Cooperstown & Susquehanna Valley Railroad Company

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In April of 1852 the citizens of Cooperstown undertook a concerted effort to bring a railroad into the village. April of the previous year had seen the organization of the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad at Oneonta and the businessmen of Cooperstown did not want to face once again the economic isolation that had befallen the village after the opening of the Erie Canal. At the meeting in February, presided over by William H. Averill, the Village of Cooperstown subscribed several thousand dollars toward construction of the Albany and Susquehanna. The following year, 1853, the Freeman's Journal ran an editorial suggesting that a road should be built from Cooperstown to connect with the A&S.; Ten years later, in 1863, a meeting was held to explore the possibility of constructing such an extension, a move that was prompted by the passage of the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad Bill, legislation ensuring that the A&S; would be built. Finally, on February 22, 1865 the Cooperstown and Susquehanna Railroad was organized for the purpose of constructing a 16 mile line from the Village of Cooperstown to a connection with the Albany and Susquehanna north of Colliers, at a point which would become known as Cooperstown Junction. The directors of the new road were Luther I. Burditt, William M. Clinton, Rufus Steere, J. P. Sill, G. W. Ernst, J. F. Scott, Calvin Graves, J. W. Shipman, George L. Bowne, William Brooks, J. H. Story, Ellery Corey and Dorr Russell. $250,000. in stock was subscribed at the meeting and the following officers were elected: Luther I. Burditt, President, John H. Story, Vice-President; George A. Starkweather, Secretary and John F. Scott, Treasurer. Chief Engineer Edgerton began surveying for the line in November of the same year.

Stock subscriptions went well for the new road, with sizable investments made by many prominent Otsego County businessmen, including Edward Clark and David Wilber. Work on the line began in February 1868, with the contract for construction going to James Keenholtz. By October of that year the Company Directors had purchased 1,070 tons of rail, plates and spikes for $90,000., but the line had progressed only 3 miles north of Colliers when winter storms brought work to a halt in December. The line was originally built on 6 foot gauge so as to allow interchange at the connection with the Albany and Susquehanna. At the annual directors meeting in February 1869, Luther Burditt was replaced as President by John F. Scott, a prosperous hop dealer. With a new President and a spring thaw, work on the line resumed in earnest early in the year and by May 8 miles of line had been completed. By June18 the line had reached the County Poor House, 4 miles south of Cooperstown, and it was announced that the locomotive Ellery Corey would leave the factory on July 6.

As the line neared completion, there arose a great deal of controversy over the location of the passenger depot. Many Company Directors and village businessmen desired that the railroad should terminate as close to the center of the village as possible. However, a strong faction in management envisioned that the line would eventually pass through Cooperstown and continue on to the Mohawk Valley, and it was with this goal in mind that the depot was finally located west of the downtown area.

With great fanfare the line officially opened on July 14, 1869. Engine #1, the Ellery Corey, made the first run amidst the firing of cannon and the ringing of church bells from Colliers to Cooperstown. It was the beginning of a new era, but also the end of an established tradition as the Colliers Stage terminated business permanently on the same day.

We are currently offering the following pieces from the Cooperstown & Susquehanna Valley Railroad Company:

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