The New York Railway Station That Hosted Famous Visitors

December 20, 1870

In what turned out to be a day-long celebration, a station for the Wallkill Valley Railroad in upstate New York was formally opened in the village of New Paltz in Ulster County (just south of the Catskill Mountains and on the western side of the Hudson River). The New Paltz station’s features included freight and baggage rooms, two waiting rooms, an engine house, and a water tank.

Within a decade after its grand opening, the station achieved fame as a stopping point for the rich and famous on their way to visit the fabled resort hotel Mohonk Mountain House there in New Paltz. Those visiting the station en route to the resort included President Chester A. Arthur, who showed up there in 1884. (“There was a crowd at the station, but no demonstration,” reported the New York Times the following day.) One of Arthur’s presidential predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, also visited the Mohonk Mountain House from time to time and – during one such trip in 1892 – a reception was held for him at the New Paltz station by local residents.

The station was destroyed by fire in 1907. The building set up there to replace it remained in use as a railroad station until the late 1950s and now serves as an Italian restaurant.

For more information on the New Paltz station, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Stazione.

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