Notes on the Railroads of Cazenovia, NY
Notes on the Railroads of Cazenovia, NY

 Compiled by Daniel H. Weiskotten

Posted 8/10/2002
Last Modified 8/17/2004

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The Railroad Companies who ran the two lines through Cazenovia

Cazenovia and Canastota Rail Road 1870-1873
Cazenovia, Canastota, and DeRuyter Rail Road 1873-1875
Utica, Ithaca, and Elmira Rail Road 1875-1883
Elmira, Cortland, and Northern Rail Road 1883-1896
Lehigh Valley Rail Road 1896-1967
Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road 1870-
West Shore Branch of New York Central Rail Road?         -1947?

There are obviously many decades of history that I have not gathered.  This is just a compiling of notes from various projects I have worked on over the years.  This is but the tip of the iceberg that is our railroad history.

Go to:
        Eidos Magazine, 1978
        Upland Idyll, 1993
               Upland Idyll captions
        Cazenovia Republican 1867-1872
        Cazenovia Republican 1873
        Owen Evans 1961 and 1962
        Helen Kennard 1967

Miscellaneous notes on the Railroads of Cazenovia

An architectural (and stability?) survey of the S&CVRR railroad tunnel (which runs under NY 92) was done by NYS DOT in the late 1980s, but I have never seen it.  A copy is said to be on file in the town office, with photos and maps.

Eidos Magazine (pub. by the Idyllic Foundation, Cazenovia, NY) Summer 1978 2(1):16-21
"Beneath the Earth, Part II: The Tunnel" by Kathy Marland
(Notes extracted and clarified by DHW)

Upland Idyll, Images of Cazenovia, New York, 1860-1900
Russell A. Grills, 1993

Chapter II, "Rails Come to Cazenovia" pages 58-73

Imagine yourselves towards the close of a warm afternoon in the passenger coach of a train on a small branch railroad, which connects with the mainline at an outlandish little station, where the agent informs you that the stage coach in which you had hoped to reach your destination had been abandoned this twenty years, and that Cazenovia now had two railroads of its own.

But as the train begins slowly to ascend the up-grade your disappointment vanishes, for the hills are just the same, the little stream with its overhanging trees and great boulders, the old stone mill, with the boys playing in front of the cottages opposite, are identical to what you remember of the place before this dreadful modern innovation with its screeching whistle came to wake the echoes among these hills. [New York Journal reprinted in the Cazenovia Republican, June 12, 1890]

Many people shared the same sense of nostalgia at the passing of the iron horse in Cazenovia that the New York Journal writer felt for the passing of the stagecoach.  It was the railroads, (Cazenovia encouraged two to snake their rails through the fastness of its countryside), that allowed the village to evolve into a late nineteenth-century summer paradise.

Because of its location in the "salubrious" highlands, advantages gained by beautiful location were lost in the difficulties involved in developing adequate lines of transportation.  The early advantage of turnpike roads was quickly lost to the superior technology of canals and the early railroads, which could operate effectively only in the relatively level lowlands to the north of Cazenovia.

Aside from its 1830 flirtation with railroading, serious interest in bringing iron rails to Cazenovia did not begin until the guns of the Union and Confederate armies fell silent at Appomattox Court House.  With the horror of war also came rapid advances in railroad technology.

The Cazenovia Republican announced a meeting to discuss the railroad question.  At the Lincklaen House on September 28, 1867 Dr. Alvin Foord, of patent medicine fame, presided and L. Wolters Ledyard acted as secretary.  Several proposals were discussed, including the building of a line from Canastota or possible inclusion in the planned New York & Oswego Midland, expected to pass between Syracuse and Norwich.  A majority of those at the meeting resolved to support the building of a line to Canastota or other convenient points on the New York Central Railroad.  They also appointed committees to study finances and survey the line.

Concluded the Republican:

It will be seen that the project of connecting Cazenovia by rail with some point on the Central is not wholly an imaginative idea; but the support which it receives from the leading men of both Cazenovia and Canastota show it to be a practical one. [Cazenovia Republican, October 2,1867]
Other railroad proposals continued to be advanced.  In January of 1868 a second Cazenovia railroad scheme, supported by a group headed by Ledyard family business rival Henry Ten Eyck, passed the talking stage as the Republican reported that surveyors of the Syracuse, Fayetteville & Manlius Railroad were looking for a possible route from Manlius to Cazenovia.  Still other parties promoted a route between Chittenango and Cazenovia, one that earlier committees had rejected as being impractical.

