Another Railroad Wedding! Utica, that wicked old Mormon, takes
unto herself Miss Richfield Springs. The ceremony occurs on Monday May
30th, next. Squire Iron Horse cements the union. Lewis Lawrence and
Morgan Bryan are groomsmen. No cards but Time cards.
At last Richfield Springs and Utica are united. The last rail is laid.
The last spike has found its place. The last tie is in position. On
Monday next the promises of years will be redeemed. It will be a day
never to be forgotten by the people of Richfield Springs. And we are
sure its importance will not be overestimated by the citizens of Utica.
All aboard for Richfield Springs! That's what you'll hear at the
Central Depot on Monday next. Running along by the Sauquoit creek you
glide off on to the branch track at Cassville, and then shoot south to
Bridgewater. The stations from this point of the route are West
Winfield, East Winfield, Cedarville, Miller's Mills, Youngs, South
Columbia and Richfield.
Stepping from the cars you have no time to spend in admiration of
the surrounding scenery. Right before you is the conveyance of the
veteran A.A. Goodale. You will require just a small extract of horse
power to reach the Springs, for the village lies over the hill, and
these horses will save some time and more climb. The first impressions
of the village gathered from the summit of this hill are only ordinary.
If the famous little settlement has extraordinary attractions they are
hidden beneath the green mask of foliage. Descending we find that the
leafy disguise is gradually penetrated. Handsome stores, large houses
and tidy grounds, buildings stamped with modern impress, commodious
hotels and shady walks reveal themselves as you jaunt on through Main
Richfield Springs has a population of about 1,200 souls. During the
past ten years it has grown more rapidly in favor than any other sulphur
watering place in the North. Only five years ago 20 out of 15 went to
Sharon to avoid the longer stage jaunt to Richfield. Sharon is now the
choice of few. The water there is not so powerful as a medicinal drink,
while its offensive odor increases from year to year. Concerning the
properties of the principal spring at Richfield we may properly print
prof. Reid's Analysis of the water.
Bi-carbonate magnesia per gallon, 20 grains
Bi-carbonate lime " 10 "
Chloride sodium and magnesia " 15 "
Sulphate magnesia " 30 "
Hydro sulphate magnesia and lime " 2 "
Sulphate of lime " 20 "
Solid matter " 152.5
Sulphurated hydrogen gas " 20.6 inches
This water has a magical effect on some. The rheumatics drink it
as a substitute for crutches. The afflicted ones come limping and go
away feeling like "the man on the flying trapeze." Old Dr. Manley (the
"Sum Lincoln" of Richfield Springs) delights to tell a story about
sawing up a half a cord of discarded crutches only last season. The
venerable Doctor is now 80 years of age. His memory is extremely good.
He cast his first vote along with Greenman, Barnard and Davies, in 1819.
Richfield Springs is about 1,500 feet above the level of the sea. The
air may well called pure and invigorating. Combine he effect of the
water with reasonable exercise in this beautiful latitude, and the
result will, in most cases, be truly gratifying. the baths ae highly
recommended. We are glad to notice that the bathing accommodations here
are decidedly superior to those at Sharon Springs. There the invalid
recommended to the baths is dragged a quarter mile down a steep hill.
Here the bath houses adjoin the principal hotels. The "American" has a
spring tubed in the basement. The proprietors of the "Spring House"
furnish capital accommodations for bathers, keeping the rooms tidy and
If the census man happens to strike Richfield Springs some time next
August, he can count around 3,000. Everything in the place carries
double during the summer months. Visitors flock in from Southern,
Eastern and Northern cities. For nearly four months this beautiful
little village is gay. Here you will find the latest fashionable freaks
in dress, word and deed. Here you will find the quiet and intelligent
ladies and gentlemen of leisure. People of the latter class are in the
majority here. With comfortable incomes and ability to gratify their
longings for country life, they select Richfield and her surrounding
delights for their rural vacation day.
For it must not be supposed that the boundary line of the village shuts
in more than one half the enjoyment to be had in this section. J.
Fenimore Cooper has immortalized Otsego Lake. to the latter day tourist,
it is the most enchanting body of water in New York State. It is but six
miles distant from Richfield - just an easy drive. This summer a
steamer will run up to the head of the Lake, making a charming little
ten mile trip, a temptation perfectly irresistible to excursion lovers.
Otsego Lake is ten miles in length and two miles wide. For bold,
striking scenery Lake George may rival it. But Otsego is more
accessible, more civilized - and about 150 miles nearer Richfield
Springs. the country abounds in Lakes. The "Twin Lakes" are only three
miles distant. Allen's Lake lies away not quite so far. Schuyler Lake
is reached in less than half an hour. An easy drive takes you to Summit
lake. From this last named reservoir the water runs both north and
south, discharging down both slopes. One stream runs to Fort Plain,
emptying into the Mohawk. the other empties into Otsego Lake - the
head waters of the Susquehanna river. All of these lakes have distinct
beauties and are separately calculated to interest and entertain. We
could write columns in their praises. "Leatherstocking Cave" is pointed
out to every tourist, and it is but one of a thousand romantic spots
made memorable by the imagination of the novelist and the realities of
Back to the Hotels.
However, we can't wander long in this region without a landlord. A
great many who come to Richfield report to Gen. W.P. Johnson, the
proprietor of the "American." This is the largest hotel in the place.
