PRESENT STATUS: The Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association is continually inquiring to ascertain the most current information about design and construction schedules.
STATUS DETAILS: The Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association is continually inquiring to ascertain the most current information about design and construction schedules. Dutchess County plans to complete this section in 2018-2019.
NATURAL FEATURES, FLORA & FAUNA:
Wetlands are the dominant feature of this portion of the trail. It travels through a valley considered by many to be the most beautiful valley in eastern New York. The trail will run along the Taconic Hills to the west and the Taconic Range of the Berkshires to the east. The long-term goal for this section includes a side trail to Rudd Pond State Park and a walkway looping off the trail into the wetlands. There are several hiking trails nearby that ascend the 2,000-foot peaks of the Taconics. One of these trails is the Alander Mountain Trail about a half-mile east of the rail trail’s Under Mountain Road parking lot. The Appalachian Trail also traverses the Taconic Range.
The trail will parallel Route 22 which is to the west, however the trail is only near the highway briefly near Millerton. The very northern end of Section 4 is in Boston Corners, once a busy railroad junction for three railroads: the Harlem Division, the Central New England Railroad, and the Poughkeepsie & Eastern Railroad. Near the Eddie Collins ball field between Millerton and Irondale along Route 22 was the crossing of the Newburgh, Dutchess & Connecticut Railroad (ND&C), later part of the Central New England Railroad. A connecting track allowed the interchange of railroad cars between the Harlem Division and the ND&C Railroad which ran west from Millerton to Pine Plains and Beacon, NY. Hall of Fame baseball legend Eddie Collins was born in Millerton on May 2, 1887.
Irondale: Located just north of Millerton along Route 22, this was the site of the Millerton Iron Works furnace. It shipped pig iron to regional foundries and forges via the Harlem Division and connections with the Central New England Railroad.
Mount Riga Station: From Mount Riga Station, located about four miles north of Millerton, to Boston Corners a few miles further north, the Harlem Division and the Central New England Railroad (CNE) ran side by side. The CNE right-of-way is clearly visible on the east side of the rail trail. The CNE ran east-west from Hartford, Connecticut to Campbell Hall, New York via the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge.
Boston Corners: This area has a very interesting political and social history. It was the site of a world championship heavyweight bare knuckles boxing match on October 5, 1853. A few hundred feet north after Dutchess County Route 63 becomes Under Mountain Road, there is an historical marker (a blue metal sign) on the west side of the road describing the thirty-seven round fight. The fight was witnessed by 3000 people, evidence that Boston Corners was a hub of activity more than one hundred years ago.
At Boston Corners, the Harlem Division and the Central New England Railroad crossed each other and shared one station. Until the 1930’s, it was possible to transfer from a Harlem Division train to a CNE train to go east through Connecticut or west to Poughkeepsie and Middletown, New York.
At an earlier time, the Poughkeepsie & Eastern Railroad also passed through Boston Corners on its way to the Ancram lead mines near Ancramdale, and then on to Pine Plains. The Poughkeepsie & Eastern Railroad became part of the CNE after 1900.
Parking and access will be in the village of Millerton and other places yet to be determined.
*Note: Many thanks to local railroad historians Heyward Cohen, Jack Shufelt, and Lou Grogan (The Coming of the New York and Harlem Railroad, Pawling, NY: Louis V. Grogan, 1989) for much of the railroad history that appears above.