Momentum was on the side of the Canastota route.  The state senate chartered the Cazenovia & Canastota Railroad on April 2, 1868.  By April 26 bonds to cover the anticipated $205,000 cost of the line were fully subscribed.  The Board of Directors broke ground for the railroad on April 27, 1869 on a farm in Perryville.

In the meantime supporters of the proposed railroad from Syracuse, now called the Syracuse & Chenango Valley, met at Concert Hall on June 26, 1869 and resolved to build a line through "Beckwith's Gap" on the west side of Cazenovia Lake to a point less than a mile from the Lincklaen House.  The line would connect with another road then under construction, giving it a through route to New York.

On the C & C, land was purchased for the construction of a terminal in an area of the village called "Willow Bridge" on Burr Street.  Although the company originally wished to place its depot on Albany Street, it was

estimated that it would cost $15,000 to build the road from "Willow Bridge" to Albany Street - the saving of which is no small item.  The depot will be nearer the center of the village than in two-thirds of the villages in the state.  [Cazenovia Republican, June 30, 1869]
Grading and filling of the roadbed began in 1870, and by August 2nd of that year the laying of track began.  Two weeks later the first locomotive was placed on the line, by then completed to Clockville.  The 25-ton machine made by the Schenectady Locomotive Works was given the number "1" and named "Cazenovia."

The S & CV road was also busy with construction.  Having abandoned the idea of passing over "Beckwith's Gap," the railroad began boring a tunnel under the ridge in the summer of 1870, a project that would require two years to complete.

On December 7, 1870, the Cazenovia & Canastota Railroad was opened with appropriate ceremony.  The Republican reporter wrote:

The engine bell and whistle, the puff of steam, and the roll of iron wheels, are now, already, becoming familiar sounds, so readily do we fall into new ways, and ere long we will forget the ‘old times' when our village was not linked to the thoroughfares of the world. [Cazenovia Republican, December 14, 1870]
Service on the S & CV was opened as far as the tunnel in 1871, with George Shute's stagecoach carrying passengers the rest of the way to the village.  Two years later a correspondent of the Syracuse Standard was able to write that
when the road emerges from the tunnel, in a few moments we reach the handsome sheet of water known as Cazenovia Lake.  Can there be a more beautiful inland lake in the world?  It is clear as crystal, and the banks are fringed by the finest verdure, and surrounded with the richest farming landscape.  The cars land passengers at the depot near the lake and take stage to the village. [Syracuse Standard reprint in the Cazenovia Republican, August 7,1873]
The two railroads were off and running, periodically facing bankruptcy proceedings and changing names as they developed.  Neither road evolved into a "mainline" or carried enough traffic to make them prosperous.  The S & CV eventually fell into the hands of the New York Central Railroad and ended its days hauling milk, gravel, and Cazenovia Lake ice to Syracuse.  The Cazenovia segment of the line was abandoned in the 1930s.  The C & C eventually became a branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad carrying farm and building supplies until its ultimate demise in 1967.

The primary value of the railroads to Cazenovia was transporting summer visitors and bringing in cheap goods from the outside.  For Cazenovia's native industries, the effect was probably more detrimental than valuable.  While there was some benefit in increasing their access to outside markets, most of them were soon overwhelmed by the cheaper goods brought into the central New York area by rail.

Whether positive or negative, the building of the railroads to Cazenovia served as the major instrument of the rapid changes that overtook the village in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Captions to photographs (not reproduced here):
(notes and corrections by DHW in brackets {})

Page 59
Although a railroad to Cazenovia was conceived and incorporated as the Madison County Railroad in 1830, the seeds of the first successful railway into the village were planted at a public meeting held on September 28, 1867.  Construction started a year and a half later.  When this photograph was taken in August of 1870, track laying had advanced nearly to Cazenovia from Canastota.

Page 60
In 1891, the morning passenger train to Syracuse stops just south {north} of the People's Ice Company icehouse on the west shore of Cazenovia Lake to pick up summer campers bound for jobs in the city.  Campers living south of the tunnel had convenient train connections to city jobs, so that working fathers could join vacationing families.

Page 62
Visiting photographer Augustus Pruyn recorded views of Cazenovia lake from the Pompey Road (Rte 20) in the 1890s catching a pump house and water tower of the Syracuse & Chenango Valley Railroad as well.

Page 63
A little further up the line another Syracuse Camera Club member recorded both train and lake barge "Lakeview" [Crawford].  The two modes of transport carried thousands of excursionists to Cazenovia Lake picnic grounds during the 1870s and 1880s.

Page 64
Like the pounding of the gold spike at Promontory Point, Utah, a year earlier, the laying of the last rail of the Cazenovia & Canastota Railroad on December 7, 1870, was cause for celebration.  A.A. Johnson {E.G. Weld} photograph.

