The Tarrytown Train Station served as the backdrop, both literally and figuratively, for the annual meeting of the Historical Society, Inc., Serving Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown yesterday.
The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. by President Scott S. Monje. Monje reported that the society was in receipt of a $7,000 grant that will provide for the professional assessment of needs for the organization's headquarters located on Grove Street. It was noted that the 162-year-old structure needed more love than maintenance, above anything else to retain its historic splendor.
Monje informed the members that the society had tried for a grant from the Pepsi-Cola Corporation, but was unsuccessful in securing the funding.
The evening's new business centered on the election of officers, with the candidates being as follows: Scott Monje, President (One Year Term); Doug Maas, Vice-President (One Year Term); Aubrey Hawes, Vice-President (One Year Term); Alice Droogan, Treasurer (One Year Term); Patricia Pinckney, Assistant Treasurer (One Year Term); Mary Ann Marshall, Secretary (One Year Term); Greg Gall, Trustee (3 Year Term); Tim Leonard, Trustee (3 year Term); and Marie Nardullo, Trustee (3 Year Term). Museum Curator Sara Mascia confirmed the receipts of all ballots, and the entire slate of candidates were deemed elected for their respective offices.
Monje reminded all members of the Society's planned major fundraisers for the year which include:
- The Annual Strawberry Festival on the lawn of the One Grove Street Museum, featuring old fashioned Strawberry Shortcake, musical entertainment and a tour of the museum on Sunday, June 6 from 1 - 4 p.m.
- Friday, September 24 has been set for the date for a party on the Porch Annual Wine Tasting.
- On October 7, Program Speaker Roger Jewel will speak on 'The Tarrytown Militia in the American Revolution' at the Warner Library.
- Other planned programs include a Summer Exhibit on "Archaeology' at the Museum and a planned program in November on the area's History and preservation of Split-Level Houses.
The evening's speakers started with Sleepy Hollow Village Henry John Steiner who spoke about the Tarrytown Train Station. First, starting with his reminisces of the structure back in the early 1950s.
He recalled being in his family's 1949 Plymouth with his mother and sister waiting for their father to return home from a long day's work in the city. Steiner recalled the much anticipated train being nothing more than a small silent light, taking forever, it seem, to grow larger. But as the train approached, it rose to a violent crescendo like a large impatient monster. When the train did stop, the elder Mr. Steiner would disembark, along with all of the other harried commuters, and happily greet his family with a warm smile and embrace.
The Sleepy Hollow Historian noted that the train station was, at that point, the same age he is now, some 60 years old. It being the third such structure to serve as the village's train station since 1850.
In 1781, a nearby supply of American barges was set on fire by the British. A bronze tablet commemorating the occasion was unveiled when the first train station was dedicated in 1850. The bronze tablet is now on the grounds of the new Village Hall.
Steiner proceed to tell a brief history of the Tarrytown Train Station. Henry Hobson Richardson, who is credited with being the chief architect for the State House in Albany, designed and built the present day train station that was built in 1890. Sadly in 1893, a catastrophic event saw an explosion aboard a train containing Italian day laborers, killing and seriously injuring many on board. The station was used as a make shift field hospital while first responders waited to transport the victims to neighboring hospitals.
Over the years, Steiner noted the advent of the East/West Trolley Service in 1897 and the electrification of the train tracks in 1911. In 1912, F.R. Pearson proposed a pedestrian tunnel that would serve as a safer alternative for commuters, but the measure was denied. Two years later, prominent resident Charles Millard was tragically killed by the Wolverine Limited. Finally, in 1925 the Cortlandt Street overpass was built. It closed nearly a half century later, in 1973.
School Board Trustee B. Joseph Lillis spoke about how the society approached the Tarrytown Village Board of Trustees to designated the train station with Landmark status in 1999, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of its conception.
Marjorie Anders, an official of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and a local resident of Tarrytown herself rounded out the evening's trio of speakers.
Anders started off by saying that the nation's great recession had proved, quite ironically, to be a beneficial boon for the train station and its current expansion program, and went into detail about what area residents can expect to see upon its completion.
The program, which officially was launched in September 2009 with NY Governor David Paterson presiding at the official ceremony, is scheduled for completion in the Summer of 2012.
The MTA spokesperson noted that the station was the second busiest on the Hudson line. An in-depth study is planned to assess the reverse commuter market, citing, among others, the number of students of the EF School (formerly Marymount College) as the destination for many of these travelers.
Anders proposed that once the project is completed, the MTA will be looking at offering to lease the train station to a private developer that could offer a cafe and newststand and the like for daily commuters to use.
Anders noted that unlike other stations that close at 1 p.m., the Tarrytown Train Station remains open until 10pm for the convenience of users of the county's bee-line bus system.
Anders concluded her remarks by saying that the station had seen a 98 percent on-time performance of its trains in 2009, and is on track to matching its performance in the current year. Ms. Anders then officially presented the development plans to Museum Curator Sara Mascia to be archived in the museum.
Following the official program, society members and guests were treated to a festive array of refreshments. With the cool breeze of the mid-spring evening sweeping through the station's open doors, the evening's proceedings were deemed to be a resounding success by one and all.