alden 20, Darien 25, Attica 31, Alexander 35, Batavia 42, Stafford 48, Le Roy 52, Caledonia 59, Avon Springs 66, Hamilton’s 75, Livonia 81, Clark 83, Conesus 85, Springwater 92, Wayland 97, Blood’s 103, Liberty 107, Wallace 112, Avoca 115, Kanona 118, Bath 122, Savona 128, Campbell’s 133, Curtis 135, Cooper’s 137, Painted Post 140, Corning 142
BUFFALO, NEW YORK AND ERIE, ROCHESTER AND GENESEE VALLEY BRANCH
ROCHESTER, Henrietta 8, Scottsville 12, Rush 14, Avon Springs 18
BUFFALO, NEW YORK AND ERIE, ATTICA AND HORNELLSVILLE BRANCH
BUFFALO, Attica 31, Linden 38, Middlebury 42, Warsaw 47, Gainesville 54, Castile 57, Portage 61, Hunt’s Hollow 65, Nunda 67, Swainville 74, Canaseraga 78, Burn’s 82, Hornellsville 91
CANANDAIGUA AND NIAGARA FALLS
CANANDAIGUA, East Bloomfield 8, Miller’s Corners 12, West Bloomfield 15, Honeoye Falls 18, West Rush 25, G.V.R.R Junction 25, Caledonia 33, Le Roy 40, Stafford 44, Batavia 50, East Pembroke 56, Richville 63, Akron 66, Clarence Center 73, Transit 76, Vincent 82, Tonawanda 85, Niagara Falls 97, Suspension Bridge 99
CAYUGA AND SUSQUEHANNA
OWEGO, Candor 10, Willseyville 14, Pugsley’s 20, Ithaca 33, Pier 35, boat to Cayuga
HUDSON AND BOSTON
HUDSON, Upper Depot 1, Claverack 4, Mellinville 9, Ghent 15, Chatham Four Corners 17, East Chatham 23, Edwards 29, State Line 31, West Stockbridge 34
TROY, East Albany 6, Castleton 14, Schodack 17, Stuyvesant 24, Coxsackie 27, Hudson 34, Oak Hill 40, Germantown 45, Tivoli 50, Barrytown 54, Rhinebeck 59, Staatsburg 65, Hyde Park 69, Poughkeepsie 75, New Hamburg 84, Fishkill 90, Cold Spring 96, Garrison 99, Peekskill 107, Sing Sing 117, Tarrytown 123, Dobbs Ferry 128, Yonkers 133, Manhattan 142, Chambers Street 147, New York 150
BROOKLYN, Bedford 2, East New York 5, Cypress Avenue 7, Union Course 8, Woodhaven 9, Jamaica 11, Willow Tree 12, Queens 14, Hyde Park 17, Harlem Branch 20, Westbury 23, Hicksville 26, Jerusalem 29, Farmingdale 31, Deer Park 37, Thompson 41, North Islip 43, Lake Land 49, Waverly 53, Medford 55, Bellport 57, Yaphank 60, Manor 66, River Head 74, Jamesport 79, Mattituck 83, Cutchogue 86, Hermitage 89, Southold 91, Greenport 95
NEW YORK AND HARLEM
NEW YORK, 32d Street 3, Yorkville 5, Harlem 7, Mott Haven 8, Melrose 9, Morrisania 10, Fordham 12, Williams Bridge 14, Hunt’s Bridge 14, Bronxville 19, Tuckahoe 20, Scarsdale 22, Hart’s Corners 24, White Plains 26, Kenisco 29, Pleasantville 34, New Castle 40, Bedford 42, Whitlockville 45, Croton Falls, 51, Brewter’s 55, Paterson 63, South Dover 73, Dover Plains 80, Wassaic 85, Amenia 88, Millerton 96, Boston Corners 103, Copake 108, Hillsdale 112, Bain’s 115, Martindale 118, Philmont 122, Ghent 128, Catham Four Corners 131, East Albany 153
NEW YORK AND NEW HAVEN
NEW YORK, 32d Street 3, Harlem 7, William’s Bridge 13, Mount Vernon 17, New Rochelle 20, Mamaroneck 23, Rye 27, Port Chester 29, Greenwich 31, Cob Bridge 33, Stamford 36, Darien 41, Norwalk 44, Westport 47, Southport 52, Fairfield 54, West Haven 73, New Haven 76
NEW YORK CENTRAL
ALBANY, Troy 6, Schenectady 17, Hoffman’s 26, Crane’s Village 30, Amsterdam 33, Tribe’s Hill 39, Fonda 44, Yost 49, Sprakers 52, Palatine Bridge 55, Fort Plain 58, St. Johnsville 64, Little Falls 74, Herkimer 81, Ilion 83, Frankfort 86, Utica 95, Whitesboro 99, Oriskany 102, Rome 109, Green’s Corners 114, Verona 118, Oneida 122, Wampsville 125, Canastota 127, Canaseraga 131, Chittenango 133, Kirkville 137, Manlius 140, Syracuse 148, Warners 157, Canton 159, Jordan 165, Weedsport 169, Port Byron 172, Savannah 179, Clyde 186, Lyons 193, Newark 198, Palmyra 206, Macedon 210, Fairport 219, Rochester 229, Cold Water 235, Chili 239, Churchville 244, Bergen 247, West Bergen 250, Byron 253, Batavia 261, Alexander 269, Attica 272, Croft’s 268, Pembroke 272, Alden 277, Wende 281, Town Line 283, Lancaster 288, Forks 290, Buffalo 298
NEW YORK CENTRAL, BUFFALO AND LOCKPORT BRANCH
BUFFALO, Black Rock 4, Tonawanda 11, Hall’s Station 16, Lockport Junction 23, Lockport 26
NEW YORK CENTRAL, BUFFALO AND NIAGARA FALLS BRANCH
BUFFALO, Black Rock 4, Tonawanda 11, La Salle 17, Niagara Falls 22, Suspension Bridge 24, Lewiston 28
POTSDAM AND WATERTOWN
WATERTOWN, Sanford’s Corners 6, Evan’s Mills 11, Philadelphia 18, Antwerp 24, Gouverneur 36, Richville 44, Hermon 52, Canton 59, Potsdam 70, Potsdam Junction 76
RENSSELAER AND SARATOGA
TROY, Waterford 4, Junction 5, Mechancville 12, Ballston 25, Saratoga 32
RUTLAND AND WASHINGTON
RUTLAND VT, West Rutland 4, Castleton 11, Poultney 18, Middle Granville 24, Granville 26, Pawlet 29, Rupert 36, West Rupert 38, Salem 44, Shushan 51, Cambridge 56, Eagle Bridge 62, Troy 85, Albany 95
SARATOGA AND SCHENECTADY
SCHENECTADY, Ballston 15, Saratoga 22
SARATOGA AND WHITEHALL
TROY, Van Kleeck’s 40, Gansevoort 43, Moreau 47, Fort Edward 48, Dunham’s Basin 52, Smith’s Basin 56, Fort Ann 60, Comstock 64, Whitehall 71, State Line 77, Fair Haven 79, Rutland 95
TROY, BOSTON AND VERMONT
TROY, Lansingburg 4, Schaghticoke 12, Pittstown 14, Johnsonville 16, Buskirk 21, Eagle Bridge 23, North Hoosick 27, Walloomsac 28, State Line 30, Rutland 84
WATERTOWN AND ROME
CAPE VINCENT, Three Mile Bay 8, Chaumont 11, Limerick 17, Brownville 21, Watertown 25, Adams Centre 35, Adams 38, Mannsville 45, Sandy Creek 50, Richland 55, Albion 60, Kasoag 66, Williamstown 69, West Camden 74, Camden 79, McConnellsville 84, Taberg 86, Rome 97
Source: 1858 Map of the Railroads of the State of New York
Published by the Saratogian
Friday, February 17, 2012
BALLSTON SPA — The Saratoga County Historical Society, housed in one of the county’s oldest buildings (Brookside), has perhaps the largest collection of artifacts in the area that were donated from throughout Saratoga County and beyond. The organization’s educational programs serve several thousand children a year and hundreds more adults.
Despite Brookside’s successes, it has had to contend with funding cuts from several supporters, including the town of Malta, the New York State Council on the Arts and, most recently, Saratoga County.
Late last year, Saratoga County abruptly decided to discontinue support for Brookside in the 2012 budget. Although the amount was small when compared to the overall budget, just $12,500, it represented almost 10 percent of Brookside’s annual income.
A spirited protest from the community persuaded the county to partially restore the cut, but the organization’s director, Joy Houle, was warned that there may be no funding at all in 2013.
Now, Brookside is forced to look for other ways to remain financially secure. Some expenses were cut this year by making the painful decision to close the facility in January. Getting people to come through the door is half the battle.
In addition to the exhibits, research center and artifact collection, one of the main attractions is the Holiday Shoppe, which operates in November and December each year, and the gift shop, which is open year round during normal business hours. The biggest sellers outside the holiday season are books for sale by local authors, some of which are not sold anywhere else.
