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Great Railroad Stations - North Creek, NY

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Great Railroad Stations 

by John C. Dahl

North Creek, NY

A small country station in the remote Adirondack area of North Creek, NY played a pivotal role in American history. The North Creek depot would witness the arrival of the first great President of the 20th Century, Theodore Roosevelt. On the early morning of September 14, 1901, Roosevelt was on a nighttime journey from Newcomb, through Minerva back to North Creek. An urgent message from Buffalo had arrived from Elihu Root, Secretary of War: "The President appears to be dying and members of Cabinet in Buffalo think you should lose no time in coming."

McKinley had been shot in Buffalo, NY at the Pan American Exposition on September 6. At first, his wound was not felt to be life threatening, and the President had rallied. Roosevelt had been in Buffalo, arriving the day after the assassination attempt. Having been assured by the Presidentís surgeon that McKinley was out of danger, Roosevelt left Buffalo by train on September 10 to join his family vacationing in the Adirondackís at the Tahawus Club a quite remote wilderness area near Mt. Marcy. This location is some thirty five miles north of North Creek, terminus of a Delaware & Hudson branchline from Saratoga Springs.

To reach North Creek, Roosevelt endured a 12 mile hike, one buckboard and two buggy rides at night to cover the thirty five miles back to the railroad at North Creek. Upon arrival at the station in the early morning hours Roosevelt learned that McKinley had died at 2:15 am via a telegram from the Secretary of State John Hay. He immediately departed North Creek on a special train for Buffalo. That afternoon, in Buffalo at the home of Ansley Wilcox on Delaware Avenue, Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President.

Built in 1872, the wood frame depot at North Creek was already a landmark of sorts when the momentous events surrounding Teddy Rooseveltís assuming the Presidency occurred. Delaware & Hudsonís North Creek branch was built to tap timber and garnet deposits. The area was first settled in 1793 by lumbermen, who used the creek to float logs downstream to the Hudson River. A ninety foot turntable was located here, and in 1903 the freight station was added. The depot served the surrounding Adirondack mountain area for many years with dependable rail service.

In 1937, Delaware & Hudson began operating winter snow trains, taking skiing enthusiasts from New York City for weekend holidays in the mountains. Snow conditions and thermometers were even posted in Grand Central Terminal to let patrons know of the current ski conditions at Gore Mountain near North Creek. Today, the Riverside to North Creek section of the line has been reopened by the Upper Hudson River Railroad, now in itís second year of operation, and the depot is now restored and opened as a museum. The adjoining freight house is used as a gift shop. Teddy Roosevelt would never return to this part of the Adirondack Mountains, but the momentous events of September 14, 1901 have forever earned the depot at North Creek a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo, July 13, 2000 by Jon Rothenmeyer

 

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This page was last updated Thursday, December 06, 2001

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