Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Old Turnpike

Ontario Repository, Canandaigua
July 6, 1813

   The Turnpike. - The bad state of the Seneca Turnpike road, has become a very serious evil, and a subject of very general complaint. Many parts of it are dangerous to pass with carriages, especially between this village and Geneva. The bridges and causeway at the foot of our lake are unsafe even for a horse to pass. The Directors ought to keep their road in repair, or stop taking toll. So much are the rights of the public disregarded by them, that the subject was agitated by the Grand Jury of this county, the week before last; and the case would have been presented but for a circumstance which defeated the intention of that body.


(From: Syracuse Standard, August 26, 1852)
                           The Old Turnpike
We hear no more of the clanging hoof,
  And the stage-coach rattling by;
For the Steam King rules the traveled world,
  And the old Pike's left to die.

The grass grows over the flinty path,
  And the stealthy daisies steal
Where once the stage-horse, day by day
  Lifted his iron heel.

No more the weary stager dreads
  The toil of the coming morn;
No more the bustling landlord runs
  At the sound of the echoing horn;
For the dust lies still upon the road,
  And the bright-eyed children play
Where once the clattering hoof and wheel
  Rattled along the way.

No more we hear the cracking whip,
  Or the strong wheel's rumbling sound;
But ha! the water drives us on,
  And an iron horse is found!
The coach stands rusting in the yard,
  And the horse has sought the plow;
We have spanned the world with an iron rail
  And the Steam King rules us now!

The old turnpike is a pike no more,
  Wide open stands the gate;
We have made us a road for our horse to stride,
   When we ride at a flying rate;
We have filled the valleys, and leveled the hills,
  And tunneled the mountain side; 
And round the rough crag's dizzy verge.
  Fearlessly now we stride.

On-on-on, with a haughty front!
  A puff, a shriek, and a bound;
While the tardy echoes wake too late,
  To babble back the sound;
And the old pike road is left alone,
   And the stagers seek the plow;
We have circled the earth with an iron rail,
   And the Steam King rules us now!

Onondaga Register, Syracuse, May 7, 1823

   The Seneca Turnpike Road Company declared on the 20th inst. a dividend of one dollar on a share, for the last six months, the usual semi-annual dividend; and also at the same time, a surplus dividend of one dollar on each share of said stock. Previous to the completion of the middle section of the Erie Canal, the proprietors of the road apprehended a great diminuation in the value of their stock, by the effect the canal would have upon this road - which runs its whole length, 112 miles, parallel to the canal. 
   The experiment has proved to be very beneficial to the interest of the Road Company. The heavy teams with six to eight horses are now mostly removed from the road, in consequence of the reduced price of transportation, and the light travel increased by the natural increase of business, produced by the facility of intercourse with New York. The repairs of the road are much lessened by the absence of the heavily loaded wagons.

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