The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation
ON THE WATER
The Charlotte neighborhood of Rochester, at the mouth of the Genesee River, is getting lots of attention these days, as the former New York Central Hojack swing bridge is deemed "in the way", a new bascule-type drawbridge has replaced the venerable 1917 version on Stutson Street, and the new "fast ferry" Spirit of Ontario has gone into limbo due to heavy financial losses. Over 125 years ago, another ferry was part of the lakeside scene—one that connected the shores of the Genesee for travel and commerce. After the Lake Avenue streetcar line was opened to Charlotte in 1899, the ferry provided a "bridge" between that line and the Summerville line on the east shore. Though low-tech by today’s standards, it did the job. The following account is credited to Leon R. Brown, Editor of New York State Railways’ employee magazine "Transportation News", and appeared in the August, 1927 issue, Vol. 5, no. 1, pages 24 and 25:
A FERRY OPERATED BY THE NEW YORK STATE RAILWAYS ACROSS THE GENESEE RIVER HAS BEEN OPERATING FOR OVER FIFTY YEARS
Not many of our readers know that the New York State Railways operate a steam boat. This boat is the good ship "Windsor" which plies as a ferry across the Genesee River between Charlotte and Summerville and connects the end of the Summerville line on the East side of the Genesee River with the end of the Charlotte line which is on the West side of the river.
Just when the ferry first began operation we have been unable to ascertain accurately but a copy of a pass reproduced with this article indicated that the ferry was in operation previous to 1877. This was before either the Charlotte or Summerville
lines was constructed. The name of the very first company to operate this ferry was the "Charlotte and Irondequoit Ferry." This was later re-organized and as early as 1877 was known as the "Charlotte and Summerville Ferry Company." The ferry boat in use at that time was named the "Windsor," the same name as the present day boat. However, it was only one quarter the size of the present boat. It was operated by winches. This first ferry had a propensity of breaking from its moorings and taking a trip up the river or down toward the lake. The end of the first boat came when it was partially dismantled and the hull floated out into the lake. The hull disappeared and nobody knows what became of it.
The present ferry was built by Doyle, in 1894, and has been in constant operation since, during the summer months. It is 75 feet long and 40 feet wide with a vehicular way of 22 feet.
In 1906 the ferry was equipped with a boiler and steam engine for motor power.
The heavy chain extends across the river and the steam engine on the ferry boat pulls the ferry back and forth. The chain sags in the water below the bottom of passing boats. The engine is a 20 H.P. double marine engine built by Scintznic, in Rochester. The one vertical marine boiler is of Kingsford make having 25 H.P. capacity. The ferry is equipped with one hand-operated deck pump with a capacity of 100 cu. in. per stroke and one steam driven pump. For safety the ferry is of course equipped with chemical fire extinguishers, has three life boats, and 200 life preservers of pressed and solid cork.
When the boat was first in operation there were frame houses on each side of the river. At the present time the wharves are protected by cyclone wire fencing so that passengers can not get on the wharf except when the ferry is in.
In 1894 the captain was J. B. Estes who remained captain for two seasons. He was followed by Captain Baine for two seasons, when the present captain, William F. Andrews, took charge.
The ferry is located opposite Broad Street in Charlotte. It is very near the mouth of the Genesee Where the river enters Lake Ontario. The river is 500 feet wide at this point and it requires seven minutes for the ferry to cross the river. The present fare is 10 cents. During the rush hour round trips are made in fifteen minutes. Each year the ferry begins operation about the middle of May and continues in operation until about the middle of October.
The 1927 season was the last during which the "Windsor" was operated. In his history of NYSR, Shelden S. King writes that "construction of the Stutson Street bridge caused a decline in patronage…" of the ferry, noting that Captain Andrews was 73 at that time. See: King, Shelden S., The New York State Railways (1975), p. 16
We’re not always successful in coaxing our dedicated volunteers into the spotlight to share their checkered pasts with our readers. So, following a suggestion from one of these shrinking violets, we’ve decided to put this group spotlight together to at least recognize their fine current contributions. Meet four people without whom our museum operations would grind to a screeching halt.