Page 65
Switching completed, a locomotive of the Cazenovia & Canastota Railroad, poses for the camera in this 1870s view.  The large building on the left was the passenger station and train shed.  The structure served until 1894 when the new owner, the Lehigh Valley Railroad, removed the shed and rebuilt the waiting rooms into the passenger station which still exists today.  The fright house on the right still survives as part of a lumber yard.  A.A. Johnson photograph.

Page 66 (left)
By 1874, when this photograph was taken, many of the small industries which had dotted the banks of Chittenango creek had begun to disappear due to the competition from cheaply produced goods brought in by the new Cazenovia & Canastota Railroad, shown here in the foreground.  This complex is labeled the cedar Grove mill and produced woolen products.  it was located just north of the village on a site now occupied by a sewage treatment plant.  In 1895 the mill was operated as the Applegate & Co. furniture factory. {The Cedar Grove mills was off the left edge of the picture and was no longer standing by the time the railroad was built.  At the time of this photograph, c. 1877, these buildings were occupied by Andrew Dardis' Tannery, which was occupied briefly, around 1885, by the Appleton & Co. furniture factory.}

Page 66 (right)
A sign of transportation progress in Cazenovia was the raw cut leading from the south {also considered east as it faces almost directly east} portal of the newly bored tunnel on the Syracuse & Chenango Valley Railroad.  The tunnel was under construction from 1870 to 1872.  This view was shot from West Lake Road, which passes directly over the south {east} portal.  Cazenovia Lake can be seen in the background.

Page 67 (left)
Cazenovia's second railroad, the Syracuse & Chenango Valley, was constructed in 1870.  Opening of the line was slowed by the necessity of digging the tunnel through Palmer Hill, a long ridge west of Cazenovia Lake {more appropriately, it was dug under "Beckwith's Gap" - Palmer Hill is that section of NY 92 rising along the east face of Pompey Hollow from near Temperance Road and reaching its peak north of the location of the tunnel}.  In this 1871 view of the south {east} portal through the tunnel has not been opened.

Page 67 (right)
By 1872, the finished tunnel portal and the proverbial light at the end announced the soon to be commenced rail service to Cazenovia by the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Railroad.

Page 68
This moody view of the causeway across the swamp at the southern end of Cazenovia Lake to the S&CV depot points out the importance of not missing Shute's omnibus to the village.  To do so meant a one mile-trudge to the nearest hotel.  The photo was taken by Anna R. Fitcher in 1891.

Page 69
On his 1875 visit to Cazenovia, a member of the Syracuse Camera Club recorded this view of the Syracuse & Chenango Valley Railroad station.  George Shute's omnibus waits to carry disembarking passengers the mile to Cazenovia.

Page 70
Tannery Dam is the title of this 1886 winter scene by Charles Marshall.  The building on the left appears to be the blacksmith and machine shop, and box shop of the Shelter Valley Mill.  The mil was built in 1862 to produce textiles.  When this photograph was taken the complex was known as the Glen Woolen Mills, a manufacturer of felt. {The tannery was not locate here at any time, it was about a mile further up stream.}

Page 71
The railroad to Cazenovia, the triumph of the early 1870s, was extended southward with the incorporation of the Cazenovia, Canastota & DeRuyter Railroad in 1875.  Spanning the principal obstacle to the line's progress, Chittenango Creek, was this spidery iron truss bridge built in 1878.  In the rear, left {right} stands McCabe's blacksmith shop.  One of several in the village, it once stood on space now occupied by its spiritual descendant, a gas station and convenience store.

Page 72
By the century's end the Lehigh Valley Railroad controlled the old C&C.  The passenger depot on the left was rebuilt in 1894, losing its covered train shed.  Reported the Cazenovia Republican:

People ... will be surprised the next time they take a train ... and will wonder if they are in Cazenovia or some station of the New York Central.  The old depot is so completely remodeled, that when it is finished it will present no traces of its former self. [Cazenovia Republican, May 26, 1894] Jabez Abell photograph.


Cazenovia Republican (CR) notes
(there are many hundred more items to be found, as this is but the first few years of the railroads)

CR September 18, 1867 (compiled DHW)
        Oswego & New York Midland Rail Road: The stock subscribers from New Woodstock met and complained that no survey has yet been made through New Woodstock as was agreed upon.  The board of directors resolved "to build the road on the shortest and most feasible route, taking into consideration grades and curves
        The survey through New Woodstock has been made but has not been presented to the board.  The survey shows that the route from Syracuse to Norwich by way of New Woodstock to be ten miles shorter than the route through Cazenovia and Eaton and of equal if not better grade.
        When built, the Midland Rail Road will run from the village of Middletown, Orange county through Sullivan, Delaware, Chenango and Madison counties, to the city of Oneida, and then by way of the north shore of Oneida lake to Fulton and Oswego.
        There will be a branch from Norwich to DeRuyter and Skaneateles.  The route from Norwich trough Cazenovia, Fayetteville, Syracuse, Phoenix, Fulton, and Oswego was turned down because Syracuse declined bonding.

