O&W Observer 1994 May-August Summer Homes on the NYO&W Railway 1881 reprint
O&W Observer 1994 May-August Summer Homes on the NYO&W Railway 1881 reprint
O&W Observer 1994 May-August Summer Homes on the NYO&W Railway 1881 reprint
O&W Observer 1994 May-August Summer Homes on the NYO&W Railway 1881 reprint
O&W Observer 1994 May-August Summer Homes on the NYO&W Railway 1881 reprint
O&W Observer 1994 May-August Summer Homes on the NYO&W Railway 1881 reprint

O&W Observer 1994 May-August Summer Homes on the NYO&W Railway 1881 reprint

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O&W Observer 1994 May-August Summer Homes on the NYO&W Railway 1881 reprint
 
Summer Homes on the New York Ontario & Western Railway O&W Observer 1881  reprinted in 1994  Approx 70 pages.  Soft Cover
The second of our "Summer Homes" reproductions was also the second one published by the fledgling New York, Ontario & Western Railway.
When this guide was issued in 1881, the former New York & Oswego Midland had been the NYO&W for less than two years. The all-O&W rail route from Weehawken to Middletown via Cornwall was still two years away, and several upstate branches were not yet built.
This edition is a great improvement from the earlier Midland publications. Illustrations have been included, town descriptions expanded, and coverage extended beyond Norwich all the way to Oswego (and even farther). But the purpose of this guide was the same as the first Midland issue in 1878 and the last O&W one in 1949: to promote summer passenger travel on the railroad.
The glowing prose convinced thousands of city dwellers to vacation in the Catskills and Shawangunks. But not everything was exactly as advertised. Boarding house operators could be listed in the guide simply by applying through the nearest O&W station agent, whose job was to collect the necessary fee and not to pass judgment on the descriptions of the properties. Some were a bit farfetched. One establishment offered "rowing in a stream 30 feet from the door." It is doubtful that this sport was condoned by the owners of the "stream," the still very active D&H Canal. And despite the O&W's claims, the mosquitoes and ragweed seemed to enjoy the climate.
Regardless, the vacationers flocked to the mountains every year, and did so via the O&W until improved highways and competitive bus service came along. Their descendants now endure bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Route 17 "Quickway" which was built largely on the O&W right-of-way.
But this is supposed to be 1881, so let's imagine we're traveling by the O&W en route to a relaxing vacation, in an era when the train was the only way to go.
We thank O&W Society member William Scott for donating this rare publication, and Society trustee Jim Thorn for his professional camera work. In the interest of accuracy, we have faithfully reproduced even the blank pages on the backs of the illustrations!

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