First up is Marie Miner. Marie and husband Bob are familiar faces at NYMT, as we said in their joint spotlight in the Spring 1995 issue of HEADEND. And it’s even more true today. Back then, we credited Marie for expressing interest in helping with our archiving work and for serving time at both the Gift Shop counter and the ticket desk. We took her up on the archiving offer and she created a valuable card file of all the items in the many large lawyer boxes full of documents, photos, timetables and other small items. At the time, all we had was an inventory list by box, and if a researcher wanted to look for a particular item, he or she had to scan down the many pages in the inventory list, hoping to spot something of interest, and then paw through the box. Marie took each listed item and made out a file card for it, so that we ended up with an alphabetized file for much easier searching. Marie’s card file has since been superseded by our computer system, but for several years it performed a valuable function, and still does today when questions arise.
Serving time in the Gift Shop naturally led to a "promotion" for Marie—she took on the task of staffing the shop and ticket desk. To start with, she collected all the instructions and work methods that had evolved over the years into a set of written training materials. She did some recruiting and set up annual briefings for the staff to familiarize them with the routine. Finally, she continues to handle the scheduling, arranging the dates when each volunteer will be on duty to be sure we always have people on hand to serve our visiting public.
We can’t talk about Marie Miner without asking our members to consider volunteering for time in the Gift Shop and/or at the ticket desk. More than a round of applause or a plaque on the wall, Marie would like to have enough trained people to fill all the slots throughout the year. Give her a call at 671-3589. She’ll appreciate it as much as we appreciate her!
Next up is a man who not only puts in his time, but has a wealth of knowledge to share as well. Bill Chapin has become a major contributor in the model railroad room over the past few years, where his interest and skills in model railroading are an obvious asset. During the Thursday work days, Bill pitches in with debugging of circuit problems as well as in the gradual effort to get more of the mainline and yard tracks operational. He’s also a part of the most recent project with the small gauge guys, creating an N-scale version of the Rochester Subway, and is part of our substation team too.
But "working on the railroad" is just part of the job. We need trained volunteers to run the layout whenever visitors drop in on Sundays, and for the many group tours we host each year. Bill is always willing to make the drive to the museum for such duty, keeping a major attraction at NYMT in operation. By the way, more than once Bill (and the other model rails too) has been called on to help out with a "situation" during group tours. Versatility is the key to successful group visits, and when a track car balks or more people show up than expected, it’s great to have a versatile guy like Bill around to help solve the problem.
Bill’s background reaches back to the steam days on the New York Central as a tower operator. His knowledge of railroading is expert, of course, and any time we have a technical question or just want to hear some tales from the "old days", Bill Chapin is the man to talk to.
We last met Anna Thomas standing beside her husband, Ted, in the Summer 2003 issue of HEADEND when the pair were helping Gift Shop Manager Doug Anderson cut the ribbon for the shop’s grand opening. Anna and Ted (in addition to a lot of woodwork and carpentry by Ted) had donated the carpeting for the shop and richly deserved the museum’s Certificate of Appreciation they received that day.
Since then, Anna has adopted not only the Gift Shop but the office and rest rooms in a personal campaign of cleanliness.
More than we could ever hope for (and probably more than we deserve), she comes in every week, toting a vacuum cleaner and assorted cleaning materials, and cleans these rooms from top to bottom. With an eye on keeping things looking good, she will often offer to touch up something she’s noticed or suggest an improvement for the general appearance of things.
Anna is a master seamstress, and has applied her talents many times at the museum. The curtains in the model railroad room, so important to our "railroads at night" portion of a visit there, were made by her, as were the cushions on the seat in the visitor entryway. Several of her handmade dolls are on sale in the Gift Shop too. Quilting is just one of Anna’s pastimes when she’s not helping out at NYMT. She’s also active as a volunteer at WXXI, and helps Ted with babysitting duties for their two grandchildren. We’re pleased that Anna Thomas is so willing to help at the museum, and only wish we could find more folks like her!
Harold Russell is another one of our key people, and one with many talents and interests. Maybe someday he’ll let us tell you all about himself, but for now we can say that without Harold, we’d be up the creek on Sundays. He handles the job of staffing our track car operations, and many times can be seen at the controls, taking his turn too. An engineer by training and employment, Harold brings the organization and discipline of that trade to the staffing job, creating spread sheets, sending out reminders, and fostering a professional attitude in this important part of our visitor operations.
Several of our volunteers are published authors, and Harold is unique in that area for the frequency with which his works have hit the press. This is because he produces scale drawings of railroad cars and structures for publication in model railroading magazines, often accompanied by an article written by him. He takes the measurements, does the research, writes the article, and creates the drawing (formerly in pen and ink, but now mostly computer generated), and has been doing this for most of his adult life. The name "Harold Russell" is a familiar one to modelers around the world.
