The history of the Stony Clove, Catskill Mountain and Kaaterskill railroads

Contributed photoUlster & Delaware, Haines Falls

This is part 1 of a multi-part series.

There’s been a few excellent books written about the railroads that ran from Phoenicia to Hunter, on to Tannersville, traveling the high peaks of Haines Falls, and down to the Village of Falling Waters, called Palenville.

When I first became a historian, I knew little of the railroad history on the Mountain Top. Reading John Ham’s railroad books teaches just about all one needs to know to understand the gravity of what those men accomplished in Hunter’s rugged terrain.

We are fortunate to have John Ham living up here and sharing his knowledge and experiences with the rest of us.

John has helped save and share much of the history that was such a large part of the town’s history. Thank you for taking the complicated system of railroads and simplifying it with pictures and words that we all understand.

John’s home was a stone’s throw from the Hunter Railroad Stations and probably helped create his life-long passion for the railroad.

“Kaaterskill Railroad is evidence that we live in an age of steam and electricity. This new mountain railroad, so quickly following the Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Railroad is one of the grandest enterprises and a fitting monument to a railroad that will be appreciated by thousands of pleasure-seekers in the years to come. It is indeed strange that so gifted a region, amid the loftiest mountain peaks, sloping meadows, gardens, dense forest, living springs, and natural parks should have remained comparatively unimproved and not taken advantage of by the people for so long a time.” (unknown author).

Part 2 continues next week.

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