Erick, Isaac, and I opted for a walk into to the city and were immediately attracted to the Union Station, the city’s impressive railroad terminal constructed in 1914 and restored in the mid-1970’s. It’s Italianate-style architecture includes a three story central vault
supported by eight massive marble columns. Given our interests both in regional canal transportation and the Vermont marble, which was often cargo for those vessels like the General Butler, we wondered about the origin of the marble and how it arrived at this site. A little research showed that the large scale of the station’s construction warranted the rerouting of the Mowhawk River as a supply route, but it was not clear to what extent canal boats were used for delivery. Rumor has it that the marble columns had originally
been installed at New York’s old Grand Central Station, but no documentation supports this. In our current age of “green” technologies, it is interesting to note that the original benches for the waiting area were installed with steam pipes. In this way, passengers awaiting trains in cold weather could be kept warm, and the need to heat the entire
voluminous interior avoided.
A longtime member, Peter started volunteering at the museum when construction began on Lois. He teaches at Essex High School in the Alternative Education program and has had students help with the construction of Lois as well as the C.L. Churchill restoration.