Because the topic of railroads is so popular in this area, welcome additions to the gift shop this winter are two books by author Timothy Starr. “The Golden Age of Railroads in New York’s Capital District” describes the exciting history of rail transportation in the Capital Region during the height of operations from the late 1800s to mid-1900s. The book contains many details that will be of interest to beginners and rail historians alike. Important but sometimes little-known facets of the railroads include local yards and car shops, towns and industries served, and the effect that the electric street railways had on the steam railroads and life in general.
The second book, “Railroading in New York’s Capital District: Hot Off The Presses,” is a compilation of the author’s favorite newspaper articles dating from 1832 to the post World War I period. Starr culled more than 200 articles from his collection that relate some of the most interesting aspects of life in the railroad era. Chapters include “Mother Nature Strikes,” “Crime on the Rails,” “Accidents and Injuries” and “Strange Tales of the Rails.”
According to Starr, in the early 1900s Saratoga County hosted four electric railway lines and two interstate steam railroads. The Delaware and Hudson Railroad was the dominant line in the county, with extensions into almost every significant town and village. The Boston and Maine Railroad was noted for its extensive classification yard and shops in Mechanicville.
Like many of the titles for sale at Brookside, both books are self-published and available in limited quantities, making the gift shop a mandatory stop for local history buffs and avid book readers alike.
by Katie Nowak
Published: July 25, 2010
A Saratoga man known for his self-published hyper-local history books has written another, this time focusing on the Capital District, and published by a national imprint.
Timothy Starr released Great Inventors of the Capital District on June 28 through History Press, a Georgia-based publisher known for producing scores of history books about towns and villages throughout the country. Starr was inspired to submit his proposal for the book after seeing their titles in stores and noticing they had yet to publish one about his specific idea.
Great Inventors chronicles approximately 60 inventors from the early 19th to early 20th centuries who have some connection to Troy, Albany, Schenectady and Cohoes — among other areas throughout the Capital District — and whose inventions benefited the region.
Starr came across a lot of inventors’ stories while researching his other books, which focus on the history of parts of Ballston Spa and Saratoga County, but found a distinct lack of detailed information about each of them.
Relying on the help of local historical societies, Starr fleshed out the narratives for each of his featured inventors, gathering some personal information, like the dates of their birth and death, as well as discovering how exactly their invention helped the Capital District.
“I’m doing an angle of history that hasn’t been done before in depth,” he said.
Some inventors in the book, like George Westinghouse Jr., who invented the railroad air brake, have only a tangential relationship to the region, Starr said. Westinghouse eventually moved to a different state, where he further developed the brake’s technology. But he also filed his patent for the brake in Schenectady, Starr said, making him the perfect candidate for inclusion in the book.
Others have deeper connections to the region, especially those from Troy. The Collar City gets its own chapter, with insight about the inventors who gave the city its name, and another chapter, titled “Men of Steel,” profiles Henry Burden, who invented a horseshoe machine that made one horseshoe per second.
Starr, who works as an accountant by day, said that writing the books is a hobby for him. “This is just something I do in the evening after the baby goes to bed,” he said. He’d always had an interest in history — it was one of his majors in college — but that interest tended to focus more on ancient civilizations. It wasn’t until he moved to Saratoga County in 1997 and began exploring his own back yard that the pull to investigate local history took over.
Now, his hobby has turned into something history buffs throughout the Capital District can appreciate. Starr’s work resurrects a time gone by, and reminds residents about the way things used to be, he said.
“It’s like a forgotten history,” he said. “There are not a lot of inventors here anymore, not really any businessmen inventors anymore. It’s an era that’s gone and never coming back,” he added.
Published by the Saratogian
By ANN MARIE FRENCH, Staff Writer
November 10, 2008
MILTON - Saratoga County residents have always known the rich history the county has as it relates to horses and agriculture, but not as well-known are the number of inventions attributed to county residents.
Timothy Starr, an accountant by trade, stumbled on that little-known fact while researching a book he was writing about the industrial era of the county. Many of the inventions listed in Starr's book, "Invented in Saratoga County," were developed for industry. His two years of research left him with more than 1,200 patents from around the county. The book was written simultaneously with his "Invented in Ballston Spa" book, both published earlier this year.
Better-known inventions include Saratoga Springs resident Charles Dowd's invention of standard time, George Crum's potato chip, and the roofing composition for shingles that is widely used today. Saratoga County residents can be thanked for their inventions of useful items like the auger bit, which is still used today, as well as steam- and hand-operated fire engines.
"In the number of successful inventions, Saratoga County compares favorably with neighboring counties, even those with greater populations, for various reasons," Starr said. The industrial era, which roughly spanned from 1850 to the Great Depression, was the most powerful impetus for innovation, he said.
"More than three-quarters of all patents relate to industry. Had industry not developed in the county, the vast majority of these patents would have never been filed. The wealth generated by this industry, coupled with the large tourist trade in Saratoga, attracted many wealthy, educated people to settle in this area who had the means and the ambition to go through the patent process and then to attempt to use their invention in a profitable enterprise."
Starr said it is estimated that only a small percentage of patents are successfully used for profit. During the industrial era of Saratoga County, the evidence indicates that this estimated amount of about 5 percent was much higher here because many of the patents were developed for a particular firm or established industry.
Although he's been a history buff since his teenage years, Starr literally stumbled upon this second career as an author of historical non-fiction while taking a walk in the woods behind his house several years ago. Coming upon an old railroad bed, he opted to begin researching who it might belong to. Starr's initial research snowballed, and after a year he discovered he had enough research to write his first book, "Lost Railroads of the Kaydeross Valley."
He would also write a companion book about industry in the Kaydeross Valley. Both books were used during Ballston Spa's bicentennial celebration in 2007.
"Invented in Saratoga County" is divided into five sections for a total of 55 chapters, each detailing an inventor, invention or business that benefited from the local inventions. Photographs and patent drawings are also included in the book.
Article for the bicentennial edition of the Ballston Journal
Ballston Spa residents may be hard-pressed to convince visitors that the quiet village once had a thriving industrial economy that required its very own railroad. While evidence of the village’s industrial past is plentiful in the buildings around town and ruins along the Kayaderosseras Creek, evidence for the electric railroad is harder to come by.
A determined history detective may find remnants of the old railroad bed deep in the woods, or may even perceive the significance of a brick building still standing in Factory Village that once served as the powerhouse. A few may even stumble upon the old railroad bridge that still stands near the end of Heisler Road in Rock City Falls. But the vast majority of visitors and even many local residents would not guess that they are at times driving over the same route that the electric railroad trolley did some hundred years ago.
The nineteenth century was a period of dramatic industrial growth for Ballston Spa and other villages “up the creek” in the Town of Milton. By 1890 this growth had reached its peak. The waters of the Kayaderosseras Creek were powering the mills of Isaiah Blood’s Scythe & Axe Works, Samuel Haight’s mammoth tannery, and George West’s celebrated paper bag operations, among others. These enterprises were driven by an educated workforce, favorable climate, and steam railroad access to worldwide markets. The only ingredient the mills were lacking was a safe and cost-effective method for delivering raw materials and finished goods to and from the Delaware & Hudson Railroad interchange in Ballston Spa.
The idea for an electric-powered railroad was proposed in the 1880s, but various franchises expired due to lack of funding. However, in 1896 a Philadelphia-based investment house represented by Arthur B. Paine not only filed the proper paperwork, but secured the necessary funding as well. Construction commenced soon after, and two years later the Ballston Terminal Railroad was ready for its inaugural run.
The trade magazine Electrical World called the little railroad a “novelty,” and with good reason. It was one of the shortest terminal railroads in the country, spanning just 12 miles once the line was extended to Middle Grove in 1902. It was also one of the few electric railroads whose primary purpose was to haul freight rather than passengers.
Most trolley lines were built in large cities and transported thousands of people every day. Conversely, the Ballston Terminal Railroad would earn most of its income by serving almost two dozen mills that were situated along the Kayaderosseras Creek. George West alone owned ten paper mills which produced millions of his unique line of paper bags. These mills, plus Blood’s hard-edge tool factories, the tannery, lumber from Middle Grove, and almost a dozen other enterprises, required the shipment of 35,000 tons of raw materials and finished goods per month. Additional revenues would come from transporting students from the country to the high school in Ballston Spa, workers to their jobs at the mills, tourists to Middle Grove, milk and supplies to the stores, and mail to the Rock City Falls post office.
When the Ballston Journal announced the railroad’s inaugural run in August, 1898, optimism for its future was high. “A new era dawned for Ballston Spa,” ran the article. “As a rule, new railroads have to build up their business after the road is constructed; in this case, the business is anxiously waiting for the completion of the road.”
Unfortunately, the railroad suffered from bad luck and poor timing. Just two years after it commenced operations, both the Scythe Factory and the Axe Works burned down in separate fires. George West retired, and the national company that purchased his paper mills sold off those of Middle Grove, Rock City Falls, and West Milton. The mills of Middle Grove closed down soon after, while the others saw only sporadic operation under various owners.
