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This Week in Port Jervis History

On January 11, 1892 Samuel Barnard Farnum passed away in Port Jervis. Farnum was born in Litchfield, CT in 1810 to Peter and Chloe Farnum. He grew up in Otsego County and at the age of 19 came to Port Jervis to join his brother Henry Harrison working for the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. In 1831, Samuel Farnum became the Superintendent of the section from the Fish Cabin in Lumberland to the Neversink Locks. The Neversink Locks were the six locks in Deerpark near the canal's crossing of the Neversink River, the five to the west of the aqueduct (52 through 56) and lock 51 (in what is now the D&H Canal Park). Farnum served as Superintendent for almost forty years along one of the more technical sections, which saw numerous enlargements and improvements under his charge. Farnum was instrumental in the construction of the First Presbyterian Church on Orange Square built in 1851 and 1852 and in 1889 the construction of the brick chapel (now Marsh Hall). He served as the Treasurer of the church for 25 years and as the Board of Education President for two years. The Farnum House in Farnum Park was built in the 1850’s and designed by Thomas Jackson. Farnum and his wife Aseneth are buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery.

On January 15 1898, trolley service began along a 3.3 mile route from Tri-States to the West End. The Port Jervis Electric Street Railway Company was organized in 1895. The single track main line had two sidings. A one mile Kingston Avenue branch line down East Main Street and Kingston Avenue was opened the following year. Cars were run from 6 AM to 11:40 PM and the fare was five cents. The line closed in June of 1910, but was reopened a month later as the Port Jervis Traction Company. On November 18, 1924 the trolley lines were abandoned due to poor profitability.

Samuel Barnard Farnum

The Cuddeback House (150 Kingston Avenue). Aseneth and Samuel B. Farnum are shown standing on the far left.

1854 lithograph by Salmon Wheat Corwin and Joseph Whiting Stock. Corwin and Stock had a gallery in the Delaware Hall building (the oldest extant building downtown, variously called Fowler's Brick Building, the Hubbard Building, the Wickham Building and the Cedarwood Building). Delaware Hall is currently being transformed into the R.H. Smith Mercantile.

Trolley in the West End

Trolley travelling south on Front Street. I love how recognizable this whole stretch is today (even the very faintly remaining ad).

Map showing the two lines of the Port Jervis trolley.

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