August 1992

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Its Orchestrion and Orchestrion Hall


Hammondsport Herald, May 31, 1876,

reprinted from the Elmira Advertiser

Hammondsport is located in Steuben county, at the head of Lake Keuka, that is the material part of it is so located.—When you get there if you don't look out you'll think it reaches into the confines of Paradise, if not a little ways over the border. Every one knows now how to get [to] Hammondsport. You go to Bath on the Erie and then take Capt. Wood's three-foot road for about twenty-five minutes, and there you are. There is no nonsense meant in taking Capt. Wood's road. In contrast with the great coaches and trains of the Erie, a full-grown man will be excusable for feeling just a little backward about the Bath and Hammondsport road. He may conclude it would be better to put engine and cars in his overcoat pocket and walk over, or take them to his little boy to play with. But everything that is good and useful is not necessarily big. Some small parcels are apt to be quite valuable.

This Bath and Hammondsport road is an evidence that a railroad can be built anywhere, where you can find space enough to lay a common sidewalk, and the success that has attended this enterprise should spur up every locality that may be a little out of the great thoroughfares of travel to an effort to get in the world. The guage is only a three foot one, the engine is very small, not over sixteen tons in weight, and the three round trips of about sixteen miles each, are daily run at the expense of not over ten bushels of coal, not enough fuel to build a fire in an Erie locomotive. The cars are light and small, but quite roomy; the freight cars so small as to dispense with a great deal of dead weight, while they will carry about as many tons as a larger car. It is worth while to go to Hammondsport, simply to go over this road. In one place, coming towards Bath, you ascend a grade of about one hundred and thirty-two feet to the mile. It is only fun for the engine even with a full load. We cannot omit to mention the name of "Sid" Reynolds, who runs the machine; is known all along the line, and sometimes stoops down while his train is in motion to catch a cap full of apples that some boys have gathered for him. N. W. Bennett is the Superintendent and Conductor, and it is all right where he is. Capt A. Wood has secured the best of men to help him run his road. Care and courtesy, such as they ceaselessly exhibit, would bring success from even a less sure thing than the Bath and Hammondsport road.

Another Way.

Of course, there is another way to reach such a prominent point as Hammondsport. In the summer time, you can go to Penn Yan, by the Northern Central Railway, where it is is claimed the new Soldiers' Home is to be located, and where reside a great many men whose names are well known throughout the country. You can take one of Com. Farley Holmes' boats and go up Lake Keuka, which while you are on it, you will wish was a thousand miles long, it is so beautiful, just as the man who stopped at the Urbana Company's cellars, on the way, wished for certain reasons which will readily suggest themselves, that he had a throat as long as a giraffe's.

Orchestrion Hall.

The people of Hammondsport are alive. In one respect they resemble Elmirans. What is for the interest of their town, they all turn in and help forward. One likes to get amongst such a people. Local pride is something good to see and deserves to be fostered. The place is becoming quite noted as a summer resort or a point to be made by excursion parties and attractions are multiplied to draw them thither. On the hill side, overlooking the town, Mrs. Fach, formerly of Rochester, has built a very noticeable place. We are not clear in our mind whether the Orchestrion it holds, was built for it, or it for the Orchestrion, for they fit one another as a candle fits the socket. The building is a large three story one, standing on the terraced hill side that overlooks the town and the Lake. The view from its broad verandahs is not to be surpassed anywhere.

The Orchestrion is one of the largest in this country, cost $12,000, and was put up by Bernard Dufuer, of Buffalo, who is a manufacturer of such instruments. It plays twelve tunes, or perhaps better, has twelve cylinders, with any number of tunes, and the music it makes is decidedly pleasing. It is worth going a distance to see and hear.

On Tuesday the Hall was opened and dedicated. People came into the town from all sections around about there, some even going from Elmira. Bath was largely represented, and Penn Yan sent up a strong delegation headed by a brass band. It was a regular centennial all day, and in the evening a continuance of the same. There must have been five or six hundred people in the Hall at one or another time during the night's festivities, Greisinger's full Orchestra from Bath providing the music for the dancers. The whole affair was a pronounced success, and all those, upon whose shoulders fell the responsibility of it, are pleased and happy, and deserve to be congratulated. We trust that it is an omen propitious of the character of the season just commencing.


From the same issue of the Hammondsport Herald
are the following local items:

—The new cars for the Bath & Hammondsport road are being made at Philadelphia. We may therefore all remember when the next Centennial arrives that those cars are just one hundred years old. They are to have seats along the sides, after the manner of street cars, and of course will be a novelty in the steamcar line.

—LAUNCH.—The Steamer Steuben will be launched at Hammondsport, Thursday, June 1st, at 4 o'clock P.M. Excursion tickets will be sold at Bath for the 2:50 P.M. train; 50 cts. for the round trip, returning at 6 P.M.

—John Baldwin, Esq., local passenger agent of the Erie, visited Hammondsport a short time since. He is wide-awake to the excursion interests of his road, and thinks the route from Bath to Penn Yan, and vice versa, is bound to become a great thoroughfare. How can the most beautiful and direct route from Watkins Glen to Niagara help being so.

—The opening day and evening at Orchestrion Hall, Lake View Terrace, last Tuesday, was a day to be remembered with pleasure by all interested. Pleasant parties from neighboring cities and villages were present, among them Major Ausburn Towner, of the Elmira Advertiser

—Parties may enjoy Lake View Terrace for picnics &c., on reasonable terms. Address Mrs. Margaret Fach, Hammondsport, N. Y.

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