After reading Ronald G. Egloff’s post on the kekitchawan.com history blog
, my curiosity was piqued - field trip!
“In 1867, the Ridgefield and New York Railroad was projected for a 22 mile route to run from East Port Chester to Ridgefield. It ran parallel to the Byram River and proceeded to Greenwich and through the northwestern corner of Stamford, Mill River, east of Trinity Lake and Lake Kitchawan, then along the east side of Lewisboro to Ridgefield. Local farmers willingly accepted Ridgefield and New York Railroad stock as payment for their land."
"The soft, wide right of way was almost completely graded between Port Chester and Ridgefield and ready for the laying of the tracks when work was abandoned after the Panic of 1873. A new completion date was set for 1890 but at that point the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad acquired controlling interest and the project was allowed to lapse. "
"You can still see this bed along the banks of Mill River just east of the river.”
Online Map Research
After reviewing my previously posted web page
and digging deeper online, IMHO this 1908 historical map provides more detail on the planned route than 1867 Beer Map.
|Source - Publish Date: 1908 Publisher: E. Belcher and Hyde|
Subsequently, I created this topo map based on the above historical map.
My first stop was east of Route 123 at where it crosses the Mill River. Sure enough, the ROW was easy to locate along with the added bonus of a couple of interesting historical remnants (an old dam and old road bridge abutments).
|The Graded ROW|
|Old Dam. There was probably a mill here|
|The graded ROW continues (digitally highlighted). I turned around here.|
|Looking back (Route in distance)|
Note Retaining wall on left
The remnants of the old road are somewhat obscured by bushes but it was cool to discover this...
|Old Road (embankment)|
|Ancient bridge abutments - look closely|
Next, I headed southwest on Mill River Road and was able to discern the ROW along the hillside across the river wherever it hadn’t been obliterated by private residences.
|Remnants of an old dam - betcha there was a mill here...|
At the end of Mill River Road, I turned right and crossed the river. I believe this closed dirt road was where the ROW continued south.
Lastly, I headed back to Route 123 via Kitchawan Road — Man that’s one helluva road! Super twisty with never ending up and downs - its a roller coaster! Check it out on Google Street View
or better yet - drive it and see for yourself.
In all likelihood, I will continue my treks in the woods to continue to document more of the graded ROW where possible. A late autumn mountain bike ride north along the Mill River when the foliage is gone might be productive AND fun!
Historic Mapworks - Lewisboro
Publish Date: 1911
Publisher: G. W. Bromley
Publish Date: 1908
Publisher: E. Belcher and Hyde