Bedford Describes Transportation
Development In County to Y-BICs

Gives Full History of Organizing F J & G Railroad


Source:  Contributed from the personal collection of James F. Morrison;
The Leader-Herald, Wed., September 21, 1955

An interesting story of the development of transportation in Fulton County during the past century was related to the Y-BICs at their regular noon luncheon meeting yesterday in the YWCA.  The speaker was Robert Bedford of the Johnstown Kiwanis Club, who illustrated the talk with slides.

Bedford began his account with a description of the first organized stage route from Johnstown to Fonda's Bush (Broadalbin) in 1815, stating that in 1832 mail was carried twice a week by Asa Tiffany on an old white horse.

By 1839, he stated stage lines ran regularly eastward to Broadalbin and Westward to St. Johnsville.  At this time the roads were deplorable, made difficult by snow and ice in winter, mud and dust in spring and summer.  So in 1849 a plank road was built between Johnstown and Fonda which was used until 1905.

Railroad Cost $45,000

In the fall of 1873, the continued the Johnstown, Gloversville & Kingsboro Railroad was organized, and was built in 1875 at a cost of $45,000.  Horsedrawn care [sic] were operated over this road and replaced by sleighs in winter.

The road was four miles and seventeen feet in length, there were six passenger cars and sixteen horses.   92,000 passengers made made the forty minute trip paying fifteen cent fare.

The feed bill for the horses was $1800, shoeing horses $171, and drivers were paid $1.25 a day for a fifteen-hour day.  The holsters received $1.50 per day for a sixteen-hour day.  There was also an open horse car to use on warm summer days.

The Fonda - Fultonville Horse Railroad opened in 1875, Bedford said.  It was one mile long and one passenger car was maintained.  Five years later 18,000 passengers were carried on this road and were charged five cents for the fifteen-minute trip.

In 1893, he said grading was started for the first trolley line.  At that time there were no bulldozers or power excavators, only picks, shovels, and muscles.  The first trip was made June 29, 1893 by car No. 13.

Bedford said that no account would be complete without mention of the Mountain Lake Wreck which happened July 4, 1902.  This railroad was later sold to the FJ&G RR Co. and was abandoned in 1918 and scrapped.

The first trolley trip to Amsterdam, he told the group, was made Dec. 20, 1902.  The Schenectady line was discontinued June 28, 1938, almost thirty-five years to a day after the line opened.  The handsome limited cars used on this line were shipped west and this year are being scrapped there.

Developed Park

The Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville Railroad Co., Bedford said, was organized in 1867, and work started on the steam road in September of that year.  Locomotive No. 1 was the first to operate over the ten-mile span between Gloversville and Fonda, on Nov. 29, 1870.

In 1880 the company took over the recently built Northville railroad, 6.8 miles, and owned three locomotives, four passenger cars, and thirteen freights.

In 1891 it purchased thirty-five acres of land and made it into a summer resort (Sacandaga Park) built the Adirondack Inn at a cost of $20,000, the golf course, roller coaster, water toboggan, Rustic theater, and large picnic grounds.

Shows Slides

Bedford showed the last train out of Northville, when the water reservoir had risen two feet over the tracks and the train was plowing through the water.  Then he showed the first bus to Northville.

He illustrated his entire talk with slides showing the old horse car, the various types of trolley cars, grading work, the Mt. Lake wreck, a car on a trestle, the powerhouse first at Johnstown and later at Tribes Hill, the 1909 ice storm, the Cayadutta Park wreck, the Amsterdam runaway in early 1900's and the later wreck, 1926.

He also showed grading for steam road, Locomotive No. 1, scenes at Sacandaga Park in the early 1900's, the Booth & Co. wreck on July 4, 1904, and the old stations along the steam line:  Northville, Sacandaga, Cranberry Creek, Mayfield, Johnstown, Sammonsville and the beautiful little Broadalbin one when it had a colonade, and other pictures which totaled fifty in all.

A report was made of tickets sold for the Y-BIC card party, which will be held at he YWCA the evening of Sept. 27.  An added feature will be a style show.

At next Tuesday's noon luncheon, Miss Maxine Smith of Johnstown will tell of her recent trip to Nova Scotia and Lake Louise and show slides to illustrate.


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Copyright 2004, James F. Morrison, Jeanette Shiel
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