The railroad also suffered from high overhead. Although trolley cars require much less maintenance and lower track standards than steam engines, the powerhouse which generated its electricity required three tons of coal per day. Even more of a burden was meeting the interest payments on the bonds issued to construct the line, which often added up to half its income. Litigation from bondholders forced the Ballston Terminal Railroad to declare bankruptcy in 1904.
The railroad received a new lease on life when it was purchased at auction and renamed the Eastern New York Railroad. Operations continued much as they did before, using the same track as the previous railroad. Some of the debt was forgiven, and there was some cause for optimism once again that the railroad could generate a profit. “We congratulate the Eastern New York Railroad company for the splendid start it gets,” said the Journal, “and our village for being the starting point.” There was even talk of expanding the line to Amsterdam and Johnstown.
It was soon apparent, however, that the little railroad could not overcome the tide of progress that threatened to pass it by, along with the mills it served. Automobiles began to make their appearance, as well as trucks that would very soon provide cheaper transportation than the railroad could offer. Mills and factories were springing up in urban centers using steam or electricity, making those of the Kayaderosseras Valley inefficient and obsolete by comparison.
By 1920, most of the paper mills had shut down. Although other industry moved in to provide new jobs, such as Bischoff’s Chocolates and the textile mills, these were all located inside of Ballston Spa and did not require the railroad’s services. Losses continued unabated, and the Eastern New York Railroad declared bankruptcy in 1918. The future of the line was much in doubt. However, the few mills that remained in operation still depended upon the railroad to keep their costs down, and banded together to purchase the railroad and operate it under the name Kaydeross Railroad Corporation. At one point it came under the direct ownership of Ballston Spa National Bank when several businesses went bankrupt owning the railroad’s stock, which was then “inherited” by the bank. The new corporation had no debt and access to cheap electricity from the power station in Ballston Spa. But by that time only three paper mills remained in operation, and income declined accordingly. The railroad continued to run for another ten years, but finally closed down for good in 1929, along with two of the remaining three mills (Cottrell Paper continued to run, and does so to this day).
Although the little railroad never made a profit, it served a valuable purpose by keeping the mills in operation until the age of the automobile allowed residents to commute to work in nearby cities. For years it also helped many local residents travel around the area easily and inexpensively. Students in the “country” may not have attended high school without it. These young people affectionately dubbed it the “PP&J,” short for the “Push, Pull & Jerk.”
If you are ever walking in the woods near the creek and stumble upon a raised bed of earth stretching into the distance, you’ve probably found the old electric railroad line. If you squint your eyes, you may be able to see a small, dark-green trolley gliding by with several freight cars in tow, the smiling conductor at the controls, and young faces peering out of the windows.
For those who would like to learn more about the Ballston Terminal Railroad and its successors, my book titled “Lost Railroads of the Kaydeross Valley,” released in honor of the village’s bicentennial, can be viewed at the Brookside Museum or the Ballston Spa Public Library. The days of the trolley are long over, but publications, pictures, and the first-hand experiences of a few hardy residents still keep its memory alive.
The Ballston Journal
Published: March 31, 2011
By DAN SABBATINO
A recently published work about some of the country's first railroads, many of which were in nearby in the Capital District, is now available at The Brookside Museum. Timothy Starr wrote “Early Railroads of New York’s Capital District,” published in March, and it features local history, spanning the years 1826 to 1900.
“Early Railroads of New York’s Capital District” features 85 vintage photographs and maps showing scenes throughout the Capital District. Starr said many of the photographs come from the sizeable collection of Joseph Smith through his grandson Kenneth Bradford. Others were provided by Ed Bond and local historian Chris Morley.
"The beginning of the railroad era in New York State took many by surprise," Starr said. "The Erie Canal had just been completed a few short months before application was made for the state’s first railroad. It was considered to be one of the greatest engineering accomplishments in human history, permitting boats to make the trip from New York City to the Great Lakes clear across the length of the state for the first time. Many believed that the state-sponsored marvel would be an unchallenged transportation system for years to come."
Starr said some forward-thinking people recognized the shortcomings of the slow and warm weather-dependent canal system and believed that there was a viable alternative.
In 1826, when only one or two other railroads existed in the entire country, a charter for a privately-funded steam railroad was applied for to be built between the Hudson River at Albany and the Mohawk River at Schenectady. The charter was granted on March 29, and ground was broken four years later. The first run of the sixteen mile Mohawk and Hudson Railroad was made in the summer of 1831, witnessed by thousands of awe-stricken citizens from both cities.
"In an effort to avoid any pretense of competing with the canal, the first extension of the line was constructed north to the tourist destinations of Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs. The Saratoga and Schenectady was opened in 1832 and enjoyed a thriving passenger trade during the summer months, sometimes carrying hundreds of people in the primitive coach cars," he said.
Eventually, railroads were a part of life for those living in Upstate New York, and according to information from Jon Patton, a railroad enthusiast who collects first-hand memorabilia relating to 1800s railroads, an 1848 railroad from Sackett's Harbor to Saratoga was a key economic generator. Starr discusses the history of competing economic interests, Troy, Albany, Saratoga, and Schenectady and how they all became connected via railroad. Eventually, other states were accessible too.
The Ballston Journal
August 14, 2008
In 1998, the United Inventors Association of the USA proclaimed August to be National Inventor’s Month. Thousands of inventors have helped to shape the world into what it is today. Those who are interested in local inventions may want to stop in at the Brookside Museum to read up on the wide variety of inventions developed in Ballston Spa and around Saratoga County.
Brookside has two book titles for sale, both by local author Timothy Starr, who is also on the museum’s Board of Trustees. History buffs interested in discovering inventions exclusively from this village are encouraged to pick up a copy of “Invented in Ballston Spa.” Dozens of successful and in some cases famous inventions are outlined within its pages, including many patents that are reproduced in their entirety.
For those who prefer a greater geographic view of local inventions, then the book “Invented in Saratoga County” will provide hours of fascinating reading. More than fifty inventors and inventions are described in depth, the vast majority of which have never before been published.
The development of Standard Time and the creation of potato chips on Saratoga Lake appear in various publications, but most others have henceforth been relegated to history. Few may be aware that the revolving turret on the Civil War ironclad warship “Monitor” was invented by Saratoga resident Theodore Timby. Ransom Cook developed the auger bit in use today by observing the jaws of a beetle under a microscope. Lucien DeGolia of Edinburgh patented a unique washboard and manufactured them by the tens of thousands. Waterford’s Lysander Button won dozens of awards for his world famous hand fire engines. The list goes on and on.
Interspersed among the most famous and successful inventions are dozens of interesting stories of inventors whose creations have been forgotten. For example, Saratoga Springs Village President and gambling house owner Caleb Mitchell patented a liquor serving table in 1880. Later the temperance movement rose to power, and Mitchell found himself at odds with State Senator Edgar Brackett. When he was forced to close his new gaming room across from the racetrack, Mitchell took his own life outside of the senator’s local office.
Hundreds of graphics and photographs bring the inventions to life, and bring to life an era that has largely been lost. Many residents, especially recent transplants, look at Saratoga County as the ideal residential community. However, an entire section of the book is devoted to eighteen successful manufacturers that directly benefited from inventions developed here. Other sections explore the earliest inventions, the greatest inventors, and a cross-section of inventions from nearly all of the towns in the county.
Ballston Spa Life 04/19/09
By ANN HAUPRICH
What began as an ordinary walk in the woods behind Timothy Starr’s Rock City Falls home in 2005 ended up having an extraordinary impact on the life of the then Chief Financial Officer for an Albany-based not-for-profit.
In the space of just four years, Starr has become a stellar presence on the local literary scene. Indeed his first four Saratoga County titles have proven to be of interest to history buffs far beyond the area as they deal with subjects of national, and in some cases, global interest.
Although the Connecticut native who grew up in Hebron, NY and had resided in Milton Center since just before the turn-of-the-millennium, it wasn’t until he and wife Alison built a house just up the road that Starr made the fascinating discovery that would ultimately take his life’s journey on a different track.
“I had observed various historic buildings and a few ruins around town, but never thought much of them. However, this changed when I was walking in the woods behind my house one day and stumbled upon an old railroad bed. I knew that the Delaware & Hudson Railroad did not come this far west, so I wondered what railroad this was. I went to the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa and discovered it was actually the remains of an electric trolley railroad. More surprising than the fact that a trolley railroad was built in the wilderness of Milton was that its primary purpose was hauling freight cars for the various mills and factories that once crowded the banks of the Kayaderosseras Creek. Further research revealed that these mills were part of an important industrial complex that shipped thousands of tons of goods around the world for more than a century. That’s when my interest in local history was really awakened,” explains Starr.
“These discoveries were so intriguing that I began to collect information about the trolley railroad and the industries it served from Brookside and the Ballston Spa Public Library. Because Brookside is home to the Saratoga County Historical Society it has large collections of historic items. At first I was primarily interested in their collection of several thousand photographs, but as time went on I also obtained copies of historical documents and took pages of notes from their extensive library. Executive Director Joy Houle suggested that I also contact a local historian named Maurice “Christopher” Morley, who had a great deal of first-hand knowledge of Ballston Spa’s history as well as a large photograph collection that he accumulated over the course of decades.”