Harold and grandson Kevin Miller are about to head for
Industry Depot with a weekday group of home schoolers.
Harold’s interest lies in O-scale model railroading, and he’s currently building a layout in his new home in Pittsford. His expertise was put to good use recently when he cleaned and repaired our nice collection of trolley models representing our area’s interurban lines. From time to time, he can be found in our HO-scale model railroad room, helping solve a problem or just joining in the fun. On the track cars, Harold enjoys talking with the passengers, adding to their enjoyment with details about the museum and warnings to watch out for "mug wumps" en route. His grandchildren can occasionally be found helping with the track car operations, and we suspect they’re being groomed for future volunteer work! We couldn’t ask for a better combination of fun, knowledge, and contribution than what we get out of Harold Russell.
In fact, all four of our Spotlight victims are unique combinations of talents, skills, and willingness to help. We’re glad we had the chance to introduce them to you, and we’re proud to have them on the team.
EXHIBIT SPACE EXPANDS
One feature of a visit to the museum is the array of exhibits at both NYMT and the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Over the years, a number of permanent exhibits have been created at NYMT, and Chris Hauf and colleagues at RGVRRM have installed several Smithsonian-quality exhibits there as well. Recently, thanks to Ted Thomas’ woodworking skills, a new exhibit case has been put in place at NYMT.
The new case is twelve feet long, lighted, and sealed against dust and inquisitive fingers. Its carpeted backing permits hanging images and small objects with Velcro© hangers, and glass shelving adds to the capacity of the cases. We have long needed a safe display place for small objects in our archives, and this beautiful new case fills the bill. We plan to set up an exhibit of bus mementoes (transit and over-the-road) soon, and Paul Monte is preparing an exhibit on railroad lanterns to be ready by mid-May for 2005’s summer season.
Ted performed all the cabinetry in his garage workshop at home, and it was a major task considering the size and weight of the pieces. Fitting the case to the museum space took some exacting measurements, and when the movers arrived with the finished product, everything slipped into place perfectly. Ted and Anna even donated the cost of hiring the professional mover! Thanks to Ted’s efforts we now have an attractive and secure place to bring many nice archived objects out of hiding for our visitors to appreciate.
Ted happily puts the finishing touches on his new exhibit case
TIME TO RENEW
Most of our readers will find the center sheet in this issue is a letter reminding them it’s time to renew their membership in the museum. We do this annually at this time, and hope you will recognize our efforts by renewing your support. Please consider moving to a higher level membership or adding an extra donation to one of our many projects. Best of all, make this the year you join in the fun, and get involved with our volunteer work. Check off your area of interest on the membership renewal form, and we’ll take it from there!
By the way, as a member in NYMT you’re part of a growing group of enthusiastic supporters of our efforts. Current membership in the museum stands at 175, which is an increase of 11.5% over last year at this time!
SHOP REPORTby Charles Lowe
Track No. 2 at New Car House:In late August, NYMT President Ted Strang took charge of excavation and ballast placement at track 2. An earthmover was rented for the weekend of August 27 and 28. A 10-foot-wide by1-foot-or-so-deep trench was laboriously cut from the switch site into the car house. Much buried ballast and gravel was encountered, Ted Strang takes the controls and excavates prior to spreading..........but when it comes down to placing ties, moving ballast,
ballast for track 2 construction, saving lots of handwork and spiking rail, we still have to do it the old fashioned way. Charlie Lowe, Randy Bogucki and Trevor James show us how.
and the material removed was used to bring up the grade around the base of the building. A delivery of 45 tons of ballast was made on August 29, and on September 2, the loader was again rented and Ted placed all ballast up to the bottom-of-tie elevation. Over Labor Day weekend, eleven ties donated by Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad were placed
in the vicinity of the switch. By the end of September, about half of the ties required for the switch were in place. Randy Bogucki, Trevor James and Charlie Lowe did much of the tie installation, but several other volunteers assisted at various times.
P&W Car House: Ted Strang installed much-needed temporary bird guards at the trolley wire clearance opening at the top of the large end doors on the new car house in September. The birds that formerly treated our beautiful building as a giant birdhouse will have to redouble their efforts at getting inside the building. Paul Monte is currently fabricating and installing permanent bird guards.
John Ross and Roger Harnaart
work the assembly line.
