Mount Hope Station & Vicinity
In addition to ticketing functions, a telegraph office, the express agent, and a post office were all located in the station. People living in the east section of Hastings-on-Hudson received their mail addressed to Mount Hope.
The Mount Hope Cemetery was opened in 1886 on 200 acres of land purchased from the Odell family. The cemetery's original plots were purchased by New York City churches, labor unions, and fraternal organizations. Funeral parties from the city arrived at the Mount Hope station on special trains.
The cemetery's many-treed site incorporates an impressive memorial to Confederate veterans. Dedicated in 1897, the burial plot is marked by a seventy-foot-high granite monument.
After the Saw Mill River Parkway was built, a pedestrian bridge over the parkway provided access for local passengers. While the foundations & anchorages for this bridge are still in existence, the bridge itself has since been dismantled.
Chauncey Station & Vicinity
Industries served by the "Put" at this stop included the Brussels Tapestry Company and Stauffer Chemical. Passengers traveling to and from Children's Village, founded as the New York Juvenile Asylum, also used the Chauncey Station.
The community of Chauncey began to disappear when the central business district was obliterated for construction of the Saw Mill River Parkway.
Ardsley Station & Vicinity
During the early nineteenth century, the hamlet, then called Saw Mill Corners, had an agricultural economy based primarily on the cultivation of cucumbers and the production of pickles. Known as Ashford by 1850, the community surrounding this stop on the Putnam line was renamed in 1888 in order to obtain a post office.
The application to the federal government was complicated by the fact that an Ashford post office already existed in upstate New York. However Cyrus W. Field lived nearby on an estate named "Ardsley", after his ancestral home in England. Associated with Peter Cooper, Samuel F.B. Morse and others in the successful installation of the trans-Atlantic cable, Field was well-connected in Washington, He offered to facilitate the post office application if his neighbors would change the community name to Ardsley.
Duly renamed, Ardsley became an incorporated village on January 14, 1896.
Woodlands Lake Station & Vicinity
The lake created by damming the river was used for boating and swimming in the summer, for ice skating and an annual winter carnival in the colder months, and later as the major recreational feature of a popular resort complex, the Woodlands Lake Hotel, whose New York City visitors arrived via the "Put."
By the late nineteenth century, John Brown's dairy farm occupied what was to become Macy Park. A cow pasture, known as John Brown's meadow, was located where the baseball fields and pavilion are now. Briefly part of the Cyrus Field estate, the property was acquired by the financier J.P. Morgan at the turn of the century.
In the early twentieth century, under a lease arrangement between Morgan and the Ardsley Ice Company, ice was harvested from the lake and stored between layers of sawdust in a nearby ice house. From a siding off the main "Put" line, the ice was then shipped by rail to locations in Westchester and to New York City for distribution to restaurants and hotels.
In 1923, Westchester purchased the lake and the area around it as park land for an estimated $157,000. The new park was named after V. Everit Macy, who served as a member of the first County Park Commission and as Westchester's first Commissioner of Public Welfare.
Worthington Station & Vicinity
Following the invention of a specialized steam pump, in 1840 Worthington built a steamboat. The vessel was the first of its type specifically designed to operate on the canal systems that were so critical to the transportation of goods and products in the eastern United States. Later, naval vessels of the Civil War era were equipped with Worthington pumps.
The Worthington estate of several hundred acres, with its mansion approached via Saw Mill River Road, was located near the railroad stop. After Henry's death in 1880. his widow Sara had a private family chapel and mausoleum constructed on the family property. Sara Worthington died in 1899 and the beautiful stone building was deeded to the Episcopal Church. In 1931 the chapel was incorporated into the Diocese of New York as the Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Joseph of Arimathea.
Elmsford Station & Vicinity
In the 1920's, the trolley tracks crossed the train tracks at Tarrytown Road and passengers could easily transfer from one to the other. The Elmsford "Put" station, now Casaletto Restaurant, is one of only four Putnam Line stations still standing. The others are the Briarcliff Manor station, now a library, and the stations at Millwood and Yorktown Heights.
Also surviving in the village, across Saw Mill River Road from Casaletto, is the former Presbyterian Church of the Town of Greenburgh. Built in 1793, the building housed a congregation that reorganized in 1849 as the Greenburgh Dutch Reformed Church. A monument in the adjacent graveyard is dedicated to Isaac Van Wart, one of the local residents who captured Major John Andre, a Revolutionary War British spy. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Beaver Hill Station & Vicinity
However, Beaver Hill was the site of a "flag" stop located adjacent to the Fairview Golf Club near what is now the Elmsford Distribution Center. This stop is referred to as a flag stop because waiting passengers at the station would signal or flag down the train motorman so the locomotive could be slowed down in order to stop at the station. The stop's only traveler amenities consisted of a shelter enclosed on three sides.
Eastview Station & Vicinity
The station also served the nearby Butler and Cochran estates, where race horses were raised by James Butler, a wealthy grocery store entrepreneur, and William F. Cochran, owner of the Alexander Smith Carpet Mills in Yonkers.
The Cochran estate, called Grasslands, was purchased by Westchester in 1911 and became the County's medical reservation. Several buildings related to the Cochran ownership, including residences and barns, still stand on the County site.
Graham Station & Vicinity
It was the Put's disturbance of one powerful man that led to the second and final rerouting of this segment of the railroad line and the creation of the Graham Station. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. wanted to expand his Pocantico Hills estate and make it quieter and more pleasant for himself and his family. Unfortunately, the Putnam Line cut through his lands. To curtail this problem, Rockefeller sought and received permission to reroute the railroad to the easternmost section of his lands at his expense. He then both purchased the entire hamlet of Eastview to make way for the new right-of-way and expanded his land holdings in Pocantico Hills and Tarrytown Heights. The relocation began in April 1930 and was completed by March 1931, eliminating the stations of Tarrytown Heights, Tower Hill, and Pocantico Hills from the Putnam Line.