Before long, Starr found that he had compiled several binders of information and a large collection of scanned pictures. Having previously written a novel based on his experiences growing up in Hebron (Washington County), the young MBA thought it might be fun to write a book about the trolley railroad. His initial plan was to print just a few copies for himself and local historical organizations.
Then something happened that astrologists might contend was written in the Starrs. “I noticed that other railroad books seemed to be very popular. I also realized that the following year (2007) was going to be Ballston Spa’s Bicentennial. I decided to print 200 copies and sell them at Brookside’s gift shop under the title Lost Railroads of the Kaydeross Valley. The book was so well received that I wrote a companion book titled Lost Industries of the Kaydeross Valley. Both were full color, limited editions. Since then, a standard, black and white version of the trolley book, titled The Ballston Terminal Railroad and Its Successors, has been printed.”
While researching his first two local history books, Starr noticed that several significant inventions had been developed in Milton. Even more interesting were inventions that came out of greater Saratoga County. He then resolved that this would be the topic his next two books. One (Invented in Ballston Spa) would focus on the village and vicinity; the second (Invented in Saratoga County) would cover the entire county.
“My first step was to research, obtain, and index over 1,500 patents from the US Patent Office that were filed in Saratoga County between the years 1830 and 1950. Those of Ballston Spa naturally focused on industrial innovations, such as improvements in axe making (for Isaiah Blood’s scythe and axe factories), tanning leather (for the Haight & Company tannery), and papermaking (for the dozen paper mills that lined the Kayaderosseras Creek). Therefore, the Ballston Spa book was organized by industry headings, such as Water Wheels, Refrigeration, Churns, Telegraphs, and Hard Edge Tools,” recalls Starr.
He notes that the Saratoga County book contains a wider variety of inventions, although many also pertain to industry. “Even before I moved to Saratoga County I had heard that the potato chip and the concept of Standard Time had been developed here, but had no idea that hundreds of other inventions had an impact around the world. Just a few include the auger drill bit, the revolving gun turret found on warships, improvements in fire engines, a refrigerated casket, the first copyrighted residence, the first striking matches, and roofing composition that is in use today,” he observes.
Then last year Starr stumbled upon a rare booklet titled Leading Industrial Pursuits of Ballston and Vicinity that had been published in 1874 by newspaper reporter John S. Bulkeley.
“It was such a unique and well-written first-hand account of the industries that operated along the Kayaderosseras Creek that I decided to re-publish it and another of Bulkeley’s works about Glens Falls into one book,” he says, adding that the process of collecting and compiling the above-mentioned books was “a relaxing diversion from my full-time job as an accountant, and has turned into a hobby when I’m not working or spending time with my 15-month-old daughter Morgan.”
Now working as the finance director for the American Red Cross Northeast New York region, Starr recently decided to try to do something with the large collection of photographic scans of Ballston Spa and greater Milton that he has accumulated over the past few years. “The people and organizations that obtained them from are always open to the idea of publishing them in books that keep the history of this area alive,” he notes.
“Several books have been published recently that feature photographs of the Village of Ballston Spa, most notably Ballston Spa: The Way We Were, The Way We Are (Peckhaven Publishing, 2007) and Ballston Spa: Legacies Unlimited (Peckhaven Publishing, 2009) as well as the popular Streetscapes Through Time, which was written by Paul and Marilyn Pastore in conjunction with the village’s Bicentennial of 2007. However, I realized that I had dozens of pictures from the northern part of Milton, particularly of Rock City Falls, West Milton, and Bloodville, that have never been published. A few have made it into my own books, but not in a comprehensive way,” says Starr.
As fate would have it, a representative from Arcadia Publishing contacted Starr in early 2008 about the possibility of submitting a book for their Images of America series that would focus on the Town of Milton.
“They have already released books on Malta, Wilton, Ballston Lake, Saratoga, and Stillwater. Until now I have preferred the freedom of self-publishing, but the thought of a book about this area that would reach a worldwide market was tempting. I am currently in the process of accumulating 200 publisher-quality photograph scans for the proposed book. If I succeed in finding the specified number of pictures that will meet their requirements, the book will be released in the summer of 2010. The possibility of self-publishing this book is also an option that I have not ruled out. Either version of the book will consist almost exclusively of historical pictures dated from 1880 to 1950, and will be organized with the following chapter headings: Tourism, The Kayaderosseras, Ballston Spa, Bloodville, Rock City Falls, Around Town.”
Either way, the forthcoming title will benefit future educational programs at Brookside, where Starr currently serves as treasurer on the Board of Directors. “Early on in my research, I realized that the museum was a rare and valuable entity. It is housed in one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Saratoga County and has a unique collection of pictures, books, and objects. When the opportunity arose to join the Board of Directors, I was more than happy to help in the effort to preserve Brookside’s collections and promote its programs.”
Starr’s generosity to Brookside with the proceeds of the Town of Milton book will be possible, he explains, because earlier titles involved an average outlay of several thousand dollars to research and print. “Because Arcadia Publishing pays almost all of the costs of arranging, printing, and marketing the book, I would be able to pass along all of the royalties to Brookside to support its educational programs. The amount of money donated would depend upon the number of books sold.”
The Rock City Falls writer also hopes his collection of local history books will draw attention to 87-year-old Village History Consultant Morley, whom Starr describes as “one of the most knowledgeable individuals of local history around. He has been invaluable in either answering questions about Ballston Spa’s history or pointing me in the right direction. People who have purchased my books have likely noticed that his photograph collection has been prominently featured. Because Mr. Morley has spent his entire life in the village (with the exception of his service in the US Marines during World War Two), he is often able to give first-hand accounts of events that have occurred throughout much of the 1900s.”
Future books will contain contributions from other local residents as well. Patricia Streifert, for instance, generously allowed Starr to scan her large postcard collection that she accumulated over most of her life while the Pastores have graciously offered to share images from their collection that relate to other areas of Milton.
Asked what his next title after the book about the Town of Milton will be -- and when can readers expect to see it in print, Starr responds: “One of my favorite personalities to come out of my research is George West, the so-called Paper Bag King. Although his name is well-known in this area, his life seems to have become almost mythical. For example, it is often quoted that he invented the paper bag, or that he produced 90 percent of the paper bags in the world. While neither is true, his real accomplishments made him famous around the country and earned him great wealth. He arrived in this country from England as a young man almost penniless and proceeded to build a paper mill empire that was unprecedented for a one-man operation. He was also elected to the New York State Assembly and the US House of Representatives for multiple terms.”
It fascinates Starr that several reminders of West’s influence can still be seen around the Town of Milton. “The Mansion Inn on Route 29 once served as his primary residence before he moved to Ballston Spa. His first mill, called the Empire, is still nearly intact across the street. A small stone waiting station that was situated near the Ballston Terminal Railroad tracks still sits nearby. In Ballston Spa the former Union paper mill with the name “Geo West 1879” etched in the towers is today used by various businesses. His once-famous mechanized bag factory still stands just up the hill on Prospect Street.”
Not surprisingly, it has been in the back of the prolific author’s mind for several years to write a biography about George West, but it wasn’t until he found out about the existence of one of West’s descendents living in this area that he finally decided to begin the project.
“A Saratoga resident named Douglass “Tim” Mabee (who also happens to be Marylou Whitney’s son-in-law) is a direct descendent of West’s daughter Florence and her husband Douglass Williams Mabee. He has spent years compiling a comprehensive family tree that now contains hundreds of names. The George West biography is scheduled to be released in early 2010 and will contain hundreds of facts about his life that have never been published.”
Starr also plans to update and expand upon the books that have already been published (another benefit of self-publishing). For example, he is working on a second edition to Lost Industries of the Kaydeross Valley to be printed later this year that will contain about 10 more manufacturers and a dozen more photographs.
Regarding Invented in Ballston Spa, Starr notes that most people probably aren’t aware that a water wheel ranked among the best in the nation was invented and manufactured here. “Ballston Spa was also home to the inventor of the first automated knitting machine. Throughout much of the nineteenth century, the village was home to a wide variety of industry such as hard edge tools, textiles, and paper products. Their success encouraged people to develop and patent innovations that supported these industries.”
Indeed, points out Starr, in his 1907 Centennial address, Village President Irving Wiswall stated that “the telegraph instrument in universal use today and which supplanted the original Morse machines was the invention of our townsman, Samuel F. Day. The first machine for combining paper with cloth was the invention of one of the proprietors of the Glen Paper Collar Company. The first household clothes-wringers were made in West Milton and sold in Ballston Spa.”
The first part of Invented in Ballston Spa focuses on the industry-related patents of the village. The second part contains about three dozen more inventions that may or may not have related to industry. These are listed chronologically, and contain a summary of each invention and the graphic that accompanied the patent application.
“Many were related to farming and railroading, both important to the village in those days, but many others were for appliances, entertainment, health, and utilities,” explains the author, emphasizing that local historians will find a number of well-known names sprinkled throughout the book. Included are Dr. Leverett Moore, who practiced medicine for 40 years, tannery manager Matthew Vassar, foundry owner William Namack, prominent attorney Seth Whalen, school administrator Hiram Bulkeley and his newspaper reporter son John Bulkeley, and the man who helped George West create the first designs for his square-bottomed paper bags, Martin V. B. White. John Reynolds, the maternal grandfather of “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney and owner of a foundry on Ford Street, also patented several inventions during his long residency in the village.