CR September 25, 1867
        Call to a meeting of the citizens of the town of Cazenovia at the Lincklaen House September 28 to consider the feasibility of constructing a rail road from Cazenovia to Canastota or some other point on the (New York) Central Rail Road.

CR October 2, 1867
        Failure of the planned Midland Rail Road, from Syracuse to ?, no interest in Syracuse, a rail road from Cazenovia to Canastota was favored to be constructed.

CR October 2, 1867
        "New Railway Project -- Whereas, the project of building the Midland Pail Road, upon a line running through Syracuse, Eaton and Norwich, has failed by reason of the refusal of people of the city of Syracuse to subscribe to the capitol stock thereof, therefore:
        "Resolved, That we favor the construction of a railway from Cazenovia to Canastota, or to such point practicable.
        "Thus it will be seen that the project of connecting Cazenovia with some point on the Central is not wholly an imaginative idea; but the support it receives from the leading men of Cazenovia and Canastota shows it to be an entirely practical one.
        "As it is evident that the Midland will not open our beautiful town, with its immense water privileges and other advantages, to the outside world (if it does any other villages at present), we must look about for some other means of communication."

CR October 7, 1868

        "Editor of the Republican: Some superficial and unsafe advisers are agitating the question of getting the town or village of Cazenovia to bond or take stock of a rail road company from Syracuse through this town to some point in the Chenango Valley, say Sherburne, called the ‘Syracuse & Chenango Valley Rail Road' ...
        "At the last session of the Legislature of this State, some persons in the interest of Syracuse, and against those of every other place affected thereby, procured by that body two acts for building this road. ...
         "What a noble sacrifice this, toward inviting the Chenango Valley to pour it's wealth into the lap of Syracuse on the part of (Syracuse) ...  In short, making somebody besides the city of Syracuse furnish the means and build a rail road for the sole benefit of that city or it's projectors, without it costing the amount of a single paper dollar.
        "The (Cazenovia &) Canastota Rail Road Bill was passed on the petition of a large majority of the tax-payers representing a majority of the taxable property of the towns of Fenner, Cazenovia, and the village of Canastota separately ...
        "No petition by any inhabitant of the county of Madison ever asked to place such one-sided and mischievous bills as these (for the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road) upon our statute books.  Nor will any honest or intelligent inhabitant ask to put them into execution now they are there.  Let the Cazenovia & Canastota Rail Road be given up, and nothing more will be heard of the Syracuse & Chenango valley; nor will anything further ever be heard of the project when contracts for the Canastota Road are once made."
                                                            (signed) "Progress"

CR October 16, 1867
        "A rail road from Syracuse through Fayetteville to Manlius is contemplated.  A road is considered from the New York Central in Chittenango to Cazenovia by way of Chittenango Falls and the springs.  Cazenovia and Canastota has become the all absorbing topic of conversation."

CR October 23, 1867
        A large delegation or men from Fayetteville and Manlius were in town last week to see about extending the Syracuse, Fayetteville & Manlius Rail Road to Cazenovia.  As far as could be learned, "the general reply of our townsmen was that Cazenovia was bonded for the Midland, and would be glad to have that road approach Cazenovia via Syracuse, Fayetteville, & Manlius, but that a shorter road in that direction would hardly be considered a paying investment."

CR October 30, 1867
        "Cazenovia & Canastota Rail Road.  The project of a rail road between Cazenovia and Canastota is rapidly assuming definite shape.  The surveys of the line have been completed, with the most gratifying success, and leave no doubt as to the perfect feasibility of the route.
        "We trust and believe that our citizens will not rest until the snort of the locomotive wakes the echoes among our hills and valleys."

CR October 30, 1867
        "We are informed that surveys are being made from Chittenango to this place, under Chittenango auspices - with what result we do not know."

CR October 30, 1867
        "Chittenango - Our citizens are just now excited over the prospect of a railroad to be built to Cazenovia, and which, from the interest manifested, will no doubt go through."

CR April 2, 1869
        Contracts let for the Cazenovia and Canastota Railroad - a most useful and public enterprise.

