Sacandaga Station - The FJ&G Railroad

The Decline
One can point to several causes for the gradual decline of the FJ&G system. One unique cause was the flooding of the Sacandaga River valley in 1930. Although the railroad eventually received substantial compensation for the the loss of both the Northville line and a large part of the Sacandaga Park resort, it never fully recovered. Other reasons, such as the high cost of operation, rapid changes in rail transport technology leading to an endless need for capital investment for new rolling stock and competition from cars and bus systems, were more universal. The first lean days of the FJ&G occurred in the early 30's, coincident with the crash of the stock market. Decreased revenues and pressure from minority stockholders to collect interest on its bonds forced management to appeal to the courts for permission to reorganize. On April 20, 1933 federal judge Bryant appointed J Ledlie Hees, president of the railroad since 1897, as trustee. Ownership of the reorganized company was returned to the stockholders in 1944 with Judson Zimmer as president of the reorganized railroad. The company operated mostly as a freight line till it was taken over by the D&O railroad in 1974. Freight business declined due to a general reduction in commerce and manufacturing in Fulton & Montgomery Counties. The FJ&G subsidiary was dissolved and the tracks abandoned in 1984. The beautiful Gloversville main office and station burned down in 1969. A historical marker was placed at the site. An initiative to create a permanent FJ&G railroad museum in a box car fell apart in 2002.


Sacandaga Park
A significant part of the cottage community, the Midway, Sport Island and other assets were lost when the lake was flooded in 1930. Although this was known well in advance, the longterm impact of the flooding was probably magnified by the general economic malaise of those times . Bus service, using the railroad station in the Park as one of its stops, quickly replaced the trains but the service was never profitable. Eventually, all the services to cottage owners - water& sewer, electric, trash/leaf collection - were either privatized or taken over by the Town of Northampton. Cottages were sold off in badges starting in 1938. There were many "loose ends". For instance, the conveyance of the right to use the "sandy beach" was vague enough to provide years of subsequent litigation with a series of Beach Club owners. Various easements and deed restrictions such as public access to the beach through the RT152 tunnel, the right to erect a fence, access to various pedestrian walking trails as well as a multitude of cottage maintenance obligations, either faded away or continue to be challenged to this day. All remaining FJ&G assets in the Park were sold in 1952 to a Florida investment group called Adirondack Properties. The 750 acre property sale included: the Adirondack Inn, the Golf Course & Club, Heeswijck, the Rustic Theatre, the Beach Club, the Dance Hall, the Park Station, a dozen cottages, miscellaneous buildings and the water&sewer plants. A year later (1953), the same assets were sold again, this time to the DeLia brothers. They gradually disposed of all assets including the cottages. The Rustic Theatre continued to have summer performances till it burned down in 1955. Its successor - the Community Theatre - had a short-lived existence. Some of the railroad assets such as the Circle road, Roosevelt Terrace and parts of the Railroad right-of-way were never sold; their legal status complicates life for adjoining cottage owners till this day. The beautiful Heeswijck mansion burned in 1964 after several years of use as an actors residence for the Community Theatre and one year as a restaurant. The Adirondack Inn went through multiple rumors of renovation before it was destroyed in a spectacular fire in 1975. Both Heeswijck and the Adirondack Inn were owned by John Ryan at the time of the fires. The Inn Annex is now an apartment building. Most of the remaining DeLia holdings - the Park Station and about 10 surrounding acres including Park Avenue were sold to J&T partners in 1985. Their efforts to transform the area into a resort were stymied by both HRBRD interference with the parcel's lake frontage and difficult economic times. The Golf Course continues to be a wonderful asset to the area and a reminder of the heydays of the Park. The Dancing Pavilion, once a major attraction for the entire Park, now sits neglected on the (recently) destroyed picnic grove parcel directly north of the Circle. Nevertheless, the Park has managed to preserve some of its character and will re-invent itself in the years to come. A Sacandaga Park Historic District is under consideration as part of the recently adopted Town of Northampton Historic Landmarks Ordinance.

" The grounds of Sacandaga Park are beautifully laid out, and it is discoverable at a glance that money has been lavishly expended in landscape ornamentation"

sacandaga station