According to Starr, some inventions outlined in the book “must be seen to be believed.” In this category is a home remedy for treating bunions that was patented by Charles Heaton of the Allen & Heaton emery factory. Others described by the author are as follows: “Avid hunter Frederick Streever of the Streever Lumber Company invented an improved dog muzzle. Ivy Howell, one of the few female inventors, patented a directional sign for restrooms. Ernest Peterson invented a keyboard for accordions. Theodore Lipshuts invented a scarecrow that worked by randomly discharging a firearm.”
Sounds like Starr isn’t the only local resident who made an unforgettable discovery because he literally got sidetracked one day and let his inquisitive imagination steer him in a direction he never figured on when he opted for a career as an accountant.
Published: Sunday, July 5, 2009
For Ballston Spa Life
As the country pauses once again to reflect the sacrifices that were made by our forefathers, it is worth noting that some of the largest celebrations in the town’s history have occurred on Independence Day.
The first large-scale July 4th celebration was the semi-centennial in 1826. The day started with a salute from the so-called “trophy gun,” seized from the British Army under General Burgoyne, and the ringing of bells around Ballston Spa. One of the village’s largest parades took place later in the day, which included 37 of the last surviving Revolutionary War veterans. This would be the last parade in which veterans from the War of Independence would be gathered together in such numbers.
A huge float measuring 42 feet long named the Temple of Industry also attracted much attention. It represented the rapid industrial development that had taken place in the country since its birth 50 years before. Thirteen yoke of oxen representing the first thirteen states pulled the float along, which carried thirteen emissaries of the most important industries.
The centennial celebration in 1876 began on the night of July 3rd when all of the residences and businesses in the village were adorned with patriotic decorations. The following day was ushered in with the ringing of bells and the firing of the national salute. Around noon everyone gathered at the Sans Souci Hotel on Front Street to enjoy music and singing, followed by the Historical Address given by Judge George Scott. In the evening there was one of the largest fireworks displays to date.
Ballston Spa and the rest of the town of Milton has always answered the call to arms with patriotic fervor. When news came that the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, a large number of men came forward to join the United States Army. A few young men said that they wanted to volunteer but had nothing to leave their family, so several prominent business owners, including grist mill owner Eli Settle, cotton mill owner James Cook, and tool factory owner Isaiah Blood, donated their own money to the men’s families.
It was later learned that a former Ballston Spa resident, Lieutenant Abner Doubleday, was credited with firing the first shot of the war in defense of the Union. He was part of the garrison charged with defending Fort Sumter from attack by Confederate soldiers operating out of Fort Moultrie. Doubleday went on to attain the rank of Brevet-Major General.
Although President Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, even the local Democrats came out in support of the Union, including State Senator Isaiah Blood. Blood, who owned the massive Ballston Scythe, Axe & Tool Works, was called upon to furnish a Massachusetts company with “battle axes,” or short swords that could be used for clearing brush as well as hand-to-hand combat.
Blood’s patriotism did not end with supporting freedom during the Civil War. He also enjoyed celebrating every Fourth of July in grand style. Blood and about 150 of his employees would put on white pants, a red shirt, and black caps and belts to march in a procession from his mansion in Bloodville down Maple Avenue to the Methodist Church in Ballston Spa. There the Declaration of Independence would be read followed by an oration. The company then marched to the Sans Souci Hotel where Senator Blood treated everyone to dinner. In the evening they made their way back to his mansion for refreshments.
July 4, 1898 was celebrated at the County Fairgrounds as the Spanish-American War was being fought. Reverend Charles Pelletreau of the Christ Church took charge of the festivities in order to raise money for the comfort of the volunteers who were attached to the Saratoga Citizens Corps. Thousands of people turned out for the event, which raised about $1,200, which today would be about $30,660.
Published: April 26, 2010
By TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
The neighboring town of Galway had more than a half dozen churches in the early 1800s, but very little industry. It was first settled by immigrants from Scotland in 1774. A lack of large rivers or a railroad connection stifled the growth of the town, although by 1855 it had six sawmills, two grist mills, two broom handle factories, and eight blacksmiths within the village of Galway.
The Parkis mill complex of central Galway was not the largest grist mill in the county, but a description of its history and operations is illustrative of many others of its kind. The Parkhurst family moved from England to Massachusetts in the mid-1600s, and one of them moved to the town of Ballston just a short time after the first settlement had been established there by town founder Eliphalet Ball in 1772. Solomon Parkhurst changed his name to Parkis and went on to have twelve children.
One of Solomon’s children was Levi, who married Jane Baker in 1852 and purchased a grist mill in Galway six years later. It was the first grist mill in town, built by Daniel Campbell years earlier. When Hiram Foster owned the mill it was listed in the 1855 census as having “three run of stones, one employee, and works up about 6,000 bushels of rye and corn; but at what amount of profit it is difficult to determine.” The property included the grist mill, a mill pond, house, and distillery.
The mill derived its power from the Glowegee Creek. A wooden chute made of wooden boards clamped together by iron bands brought water from the dam to the overshot wheel. When the wheel was activated it would turn the upper grindstone while the lower stone remained in place. Grooves in the stones directed the grain to the edges as the upper stone slowly rotated. The gap between the stones was important – the upper stone would be carefully adjusted based on whether the grain was dry, medium dry, or damp.
Corn was ground up into a fine consistency and used in making corn meal and Johnny Cake. Wheat was ground into flour, while rye and oats were processed for feeding livestock. The mill’s specialty was buckwheat ground into flour, primarily used for making pancakes.
In 1870 the Parkis Mill was listed as a two horsepower, two stone grist mill with a capital investment of $1,500. The total output in that year was 500 bushels of corn, 150 bushels of oats, 300 bushels of buckwheat, 10,000 pounds of meal, 12,000 pounds of feed, and 7,500 pounds of flour with a total value of $1,670.
Levi’s son Edward took over the daily management of the mill in 1882 at a time when there were four other grist mills in Galway. Tragedy struck six years later when the mill and all of its contents burned to the ground when bundles of wool stored too close to a heating stove caught fire. It was a tough winter for the Parkis family, since the mill burned in the late fall and could not be rebuilt until the spring. Once a new three-story building was completed, Edward expanded the business and began offering farm equipment, fertilizer, and supplies.
After Levi Parkis died in 1903, Edward’s son Henry returned from college in New York City with his new wife and moved into the apartment above the mill. The two began experimenting with prepared pancake flour that would require only the addition of water to prepare. In 1920 the first batch of Jolly Farmer was put on the market in half pound and five pound bags. Unfortunately Edward did not live to see this event, as he died a few years earlier from a dynamite explosion when trying to destroy a large boulder near his home.
The grist mill continued to operate under Henry’s management. Wagons and sleighs were used to carry his manufactured flour to Gloversville, Johnstown, and villages in Saratoga County. His buckwheat pancake mix was popular throughout the county and the Adirondacks. After the mill shut down for good in the 1930s it was converted into a house and survived for another half century before being taken down in 1980.
Published: Sunday, August 23, 2009
by TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
Although no trace remains today, the Glen Paper Collar Company was a visible presence in Ballston Spa 130 years ago. It was located in the famous Blue Mill building on the north side of Milton Avenue, built as one of the area’s first grist mills. Most people in Ballston Spa have heard of the collar company, which was one of the largest of its kind in the country. But few know that the company’s owners, Horace Medbery and James Mann, were prolific inventors.
Horace Medbery was the son of Stephen and Sarah Medbery, proprietors of the hotel in Ballston Spa which still bears their name. He was one of those rare individuals who was able to put his inventions to practical use in his various business ventures in Ballston Spa, Mechanicville, and elsewhere. James Mann was the son of James Mann Sr., a prominent local businessman and Saratoga County treasurer. The Mann family lived in the residence now used by the Brookside Museum.
During the 1870s, a peculiar clothing fad swept the country. Disposable cotton-based paper collars were introduced to the upper classes as a way of maintaining a fresh, white collar rather than attempting to clean soiled cloth collars. Some of the first paper collars in the country were manufactured two miles north of Ballston by Lindley Murray Crane, a paper mill owner and holder of three patents. Henry Mann’s father also manufactured paper collar materials in nearby Factory Village for some years under the partnership of Mann & Laflin.
Medbery and Mann recognized their business even before the fad hit its peak, and rented space at the Blue Mill to establish the Glen Paper Collar Company. In their first year, the partnership produced nine million collars. Profits were poured back into the business by purchasing the glazing works of Rand & Edwards located below them in the Blue Mill. Soon they occupied the entire building, so in 1871 they were forced to build a five-story, 60 foot by 40 foot addition, reportedly constructed in twenty days. They rented the old Waverly Hall for use as a packing station and salesroom.
Shipments of collars increased year after year. At its height in 1875, the factory was producing 21 million paper collars and five million paper cuffs per year and employed 150 people.
