JERRY’S JOURNAL: Transportation with Walt Carrington

I’ve never met Walt Carrington but he sounds like a real interesting guy.

I now share with you a letter from him, a former Fultonian who has sent me some interesting notes of what it was like growing up in our hometown.

The subject of this particular letter is “Transportation.”

“Air: Somewhere between 1957 and 1962, my Mom sent me a newspaper front page (Herald Journal probably) which had headlines claiming Fulton’s airport had 20-foot drifts of snow.”

“Buses: When I was in grade school (40s, early 50s) there was a period during which Fulton had a bus system. The reason for remembering was that the end of the line was at Whitcomb Road and West First Street.

I had left my sled there in a pile of snow to talk to a friend, Jim Kring, and while I was talking the bus turned around and crushed my sled.

“I seem to remember there was a bus stop at the State Theatre, and at the plaza in front of the Green and White Diner, where the bus lines converged.

One could also catch the Syracuse and Oswego Bus Line, which stopped next door to the State Theatre at its terminal where tickets were sold. I rode that bus to the State Fair in Syracuse and back a couple of years.

“Railroads: In the 1940s Fulton had passenger train service. My Mom told my sister and me that if we would stop chewing our fingernails she would take us on the train to Oswego and back. I didn’t get to take the trip but my sister did, and the depot was out Oneida Street where the passenger train station was overhead at the overpass.

“My Dad took Mom and Joann out for their trip and we waved ‘bye.’ That was the New York Central’s passenger station there.

“On the west side of the river, across the street from Henderson and Thompson Lumber Yard, on the west end of the Lower Bridge, there was the terminal for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (DL&W) Railroad Co.

“I remember seeing steam freight switches in the freight yard in the 1940s, serving the feed mill and Henderson Thompson’s coal trestle and lumber yard, but I don’t remember any passenger operations at that time.

“In the 1880s, Fulton had 10 passenger trains a day running on the Oswego Syracuse Division of what was to become the DL&W, and later the Erie Lackawanna and still later ConRail.

For those interested in history, until 1957, when it failed, the Ontario and Western Railroad also served Fulton from the east. This railroad was nicknamed “Old Weary” and came into Fulton from Central Square.

The Old Weary began as the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad’s Northern Division. An 1873 time table shows 10 trains a day going through Fulton with freight operations only. “

I thank Walt Carrington for reminiscing with us per his correspondence. He supplied some date sources: When the Railroads Went to the Beach, John Taibi, 1909, p. 17, and Lackawanna Route in Central New York, 1977, and Steam Railroads of Central New York, 1973. Sorry but I can’t supply the source of these publications

I don’t know about you but Walt’s memories provoked a few of my own. I think the winter of 20-foot snow drifts at the Fulton airport was the winter of 1958.

That year Mike spent a lot of his evenings and weekends painting the inside of our about-to-be new home in the Patrick Tract on West Third Street.

One day he was so busy at his task that he didn’t realized how much snow had fallen and when it was time to go home our car was buried. Thank goodness for the help of our soon-to-be-new next door neighbor Joe LiVoti, Mike got shoveled out and got home okay.

I am very familiar with that corner of Whitcomb and West First Street Walt wrote about. I lived just a couple houses up and next door to the Kring family when I was a child.

As far as the old bus line around Fulton, I often rode the bus as a young working woman, on the route that took me from out in the Sixth Ward where I lived on Porter Street to downtown Fulton and my job at the Oswego County Telephone Company on South First Street.

The bus line that used to be called The Syracuse-Oswego, that stopped downtown near the State Theatre on the corner of South First and Rochester Streets, and is now known as Centro and still goes to Syracuse. You can still catch a ride to the State Fair in the fall (for $3 a head, correct amount only, no change.)

As for the trains that once ran through our city, my long ago neighbor on Porter Street, Home Bailey, worked for the DL&W and was a familiar sight in his engineer’s cap and coveralls of white and gray pinstripes.

And then there were the train whistles all times of the day and night that could be heard in our West Third Street neighborhood. That noise, mournful sounding at night, waking up small children tucked into bed, came from the railroad tracks that cross Curtis Street near the Junior High School.

I never rode a train to Oswego in my youth, but did walk the tracks to Sharp’s Pond many a summer, and I did ride the New York Central a couple of times — once when I when 12 and went to Hackensack, N.J. with an adult friend of our family, and once to New York City to spend time with Mike when were still newlyweds in 1952 and he was in the Navy.

OK, dear readers, let’s fast-forward back to the here and now: I don’t know where Walt Carrington lived here in town so I dug out my 1950 City Directory and looked up what I think was his old address and discovered that a Walter and Mary Carrington once lived on the corner of Whitcomb Road and Forest Ave — and their actual address was RD3 (imagine that,  that area wasn’t part of the city just yet, and no Whitcomb Tract or Lanigan School back then)…

I’m also guessing that Mr. and Mrs. Carrington were Walt’s Mom and Dad. Walt’s mother was listed as h (staying home), while his father was listed as a foreman at the PCKSCCo — Peter Cailier Kohler Swiss Chocolate Co. — which became Nestlé’s!

Speaking of our old chocolate factory, I think it would be fun to do a series of columns on people who worked there.

If you are one of them and want to share your story, please write or email me a paragraph or two — not more than a page — and let’s see how it all works out.

But be patient, it may take me some time to put it all together.

Now here’s my caveat:

Readers beware! I write for fun. I am not a historian, nor a reporter. I write from memory and from what others want to share.

Sometimes I look things up; sometimes I mess things up. I hope you have fun reading my stuff. Your comments, additions and corrections are always welcome.

You may contact me at 133 Tannery Lane, Fulton, phone 592-7580 or email JHogan808@aol.com. Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line. Thanks!

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