CR April 28, 1869
        "Ground was broken on the farm of Hon. F.A. Hyatt, Perryville, Tuesday (April 27) morn, and the grading of the road will now be pushed rapidly forward.  It is said the men and teams at work reminded one of a good old-fashioned ‘general training.'  The hour of deliverance draws nigh."

CR May 10, 1869
        Central and Union Pacific Rail Roads meet, at Promontory Point, Utah.

CR (date unknown)
        On May 11, after a year of grading the line, the Cazenovia and Canastota Rail Road Co. contracted with the Schenectady Locomotive Co. for two 25 ton locomotives, the be ready by August 1, 1870.

CR July 13, 1870
        A large force of men are already at work on the tunnel at Beckwith's Gap, a boarding house has been erected.

CR (date unknown)
        On August 2, 1870, track laying began on the Cazenovia and Canastota Rail Road.

CR August 24, 1870
        "Engine No. 1 named Cazenovia, has arrived on the line from the Schenectady Locomotive Works. ... The engine (No. 2) Canastota is to be ready for service in a few days."  (A photo of this engine arriving in Cazenovia is seen in the "Cazenovia Pictorial Record.")

CR (date unknown)
        The track was laid to the village of Cazenovia in September of 1870.

CR September 4, 1870
        The Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road will open the most direct route from New York City to the central and western portions of the state.

CR December 14, 1870
        "The Tunnel -- The quiet residence of Mr. Beckwith has already given place to a small village of blacksmith and other shops, where tools, cars, etc. are already being prepared, and it is expected that the work of boring the hill will be commenced about the first of February."

CR February 22, 1871
        The contractor and his men have arrived in town to begin work on the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road.

CR April 12, 1871
        They have begun to go underground over at the tunnel.

CR May 3, 1871
        "The abutments of the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road bridge over the "Pig City" creek are being laid."

CR May 10,1871
        A man was killed by falling rock at Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road tunnel.

CR May 24, 1871
        Surveys commenced yesterday for the extension of the Cazenovia and Canastota Rail Road to New Woodstock etc..

CR June 14, 1871
        All persons are forbidden from going into the tunnel of the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road at any time without the consent of the contractor.

CR July 19, 1871
        A workman was injured at the tunnel by the falling of a stone upon him.

CR July 26, 1871
        Grading on the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road is complete to Oran, and the grading to the tunnel will be complete in less than five weeks.  The trains will probably run to the tunnel by the first of October.

CR December 20, 1871
        Work on the tunnel is pressing favorably, the headings are within 400 feet of each other.

CR December 20, 1871
        Trains will at present run on the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road as far as the Temperance House, about four miles from this (Cazenovia) village, and passengers will be conveyed to and from that point by four-horse sleighs.

CR January 3, 1872
        Work on the tunnel is progressing rapidly, and it is expected to be finished and the track laid to Cazenovia early in June.  The grading is complete from Syracuse to Erieville.

CR January 17, 1872
        Extend the Cazenovia and Canastota Rail Road south?

CR January 31, 1872
        The tunnel must be arched, the nature of the rock is such that upon contact with the air it slacks and becomes safe without the support of masonry.

CR February 14, 1872
        "The greatest bore in town: the tunnel."

CR February 14, 1872
        Old Temperance House depot is along the line of the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road.

CR March 6, 1872
        The "headings" at the tunnel met this morning - within 1/2 inch of each other.

CR April 4, 1872
        The Cazenovia and Canastota Rail Road will be extended to DeRuyter and opened by winter.

CR April 11, 1872
        Landslide on the Chenango Valley Rail Road between the Temperance House and Oran.

CR May 2, 1872
        Chas. Lobb has finished his job at the tunnel, and goes to Silver Creek, Chautauqua County to work there on the Lakeshore Rail Road.  George C. Beckwith also goes there to reopen his store and supply the men employed by Mr. L..  George is one of the old residents of Cazenovia, though a young man.

CR May 16, 1872

 "A Visit to the Tunnel and a Glimpse of Cazenovia"
(compiled DHW)
        Several officers of the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road had inspected the tunnel and invited about 25 rail road men and citizens of Syracuse to return again with them.  They boarded Herman H. Stanton's coach-and-four at the Temperance House, which is the present terminus of the Rail Road.  The "deserted village" was soon reached, where but a few weeks ago there were lively scenes.  The numerous boarding houses have been torn down, the blacksmith shop demolished, and little remains except "the store" which once must have resembled Dickens' "Curiosity Shop" to mark the spot.  The company took lunch in the yard surrounding a farm house before inspecting the cavern.  Supt. Stroud then took the pilgrims to the northern end of the great work.  Through a long cut with solid walls of stone, all passed to the entrance of the tunnel, when warning was given that pieces of stone, weighing a ton or less occasionally flaked off from the top and fell, and that all who went through must take the chances.  All entered upon the journey of 1600 feet through solid rock.  In the middle the temperature was almost at the freezing point, and the only ray of light was in the distance.  Afterwards a brief visit to Cazenovia was made, and the location of the station and a new hotel upon the lake were commented upon.
        The work of arching the tunnel to render it entirely secure, is to be commenced at once, and will be done by the time the rails are laid to Cazenovia.