New York Museum of Transportation 04: Randy Bogucki finished welding repairs to the steel stair section of the museum's new line car. These stairs, about 10' tall, will be the top portion of the line car's tower. A telescoping lift section of the tower will be built on the existing car frame this winter. Both maintenance of the existing overhead trolley wire and construction of future extensions to the trolley wire will be possible once the line car is operational.
ROCHESTER STREETCARSNo. 32 in a series
by Charles R. Lowe
Not only was it an autumn day when Steve Maguire trained his camera on northbound RTC 1009, it was the autumn of Rochester's streetcar system as well. The day was November 5, 1940, and Maguire was diligently recording the action in the final few months of Rochester's streetcars. Hardly six months later, on April 1, 1941, surface streetcar operations in Rochester would grind to a halt. Capturing streetcars in action was tough even on sunny days with the slow-speed films of the era (Verichrome Pan, the railfans' almost universal choice of film, had an ASA rating of 50 in those days), but an overcast day such as what Maguire faced in November, 1940 required extra effort if acceptable
Rochester Car 1402by Charles R. Lowe
New York Museum of Transportation will soon obtain an open streetcar, the most popular style of car with trolley museum riders. Not only is this car, 1402, an open car but it is also a Rochester car. Despite its conversion into a cottage after its service years, car 1402 retains a surprising amount of its trolley-era fabric and will be a fantastic addition to NYMT's collection of historic trolley cars.
In 1904, Rochester Railway Company was in the midst of a changeover from small single-truck cars to larger double-truck cars. That year, after rebuilding many old single-truck cars into double-truck cars, the company began purchasing new double-truck cars in large numbers. One of the orders placed at this time was with G. C. Kuhlman Car Company of Cleveland, Ohio under its shop order 240 for twenty 12-bench double-truck open cars numbered 25-44. These cars complemented other orders placed for double-truck semi-convertible and closed cars which included NYMT's car 437.
While the double-truck cars soon proved successful, the operation of side-loading open cars came to be viewed as dangerous; the conductor collected fares by walking on running boards along the outsides of the cars! Between 1908 and 1914, all of the 25-44 cars were rebuilt, 3 to closed cars with standard end doors and the other 17 to open center-entrance cars.
In 1920, with summer-only open cars too expensive to retain in operation, the 17 center-entrance open cars were re-trucked, de-motored, rebuilt into closed trailers and renumbered 1400-1416. Cars 1411-1416 were immediately sent to Syracuse while 1400-1410 were operated in Rochester. The 1400-1410 cars supplemented the steel 1100-1125 trailers already in use. Powerful four-motor cars, numbered 700-724 and 800-814, along with two specially-rebuilt 600-series cars, were used to tow the 1100- and 1400-series trailers in Rochester.
With the onset of the Depression, traffic dropped on Rochester's streetcar system and the 1400-1410 cars were withdrawn from service about 1931-1934. During 1935, railfans were able to snap a few last photos of various cars of this series as they awaited scrapping. The fact that no photos of these cars from after 1935 exist suggests all were scrapped or otherwise off the property by late 1935. Rather than scrap all its withdrawn cars, New York State Railways (successor to Rochester Railway Company) also sold lucky car bodies intact. Some became farm buildings while others were remodeled into cottages. At least two cars of the 1400-1410 series were reused in this fashion. Car 1406, surviving the end of Rochester's streetcar era by many decades, was
Car 1402 survived the years since the 1930s as a cottage on Honeoye Lake. About 1936, it was purchased by Glenn Curtiss, Jr., son of the famous aviator. He had the carbody moved by railroad flatcar from Rochester to Hemlock along, in part, the Lehigh Valley branch to that village. It was then trucked the remaining seven miles to its present site in the Times Union Tract at the northeast corner of Honeoye Lake. Over the years, two porches were added, the cottage was wired for electric lighting and an electric stove, and a toilet was installed. Although some damage to the integrity of the car was suffered by these modifications, they did result in some areas being well preserved. For example, the porch that enclosed the center-door area completely protected that delicate area from the elements and it remains in good condition.
In 2002, car 1402 became the property of The Furniture Doctor whose President, Tom Baker, contacted NYMT regarding a private restoration of the car. Eventually, Baker decided against restoring the car himself and had the car donated to NYMT. The car remains in remarkable condition, especially at the all-important frame which is wholly intact. 1402's unusual wood bolsters are in very sound condition.
