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DHVM: History of the D&H - Timeline of Changes

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Delaware and Hudson Canal / Railroad Company
A Brief History - Timeline of Significant Events

Date Event
1823 Maurice Wurts makes a rough survey of the valleys to satisfy both himself and his brothers that the route was feasible and called Benjamin Wright to make a detailed appraisal of the route.  Same person that was named Principal Engineer of the Eric Canal.
March 13, 1823 Pennsylvania Legislature passes an act authorizing the Wurts brothers to canalize the Lackawaxen River.
April 23, 1893 New York lawmakers passed an act to incorporate an organization with the unusual name of "The President, Managers and Company of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co."
January 1824 Wright and his associates complete their surveys and evaluations.
Proposal is for a 4' Deep and 32' Wide canal.
1824 A load of coal is rafted down to Philadelphia where it is transported to New York aboard the sloop "Tripler".
January 7, 1825 The coal burns brightly in the Tontine Coffee House while names of investors are recorded into the company's stock books.
March 8, 1825 A meeting at the Tontine Coffee House at make Philip Hone the first president of the D&H serving from 1825-1826 after taking the office of Mayor of New York while remaining on the Board of Managers until 1851.
July 13, 1825 Plans are completed to a level that work can begin.
1825 First Section (Summit Level) is completed as a 17-mile lock-free stretch.
October 25, 1825 The Eric Canal officially opens.
December 6, 1825 The stretch from Eddy's Factory (later called Eddyville) on the Rondout at tidewater to Mongaup on the Delaware River was under construction; 60-miles.
January 21, 1826 John Bolton (Treasurer) is named second president of the D&H
April 5, 1826 Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the building of a railroad from the coal beds at Carbondale over the Moosic Mountains to Honesdale.
November 1826 Last stone is placed at the tidewater lock at Eddyville with a colorful Masonic rites.
April 1827 John B. Jervis begins his survey for a Gravity Railroad which he presents his report on October 24, 1827.  By Fall of 1827, the order to begin construction is authorized
Mid-Summer 1827 The canal was navigable from the Hudson to the Delaware  and work on the remaining sections was progressing.
February 15, 1828 Horatio Allen goes to England to obtain a Steam Engine and rails.  Builder of the first Steam Locomotive "Rocket" George Stephenson is contacted.
April 22, 1828 Canal becomes a revenue operational company.
July 1828 Horatio Allen reports that he has contracted one Rocket style Engine from Robert Stephenson & Co. of Newcastle and three from Foster, Rastrick & Co. of Stourbridge.  He also has obtained  a large quantity of strap rail by Messrs. W. & I. Sparrow of Wolverhampton.  Engines obtained are the "America", "Delaware", "Hudson", and the "Stourbridge Lion"
October 16, 1828 First historic trip via the "Orange Packet" from Rondout bound for Honesdale over the complete begins.
December 5, 1828 Trip completed over the 108-Mile / 109-Lock canal that was 4' Deep, 36' Wide at the surface and 20' Wide at the clay bottom that could accommodate a boat with up to 30 Tons of cargo.  The Kingston Band boarded the "Superior" at Eddyville and rode down to Rondout Creek with the fleet amid great celebration and musket fire.  10 Tons of coal is transferred to the sloop "Toleration" for transport to New York.
January 15, 1829 The Engine "America" arrives in New York aboard the clipper ship "Columbia" and was later set up on blocks and turned under steam on May 27, 1829
May 13, 1829 The Engine "Stourbridge Lion" arrives in Gotham and is also setup on blocks and turned under steam on May 28, 1829
July 3, 1829 Both the "America" & "Stourbridge Lion" are both loaded on the steamer "Congress" and shipped up the Hudson to Rondout.  There they are transferred to canal boats to the Gravity Line at Honesdale; but, no record of the "America" arriving when the boats reached Honesdale on July 24, 1829.
Summer 1829 Engines "Delaware" & "Hudson" arrive in New York and also shipped up to Rondout where all traces of them are lost.
August 8, 1829 The Engine "Stourbridge Lion" is officially tested with Horatio Allen at the controls.  This marks the first operation of a steam locomotive in North America.
September 9, 1829 The "Stourbridge Lion" makes a second test run and its determined that the weight of the engine was to excessive for the road.  The engine is rolled of the tracks and moved into a makeshift shelter to rot for 20 years.  It won't be until 1860 that a steam locomotive will operated on the D&H again.
October 9, 1829 First load of coal over the Gravity Railroad arrives in Honesdale.
April 13, 1831 John Wurts is named the third president of the D&H.  Brother of founders Maurice and William Wurts who founded the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company.
April 17, 1832 Gideon M. Davison petitions legislation and gains charter for the Saratoga & Fort Edward Rail Road and engages John B. Jervis but project does not move forward
1834 Full capacity of the Gravity Railroad and Canal system reached. 100,000 Tons annually.
1834 Gideon M. Davison tries again and gains charter for the Saratoga & Whitewall.  The plans again failed and all worked stopped by 1837 and nothing happens until Feb. 1847 
1837 More improvements made to the Gravity Railroad.
1841 Gravity Railroad and Canal system moving 200,000 tons annually stressing the system.  James Archbald engineer of the Railroad and Mines begin improvements.
September 1842 Word goes out from the Managers and President Wurts to expand the canal.
1844 Season The canal was altered to 5' Deep to allow 40-ton boats and water raised in 1845.
Close 1845 Season Project to lower the canal to 5 1/2' Deep to accommodate 50-ton boats.
January 6, 1847 Decision to accept Roebling's Aqueduct proposal occurs.
End of 1848 Delaware and Lackawaxen Aqueducts are completed and ready for the 1849 season.
1840's Rutland & Washington and Troy & Rutland railroads service Rutland County, Vermont marble quarries.
November 13, 1847 Rutland & Washington Rail-Road is granted charter from the Vermont Legislature to build a line from Rutland to the New York state line.  The line is built southwest through Poultney rather than directly west through Castleton and Fair Haven as planned.  This unsets interest in Saratoga & Washington and form the Rutland & Washington to they in turn extend their line from New York State line through Fair Haven to connect to Rutland & Washington at Castleton.
April 1849 Neversink and High Falls Aqueducts begin, completed in the Winter of 1850, and ready for the 1851 season.
July 2, 1849 Troy & Rutland is granted by New York Legislature to build a line from Troy to Poultney and to connect to the Rutland & Washington.
October 1849 Rutland & Washington open a 10 mile section from Rutland to Castleton with plans to go onto Poultney.
June 1850 Troy & Rutland transfer rights to the Rutland & Washington from Eagle Bridge to the Vermont state line.  Rutland & Washington then extend a line from Salem, NY to Poultney, VT and from Eagle Bridge to Salem.
February 20, 1851 Albany Northern Rail Road is chartered
April 11, 1853 Albany Northern opens from Albany to Cohoes
October 16, 1856 Albany Northern is sold to Christopher Binder at a public auction.
November 7, 1856 Albany Northern becomes Albany, Vermont & Canada Rail Road.
March 15, 1858 George Talbot Olyphant becomes the forth president of the D&H.
1859 Albany, Vermont & Canada Rail Road files for
1860 Gravity Railroad extended 4 miles to mines at Providence (Near Scranton); but, this time this section is powered by Engines which is the first time since the "Stourbridge Lion" trials in 1829.  So begins the early operations of what would become the Delaware and Hudson Railroad.  W. Cook & Co. of Scranton build two engines which are the 0-4-0 "Major Sykes" and the 4-4-0 "C. P. Wurts" and Passenger Service begins that summer.
April 5, 1860 Albany & Vermont Rail Road fails, Rensselaer & Saratoga and Troy & Boston take over.  R&S lease the section from Albany to Waterford Junction and the lines from there to Eagle Bridge are removed.
1862 Engine 0-6-0 "Lackawanna" is built by Dickson Machine Co.
1863 Troy & Rutland is sold in foreclosure to Jay Gould
1865 Rutland & Washington is sold to William T. Hart that also has interests in the Rensselaer & Saratoga.
June 3, 1865 Jay Gould & William T. Hart incorporate the Troy, Salem & Rutland Rail Road with rights to operate in New York and lease the section within Vermont.
June 15, 1865 Troy, Salem & Rutland Rail Road is consolidated into the Rensselaer & Saratoga.
1866 The last changes to Gravity Railroad are made between Farview and Waymart.
July 1866 Contract with Albany & Susquehanna Railroad to move coal using A&S equipment.
May 1867 Petitioned and received the rights from the State of New York for railroad rights.
September 2, 1868 Contract with Erie Railroad to build line from Carbondale to Lanesboro Junction.
May 13, 1869 Thomas Dickson becomes the fifth president of the D&H.
September 7, 1869 Twin Girls "Dinah Delaware" and "Catherine Hudson" Richards are born on the train.
August 10, 1869  "Erie War" occurs
1870 The boiler from the "Stourbridge Lion" that was used in the company shops in Carbondale is replaced.
February 24, 1870 Lease of Albany & Susquehanna Railroad
October 28, 1870 First load of coal is moved North out of Carbondale on the Jefferson Railroad.
May 1871 Lease of Rensselaer & Saratoga Railroad who also have interests in the Steamboat lines of Lake George and Champlain.
October 1871 D&H obtains interest into the United States Hotel.
1877 Passenger Service on the Gravity Railroad begins with speeds up to 35 MPH.
September 1898 Record Passenger Service on the Gravity Railroad occurs with nearly 15,000 passengers.
1899 The Gravity Railroad and Canal are abandoned.
1923 Engine Cylinder of "America" found in the Smithsonian Institution