CR June 6, 1872
        The first train passed through the tunnel (June 3, 1872).  The work or laying the rails has been pushed with energy as of late, and on Saturday was completed some rods through the tunnel.  The first train was drawn by the engine "Syracuse" and consisted of three flat cars carrying about 40 workmen and rail road men.  "Anyone who would have predicted five years ago, that a train of cars would run under the Beckwith farm would have been considered a very crazy prophet."

CR June 27, 1872
        The trains that brought the woodworker's (from Syracuse for a picnic in Cazenovia) last Thursday (June 21, 1872) were the first passenger trains through the tunnel.  The work of arching is now going on.

CR June 27, 1872
        Two train loads of picnickers came to the woodworker's picnic, at least a thousand men, women, and children, mainly on platform care made comfortable and attractive by a screen and covering of cedar boughs.  For some uncomprehensible reason the managers, in selecting the grounds, chose to march this large number, largely made tip of women and children, a mile and a half to a place not suited for the purpose, when pleasant places were plenty on the west shore of the lake, near the point where they left the cars.  No wonder they returned to Syracuse thoroughly disgusted with picnics and with Cazenovia. (compiled DHW)

CR July 4, 1872
        Omnibuses run to and from the tunnel and Cazenovia.

CR July 11, 1872
        Work has commenced on the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road depot.

CR August 1, 1872
        While going through the tunnel a gentleman from Fayetteville narrowly escaped an intimate acquaintance with a large stone detached from overhead.

CR August 22, 1872
        McLaughlin, a laborer at the tunnel was seriously injured by falling timbers.

CR September 26, 1872
        Trains will be running through the tunnel October 1.  The stage ride tn the tunnel is rather tedious.

CR October 3, 1872
        New engine on the Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road named "Cazenovia."

CR October 10, 1872
        The Syracuse and Chenango Valley Rail Road will be open to Erieville by the 15th.

CR October 24, 1872
        The Rail Road tunnel costs one-half million dollars.

Cazenovia Republican 1873
Article from the Cazenovia Republican, February 27, 1873, reprinted from the Utica Herald.

