Editor's Note: This article is from the January 1, 1851 issue of Holden's Magazine.
View on the Hudson River at Anthony’s Nose
The Frontispiece of this Number, is a sketch which cannot fail to interest all – as well from the natural beauty of the scenery, as from the hallowed associations connected with it. It was sketched from nature, expressly for Holden’s, and engraved by J.W. Orr. Every one who has passed the spot, by railroad or on the river, will note the fidelity of the engraving.
The building of the Hudson River Railroad has modified, to say the least, the scenery on the east bank of the Hudson. Monsieur Anthony’s profile, and especially Monsieur Anthony’s nose, has suffered by all the blasting, and excavating, and tunneling for the iron track. And indeed things have very much changed since the days of Dolph Heyliger and Antony Vander Heyden. The number of witches has very much decreased, the “storm-ship” has not been seen for these many years, and the trip from the city of the Manhattoes, to the goodly town of the Van Rensellaers, Gansevoorts, and Rosebooms, will now be reduced from four days to as many hours.
In accordance with the spirit and progress of the age, we are bound to let the spirits of the past sleep in their inaccessible hiding places, and talk of railroads and tunnels.
The Hudson River Road is now in full operation between New York and Poughkeepsie, and will probably be completed to Albany by the end of the present year, 1851. Its total cost from New York to Albany is estimated at nine millions of dollars. This includes the expense of a double track from New York to Poughkeepsie, and of the depots along the road. The cost of grading the road from New York to Poughkeepsie, averaged in round numbers, $42,480 per mile. Much of the road is built in the river on solid stone causeways, and between these two points there are no less than ten tunnels: one of these at New Hamburgh is 830 feet in length. The one represented in the engraving at Anthony’s Nose is between 300 and 400 feet in length. The expense of grading the road from Poughkeepsie to Albany will be much less. It is estimated that it will average $28,985 per mile. We are informed that no tunnel will be required above Poughkeepsie. One of 880 feet in length was contemplated at Judson’s Point, six miles north of Hudson, but upon examination it is proved that this may be dispensed with, and indeed it would not in all probability stand if built, as the rock is a mixture of slate and graywacke, and liable to decompose upon exposure to the atmosphere.
The running time of the express trains between New York and Albany, will not be over four hours – and possibly may be less. This is an average of forty miles an hour. It is proposed to run thus express trains each day both ways, and four way trains. The locomotives on this road are the finest in the country, and ranging in weight from eighteen to twenty-two tons. The passenger cars are surpassed in convenience and elegance by none.
The rates of fare established for passengers have been on the scale of one and one third cents per mile, with the exception of the two months of January and February, when the rate was raised to two cents per mile. These rates are very low, and will command the bulk of travel. They are equivalent to two dollars through to Albany in the summer, and three in winder. Most persons prefer to ride on a rail-road rather than on a steamboat, even if the expense is a little greater, and when the time of making the journey is one half, most of the travelling public will patronize the rail-road, though the fare should be double or treble that of the steamboat.
Thus are the facilities of intercommunication being rapidly and wonderfully increased. Distant points are brought in close proximity, and a vastly enlarged intercourse between the inhabitants of different sections of the country is promoting a sympathy of feeling, and a oneness of interests, which cannot but be promotive of intelligence, liberality and union.
Thank you to HRMM volunteer George Thompson, retired New York University reference librarian, for sharing these glimpses into early life in the Hudson Valley. And to the dedicated HRMM volunteers who transcribe these articles.
This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
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