Archive Sleuth

Tarrytown Heights to Tower Hill – Old Putnam Line

In my previous post I discussed the beginnings of the Old Putnam Line through Pocantico Hills, NY. After the demolition of the Eastview Trestle the railroad line was re-routed along a sweeping arch westward toward Tarrytown. The new route included two new stations: Tarrytown Heights and Tower Hill. The sites of the two stations can be seen on this current aerial image.

The second route of the railroad is also visible in this 1925 aerial photo:

The Tarrytown Heights Station was located at the intersection of Neperan Road and Sunnyside Ave:

In this circa 1920’s bird’s-eye-view looking south from the Rockefeller estate, Kykuit, we can see the railroad route from Tarrytown Heights to Tower Hill.

By enlarging the image we can see the Tarrytown Heights Station in the distance:

One notable feature of the old railroad bed between Tarrytown Heights and Tower Hill is a steel & stone bridge. Walking north from Tarrytown Heights along the old railroad bed:

After about 1/2 miles we come to some orange construction fencing, behind which is the remains of the bridge:

The stone retaining walls on each side of the bridge are roughly 15 feet high.

The bridge, and the roadway underneath it, can be seen in this 1925 aerial photo:

Again, if we look closely at that bird’s-eye-view photo looking south from the Rockefeller estate, we can see the bridge site:

The Tower Hill Station was located where the railroad crossed Tower Hill Road (sometimes called County House Road), and was probably little more than a bench & canopy. The station can be seen in the 1925 aerial photo:

The site is now overgrown with thorny vines, and impassable in summer. I’ll be exploring this site further during the winter months.

Digression: Another interesting feature of the c.1920’s bird’s-eye-view is the old Sisters of Mercy Orphanage at the intersection of Tower Hill Road and Wilson Park Drive.

The Sisters of Mercy Orphanage became a junior college in 1950, before moving to Dobbs Ferry, NY and becoming Mercy College.

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14 comments on “Tarrytown Heights to Tower Hill – Old Putnam Line

  1. David
    October 9, 2011

    Impassable!? Did Indiana Jones ever have to give up and return in the winter, Archive Sleuth?

  2. Lucas
    October 10, 2011

    Ha! Well, I’ve been thinking I need a machete, and maybe a whip too.

  3. jay
    December 17, 2011

    There are two bridges between tower hill and the the tarrrytown lakes station..If you walk from the parking lot at he tarrytown lakes theres 1 then near tower hill rd where there building houses now in the brush theres another 1

    • Lucas Buresch
      December 21, 2011

      Hi Jay,
      Yes, there is a second small bridge between the Tarrytown Heights station and the larger bridge I’ve focused on here, which is closer to the Tower Hill station. The next time I’m in the area, I’ll have to shoot some photos of the smaller bridge and add them to this article. Thanks.

      • jay
        December 21, 2011

        I was working there last month .Toll brothers is building houses in front of it.also the rock cut on rockefellers property has a horse watering trough in the middle w a pic of one of the rockefellers favorite horses on it.or it uso be there.

  4. jay
    December 17, 2011

    These pics are great

  5. jay
    January 2, 2012

    Hello again.There was a spur that went to pocantico lake is that on any of your photos and why was that built

  6. Mark Fry
    April 4, 2014

    What a wondeful job you’ve done in documenting this part of the Old Put Raillroad.
    The last train pulled out of the Tarrytown Heights Station, on March 15, 1931. That station was located where the Skate Shack Parking Lot is located today, at the intersection of Sunnyside Avenue and Neperan Road. The Old Put Railbed was donated to the Village of Tarrytown in May of 1942 by John D. and Abby Rockefeller.

    And now the good news. The Village has secured grant funding, and the Tarrytown Lakes Trail is now being extended along the Old Put Rail Bed almost to Tower Hill Road, where the new trail veers west along new easements to connect with the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. The rail bridge that you show above will be rebuilt with a pedestrian deck starting May 1, 2014. If you send me your contact info, I’ll invite you to the ribbon cutting in July when we’ll finally connect the OCA with the North County Trailway.. In the meantime you may want to check out our Tarrytown Lakes site at http://www.tarrytownlakes.org.

  7. Mark Fry
    April 4, 2014

    Between the Tarrytown Heights Station, at Sunnyside Avenue, and the Sleepy Hollow Station at Tower Road there are two underpasses and an overpass As you walk the new trail from the skate shack parking lot, heading north , you’ll find that the first underpass, directly behind the the Marymount Convent, has been filled in, and there is a brand new bench on top of it with re-purposed stonework from 1883. That underpass connected the front half of William Wilson’s estate with the rear half, which included fabulous orchards. William Wilson’s mansion, “Plaisance” survives as the center building of the former Marymount convent middle school complex.

    The overpass, a few hundred yards further, is located behind the beautiful historic Brace Stone Cottage, which is all that remains of the Charles Clement Brace estate, which was demolished in 1986.

    The second underpass is located near Warner Lane, and originally connected the front and rear portions of the Harold and Julia Grant Estate. While the “new” underpass deck is dated 1916, it replaces the original wooden timber deck built in 1883. As you continue north you will come to the massive stone abutments of the rail bridge shown in your photos above. After minor repairs to the original steel trusses built in 1883, a new wooden pedestrian deck will be installed in May of 2014

  8. jay puff
    April 5, 2014

    Great work

  9. Tom
    July 12, 2014

    Where would the Whiteons station have been located. It was the station after Pocantico Hills (and before Briarcliff), prior to the line being relocated through what was then the town of Eastview?

  10. John Kelly
    December 28, 2014

    Tom, the Whiteons station was right about here — https://www.google.com/maps/@41.1393412,-73.8226726,17z

    My source is this map from the 1881 Westchester County Atlas — http://collections.westchestergov.com/cdm/singleitem/collection/1881atlas/id/27/rec/1

  11. Arthur Waring Roberts III
    May 13, 2015

    Nice job. Probably enough info to make a 3D computer model of the pre-Rockefeller Put Line.

  12. Mark Fry
    May 19, 2015

    Hi Lucas,

    I’m very happy to report that the 1881 Rail Bridge near Tower Hill Road has been completely restored. The structural steel has been reinforced, and a beautiful new wood timber pedestrian deck has been installed. The previously overgrown trail section has been cleared and resurfaced all the way to Tower Hill Road, and the spur trail connecting to the Old Croton Aqueduct will be completed soon.

    I have a few photos of the new bridge for this site. Where shall I send them?

    Mark Fry

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This entry was posted on October 5, 2011 by in Historic sites, Railraods.

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