At this time, Medbery submitted his first of many patents. He, along with Henry Mann and Simeon Drake, perfected a new steam drying wheel for use in the collar factory. The machine was developed, as the partners put it, “after much study and reflection, and expenditure of money in purchasing machinery which did not meet our wants.”
On the same day as the drying wheel patent was filed, Medbery submitted an improvement for cutting paper collars, the object of which was to rapidly cut collars from long rolls of cloth-faced paper by passing it between two rollers. One of Ballston’s more unusual inventions was developed by Henry Mann, who patented a shipping box for paper collars that could be converted into an ornamental lampshade.
The three patents listed above would be the only inventions that related to the Glen Paper Collar Company. Despite becoming one of the largest paper collar companies in the world, the fad died out in the mid-1870s, forcing the partners to shut down the collar factory.
Medbery then began a series of relocations in an effort to achieve the same success he had in the collar business. In 1876 he moved to Newburg, New York and became a member of the firm James A. Townsend & Company, manufacturers of writing papers.
Meanwhile Henry Mann invented and patented an envelope-making machine. Local inventor Samuel Day constructed nine of the machines which were set up in the Blue Mill. The Mann Envelope Company operated for several years before closing down for unknown reasons.
In 1879 Horace Medbery moved to Mechanicville and rented the Howland Paper Mill, operating it for three years before organizing the Hudson River Water Power & Paper Company. He erected an 800 foot-long dam across the Hudson River using an estimated 3.5 million bricks. In this endeavor, Medbery is credited with establishing a valuable new industry for the city. He had decided to use brick to construct the dam when he found that Mechanicville had a superior supply of clay. Other businessmen noticed the success of his project, and soon permanent brick yards were established such as the Mechanicville Brick Company and the Best Brick Company.
For the next four years, Medbery acted as secretary and general manager of the paper mill. During that time, he patented two machines for molding tubes from paper pulp, one filed in Mechanicville and one filed in Ballston Spa. In 1891 he patented a conduit for underground trolley wire using material that he claimed was water-proof, gas-proof, and “practically indestructible.” Later that year he submitted a patent for a pail-making machine, which manufactured pails using paper pulp. There is a reference in Sylvester’s History of Saratoga County that the Glen Paper Collar Company produced and sold these pails, so this patent is very likely based on that endeavor.
Over the next few years Medbery put several more of his inventions to good use. In 1892 he established the Fiberite Company, which manufactured fiber pipes for interior conduits used to wire buildings. The technology he developed in his seamless tube patents no doubt was applied to this line of work. He also began producing fiber pails using his pail-making machine, and later developed a substitute for hard rubber and celluloid. Medbery will go down in history as possessing more 19th century patents than any other Ballston native.
Published: January 16, 2011
by TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
BALLSTON SPA — The dense forests and several large rivers in Saratoga County made conditions almost perfect for large-scale lumbering operations to be undertaken that supported the growth and prosperity of the region for decades.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of logs were gathered along the banks of the lakes and tributaries that fed the Hudson and Sacandaga rivers. When spring arrived and the great floods of water from the melted snow packs of the Adirondacks commenced, the piles would be forced into the rapids to form one of the great spectacles of the county, in which floating logs stretched into the distance as far as the eye could see.
The seemingly endless supply of timber provided an opportunity for lumberjacks to harvest the millions of trees needed to meet the demand for wood in the Capital Region and more distant cities such as New York and Boston. Finished lumber also supplied the needs of local industries such as paper mills, tanneries, boat builders, coopers, wagon makers and woodenware factories. Even the soap factories in the county relied indirectly on Adirondack lumber, as giant piles of wood ash were collected into “ash sheds” to be subjected to a leaching process, which extracted the lye used to make soap.
Although lumbering operations were carried on all year, each stage of the business was performed in a particular season. The year began in late June when lumberjacks entered the forests to cut down hemlock trees for use in local tanneries. Demand for these trees depended upon the market conditions in the leather industry. The men usually built rough-cut log houses near the scene of operations to live in for the season. The hemlock tree harvest continued until July, when the bark would be removed and the trees prepared for sale to sawmills. This “industry within an industry” died away in the early 1900s when most small tanneries shut down and those that remained switched over to using chemicals rather than hemlock bark.
During the fall, other trees would be harvested for processing at the sawmills. The work of hauling trees to the river was done during the winter when it was easiest to drag them through the forest with teams of horses. The logs were collected into piles along the banks that sometimes numbered fifty thousand.
It was preferable for the ground to be sloped toward the river so that skidways, or chutes, could be made from the woods to the water’s edge. At the bottom of the skidway, the logs were piled up, measured and marked. Once this was done, it remained to wait until the river thawed enough to begin forcing the logs into the water for the trip to South Glens Falls. Because hardwood does not float as easily as softwood, the hardwood trees were generally left standing unless cut for manufacturing establishments such as the woodenware factories of Edinburgh and Hadley.
The earliest loggers, observing the immense forests that seemed to stretch into eternity, made little effort to conserve resources or use any type of systematic harvesting program. However, because they were seeking only the largest hemlocks for tanning or pine and spruce trees for lumber, many of the smaller trees and hardwoods were left standing.
Some observers in the early 1800s could hardly tell that certain parts of the forest had been harvested during the previous season, as spring foliage camouflaged the winter cut.
The rise of the paper mills in Saratoga County dramatically changed these practices, since wood of all sizes and types could be used in the chemical pulp wood process. As one historian noted, “With the sawmill in view, only the full-grown trees were cut, but with the pulp mill in view, large and small, young and old went down before the axe.”
By the end of the century, there were over two dozen large paper mills in operation within the county, each requiring several cords of wood daily. Only after the paper mills began to close down were the forests allowed to recover.
Published: May 15, 2011
By TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
BALLSTON SPA — Ballston Spa has always been proud of its industrious and enterprising citizens. The wealthiest and most successful individuals such as George West, Isaiah Blood, and Nicholas Low receive the most attention, but there are many others who have been immortalized in local histories, documents and speeches.
In his centennial address of 1907, village president Irving Wiswall summarized the accomplishments of some of the most famous residents:
“The first paper bags were made in this village, and the first paper collars and cuffs were made by L. M. Crane, who lived here, his mill being located about two miles north of the village. The telegraph instrument in universal use today and which supplemented the original Morse machines, was the invention of our townsman, Samuel F. Day, who also discovered the method of telegraphing with safety during thunderstorms. The first machine for making paper bags was invented in our village, and the first machine for combining paper with cloth was the invention of one of the proprietors of the Glen Paper Collar Company. The first household clothes-wringers were made in West Milton and sold in Ballston Spa.”
Although the inventions listed above were important in their day, not all of the inventions to come out of Ballston Spa were famous, or even very useful.
Minard Cooper invented a “new and improved mode of closing doors with or without the use of a catch” in 1852. It consisted of a bar and roller mounted on the inside wall which exerted pressure upon an open door that would force it to close.
While the mechanism design seems sound, it would be rather unsightly in one’s living room. There also appears to be a danger of people inadvertently hanging themselves if they walked through the door too quickly.
Theodore Lipshuts and Daniel Jones invented a “Self-Acting Battery for Scaring Crows” in 1859. As the patent letter detailed, it consisted of a “battery with a number of chambers in connection with a gun barrel in such a manner that one of its chambers after the other is made to go off by its own action, and without the aid of a man, at regular intervals, and that by these reports, crows and other injurious animals are scared away.”
Prominent farmer and former Pioneer Mill owner Seth Whalen witnessed the “scarecrow” patent. Its lack of commercial success is not surprising considering the potential for injury if tampered with by curious children. It would also seem inconvenient to neighbors within a mile radius to hear gunfire at all hours of the day and night.
Perhaps the strangest invention of all was by Ivy Howell in 1920. Howell was one of Ballston’s few female inventors before the Great Depression. She held two patents – a corset in 1917 (“designed for use by stout women for supporting their abdomen and to provide an absorbent shield”), and a directional sign. The sign consisted of a disk with the words “Universal Comfort Service” surrounding a smaller circle with the words “Women” and “Men,” which apparently were supposed to guide people to the appropriate restroom.
Published: June 12, 2011
By TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
BALLSTON SPA — Inventors’ focus on industry in Ballston Spa from 1850 to 1950 inspired more industrial patents than any other class of invention. These patents were by far the most successful, since many were put to practical use in the tool, paper, and textile factories for the production of goods.
However, there were a wide variety of other classes of patents as well. The list of strange inventions that were developed in Ballston Spa during the late 1800s and early 1900s seems to go on indefinitely.
Many inventions were simply impractical. In 1870, Frank Whalen tried to take advantage of the popularity of heating and cooking stoves by developing a new detachable caster leg. As detailed in his patent letter, “This invention relates to combining caster-legs with the main or supporting legs of a stove, in such a manner that the main legs can be removed, so that the stove can be rolled around from place to place.”
It is unclear how often it would be necessary to move a stove, and the photos that accompany the patent cast doubts as to the strength of the caster mechanism. One would wonder if using them to move a stove around would create deep gouges in any type of wood flooring.
