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Tales from the Trail: New Historical Signage on the former Erie Railroad Path
October 13, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pmFree
TAILS FROM THE TRAIL: New Historical Signage on the former Erie Railroad Path
October 13 to November 24, 2018
Tails from the Trail, curated by Evelyn Fitzgerald will feature photos, maps, and stories to highlight the impact of the railway on the villages. The exhibit is at the Historical Society’s museum in DePew House, lower level, 50 Piermont Avenue, on Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and will be on view from October 13 to November 24, 2018.
In 1870, with the extension of the Northern Railroad’s line from Jersey City up to Sparkill and eventually to Nyack, the commercial center of Nyack moved from the river towards the railroad. Business enterprises sprang up in the vicinity of the tracks to take advantage of the new transportation links that were transforming the nation. The railway carried both passengers and freight and a number of companies in South Nyack and Nyack benefited from dedicated spur tracks that allowed goods to be delivered directly to their yards.
The area occupied by today’s Nyack Community Garden was the end of the line, with a freight depot, locomotive turntable, and roundhouse. The passenger station was located at today’s Franklin Street Park tennis court. Near the station lay large factories that, through the years and changes of ownership, manufactured shoes, sewing machines, wartime munitions, and chemical dyes.
Half a mile down the track was South Nyack station, its location perhaps influenced by the prominent Mansfield family that owned a nearby finishing school (and in Summertime a hotel) that catered to wealthy folks from the city. South Nyack station became the focus of the village business district, but that all changed in the early 1950s when the state devastated a large swath of the municipality to make way for the I-287 New York Thruway and Exit 10 interchange.
In 2015 South Nyack applied for a Hudson River Valley Greenway Conservancy grant and succeeded in securing monies to pay for the creation of historical signage that will highlight our lost railway heritage. Trustee Andrew Goodwillie and Historical Society volunteers worked to create content for the signs, which are now being designed by Michael Lockett. Eleven informative signs with text, images and maps are expected to be installed soon along the Erie Rail trail, beginning at Nyack’s Community Garden and continuing south to Piermont’s Railroad depot building.