The Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls has opened a new mini-exibit through June 1st, on Railroads in the Adirondacks. The new exhibit “The Railroads: Gateways to the Adirondacks” features seventeen Seneca Ray Stoddard photos taken from 1870 to 1890.
Photos include the Glens Falls and North Creek train stations, the trestle over the Sacandaga River, the D&H cut near Willsboro and the Prospect Mountain cable RR. On his travels Stoddard also photographed trains, including The Battery in New York City and the Green Mountain railway on Mt. Desert Island in Maine.
Seneca Ray Stoddard’s work as a photographer in the mid-19th century paralleled the development of railroads in the nation, particularly in the Glens Falls area and the Adirondacks. Numerous rail lines, which provided access to the region from all directions, served as gateways for travelers seeking an experience in the region’s interior.
In 1869, a line of the Rensselaer-Saratoga Railroad was extended to Glens Falls from Fort Edward, connected Saratoga Springs to Whitehall. In the early 1870s the Delaware & Hudson Railroad took over operations of the network, and developed a main line from New York City to Montreal. By 1882, the Glens Falls line extended to Caldwell (Now Lake George Village), allowing passengers to travel by train from New York City to Lake George.
Another local railroad, funded by the Durant family, headed north from Saratoga Springs and followed the Hudson River into the Adirondacks, reaching North Creek by 1871. Named the Adirondack Railway Company, in 1889 it also became part of the D&H system, which ultimately included railroads and canals, steamship lines and flagship hotels on Lake George and Lake Champlain.
The museum is open year-round, except for major holidays. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday, Noon to 4 pm. Suggested admissions are $5 for adults, and $4 for seniors (65+) and students. Children under 12 are welcome at no cost. Museum members receive free admission. The suggested admission fees help support the museum’s operations, but visitors are welcome regardless of their ability to pay.
The Chapman Museum is located at 348 Glen Street in Glens Falls. For more information on the museum and exhibits, call (518) 793-2826 or visit their website.
Photo: NY & C RR Superintendent’s Car, location unknown, ca. 1875, by S. R. Stoddard (courtesy of the Chapman Museum).