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Grand Gorge

Ulster & Delaware Railroad
"The Only All Rail Route Through the Catskills"

Grand Gorge
1,563 Feet Above Tide

NYC ALCO S-2 #8563 heads up a freight heading south out of Grand Gorge. 1951. Photo: George Phelps.
, is a little settlement nestled at the crossroads of two major throughfares through the Catskills (now Route 23 and Route 30). A hamlet within the Town of Roxbury, Delaware County, the area was settled in 1786 by John More and his family. Within a few short years other families had begun to settle here and the settlement was soon called "Moresville" after the first settlers.
Being located at a rather important crossroads, Moresville was a popular stopping place for travelers. There were several boarding houses and taverns located here for those "passing through." Just beyond the hamlet, there were many well producing, family-owned, dairy farms sprawled out across the rolling mountainsides.

Grading crews, coming from Roxbury and up "the Gorge," reached Moresville in the spring of 1872. A board-and-batten type station was constructed just a half mile outside of the hamlet, where Ferris Hill Road meets Route 30. The first train reached Moresville on August 8, 1872 (Source: Best).

Less than two years later, on June 22, 1874, the residents of Moresville elected to change the name of their hamlet to "Grand Gorge." The reason was due to confusion with mail meant for "Moresville" going to other villages called "Mooresville." The residents feeling their gorge, located just to the south of the hamlet, was quite "grand" opted to change the name of the hamlet to the aforementioned name. 

"The Gorge" located just to the south of Grand Gorge Station.


Ulster & Delaware Train Station:
Grand Gorge Station

The original Moresville, later Grand Gorge, train station. Destroyed by fire in 1891. The original wooden water tank can also be seen in the background. Looking west towards the gorge. The second Grand Gorge Station is seen here, as well as in the other two postcard views. This station replaced the original station seen on the left.

Grand Gorge Station (MP 65.53) was located just a half-mile southwest of the center of the hamlet, where Ferris Hill Road meets present-day Route 30. Originally called "Moresville" when the first train reached here on August 8, 1872, the name was soon changed to "Grand Gorge" on June 22, 1874. The original "board-and-batten" station building succumb to fire in 1891 and was replaced by a larger structure.

Passengers could disembark here for stagecoach connections to nearby towns such as Prattsville and Gilboa, but Grand Gorge Station handled a greater deal of freight than it did passengers. Great deals of farm and dairy products were handled here for shipment to larger markets in such places as New York City and New Jersey.

The earliest recorded Station Agent posted here was Orrin Day Wood who served many years. Harry Ennis was the Station Agent here from the 1920's through to the 1940's before he was transferred. Mr. Riley of Phoenicia and Orrie Smith of East Meredith were both here a short time, but Herman Krum was the Station Agent from about seven years before the station closed in 1954.

The Grand Gorge Station was closed in 1954 after all passenger service was discontinued on the Catskill Mountain Branch (former Ulster & Delaware Railroad). The station was torn down in 1960 after deteriorating a great deal.

Track Plan:
Grand Gorge

Map drawn by Michael Kudish. Page 1058.
Mountain Railroads of New York State: Vol. IV.
Where Did the Tracks Go in the Catskills?

Used with permission.

Grand Gorge Station: Originally built c.1872 as "Moresville Station." Name changed in 1874. Original station burned in 1891, replaced with a larger structure that was torn down in 1960. The station was closed at the end of passengers service in 1954.

Passing Siding: The passing siding at Grand Gorge was 1,078 feet long in 1908 and was later lengthened to 1,408 feet to hold twenty cars. It held 26 forty-foot cars in 1924 and 1930 and 24 forty-three foot cars in 1935.

Water Tank: A water tank, for servicing the steam locomotives, was located south of the original station (c.1872-1891).

Section House: A section tool house was located near the north end of the yard.

Industry: The Slawson-Decker Creamery (later Sheffield Farms, see more below) was located here and had a siding. There was an ice house and pond at the south end, and a milk station at the north end. The building is now Becker's, a tire dealer.

There was also a cattle yard and storehouse located here, behind the station, in early years.

There were coal silos, a coal trestle, a coal shed, and scales located on the north side of Route 30. The owner is unknown, but perhaps it was a co-op of local coal dealers taking deliveries of coal via the railroad.

Ulen's Siding: This siding was used in conjunction with the construction of the Gilboa Dam and Schoharie Reservoir, which were completed in 1926.

A siding here was used in 1970 for the offloading of pipe and other equipment bound for the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Project, just a few miles to the north of this location.


Here we look north along Route 30 to see a Penn Central ALCO RS-32 working the Grand Gorge yard. The coal silos can be seen in the background. On the far right can be seen pipes bound for the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Project. 1970. Photo: John Stellwagen.



Train Time:
Grand Gorge Station


NYC ALCO RS-3 #8228 is seen here about to roll across Route 30 at Grand Gorge Station. Photo: Eugene Dauner. A strange visitor to the Catskill Mountain Branch was Conrail (ex-Erie-Lacakwanna) U-Boat #2503, pictured at the Route 30 grade crossing in Grand Gorge. 5/26/1976. Photo: Tom Woltman.
Where the Grand Gorge Station once stood was used as an unloading area for materials and equipment bound for the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Project, which was being constructed. 1970. Photo: Eugene Dauner. Penn Central ALCO RS-3 #5351 passes the old coal silos at Grand Gorge. A lone car waits patiently at the Route 30 grade crossing. 2/1969. Photo: Eugene Dauner.
Penn Central ALCO RS-3 #5351 has just crossed Route 30 and heads towards Roxbury in this winter scene. Becker's Tire can be seen in the background, formerly the creamery. Photo: Eugene Dauner. The last train serving the Catskill Mountain Branch rolls through Grand Gorge and past Becker's Tire, the old creamery. The Grand Gorge Station sat in the open space in the foreground.


Railroad Customer:

Slawson - Decker Creamery
(Later Sheffield Farms)



In 1897, T.W. Decker and Sons built a creamery on the railroad where the Sheffield plant was located, the Roxbury side of Grand Gorge. The Deckers operated this for several years, then the farm changed to the Sheffield Farms, Slawson-Decker Company, Inc. In 1917, the creamery built in 1897 was completely rebuilt and remodeled by Raymond F. Cronk, the first of several Sheffield creameries that he built, in different parts of New York and in Pennsylvania. That creamery continued in business until 1963, when the Sheffield creamery ceased operations. The building stood idle for five years, then was purchased in 1968, by the Becker Tire Service, which also sells feed. The patrons took their milk either to the Daitch Creamery in Roxbury or to Hobart, since closed.

From History of the Town of Roxbury by Irma Mae Griffin.

An early postcard view of Slawson-Decker Creamery.

An ex-U&D, now NYC, steamer switches out the Sheffield Farms Creamery, earlier Slawson-Decker. 2/9/1947. Photo by Edward May. NYC #817, former U&D #40, switches out Sheffield Farms Creamery. 8/1944. Photo: Richard Loane.

The former creamery building, now Becker Tire Service, burned on September 26, 2013.

Images of a Village:

The Hamlet of
Grand Gorge


Head Back to the Station!