About a hundred years ago some would-be magnates had the brilliant idea of connecting Port Chester, New York, with Ridgefield, Connecticut, and points beyond via railroad through Pound Ridge. They got as far as building part of the railroad bed on the east slope of the Mill River valley, about a quarter of a mile from where I live, before bankruptcy stopped them. I don’t go there often but late yesterday afternoon my son and I decided to check it out. What remains extends only for a short distance – a narrow raised bed through the woods, cleared, mostly, except for some small trees and fallen branches. On one side of the road it’s on water company property. It’s not far into the woods but even if you know it’s there you can’t see it from the road. Another remnant is visible further north and across the road, behind an old white house. In this picture Kaare is standing on the bed and, even though the light is bad, you can sort of see how it's raised above the rest of the woodland.
In two places, streams cut down the bank toward the Mill River. The railroad builders created culverts of native stone – massive and solid and still in good shape. I didn’t measure but my guess is that the openings are about 4 feet by 4 feet. The light was fading when we were there yesterday, but here’s what one of the culverts looks like, close up and further away.
I love them because they're still in great shape after having been adandoned a century ago, and also because we can look at them with a sense of relief and wonder -- imagine what Pound Ridge would have been like if the railroad had been completed.
This is a blog about environmental issues in the New York area in general and Long Island Sound in particular. I'm the author of
"This Fine Piece of Water: An Environmental History of Long Island Sound," which came out in 2002. I wrote about the environment and other issues during almost two decades as a newspaper reporter.
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