In the northeast corner of New York, just a few miles from where I grew up, is the village of Rouses Point. Lying directly south of Montreal, it has long provided access for rail shipments to U.S. markets. Where the main highway heading west exits the village is an underpass beneath the rails, so road traffic is not impeded by trains, but it’s a different story within the village, where the tracks cross three streets. I loved it as a young boy when my dad got stuck at one of those crossings, which forced us to sit and watch as sometimes more than a hundred rail cars crawled by — boring for adults, but for a young boy, it was a rare chance to see all sorts of rail cars up close.
Among them were many tanker cars, which — I didn’t know it at the time — resulted from an invention by a little-known North Country man whose work had repercussions around the world. His name was William C. Geer, who, as recently was shared here on Adirondack Almanack, created a golf ball that endured for decades as a professional standard, and a gas mask that helped protect millions of Americans who fought during World War I. » Continue Reading.