This new section of the "Put" was served by the new Graham Station, located just south of Bedford Road (Route 117). The station was supposed to have a large waiting room with lavatories along with an express and telegraph office. What was actually constructed on the site was a simple open-air shelter. While the new route cut the distance between Eastview and Briarcliff Manor by three miles, it was used by fewer people and generated no freight traffic.
Briarcliff Manor Station & Vicinity
Millwood Station & Vicinity
The Trailway goes through the historic hamlet of Millwood in the Town of New Castle and parallels Route 100, the old stagecoach route north from White Plains. General Washington traveled up and down this route many times. Following the battle of White Plains in October, 1776, some of Washington's wounded were cared for in the Quaker Meeting House on Quaker Street in Chappaqua. The French General Rochambeau marched his forces along the same roads on his way from Newport, Rhode Island, to Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781.
The Millwood area or "West End", as it is often referred to, is an important part of the Town of New Castle. Horace Greeley. Chappaqua resident, publisher of the New York Tribune and 1872 presidential candidate, came to the "West End" to vote. An impressive statue of Greeley stands near the intersection of Mill River Road and the Saw Mill River Parkway. A group of Chappaqua buildings associated with Greeley and his family is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The coming of the railroads shaped the development of both Chappaqua and Millwood. Originally, there were two railroads serving New Castle. In 1846, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt developed the New York and Harlem Line which is still in service as the Harlem branch of the Metro North Railroad with a station at Chappaqua. Thirty five years later, the Putnam Line was established with a station at Millwood. Although the line was used primarily for passenger service, local farmers also used the 56 mile "old Put" to ship milk, cider, apples and other produce to New York markets.
The Millwood Station was constructed c. 1880 in Briarcliff Manor and was moved to its present location by flat car in 1910. A small Victorian "Stick Style" building determined eligible for National Register listing, the station's character attests to the charm of the Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad.
Like the Trailway built on the former railroad right-of-way, the "Old Put" provided not only a means of travel but a way to spend a pleasant day in the country.
Kitchawan Station & Vicinity
Much of the area once served by the station is now incorporated in the 208-acre Westchester County-owned Kitchawan Preserve. Purchased by the County from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (which still retains a research facility on Kitchawan Road), the acreage was originally part of Van Cortlandt Manor and later belonged to Fernando Wood and to Jeremiah Van Brunt.
Fernando Wood, a well-known mid-nineteenth century politician, was a three-term mayor of New York City. Wood and his family spent summers at Kitchawan, where their 12-acre property bordering the Reservoir included a c. 1865 residence, two large barns, a stone pumphouse, and additional outbuildings. The barn foundations and the chimneys of the house were constructed of bricks manufactured on the site; the remains of the kiln used in the manufacturing process can still be seen in the northernmost part of the Preserve.
Croton Lake & Croton Heights Station & Vicinity
The distinction of being the smallest station belonged to Croton Heights, situated approximately 1¿ miles north of Croton Lake. The original station consisted only of a shingled roof supported on four posts. The spaces in between the posts were eventually filled with corrugated metal providing some protection from the elements.
Used primarily for hikers and picnickers seeking an easily accessible rural environment, both stations were "flag stops." The engineer applied the brakes to stop the train at either Croton Lake or Croton Heights only if he saw a would-be passenger waving a white flag at the end of a long pole.
For "Put" passengers catching the train at either station after dark, the station "platforms" were illuminated by post-mounted kerosene lanterns.
Granite Springs Station & Vicinity
The Granite Springs Old "Put" depot brought new life to a hamlet, originally known as West Somers, that had been in existence since the Revolutionary War. A hotel and two stores were built near the depot. The post office was moved from its original location a mile to the east to take advantage of the improved mail service the railroad ushered in. The hamlet had its own district school (the schoolhouse is now a private residence) for the education of its elementary school students. The older students commuted to Yorktown on the Old "Put." In 1904, an Episcopal Church was erected on land opposite the depot. The Church of the Good Shepherd is still an active congregation worshiping in its second building on Granite Springs Road, about a quarter mile south of the former church.
In 1909, the Granite Springs Water Company made an unsuccessful attempt to bottle the water from some "large, never-failing springs of the purest cold water" a short distance north of the depot. In 1912, probably at the behest of the water company, the name of West Somers was changed to Granite Springs. Construction of a large 32,000 square foot granite and steel building with tower was started by the water company but remained unfinished until the mid 1940's, when the property was acquired by the Koegel family. The building was leased to the Chase Manhattan Bank which used it as a record center until the mid 1980's.
Today, the hamlet of Granite Springs retains much of its historic character, with the surrounding area one of the most pastoral in the Town of Somers. The old railroad bed goes through Stuart's Fruit Farm, which has been in the same family for six generations.
Baldwin Place Station
The North County Trailway between Granite Springs and Baldwin Place goes through the 68-acre Koegel Town Park and crosses over the Muscoot River and land of the New York City watershed. Adding to the bucolic landscape through which the trailway passes are the large pastures of Stonewall Farm on both sides of Mahopac Avenue.
Not too far distant on Route 118 is Tomahawk Chapel, a town-owned historic site, erected in 1837. Hachaliah Bailey, the father of the American Circus and the builder of the Elephant Hotel in the Somers hamlet area of the Town of Somers, is reputed to have said that the chapel was "no bigger than a tiger's cage." The chapel is surrounded by the burial grounds where many of the early residents of the area are interred.
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