Syracuse and Utica Railroad
|Locale||Syracuse, New York to Rome, New York|
|Dates of operation||1836–1853|
|Successor||New York Central Railroad|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Syracuse and Utica Railroad was chartered May 1, 1836, and had to pay the state for any freight displaced from the Erie Canal. The full line opened July 4, 1839, extending the line further to Syracuse, New York to Rome, New York (and further to Auburn, New York via the already-opened Auburn and Syracuse Railroad). The road was consolidated into the New York Central Railroad in 1853.
On July 1, 1837, the village of Syracuse gave consent to a right of way along Washington Street for the railroad. The station in Vanderbilt Square was used by this railroad as well as the Auburn and Syracuse Railroad.
This line was not direct, going out of its way to stay near the Erie Canal and serve Rome, and so the Syracuse and Utica Direct Railroad was chartered January 26, 1853, however, nothing of that line was ever built and the company was merged with the West Shore Railroad and was acquired by the New York Central Railroad in 1885 which served the same purpose as the direct line.
John Wilkinson, first postmaster of the village of Syracuse, who had given the village its name from the title of a poem, was president of the Syracuse and Utica Railroad. Charles B. Stebbens was vice-president. Vivus Smith served as the first secretary. As a result of their efforts, the railroad was headquartered in Syracuse instead of Utica, providing the village with an important industry.
Wilkinson, as president, ordered the construction of the first "flat car" for the line after passengers complained they needed a car in which they could carry purchases made in Syracuse back to Utica. This was the first "so-called" freight car in the nation, the forerunner of the modern freight business.
In 1853, directors of the company were John Stryker, Oliver Teall, Joel Rathbone, E. W. Leavenworth, Hamilton White, Holmes Hutchinson, Samuel French, D. Wager and Joseph Battell.
Daniel Elliott was the architect and builder of the Syracuse and Utica Railroad depot which was a "striking exhibition of architectural skill and beauty." The depot was occasionally used for political or village meetings and public addresses. Noted characters were frequently received there including Martin Van Buren, Henry Clay and Gerrit Smith. At first, the building served its purpose very well, but soon became too cramped for convenience and the offices were "one by one removed to other quarters near by," where they remained until a new depot was constructed on Franklin Street.
- The Central New York Modelers.
- Oneida County Historical Society Year Book, Vol. 1 1881 pages 144 through 155. Transcribed by Richard Palmer - Street scene in Utica about 1850, thought to be the engine "Lightening".
- Beauchamp, Rev. William Martin. Past and present of Syracuse and Onondaga county, New York (Volume 1). New York: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1908, pg. 8. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
- Agreement. New York Central Railroad, 1853, pg.28. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- "Railroad Lines here in 1839 Merged into Central". Syracuse Journal. Syracuse, New York. March 20, 1939.
- "Historical Papers: The Roads of the City". Syracuse Herald. Syracuse, New York. February 6, 1881.