Whalen went on to become quite successful in the years after his invention. In 1870 he was listed as a machinist, in 1880 he was a bookkeeper, and by 1900 he had become a lawyer.
Reuben Garrett patented one of the village’s few toy inventions in 1876. It was titled “Improvement in Combined Tops and Whirligigs,” and was claimed to “furnish an improved toy for children, which shall be so constructed that it may be used as a top or whirligig, as may be desired.”
The patent was witnessed by Stephen Medbery, owner of the Medbery hotel, and Hiro Jones, who owned a cotton factory on Prospect Street. It was a simple idea, having a loose pin, a forked handle, the top (or head that everything balanced upon), and a wind-up cord. Garrett was a prominent farmer in the town of Ballston who became a census taker for the 1900 census.
Charles Heaton patented an improvement in medical compounds in 1879. He claimed it was “a remedy and method for the cure of corns and bunions…consisting in a compound of ammonia, alcohol, and honey, and tincture of cardamom.”
There were hundreds of patents filed in the nineteenth century that consisted of home remedies for curing all sorts of ailments. Curiously, this was the only “cure” patented in Ballston. Considering the emphasis on health-related matters during the mineral spring water era of Ballston, one would assume that there would be other homemade recipes on file.
Some may recognize Heaton’s name from the partnership of Allen and Heaton, miners and manufacturers of emery. The raw material was brought from their Thurman mine in the Adirondacks to be shaped into solid emery wheels and scythe stones at the factory on Bath Street. Despite the company’s great promise, it only operated from 1878 to 1880, when the site was purchased by Samuel Haight for a new tannery.
Perhaps Ballston’s most ghoulish patent was developed by Henry Mabbitt Crippen of Bloodville. His embalming catheter patent letter contained such descriptions as “[previous catheters] have the disadvantage that in the use thereof the hands of the operator frequently become covered with blood and other matter from the arteries due to the necessity of handling the flexible member of the structure to guide the same [into and out of the body].” The catheter patent was assigned to the Max Huncke Chemical Company of Brooklyn, New York. After several name changes, this company today is known as the Embalmers’ Supply Company.
Published: Sunday, August 2, 2009
By TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
The fires that destroyed both the axe and scythe factories in Bloodville did not completely end the industrial era of the hamlet, as is widely believed. There were actually a few valiant efforts to reestablish manufacturing in the years that followed.
The hard edge tool factories of Isaiah Blood dominated the economy of Ballston Spa’s suburb of Bloodville for over a hundred and fifty years. When both the scythe and axe factories burned down in separate fires around 1900, it was a devastating blow to workers who had grown up in the mills and did not know any other way of life.
Bloodville presented a tempting location for businessmen who wanted to start up a mill. The Kayaderosseras Creek still provided adequate water power that only had to be supplemented by steam engines during the summer. The Ballston Terminal Railroad passed through town and was designed to haul freight cars to the Delaware & Hudson interchange in Ballston Spa. Nearby lived hundreds of well-motivated men looking for employment close to home.
A man named John Butler began investigating what it would take to build a paper mill on the site of the old axe factory. He told a newspaper reporter that he was planning to erect a concrete dam that would utilize the water power of both the axe and scythe factory sites, giving the mill “a power of over 40 feet head and at the same time a large storage capacity.” His plans at the time also called for erecting a large, four-machine mill that would manufacture paper specialties and employ about 150 men. Local residents were saddened when Butler died unexpectedly before he could begin construction on the project.
In August 1904, J. E. Weatherbee of Carthage, New York announced that he and several capitalists were interested in picking up where Butler left off. He recruited Bloodville resident James Lowell to become the superintendent in charge of building the mill. Lowell was considered a good choice for the job since he had just completed building a giant paper mill in Sturgeon Falls, Canada for the Imperial Paper Company.
Excitement in the community ran high as construction of the mill actually commenced and reached a rapid completion. It was a substantial building measuring 130 feet by 60 feet in size. The first floor contained the perforating and core-making machines, while the second floor was used to store boxes.
Once the mill was finished and equipped it began the manufacture of bathroom tissue and other niche paper products under the name Ballston Pulp & Paper Company. The plant had three 1,000-pound beating engines, one refining engine, and one 92-inch single cylinder machine powered by water and steam. Production amounted to six tons of roll and package bathroom paper per day.
Unfortunately, the new owner did not have much better luck with avoiding fires. Four years after the mill started operations, fire destroyed what was known as the “Toilet Mill,” causing about $8,000 in damage.
A smaller paper mill was quietly built closer to the creek that manufactured specialty paper. This mill operated for several years, but could not compete with larger paper mills. It closed down in 1912 soon after an employee named George Bush died in an old flume while trying to repair the dam.
The American Axe & Tool Company, which sold the property to Ballston Pulp & Paper, foreclosed on the mortgage in March 1913. The property was purchased at foreclosure by Robert Hunter of Fulton, New York who stated that he planned to open the mill back up again and continue to manufacture tissue paper. However, the mill lay idle for several more years until it was purchased by the United Paper Company of Atlanta, Georgia in 1917. It was only in operation for one day when it was completely destroyed by fire, causing $50,000 in losses.
This was yet another heavy blow to the hamlet of Bloodville, as the mill had just been renovated and would have provided jobs to several dozen men. No other mill activity is recorded at the site of Isaiah Blood’s old axe and scythe works thereafter.
Published: September 6, 2009
By TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
The Cottrell Paper Company in Rock City Falls is the last functioning paper mill in the town of Milton. The Cottrell family purchased the mill over 80 years ago, but some of the buildings date back to 1859 that have been in nearly continuous use.
The mill, located at the intersection of Route 29 and Rock City Road, was originally built as a gristmill in 1845 by Isaac Rowland Jr., who then sold it to Buchanan & Kilmer in 1852. It was then known as the Big Falls Mill, and later called Kilmer’s Stone Mill, named after Chauncey Kilmer. He remodeled the gristmill after parts of it were destroyed by fire and greatly enlarged its capacity.
Kilmer and his partner Coe Buchanan became interested in using straw to produce paper, which at the time was a new technology. After many discouraging experiments, Kilmer finally succeeded in producing a quantity of straw paper which was used to print the Saratoga Whig. The success of his experiments spread, and soon he was contacted by the New York Sun to supply its newsprint. The successful newspaper required three and a half tons of paper daily, amounting to $125,000 per year.
In time, Kilmer took his grandson Clarence Kilmer into partnership with him, and the mill continued its great success. For many years the mill kept 60 men employed and four teams of horses busy making the trip to Ballston Spa. The elder Kilmer spent summers in New York City to manage some interests there, leaving his grandson to run the mill as well as a 150 acre farm.
Although the mill had run successfully for many years, advances in technology left it behind. The new sulphite process was coming into use by 1890, which required much larger machines. In 1897 it was purchased by the American Pergament Company and fitted with new machinery to manufacture waterproof paper. The company was not able to run the mill profitably and decided to sell it, a decision helped by a fire that burned down several buildings on the mill property in January 1900.
In 1901 the mill was purchased by the Union Waxed & Parchment Paper Company to make wax paper. This company lasted only a few years. In 1910 the mill was leased to the Moran-Chalfant Paper Company which operated under the name Big Falls Paper Company. The plant was used to manufacture boxboard for the Leggett Box Company of Troy, New York.
A fire that started in the boiler room threatened to destroy the historic mill in September 1918. The pumping plant was one of the first buildings to be put out of commission, so the workmen were helpless to fight the fire. Chief Bush and 20 members of the Union Fire Company responded at once, arriving from Ballston Spa on a special trolley of the Kaydeross Railroad with 1,000 feet of hose. Chief Shadwick arrived from Saratoga Springs with the combination engine. The combined fire companies were able to bring the flames under control, limiting the destruction to the boiler room and a storage room to the rear.
After World War I the mill came into the hands of the Hercules Paper Company, and became known for several years as the Hercules Paper Mill. The company did not long survive a fire in its boiler room in October 1920. Within months of Hercules shutting down it was taken over by Kaydeross Paper, but the company couldn’t sustain a profitable operation. In 1926 the site came under its final owner, the Cottrell Paper Company, which continues to operate it to the present.
Published: September 13, 2009
By TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
Nearly all of the industry outside of Ballston Spa was located on the Kayaderosseras Creek during the 1800s. However, there was one hamlet in the eastern section of Milton that hosted a variety of businesses for decades.
Rowland’s Hollow (sometimes known as Rowland’s Mills) was located on one of the branches of the Kayaderosseras Creek along present day Rowland Street. Hiram Rowland established a series of mills in the 1840s consisting of a saw mill, grist mill, stone works, and lime quarry. A man named Prince Wing later managed most of these businesses and employed over two dozen men.
When Kilmer’s paper mill in Rock City Falls converted its machinery to manufacture paper from straw in the mid-1850s, it required large amounts of lime to bleach the paper pulp. No doubt Hiram Rowland was pleased by this development, as he gained a valuable customer for the lime in his quarry.
Other nearby paper mills in Ballston Spa, Hudson Falls, and Corinth also purchased the product of the lime kiln. It was even used by the Mt. Pleasant Glass Factory north of Lake Desolation. Teamsters would stop by Rowland’s Hollow on their way back from delivering bottles to Saratoga Springs.
During the late 1800s the lime quarry was the most active industry in the hamlet, running seven days a week year-round. The nearby barns housed sixteen teams of mules that were used to draw the lime out of the quarry and deliver it to all parts of Saratoga County.
The grist mill was one of the most highly-rated mills of its kind in the area. It was operated for many years by Joseph Parmatier, who lived in a stone house next door. Isaac Wagar built a plaster mill where limestone was ground into powder for fertilizer. James Lee operated the stone quarry next to the two naturally-flowing mineral springs on the banks of the creek. The cut stone was used for a variety of building purposes around town.
By the early 1900s, the paper industry had developed new methods for manufacturing paper that no longer required lime. The loss of its primary industry led to the decline and extinction of the Rowland Mills area. Today there is little trace of the intense activity surrounding the hamlet. The stone walls that made up one of the mills lasted until recently, but today only a small vestige is left.
Published: September 20, 2009
By TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
The former hamlet of Craneville, located two miles north of Ballston Spa on Rock City Falls Road, was named after a man whose family was well known around the country for providing the government with its currency paper.
Lindley Murray Crane moved from Massachusetts to Milton when he was 23 years old. At this young age he purchased and renovated a paper mill on the Kayaderosseras Creek. This mill had been established years earlier and was reportedly the first paper mill built on the banks of the Kayaderosseras Creek, but other details are scarce.
Crane built a mansion across the road from his mill, which still stands today. The success of the paper mill and steady employment it provided caused several families to relocate nearby who called the new hamlet “Craneville.”
After trying out several types of paper with varying degrees of success, Crane switched to making paper cuffs, collars, belting, and pails. The mill was run by Charles Odell and used 150 horsepower of water and 600 tons of rags and canvass to produce 350 tons of collar paper annually.
Crane came from a distinguished Massachusetts family of paper makers. His grandfather Stephen built Massachusetts’ first paper mill in 1770. His eldest son Zenas (Lindley’s father) built a paper mill in Dalton and in 1801 founded Crane & Company, which survives to this day.
In 1846, Lindley’s older brother Zenas Marshall Crane invented a paper that introduced silk threads into the fiber of the paper. Since he failed to secure a patent for this invention, Zenas never profited from it even though many banks adopted the paper to print currency. The Crane family was vindicated in 1879 when it was awarded the first contract to produce the new paper for the United States currency, and has been awarded the contract ever since.
Lindley Crane’s ill health forced him to retire in 1874 and sell the mill to George West. For nearly 40 years after its takeover by West, Eagle Mill was used to manufacture manila paper for paper bags. The Union Bag & Paper Company purchased the mill when West retired in 1899. Due to the mill’s close proximity to Ballston Spa, it continued to operate for Union Bag even after other mills to the north had been sold off. This allowed residents of Craneville to continue living as they had for decades while Lindley Crane was alive.
After Union Bag pulled up stakes in the town of Milton, the mill lay idle for a few years until it was purchased by the Carthage Sulphite Pulp & Paper Company in November 1916 for $10,000. This paper company specialized in making folding box board, heavy manila paper, tag board, and board stock.
In April 1917 a devastating fire completely destroyed the mill, causing $59,000 in losses. The following week corporate officers stated that it would be rebuilt with the latest machinery, but there is no further mention of activity at the site.
Published: November 29, 2009
By TIMOTHY STARR
For Ballston Spa Life
John S. Bulkeley lived in Ballston Spa for many years during the late 1800s and worked as the “Up North” correspondent for the Albany Argus. In 1872 he took a comprehensive tour of the industries along the Kayaderosseras Creek and began writing a series of articles about them. These were published in the Argus over a number of months.
The articles received such a favorable reaction from the reading public around the Capital Region that he decided to compile them into a booklet titled “Leading Men and Leading Pursuits of Ballston and Vicinity.”
This rare booklet gives a first-hand, rare account of the inner workings of some of Ballston’s most successful businesses. The account below is taken from Bulkeley’s tour of Benjamin Barber’s sawmill and foundry that was once located on the northern extreme of the village off South Street.
“The Eagle Wood and Iron Works are the next in order. They are carried on by Messrs. Barber and Baker. They stand on the bank, over fifty feet above the dam which furnishes the power for operating their works. The power is conducted by a long shaft up the steep bank, and thereby an immense amount of labor in going up and down the bank is saved. They employ from twenty-five to thirty men.
“In the wood shed they run one surface planer, a planer and matcher, two moulding machines, and saws and other machinery used in the manufacture of sash, doors, blinds, mouldings, etc. Their machine shop contains five lathes and a planer, with a foundry for making all the necessary castings.
“Aside from this they manufacture “Barber’s double turbine water wheel,” which is fast coming into use. This wheel is the invention of a practical mechanic of thirty years’ experience, and was made originally for his own use, in his own factory, and to supply a want which he in common with other manufacturers had felt to be a pressing want.
“Four years of labor and experiment on Mr. Barber’s part have resulted in the production of a wheel which may be said, in its general style and construction, to be second to none, and in its practical operation, superior to any. They claim in the first place that the upper wheel alone is equal if not superior to any other wheel in use. Secondly, that the attachment or reaction wheel adds 15 per cent to the power of the upper wheel, thus placing the result of the wheel far ahead of anything yet accomplished by any turbine.
“The combination referred to may be better understood by a glance at the cut of wheel accompanying this article. It consists of an upper or principal wheel, so constructed as to take the first effect of the water directly upon the buckets; the angles of the guide chutes and gates being such as steadily to condense the sheet of water as it approaches the wheel, giving the best possible leverage at the moment of impact. The secondary wheel, which resembles a series of propeller blades, receives the water after its assault upon the upper wheel, and while accelerating the discharge by placing the water beneath, at the same time by its retreating and ascending flanges, seizes a certain amount of centrifugal and residuary power. When it is desired to use only part of the power of the wheel, the closing down the gates does not disturb in the least the practical operation of the wheel, but as good a result is obtained at one-half or three-quarter gate as at the full. The hydrostatic pressure which is so troublesome in operating the gates of most wheels is overcome in the Barber turbine by a most simple contrivance, so that the gates are counterbalanced accurately under any hand.”
Published: February 21, 2010
By TIMOTHY STARR
Ballston Spa Life
The United States Patent Commission was created on April 10, 1790 to establish a formal method for submitting and indexing patents. Its first three members were Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph. As only three people made up the early patent office, the first applications were not closely examined. An inventor simply submitted a written description, a working model, and a $30 fee (equivalent to about $1,000 today).
For over 25 years, the patents were stored in a building known as Blodgett’s Hotel, also the site of the General Post Office. In the early morning of December 15, 1836, ashes from a woodstove caught fire and burned down the entire building. All 10,000 of the patents and models were destroyed.
Although indexes from private collections have allowed the Patent Office to reconstruct a listing of nearly all of the lost patents, most of the actual copies were lost forever. Congress acted to attempt to restore the patents from private collections and the inventors themselves, but only about 3,000 were recovered. These were given an “X” designation to distinguish them from patents issued after 1836, and are commonly called the “X-patents.”
The Great Fire of 1836 was devastating to the early patent record of Saratoga County. Of the 54 X-patents issued, 34 were destroyed by the fire, including 22 out of the first 25. Four additional patents contain the drawings only, as the text has been lost, while in two others the drawings have been lost.
The county’s first patent was one of those that could not be replaced, issued on April 2, 1810 to Jonathan Minor of Saratoga Springs for a water wheel. Others never replaced include Daniel Newell’s “Machine for Shaving and Dressing Shingles” (Saratoga, 7/26/1810), John Bryan’s “Manufacturing Hats” (Saratoga, 8/26/1815), and Eliakim Cory’s “Stove” (Milton, 5/30/1816).
The Town of Waterford possesses the most X-patents with nineteen, while Saratoga Springs comes in second with ten. Surprisingly, the Town of Galway is third with nine patents, all of which were submitted before 1830. None of Galway’s patents were replaced after the Patent Office fire.
The Town of Milton had four X-patents, of which one survived – Oliver Davidson’s “Door Spring,” issued from Ballston Spa on March 30, 1835.
Jedidiah Beckwith’s machine for boring timber is the earliest Saratoga County patent that survives completely intact. Beckwith’s invention was submitted in Saratoga Springs and accepted on December 21, 1830. The book Repertory of Patent Inventions describes the tool: “A frame is made having two uprights, like those of a standing press. A cylindrical vertical shaft fits and turns freely in holes at the top and bottom of the sliding frame; the augers or bits, with which the boring is to be performed, are adapted to the lower end of the shaft. By means of a handle, motion is given to the vertical wheel.”
Beckwith also patented a rotary pump on April 16, 1831 and a double-acting metallic pump on December 27, 1833, making him the county’s most prolific early inventor. He must have provided the Patent Office with copies of his patents after the fire, since all three survive in their entirety.
Notes from the editress of the Petersburg Kaleidoscope, 1856