Viewed from the front exterior, it reminds the traveler of Leland's old
Union Hall at Saratoga. An acquaintance with the interior admirably
sustains the impressions formed outside. Gen. Johnson is a self-made man
of large wealth and a Democratic corner-stone in Otsego county. Years
ago he purchased land in this neighborhood for $20 per acre. Some of
this same land has since sold for $4,000 an acre. Altogether he owns
over 2,000 acres. During the past winter he has added to the American a
large wing comprising 70 rooms, and the hotel entire will now
accommodate 500 to 600 guests. Mrs. Johnson, the General's wife,
personally superintends the kitchen, laundry, dining-room work, &c. She
is a pleasant and valuable hostess.
The Spring House.
Morgan Bryan and N.K. Ransom are the owners and managers of the "Spring
House," the pleasant hotel with grounds opposite the "American." Mr.
Bryan is somewhat generally known among the railroad men of this
section. He was a Director in the Board of which Lewis Lawrence was
President, and has been one of the foremost in capturing and training
the Iron Horse for a daily performance to and from Richfield Springs.
Messrs. Bryan & Ransom are at the head of a handsome hotel. They possess
undoubted ability to entertain and the proprietorship of the principal
sulphur springs enables them to offer special inducements.
Those who have visited Richfield before will, this summer, fail to
recognize the Canadargo House. The proprietor has improved, modernized
and enlarged the establishment, and with a large wing, Mansard roof, and
long and shady piazzas, the house presents an elegant exterior. The
owner is Mr. Frederick Stanton, a man of travel and observation, who has
figured very successfully in the hotel business. the location of the
Canadarago House is within two minutes' walk of the renowned sulphur
spring within twenty rods of the four principal bathing houses.
Mr. A. Barrus, the proprietor of the "National," has excellent
facilities for the accommodation of those visitors in search of comfort
and quiet. His hotel is not only one of the largest, but it is well
planned and finely adapted to the requirements of the general public.
We not surprised to hear that it is crowded every year. Indeed, so are
they all. This season, however, what with the additions, and
twenty-eight private houses to receive boarders, the supply ought to
equal the demand. Wait and see.
Mr. Wm. E. Darrow is proprietor. He has a well kept larder, and is
noted for furnishing capital gam suppers. No better restaurant will be
found in a long day's journey.
Here the proprietor is Mr. F. Stanton. At this watering place, as in
all others, ladies and gentlemen take to bowling for amusement and
exercise. The accommodations are found at Stanton Hall. The second story
contains seven billiard tables.
With crowded hotels and overflowing boarding-houses the summer season
at Richfield is a live period. It gives to the residents a metropolitan
flavor which remains with them the year round. It gives to the village
its newspaper, the Mercury, conducted by R.W. Ackerman. This is a well
edited and comely issue, which makes its weekly appearance from a well
arranged office, and is every way creditable to its young editor. It is
strictly non-partisan and hence a general favorite.
The President of the village is Isaac Ford, Esq. Prominent among the
citizens are James L. Davenport, Senator Elwood, Morgan Bryan, N.D.
Jewell, A. Barrus, J.R. Young and E.A. Hinds. The last named is the
Postmaster. He is related to the well known hop buyer, Mr. Joseph R.
Hinds. On Thursday last, Mr. James Young, the Superintendent of the
Cherry Valley branch of the Albany & Susquehanna Railroad, visited
Richfield, and was entertained by the leading railroad spirits of that
place. Our reporter accompanied the party to the site for the new depot,
and learned much that was interesting concerning the present and
prospective railroad advantages hereabouts. A proposition is under
consideration to build a line that shall connect with the road at Cherry
Valley. It seems that the country about Richfield forms a sort of
triangular center for three roads. Utica is the first to enter the
triangular boundary, and the inlet and outlet afforded is timely.
Considerable work yet remains to be performed by.
The Stage Coach.
Four separate lines will run during the summer, connecting with Cherry
Valley, Herkimer, Mohawk, Little Falls and Cooperstown. Each line is
managed by Mr. A.A. Goodale. Over ten years ago this gentleman drove
into Richfield and there established stagecoach headquarters. Since that
time he has had sole conduct of the heavy staging traffic. He is well a
well informed and obliging gentleman. He has had stage coach relations
with Theodore S. Faxton and the late John Butterfield.
The season at Richfield will open about the 10th of June. the hotel men
are now completing preparations for the reception and care of the coming
crowds. Messrs. Davenport and Jewell have spent several thousand dollars
in beautifying their respective houses. Both receive private boarders.
Did time permit, our installment of Richfield discourse would be
continued into one of Dr. Manuel's characteristic narrations. The visit
was made in anticipating of the Railroad opening Monday, and having
performed a hasty ceremony of introduction, we urge our citizens to
cultivate the neighborly acquaintances sketched in the foregoing. The
distance is but about thirty miles. The ride is through a handsome,
fertile country. On and after Monday next trains will run as follows"
Leave Richfield Springs at 6 A.M., arriving at Utica at 8:40 A.M.
Leave Utica at 10:10 A.M. , arriving at Richfield Springs at 1:05
Leave Richfield Springs at 1:45 P.M., arrive at Utica at 3:45 P.M.
Leave Utica at 4:50 P.M., arriving at Richfield Springs at 7:10 P.M.
This running arrangement is not calculated to be permanent. Manager
Lawrence designs to make better time than that calculated above. Of
course he will connect with the fast trains both east and west.