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All Aboard!!! The Story of The Old Putnam Railroad In Greenburgh
By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber
“Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out and rolls along past houses, farms and fields
Good Morning America!!
How are you?
Don’t you know me? I’m your native son, I’m The Train.”
- Willie Nelson in “The City of New Orleans” (1984)
While when Steve Goodman wrote these lyrics in 1971 and when Willie Nelson sang them in 1984, they were talking about a southern train called The City of New Orleans, they could just as easily have been talking about New York’s Putnam Railroad Line. In 1871, The Putnam Railroad connected New York City to Boston and Montreal, Canada via Brewster, Danbury, and Hartford. It carried both passengers and various types of freight including: milk, grain, and iron ore. On its journey from Riverdale in the Bronx to Brewster, it passed through Greenburgh’s villages of: Hastings, Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, and Elmsford. Unfortunately the Panic of 1873 forced it to shut down until 1881, when the economy finally recovered enough for a new connection to open up across the Harlem River. The railroad continued from then until the 1970s (https://www.billboeckelman.com/history-putnam-railroad/).Many of the stations along the route lay within Greenburgh.
This is the story of those stations.
The first stop in Greenburgh was in the village of Hastings was the Mount Hope Station. This station was also a telegraph office and a post office. The next stop in Hastings was Chauncey Station, though its original name was “Odell’s Station” (https://www.billboeckelman.com/train-stations-putnam-railroad/).
Proceeding along the route, next in line was Ardsley Station. Originally, this station was known as “Saw Mill Corners Station,” in the 1700s, and it was here that George Washington would often meet with his, aide-de-camp, personal secretary, and future Secretary of The Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, when in the State of New York. In 1850, in order that the town of Saw Mill Corners might better obtain a post office, the town’s name was changed to Ashford. Consequently, the name of the station was then changed to “Ashford Station.” In 1888, the name of the town was changed again to its present name of Ardsley, so the station became Ardsley Station.
The next station was the Woodlands Lake Station. As the name implies, it was built near the Woodlands Lake Hotel on the Ardsley-Irvington border, to accommodate tourists visiting the beautiful man-made Woodlands Lake which was a popular location for: fishing, boating, swimming, and other watersports. The lake was created by damming the Hudson River (https://www.billboeckelman.com/train-stations-putnam-railroad/).
From Ardsley the train made its way to what was then in 834-1838, “Storm’s Bridge Station” in the village of Elmsford which changed its name to The Elmsford Put Station when the village changed its name to Elmsford, sometime in the 1920s. Today this structure is 1 of only 4 Old Putnam Railroad station buildings still standing. Though obviously, since the railroad ceased to operate in the ‘70s, it’s no longer a railroad station. Today it is Casaletto Restaurant (https://www.billboeckelman.com/train-stations-putnam-railroad/).
The venerable railroad doesn’t exist anymore. The remains of this venerable railroad are known as “the Putnam Trail” which, in turn is itself, not what it once was. The tracks have been paved over with asphalt and now are enjoyed by cyclists and pedestrians who can walk, hike or bike from the Bronx/Westchester line to Putnam County - enjoying the beautiful parkland and scenery. To read about the fate of the trail, read our previous article, “The Disappearing Railroad Blues” in Greenburgh: The Fate of the Putnam Railroad Line and the old Putnam Trail” click here https://greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5675/The-Disappearing-Railroad-Blues-in-Greenburgh .
