Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chester in Orange County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Chester, New York

 
 
Chester, New York Marker image. Click for full size.
By Clifton Patrick, October 8, 2012
1. Chester, New York Marker
Inscription. When the first train entered Chester, New York on September 23, 1841, few realized exactly what kind of an impact the railroad would have on the town. Before the New York & Erie Railroad (later reorganized as the Erie Railroad) entered town, Chester was a small farming community best known for their dairy products such as butter and cheese. For many years, dairy farmers in Orange County had been shipping butter out of Newburgh to New York City. With the advent of the Railroad, farmers started shipping their butter by rail and at shorter intervals. Thaddeus Selleck, Chester's first Station Agent, proposed the shipment of milk directly to the city. By 1843, four million quarts of milk were being shipped by the Erie Railroad. Orange County milk was in high demand. Farming interests in Orange County were revolutionized, and a new and nationwide industry was introduced into the American landscape.

The railroad prospered for over 100 years. However, with the dawning of the age of "superhighways" and the rise of the automobile, the railroad began a steep decline from which it would never recover. As more people traveled by automobiles, less people traveled by train. Trucking soon became the preferred mode of shipping freight and the Erie Railroad felt the sting. By 1960, the Erie could no longer be profitable on its own and it merged
Alan Held unveils Chester marker with his family (father Robert, mother Heidi and sister Emily) image. Click for full size.
By Ginny Privitar, October 7, 2012
2. Alan Held unveils Chester marker with his family (father Robert, mother Heidi and sister Emily)
with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad to form the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad. Despite the merger, the railroad continued to lose money. Finally, in 1976, the United States Government was forced to intervene and the Erie-Lackawanna was merged with five other bankrupt Northeast railroads to form Conrail. By 1983, the rail line in Chester had fallen under the control of Metro-North Railroad. That year, they decided to abandon the former Erie Railroad main line from Harriman to Middletown in favor of the Graham Line to the north (which currently serves as Metro-North's Port Jervis Branch). In November of 1984, the rails were ripped up and the last page of the railroad's history was written.

For more information, visit the Chester Historical Society's website at http://chesterhistoricalsociety.com


[photo captions]

On December 3, 1961, Erie-Lackawanna diesel locomotive #850 leads a train westbound through Chester.
From the John Stellwagen Collection Courtesy of Doug Barberio

On May 12, 1940, Erie Railroad steam locomotive #2744 leads a passenger train past Chester.
From the Robert F.Collins Collection Courtesy of John Locke

These four Erie-Lackawanna diesel locomotives look much like steam locomotives as they round the curve above the bridge at Meadow Avenue. Even though it has been two years since the merger, these locomotives have
People gathered in front of Chester, New York Marker. 1915 Chester Depot marker in foreground. image. Click for full size.
By Clifton Patrick, October 8, 2012
3. People gathered in front of Chester, New York Marker. 1915 Chester Depot marker in foreground.
not been repainted in Erie-Lackawanna colors.
From the John Stellwagen Collection Courtesy of Doug Barberio

By 1975, the station agent in Chester had been relocated and the station began to deteriorate. After the railroad was abandoned, the station was left completely to the elements. In the early 90's, the station was in danger of being demolished, but due to the efforts of the Chester Historical Society, the building was restored. The renovated station now serves as the Chester Historical Society Museum.
From the John Stellwagen Collection Courtesy of Doug Barberio

At the turn of the century, the rail yard in Chester was a busy place. The Erie Railroad main line is to the right while the local freight tracks are in the foreground. Note that the 1915 station has not yet been built. The original station (seen here) would be moved and commissioned as the freight house. Below the telephone pole are the tool sheds, one of which has recently been restored by the Chester Historical Society and now stands in the same location as when this picture was taken. The Route 94 bridge is seen in the distance.
From the Ray Brown Collection Courtesy of Doug Barberio



Alan Arthur Held
Eagle Scout Service Project
Boy Scout Troop 45
Warwick, New York

Dedicated 2012
Marker made possible by the generosity of the Chester Historical Society
 
Erected
Alan Held speaks to audience gathered under the platform of the 1915 Erie Depot at Chester. image. Click for full size.
By Ginny Privitar, October 7, 2012
4. Alan Held speaks to audience gathered under the platform of the 1915 Erie Depot at Chester.
The dedication of these four historic markers, Alan Held's Eagle Scout Service Project, memorializing the impact the railroads on the local communities of Goshen, Chester, Greycourt and Monroe, Orange County, New York.
2012 by Alan Arthur Held.
 
Location. 41° 21.766′ N, 74° 16.186′ W. Marker is in Chester, New York, in Orange County. Marker is on Winkler Place near Howland Street & Greycourt Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 19 Winkler Place, Chester NY 10918, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 1915 Chester Depot (a few steps from this marker); Hambletonian (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hambletonian Monument (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wawayanda Patent (approx. 0.3 miles away); World War I Monument & Chester Bicentennial Commission Time Capsule (approx. 0.4 miles away); Korean and Viet Nam Wars Monument (approx. 0.4 miles away); Revolutionary Militia of Orange and Ulster (approx. half a mile away); Artillery Encampment 1779 (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chester.
 
More about this marker. Marker is on the Orange Heritage Trail, at the Chester entrance off the intersection of Winkler Place, Howland Street and Greycourt Avenue.
This is one of four markers erected by Alan Arthur Held as his Eagle Scout Service Project, Boy Scout Troop 45, Warwick, New York. Markers at Goshen, Chester, Greycourt and Monroe.

Dedicated October 7, 2012.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 11, 2012, by Clifton Patrick of Chester, NY, United States. This page has been viewed 363 times since then and 33 times this year. Last updated on October 18, 2012, by Clifton Patrick of Chester, NY, United States. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 11, 2012, by Clifton Patrick of Chester, NY, United States. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement