Trolleys to Glen Haven - Purple Mountain Press


by Charles R. Lowe

"Just over a century ago, in 1896, the Irondequoit Park Railroad opened for a busy summer season of traffic. Its line ran from Rochester's East Main Street, at the site of today's Regional Transit Service bus barn and shop, to Irondequoit Bay at Glen Haven. Glen Haven was a resort area on Irondequoits Bay's west shore about midway between Lake Ontario and the south end of the bay. What promised to make the 1896 season exciting for Glen Haven patrons was that the railroad to Glen Haven was for the first time powered by electricity.

The Irondequoit Park Railroad was a successor to the Rochester and Glen Haven Railroad Company. The Rochester and Glen Haven was organized on November 29, 1887; it received its charter on December 2. Construction began in the fall of 1888, and the line opened on June 18, 1889, but it was not completely finished, and trains ran every two hours while construction continued. By August of 1889, enough of the railroad had been completed to allow trains to run every hour, but final construction lagged, and it was not until 1891 that the road reported that it was fully built.

A 3'-0" narrow gauge steam railroad, the Rochester and Glen Haven had a single-track main line 3.482 miles long with 0.876 miles of sidings; 56 pound-per-yard rail was used throughout. Oak and chestnut ties were spaced at 2'0" intervals and the maximum grade was a short section at 3%. The line crossed four highways at grade..."

In the days of Rochester's Glen Haven resort, the late 1880s to the early 1920s, streetcars dominated city transportation. With easy access a must for a successful resort, it is little wonder that a trolley line eventually found its way from Rochester to Glen Haven. This is its first history.

The author is a trustee at the New York Museum of Transportation in Rush, N.Y.

53 pages, illustrated, 8.5 x 11, index, 2000
$12.50 booklet--A Purple Mountain Press original

Copyright © 2000 Purple Mountain Press. All rights reserved.