"I presume all the stories they tell about it can not be true. One may live in Canastota and cherish a sincere love for the truth, but unless he is extremely careful he will fall into a habit of exaggerating facts.
        There is Avery. He really believes that a stove full of Sullivan coal will burn right along for two or three years without replenishing of getting any attention. His great fear is that a car load of that coal will get of fire some time, and as he doubts whether any earthly power could put the fireout, he lives in constant fear that such a fire-car may be started through the country, unquenchable, and setting fire to depots, cities, forests and fences, as it hastened from one line to another by a terror-stricken people.
        The apprehension that the last great day of doom may be brought about prematurely by a car-load of that wonderful coal is hastening Avery to an untimely grave. Then there is Chapman. Always afraid the boys will tie a string around the smoke-stack of the engine on the Canastota and Cazenovia Railroad and draw the train off down to the tow-path of the canal and forget to bring it back. He does not care so much about losing the cars or the engine, Chapman don't, but he is anxious about the safety of the Cazenovia mail.
        The cars are safe enough in Canastota, because the little boys th ere are all honest; but just leave that little train standing out in Utica over night - why, the forty thieves would steal those cars in twenty minutes. It would take one boy half a minute to steal them so you see it must take forty boys twenty minutes to steal them.
        It is just to ride on that road. The engineer who surveyed the route did not mar the fair face of nature by planning any cross cuts, or deep cuts, or extra work. He took the country as he found it; and the road winds around the sides of romantic hills, and follows the direction of beautiful glens, for all the world like a play-road built by boys.
        The road does not miss many places between Canastota and Cazenovia. You see, going in every direction, it must naturally strike nearly all the hamlets in that section of country. It is amusing to see the engineer on the short curves, watching the platform of the last car over the smoke stack of his engine, and blowing brakes to prevent running into his own train.
        Then when the conductor comes around for tickets, you know he is only in play, and when you give him your ticket you do it just to keep up the joke, but of course it is all in sport. Why, these little cars are as clean as wax and bright and shining as a silver dollar. On the Central, where you find six inches of cinders in your seat, you naturally expect to pay something, but these clean cars do not mean railroading for dollars and cents. Then the baggage car, as neat as a china closet, and almost as big. No profane baggage man will ever throw a heavy trunk into that. If he does he will break the car all to pieces. They are obliged to play railroading carefully on those cars. It is not so much fun for the baggage men, perhaps, but it is a great deal more comfortable for the public.
        Leaving Canastota, the cars climb up 700 feet and over in going nine miles. The scenery is delightful. Below a brawling brook, bordered by grove, or open field, or forest. Beyond, broad cultivated acres of farm land, and as you gradually creep toward the sky, all the rich teeming valley between Oneida Lake and the range of hills on which you ride is spread out before you. Not exactly before you, either, because you must ride backward to enjoy it best, and then, as the road winds through the rear and through each side of the car.
        You cross romantic country roads, which wind from Heaven or somewhere up there, down through the woods, and you see signs "Look out for the engine when the bell rings." These are necessary to prevent teamsters from driving over the trains and spoiling the whole fairy arrangement.
        Then there is a little stone bridge, and a little depot, on which is painted "saloon" with much discouragement in the last syllable. There is no liquor sold there, and if there was the establishment would not hold enough to get anyone drunk. Then you stop at a station where there is no depot, but no one gets on, because the boys who live there are busy skating. I notice that the conductor does not take his train off the track to pick up passengers. If you want to ride on those cars you must go to the road. The train will not leave the track to get you. The course of the road is crooked, but the rules of the road are inflexible.
        Thus, almost in a dream, you ride up the steep sides of a valley that is always growing deeper until you reach the summit. In the valley somewhere runs the outlet of Cazenovia Lake - Chittenango Creek. You look down at the ice-bound streamlet, at the snow-laden forests, at the little farm-houses, and you wonder whether it would hurt if the train should run off the track, and a car should roll over your foot.
        Probably it would, but it does not seem so to think of it. So you reach Cazenovia, a quiet, picturesque village, well fitted to stand at the end of this picturesque railway line. Were it not that Cazenovia is so liable to incursions by heathen from Syracuse, it would be the pleasantest village in the state; as it is, it does not come far short of it.
        Those readers who have never made a trip over the Canastota and Cazenovia Railroad can not call life complete until they take the ride. Those who have will agree with me that there is nothing like it."

History of Railroads in Madison County
by Owen Evans
Cazenovia Republican 12/28/1961, and January 4, 1962

(compiled DHW)

        The first project was the Madison County Rail Road Co. which was organized on April 17, 1829 with authority to "construct a single or double rail road or way from the village of Chittenango to the village of village of Cazenovia, with the privilege of extending the same southerly to any water communication between the Susquehanna River and the Erie Canal.
        Surveys were made and grading was started at Chittenango, but after the death of Judge John B. Yates, who had agreed to personally finance the first mile, work ceased and the project was abandoned.

Note by DHW (1/4/1990):  The grade for the Madison County Rail Road of 1829 can be seen in the village of Chittenango near where Rouse Street (which lies behind the stores on the east side of Genesee Street) turns onto Genesee Street (opposite Arch Street). Only about 100 meters (100 yards) of grading is visible - where it originated is not at this time known to me so more work on level land may have been done. Local residents have pointed out to me that the old grade can be traced along the hill side for several thousand feet but upon investigation the "grading" south of the bend of Rouse Street is actually formed by natural ledges and ridges in the hill side.  This "grade" does not follow a level or gradually increasing slope and rises and falls in a pattern wholly different than any rail line would.  In fact the "grade" does not continue upwards, but eventually can be followed back to the bottom of the slope.

        Most of the fifty rail roads that were proposed for Madison county were never built.  Construction was started in some cases but never finished.  The Syracuse & Utica Rail Road was finished July 3, 1839 and this later became the New York Central.
        At the end of the Civil War the rural communities were eager to replace the stage coaches, ox carts and waterways with rail roads which were the most luxurious form of travel that had yet been offered to the public.  Great interest was aroused with the completion of the transcontinental rail road at Promontory Point on May 10,1869.  The first transcontinental run was made in 6 1/2 days and ended at the Hudson River Station July 29, 1869.
        The first trains were passenger trains, it was claimed that the first freight was not carried until 1856.
        The Midland Rail Road, later to become the Ontario & Western, was formed in 1867 and passed from Oswego and through Oneida, Munsville, Eaton, and Earlville In Madison County.  It is now (1961) abandoned.
        The Cazenovia & Canastota, Rail Road (C&CRR), now Lehigh Valley Rail Road (LVRR), was incorporated January 22, 1868.  The Cazenovia and DeRuyter Rail Road (C&DRR) was incorporated January 26, 1872 and was consolidated with the Cazenovia and Canastota Rail Road as the Cazenovia, Canastota, and DeRuyter RR (CC&DRR) which was incorporated August 28, 1878.  The line to DeRuyter was completed in 1878.
        The Elmira, Cortland, & Northern Rail Road (EC&NRR) was incorporated March 7, 1884 and acquired the property of the CC&DRR about that time.  The EC&NRR was merged with the Lehigh Valley Rail Road Co. (LVRR) February 17, 1905 and this became the LVRR January 1, 1950.   No passengers have been carried for several years (1961).

