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Erie Railroad comes through Callicoon
Callicoon Depot, as it was first known, did not exist until the building of the Erie, America's first long line railroad. During construction of the Erie's Delaware Division, completed in 1848, the settlement served as one of the staging areas and was formally named in recognition of its railroad depot.

> First Settlers

> Lumber Industry

> Erie Railroad

> Vacation Destination

The Erie Railroad Company was incorporated on the 24th of April 1832. Active work began in 1836 but with rugged hills, mountain barriers, spanning rivers and deep ravines with bridges and viaducts, political opponents, the financial crisis of 1836 and a disaterous fire in New York City that bankrupt many of the backers held up the project. By 1842 the company was deeply in debt. With the aid of New York State the work continued. The first pick was struck into the ground in Callicoon on the 14th of March 1847. In December of 1848 the first engine was driven through Callicoon. Finally, in May of 1851  the Erie officially opened for business. To celebrate the company ran an excursion train carrying such notables as President Fillmore, Daniel Webster and local State Senator James Clark Curtis. The train did not stop as scheduled but slowed through town for the townspeople. Local businessman, Peter Traynor seized the banner that had been prepared for this event and handed it to the brakeman on the rear platform as it passed. The banner read: The Iron Horse from the Hudson is Welcome to Drink of the Waters of the Callicoon". 

In 1847 there was only one house in Callicoon Depot. Thousands of laborers immigrated from Ireland and Italy to help lay the tracks. Many stayed and established homes and businesses. Callicoon sprang into prominence, house after house was built and it soon developed into the most important business station between Port Jervis and Susquehanna.

In 1847 surveyor Solomon Royce printed hand bills and circulars in the German language praising the assets of northwestern Sullivan County. Royce developed  a lucrative real estate business. More than 250 German families settled in the Towns of Cochecton, Callicoon and Fremont. These people proved to be the real backbone and living spirit of the whole area that they had settled. With only the use of manual tools, they cleared farm land from vast forests and began the rich heritage of farming in the local community. Early Beechwoods settlers were: Jacob Kaufman, Christian Kautz, Josiah Deuner, Friedrich Allgeier, Jacob Schumacher, Charles Fischer, Curtis Layton, John Bauernfeind, John Marsh, and Christian Weintz.

Callicoon grew into a busy and prosperous community, with the railroad station as the center of the community. At one time, it boasted five hotels, as well as a harness maker, livery stables, a dry goods store, two grocery stores, a milliner, a large sawmill, a newspaper, a pharmacy, a jewelry store, and at least two saloons. One of the latter had a special "ladies entrance." Another was the site of a notorious axe murder.

Following a great blizzard in 1888, on February 28, 1888 a massive fire destroyed most of Main Street Callicoon. Nearly all those businesses affected, rebuilt in a larger and more substantive manner.

On the 1st of March 1869 the Town of Cochecton was divided and the western portion was re-named the Town of Delaware which now encompasses the hamlet of Callicoon. In 1906, the U.S. Postal Service dropped the "Depot" from its name and it became simply Callicoon.

This website was assisted by a grant made from the Upper Delaware Council, Narrowsburg, New York.

History of the Delaware River hamlet of Callicoon. Located in the Town of Delaware, Sullivan County, New York.

Town of Delaware Historian
PO Box 129
Hortonville, NY 12745