By Peter Huntoon
Lee Lofthus was surprised and delighted to win this gorgeous note in the 2018 Heritage FUN sale from a small unincorporated hamlet within Roxbury Township on the west edge of the Catskill Mountains in New York state.
Grand Gorge is situated in a wide gentle valley through which Bear Kill flows southward toward its junction with the East Branch of the Delaware River. The town was named for the Grand Gorge Rail Station, which in turn was named for a 40-foot or so deep railroad cut through a nearby hill along what became the Ulster & Delaware Railroad.
The railroad advertised itself as “The only all-rail route to the Catskill Mountains.”
Originating as the Rondout and Oswego Railroad, the railroad reached Grand Gorge in 1872. At that time, steamboat passengers on the Hudson River from New York City could disembark at the port at Rondout, which is now part of Kingston, where they transferred to the railroad.
Grand Gorge soon became one of the all-season recreational destinations along the line. The First National Bank opened on May 1, 1905, with a minimal circulation of $6,250 that grew to $50,000 by the close of the note-issuing era in 1935.
Currently, the town has a population of about 700, and the railroad is now gone.
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