A CENTURY AGO THE RAILROAD CAME TO ANDES – March 2007

ANDES CELEBRATION

Coming of the Delaware & Eastern Weather Perfect

 [The following is a condensation of an article in the Andes Recorder on March 29, 1907. exulting over the arrival of the railroad to Andes.]

With boom of cannon and shriek of locomotive the first passenger train arrived in Andes soon after 10 o’clock Saturday, March 23, 1907, and on the pages of history it will be recorded as the greatest day in the memory of the oldest inhabitant.

Fifty years have passed since a railroad was first talked of, way back in 1857.  Then came the long lapse of time to March 4, 1870, when the charter for the Delhi & Middletown road was filed, and this resulted in failure, and the people are still bearing the burden.  Hope was kept alive by other projects at intervals, and then came Delaware Valley in 1898, and again disappointment.  But it remained for F. F. Searing and his associates to overcome every obstacle and connect Andes with the outside world by bands of steel.

When the train rolled up to the depot those on board found a large concourse of people waiting to greet them.  The officials of the road, their guests, and the visitors were escorted by the Andes Cornet Band to Union Hall, which had been tastily decorated for the occasion.  On the platform were President Searing and his associates, Dr. Bruce, Harry Dowie and Judge Bruce, with David Ballantine, presiding.  The crowd filled the hall to overflowing and many were unable to gain entrance.

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The Andes Railroad Depot as it looks today. The Town of Andes has embarked on a project to restore the century old station to its original appearance.

President Searing was the first speaker and said that of all the celebrations he had attended, this was the most pleasing to him.  He spoke of the summer spent here as being the most pleasant of his life; coming here tired and worn and returning to the city feeling like a new man.  Referred to the railroads of the county and said Andes was now linked with that great system.  At noon on the day of President McKinley’s funeral every locomotive and car in the United States had stopped for one minute, and the thought had come to him, what would have happened if they had never started again.  The people of the city live, so to speak, from hand to mouth, and if trains stopped for a day there would be a milk famine, and if for a few days a famine in bread, meat, etc.  He said he believed that Andes would be larger than a Stamford and a Liberty; he expected to see a fine hotel go up and then cottages dot the hillsides, but all this would not come in a day but will require time.  He said he had some news to tell, that arrangements had been made with the O. & W., whereby the freight rates at Andes will be the same as at Delhi.

After music by the male quartette, Judge M. Linn Bruce gave one of his masterly addresses.  He congratulated President Searing and the people of Andes on the completion of the road;  spoke of the sturdy Scots who settled the town, having been brought hither by the glowing advertisement they saw in the papers;  how with their families they had pushed their way into the wilderness, cleared a spot for a cabin, later cleared land and planted crops and then after a few years when about the reap the fruit of hardship and toil, the landlords raised the rents and the anti-rent war was the result and of the outcome of it;  present generation could not have accomplished work of those pioneers.  He spoke of the struggle the town had passed thru for a railroad and of those who had waited in vain to see a railroad here, and of his thoughts as he stood at the depot and his eye after taking in the beautiful landscape rested on the place where those who had waited in vain were at rest….~