Note by DHW: The last run through Cazenovia was made in 1967.  In 1968 the ties and rails were taken up, the massive stone bridge over Bingley road was demolished (a portion over Munger Brook still stands).  In 1976 the bridge over Chittenango Creek near Albany Street was taken out and moved to Auburn.)

        The Syracuse & Chenango Valley Rail (S&CVRR) Road was incorporated April 16, 1868 and construction was started in 1870.  The first trains from Syracuse to the Temperance House crossing in 1871 and horse drawn stages ran from Cazenovia to meet the trains for two years until the tunnel was completed.  On February 12, 1873 the first train ran from Syracuse to Earlville and returned.  The track ran through rough terrain - four men were killed in 1870 when a landslide buried them between Earlville and Lebanon.
        The tunnel is 1,831 feet long, 15 feet wide and 18 feet high.  Laborers came from the coal mining regions of Pennsylvania and worked in two gangs - one on the north (west) end and one on the south (east) end.  The tunnel was almost completely blocked in the 1890s by rock falls.  Four passenger and four freight trains ran each way daily.  A trolley line from Syracuse to Manlius caused a cut back in runs.

Historic Buildings, The Lehigh Valley Station off Burr Street (William Street)
by Helen Kennard, Cazenovia Republican, May 10, 1967

        On 13, 1869, A.W. Tillotson and Mary E. Tillotson, his wife, sold the land to the Cazenovia and Canastota Railroad Company.  It is presumed that the depot was erected soon afterwards.
        In 1870 and 1871, the Cazenovia and Canastota Railroad took a mortgage on the property with the Union Trust Company.  Then, in October, 1876, there was a summons filed for non- payment of mortgages.  Charles L. Kennedy, as referee, had sold the property to Horace F. Clark of New York City on January 11, 1873.
        Horace F. Clark and Marie Louisa Clark, his wife, sold the property to the Cazenovia and Canastota Railroad in March, 1873.  In June, 1873, there was an agreement consolidating the Cazenovia and Canastota and the Canastota and DeRuyter railroads (into a company to be called the Cazenovia, Canastota and DeRuyter Railroad, and this is recorded on may 29, 1890.
        In October, 1873, the Cazenovia, Canastota and DeRuyter Railroad conveyed all property to Charles S. Fairchild of Albany, N.Y., as trustee.  On May 3, 1876, the Cazenovia, Canastota and DeRuyter Railroad conveyed all property to Sidney T. Fairchild, and on October 26, 1877, to Charles S. Fairchild, as trustee.  There was a mortgage assigned by Charles S. Fairchild to John B. Dumont of Jessup Paton Company of New York City on July 4, 1881, and Mr. Dumont assigned a mortgage to Gilman S. Moulton on September 5, 1883.
        In 1882, the Cazenovia, Canastota and DeRuyter Railroad leased the property for 30 years to the Utica, Ithaca and Elmira Railroad.
        The next record has Charles Parker, as referee, sell the property at mortgage foreclosure to Austin Corbin and J. Rogers maxwell in 1884.  In 1884, Austin Corbin, Hannah Corbin, his wife, and J. Rogers Maxwell sold the property to the Elmira, Cortland and Northern Railroad.
        The Elmira, Cortland and Northern Railroad merged with the Lehigh Valley Railroad on March 7, 1905.
        The Lehigh Valley Railroad Company Corporation of the State of Pennsylvania sold the premises to the Cazenovia Lumber and Coal Company, recorded at Wampsville on December 8, 1966.

 Note by DHW: in the 1970s the station was used as an ill-fated community center (AKA the Charles Fairchild Kennard Center), as a class room and meeting center for the fledgling Idyllic Foundation ("Eidos"), and eventually became Gene Gissen's photo studio (and as such it still remains today [1999]).

END of Notes on the Railroads of Cazenovia, NY