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Railroad at Hemlock NY

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Lehigh railroad near Hemlock in 1900.

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Herbert and Mrs. Tilly ticket agent 1908.

Courtesy of the Livonia Historical Society.

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F. A. Cole Conductor 1908.

Courtesy of the Livonia Historical Society.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad began providing service to Hemlock lake in 1895. Talk of the railroad had been in the air since 1849 and eventually a Lehigh Valley track was laid into the valley east of Livonia Center. It connected with Lima, Honeoye Falls and Rochester to the north and curved south, continuing to Hemlock Lake. A daily train went to Henrietta and the Depot was on Richmond Mills Road (route 20A) on William Lightfoot’s property, about where the Sargeant’s Metal Works is located. This was a two-story depot, a beautiful building, and was duplicated at Rochester Junction, near Sibleyville. Frank Ingelow was the first station agent in 1896 and lived on the second floor. He was also a grain and feed merchant. Part of the large grain mill is now Sargeant’s Ornamental Iron Works. The huge engine of the grain mill, which powered the pulleys and hoists for the conveyors, was in the basement of the building when the present owners came in the 1970’s.

The depot was a place for parties and dances also. Passenger service continued until about 1936. Herbert Tilly, shown here with his wife, was the ticket agent at the Hemlock Depot around 1900. Perhaps they are shown here as they were dressed for one of the parties at the depot.

One story about the first train to Hemlock says those engineering it were so excited they drove right into Hemlock Lake and gave the passengers some real excitement.

The Panipinto family lived above the Depot and the children attended the school in Hemlock because they could take a train to school. Mrs. Panipinto said she lived there 25 years.

About 1942 the freight service was also discontinued and by 1945 the tracks were abandoned and the depot was torn down. But the route to Hemlock Lake can still be traced where the railroad beds left their mark on the landscape. The route is now used as a hiking trail from State Route 20A to Big Tree Road. Parts of the old railroad beds can also be found where they ran along the west side of the old Hoppaugh pond. This is also a hiking trail in the Hemlock and Canadice State Forest and is accessible from Blank road in the west or Rix Hill road in the south. The “T” intersection is also visible on the map where the trains would turn into the depot at the village of Hemlock.

F. A. Cole was the conductor for the Lehigh Valley line that went into Hemlock around the 1908.

In 1899 the railroad line to the shoreline of the lake was removed because the City of Rochester was using the lake as a reservoir for drinking water.

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The first Lehigh Valley train to arrive at Hemlock NY on 4 August 1895. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Tom Westbrook.

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The Lehigh Valley railroad station at Hemlock NY circa 1895. The Canning factory did not exist yet. The depot station was located on what is now Al Sharpe Ave. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Tom Westbrook.

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A crowd of travellers at the pavillion of the Lehigh Valley Railroad station in Hemlock NY in 1899. The names of the people in the photo are unknown. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Tom Westbrook.

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The Lehigh Valley Railroad station in Hemlock NY circa 1900. The view is looking toward the south-east. In the left background can be seen the steeple of the Methodist church on Main street. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Tom Westbrook.

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The Lehigh Valley engine and crew circa 1908. The names of the people in the photo are unknown. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Livonia Historical Society.

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The Lehigh Valley depot at Hemlock NY circa 1908. The Canning Factory can be seen behind the train. This view is looking west. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Tom Westbrook. Enhanced by Lore Disalvo.

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The Lehigh Valley railroad station at Hemlock NY circa 1910. The Canning Factory can be seen behind the train. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Douglas Connor.

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A train at the Lehigh Valley depot in Hemlock NY circa 1910. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Douglas Connor.

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The Lehigh Valley depot in Hemlock NY circa 1910. The view is toward the west. On the right is the Hemlock Canning factory. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Tom Westbrook.

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The Lehigh Valley water tower at Hemlock NY circa 1910. The view is toward the east from on the Hoppough pond. The steeple of the Methodist church can be seen to the right. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Livonia Historical Society.

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The Lehigh Valley water tower at Hemlock NY circa 1913. The view is toward the east, as a train arrives at the depot station. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Livonia Historical Society.

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The Lehigh Valley depot and the Canning factory at Hemlock NY circa 1920. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Livonia Historical Society.

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An early sketch of the Lehigh Valley depot and the Canning factory at Hemlock NY circa 1900. The Apple Evaporator is in the upper right corner of the sketch. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Livonia Historical Society.

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A photo of the Lehigh depot at Richmond Mills on what is now route 20A in 1930. The “Bean Mill” and the “Sargent’s Iron Works” would in time be located here. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Livonia Historical Society.

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A photo of the Lehigh Railroad station in Hemlock NY in 1951. The trains were gone by then as well as the Hemlock Canning Factory which stood to the right in this photo. The station and the Canning Factory chimney were still standing in 2015. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Tom Westbrook.

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A photo taken in 2002 of the posts that once supported the dock at the north west corner of Hemlock Lake. Until 1899 the Lehigh trains would come directly to the shoreline to allow passengers to disembark. The pier is visible in the map at the top of the page. The water level was very low in 2002 exposing the posts. Click the image to enlarge. This photo courtesy of Livonia Historical Society.

Gasoline Motor Car is Tried on the Lehigh Valley Hemlock Branch

By Unknown Author - The Livonia Gazette

23 January 1925

Last Friday the Lehigh Valley made a trial trip over the Rochester-Hemlock branch with a new gasoline motor car. This trial trip was made with the object in view of purchasing one of these cars as the company has done on certain other branches. One has already been in operation on the Plainfield branch for over a year and is said to have been a great benefit to the public as well as a saving to the railroad.

These cars are sixty feet long, of solid steel construction, of baggage and passenger compartments and are equipped with two 45-horsepower motors. They are manufactured by the Mack Motor Truck Co.

The direct object in view is to give better and more frequent passenger service to Rochester and better connections on the main line at Rochester Junction. The company has under consideration a motor truck line for the movement of less than carload freight, using Rochester as a starting point and making direct delivery to the merchants along the branch. The Lehigh Valley is said to feel that this would be a great advantage to such downs as Livonia and Honeoye, which are not situated directly on their line of rails. This service would be done by the Kulp Trucking Co., under the supervision of the railroad company.

F.M. Baker, superintendent of the Lehigh Valley, and Mr. Kulp, general manager of the trucking company, were present at the try-out last week and hope to formulate some definite plans soon.

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