Both bolsters retain their center and side bearings although center pins are absent. The center door frame, including the folding step, and much of the remaining right side is intact, but the left side has several rotted and broken window posts that have required construction of a full-length interior stud wall to stabilize the car. One of the two folding center doors, however, is missing from the car. Window sashes are mostly rotten but a few sound examples remain to serve as patterns for possible restoration. Original glass remains for about two-thirds of all windows although much of the car's left side glass has been removed and stored to prevent breakage when the car is moved to NYMT. The rear end remains largely intact but covered on the outside with plywood.
Plans for moving the car call for use of a crane to lift the car onto a flatbed trailer, truck the car to NYMT, and to place it upon blocking near the loop track. This operation is expected to cost several thousand dollars and while several donations both from within and from outside the museum have been received to date, a sizeable gap in the funding for this car's transportation remains at present. Your tax-deductible donations to this project would be most heartily welcomed. Be sure to note on your check that you are making your donation to the "Car 1402 Fund."
ANOTHER EAGLE FLIES
Over the years, museum trustee Doug Anderson’s dedication to scouting has helped Eagle Scout candidates find worthy public service projects at NYMT.
The most recent name on the recognition plaque in our entryway is Jason Esposito of Troop 7. Jason’s project is an interactive exhibit to quiz visitors on the various vehicles and artifacts that we have on display. Eight color photos are presented with a question about each one, followed by multiple choice answers. Each answer has a push-button next to it, and when selected, a red or green "signal" light illuminates to indicate a wrong or right answer. The photo boards can be updated periodically.
Eagle Scout projects are intended to not only provide a benefit to the community, but also to demonstrate the scout’s planning skills and leadership in managing other scouts, procuring
ARCHIVES REPORTby Jim Dierks
Cataloguing:Shelden King and Ted Thomas continue their great work bringing our archives up to snuff. Shelden has finished cleaning out and organizing the vertical file, meeting his personal goal of completing this work by Labor Day. He is officially in charge of the vertical file now, so all incoming materials are directed to Shelden in order to create the proper file for future reference. He is currently adding a set of file folders from the Keith Payne bus collection. (Cont’d on page 9) Shelden has also shelved the books in our library, again emphasizing proper order, and has combined two separate collections of Street Railway Journal and Electric Railway Journal into one. These valuable early trade magazines contain a wealth of information on trolleys and transit companies, useful in our research. Best of all, Shelden is always on call to help identify a trolley photo or clarify some tidbit of rail history in our area.
Ted has continued to accession new donations in our computerized system, including taking digital photographs when appropriate.
Acquisitions: Several nice donations came in during the past few months, adding to our collection and enhancing our ability to interpret the transportation history of this area. Eight issues of the Electric Railway Journal dating from 1913 to 1930 have been incorporated with our existing collection of these trade magazines. An Adlake marker lamp stamped for the Erie Railroad, and a steam locomotive classification light have been donated. Marker lamps were generally used at the rear of trains, on cabooses or the last car on a passenger train, to denote the end and provide an illuminated warning to help visibility at night, pretty much as tail lights function on cars and trucks. Classification lights were used on the front of the locomotive, and different colored lenses signified whether the train was an extra (white) or had a second section following (green). A large collection of local transit bus memorabilia, gauges, name plates, roll sign, and cash fare box also arrived, and a 1937 Texas Electric Railway time card rounded out this period’s additions to our archives.
DID YOU KNOW?
* Phil McCabe has donated both the materials and his invaluable skill in replacing the south side of our highway sign, which was deteriorating with the weather.
* Thanks to Mark McDowell and Business Methods who came to our rescue with a jug of toner for the copier they donated recently.
* Ted Strang applied his knowledge of Detroit diesels to get the Greyhound bus started, and several volunteers joined in to place the bus on solid planking in the bus corral.
* Eric Norden, Don Quant, Rick Holahan, John Ross, Roger Harnaart, and Jim Dierks have played a part in painting our highway equipment (every 12 years…whether needed or not).
* Charlie Robinson has kept up his window sash caulking on P&W 168, and has wrapped another layer of tarp around the trucks destined to go under NTT car 409.
* Anna and Ted Thomas have thoroughly cleaned the bird droppings from the relocated Ruggles rotary plow exhibit (what a job!).
* It’s been a great season for grass, and Ted Strang has kept our Ford field mower running with tune-ups and several major repairs. Special thanks to Bob Miner, Dave Peet, Don Quant, Charlie Lowe and John Corzine for valiant efforts keeping the green stuff down to a dull roar.
* Board member Steve Morse has expanded his financial role with us to include handling the bank deposits. Let us know if you ever see Steve at the airport with a ticket to Tahiti...