The Darwin Exception

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The History of Malone: The Advent of the Railroad

Posted by thedarwinexception on March 11, 2007

Two hamlets grew up within the original borders of the town of Malone. James H. Titus bought extensive lands in the Southern area and established a scythe factory, grist mill, store and sawmill at what is now Chasm Falls. The community was first known as Glen Hope and later as Titusville. Newell M. Cunningham came from Massachusetts in 1832 to operate the new scythe factory.

Harvey Whipple built a sawmill south of Malone and the hamlet of Whippleville grew up around it. On the west bank of the Salmon River, about midway between Whippleville and Chasm Falls, a paint bed was discovered and, in the years around 1850, was worked by Henry B. Duane. It produced paint of a reddish color which was used extensively on farm building in the area.

Perhaps the greatest single force in the growth and prosperity of Malone in earlier ears was the completion of the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad, now a part of the Rutland Railroad System. Construction of the line across Northern New York was begun in 1848 and two years later, on September 19, 1850, the first passenger train puffed into Malone. It was an occasion of great rejoicing and culminated a long effort by the community to remedy the lack of transportation means which had held back development of the area.

The decision to extend the line through Malone was destined to make this community the “hub of the area activity.” Previously, the region’s principal outlet tot eh world markets had been through Fort Covington and the St. Lawrence River and that community at one time rivaled Malone.

After the railroad was established and new venues were established for local resources, Malone experienced an unprecedented growth. Main Street was filled with markets, stores and greengrocers. Soon a quarry was discovered about a mile South of town that was filled with expensive Potsdam sandstone. With the railroad line available for shipping, the quarry was mined by it’s owner Mr. T. P. Chandler on an extensive scale and it wasn’t long before the sandstone had created a demand and reputation in all the major Eastern Cities and many of the Western States.

Two destructive fires in the village, which occurred within short intervals of each other in the fall of 1852, led the citizens to see the necessity of an organization of the village, in order to levy taxes as a means of providing against these calamities and for the construction of internal improvements. Two fire engines were purchased and the incorporation of the village was accomplished.

But it wasn’t long before war again settled upon the small village, disrupting the quiet peaceful enjoyment of it’s inhabitants. This time it would be the Civil War, and with it would come Fenians, Raids, Patriotism and local dead and wounded.

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