Other notes of interest:

bulletOnly power vessel on the D&H Canal was the paymaster's launch "Minnie"

Information taken from the following sources:

bulletA Century of Progress 1823-1923 {Book}
bulletCanalway Carrying Coals to Rondout {Book}
bulletCoal Boats to Tidewater {Book}
bulletDelaware & Hudson {Book}
<< Jim Shaughnessy has graciously grant permission to use photos from his book within the DHVM >>
bulletDelaware and Hudson A History {Book}
bulletFrom the Coalfields to the Hudson A history of the Delaware & Hudson Canal {Book}
bulletHonesdale and the Stourbridge Lion {Book}
bulletOf Pulleys and Ropes and Gear {Book}
bulletRoebling's Delaware & Hudson Canal Aqueducts {Book}

Images of Historical Interest:

History

Stourbridge Lion (Replica)

Collection:

Darren E. Hadley

Photographer

Darren E. Hadley

Date Taken

175th Anniversary

Location

Honesdale, PA

Sesquicentennial

Collection:

Dave T. Klutchko

Photographer

Dave T. Klutchko

Date Taken

Unknown

Location

Unknown

Guilford Sign

Collection:

Johnny Niegocki

Photographer

Johnny Niegocki

Date Taken

Unknown

Location

Binghamton NY

Electirc Railway System Map

Albany & Vicinity and Plattsburg

Collection

Jim Shaughnessy

Book

Delaware & Hudson

Map

Steam & Elec. Roads

Date

Unknown

 
Created:
January 22, 2000
Last Updated:
December 26, 2006
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