Previous Slices of History include:
Greenburgh’s BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF AND TRUTH: A History of The Freemasons in Greenburgh (9/12/18) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5658/BROTHERLY-LOVE-RELIEF-AND-TRUTH--in-Greenburgh
Greenburgh and The Arts (9/22/18) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5665/Greenburgh-AND-The--ARTS
A Final Resting Place for “Man’s Best Friend”: The Peaceable Kingdom (9/29/18) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5653/A-Final-Resting-Place--for-Mans-Best-Friend
Greenburgh’s Hall of Heroes: Ferncliff Cemetery Where Memories Live Forever (10/12/18)https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5667/Greenburgh-Hall-of-Heroes
Greenburgh at The Great American Crossroads: Greenburgh’s Civil War Story(10/19/18) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5666/Greenburgh-at-The-Great-American-Crossroad
A Different Kind of Rebel: Greenburgh’s Contributions to the Underground Railroad (10/27/18) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5680/A-Different-Kind-of-of-Rebel--Greenburghs-contributions-to-The-Underground-Railroad
"The Disappearing Railroad Blues" in Greenburgh: The Fate of the Putnam Railroad Line and the old Putnam Trail (11/6/18) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5675/The-Disappearing-Railroad-Blues-in-Greenburgh
A Thousand Words Which You Never Knew: The Forgotten Story of the Seal of Greenburgh (11/17/18) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5651/A--Thousand-Words-Which-You-Never-Knew-The-Forgotten-Story-of-The-Seal-of-Greenburgh
How a Flat Tire led to a Happy Escape: The Story of Carvel in Greenburgh (12/11/18) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5670/How-a-Flat-Tire-led-to-a-Happy-Escape
The Guardians of History: Greenburgh’s Historical Societies (1/6/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5676/The-Guardians-of--History
A Small House, an Important Meeting, a Huge Victory: The Story of the Odell House (1/12/2019) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5654/A-Small-House--an-Important-Meeting--A-Huge-Victory
The Intersection of Banking, Ballet, and School: Greenburgh’s Warburg Estate (Updated) (10/22/19)
Lost History: The Tragedy of Malkasten (1/26/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5673/Lost-History--The-Tragedy-of-Malkasten
A Beautiful View for the Perfect Event: The Belvedere Estate (2/9/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5652/A-Beautiful-View-for-The-Perfect-Event--Belvedere-Estate
The Power of Wealth and Humility: A Reflection on Two Highly Influential African Americans (2/18/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5679/Wealth-and-Humility
Greenburgh Under the Hollywood Lights: The TV shows and movies Filmed in Greenburgh Part I (2/23/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5668/Greenburgh-under-Hollywood-Lights-Part-I
Oh, The Places Your Mail has Gone: A History of The Hartsdale Post Office (3/9/2019) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5674/Oh-The-Places-Your-Mail-has-Gone
From Insurance to Symphonies: The Home of Charles Ives (3/16/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5664/From-Insurance-to-Symphonies--The-Home-of-Charles-Ives
Greenburgh Under the Hollywood Lights: The TV shows and Movies Filmed in Greenburgh Part II (3/29/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5669/Greenburgh-Under-the-Hollywood-Lights-The-TV-shows-and-movies-Filmed-in-Greenburgh-Part-II
From Chasing Rabbits to Setting Records: The Amazing Story of Larry James (4/7/2019) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5661/From-Chasing-Rabbits-to-Setting-Records
From Fixing Cars to building Infrastructure: How Massaro Park Got its name (4/13/2019) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5663/From-Fixing-Cars-to-Building-Infrastructure-How--Massaro-Park-Got-Its-Name
There is no church here, but “the brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated” this ground: The Story of The Little White Church Cemetery (4/27/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5678/There-is-no-church-here-but-the-brave-men-living-and-dead-who-struggled-here-have-consecrated-this-ground
Irvington in Chains and our Process A History of Slavery in Irvington and A look at how Slices of History are made (and our interview with historian Robert Marchant) (5/11/2019) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5671/Irvington-in-Chains
From Farmland to Shopping District: The Rise of Central Avenue (5/25/2019) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5662/From-Farmland-to-Shopping-District-The-Rise-of-Central-Avenue
Like a long lost friend”: The story of how summer recreation has evolved in Greenburgh (6/7/2019) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5672/like-a-long-lost-friend
Abandon Ship!!! The Story of United Nuclear Corporation and their Short-lived Elmsford Facility (6/28/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5656/Abandon-Ship
Beyond Heritage Versus Hate Toward Hope and Reconciliation: The story of Mount Hope Cemetery and its Confederate Monument (7/13/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5657/Beyond-Heritage-Versus-Hate-Toward-Hope-and-Reconciliation---The-story-of-Mount-Hope-Cemetery-and-its-Confederate-Monument
Hidden History: The Story of Fairview Fairgrounds Part I (7/27/19) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5660/fairgrounds
Entertainers for Justice (8/3/2019) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5659/Entertainers-for-Justice
A Tale of Two Towns: Greenburgh, NY, and Muncy, PA (8/23/ 2019) https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/5655/A-Tale-of-Two-Towns--Greenburgh-NY-and-Muncy-PA
Ashes “Ashes, Ashes!!We all Fall Down”(3/23/2020)
About the Authors:
We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.
I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at email@example.com.
I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at email@example.com.
Two Interviews with the authors:
Coldwell Banker . (2018, (NOT Given) (NOT Given)). A Brief History Of The Putnam Railroad. Retrieved from billboeckelman.com: http://www.billboeckelman.com/Our-Communities/Ardsley-NY/Brief-History-Of-The-Putnam-Railroad
Coldwell Banker . (2018, (NOT Given) (NOT Given)). Former Train Stations Along The "Old Put" ... The Putnam Railroad Line. Retrieved from billboeckelman.com: https://www.billboeckelman.com/train-stations-putnam-railroad/
Goodman, S. (1984). The City of New Orleans [Recorded by W. Nelson]. Nashville , Tennesse , United States of America .