Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway Company 1903 signed by Frank Goodyear

Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway Company 1903 signed by Frank Goodyear

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Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway Company 1903 signed by Frank Goodyear

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Beautifully engraved certificate from the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway Company issued in 1903. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of a train. This item is hand signed by the Company’s President ( Frank Goodyear ) and Secretary ( F. A. Lehr ) and is over 99 years old. Frank Henry Goodyear (1849-1907) came to Buffalo in 1872 at the age of 23. In 1887, Goodyear and his brother, Charles Waterhouse, formed the lumber company and kindred organizations that became quite prominent in the business world. The firm name became F. H. & C. W. Goodyear, and almost immediately their operations became so extensive that it was necessary for both to give their undivided attention to them. They were pioneers in the construction of standard built and equipped railroads for logging operations, penetrating the timber tracts of Pennsylvania, which had, up until that time, been considered well-nigh inaccessible to railroads. From this beginning grew the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, a line that has opened up, and given complete transportation facilities to, a section that heretofore had suffered keenly from the lack of them. Now the line became a permanent freight and passenger line, with three hundred and fifty miles of first-class standard-gauge track and roadbed, and would increase the mileage one hundred miles. The annual output of their holdings amounted to 200,000,000 feet of hemlock and nearly as much in hardwood, which was shipped over their own railroad, the Buffalo & Susquehanna. The Buffalo & Susquehanna was a regional railroad straddling the New York - Pennsylvania border. It was formed in 1885 when a Buffalo lumber a fuel dealer named Frank Goodyear bought an 80,00 acre tract of land in northern-central Pennsylvania. Frank Goodyear had retired in his 40's and purchased the land when he became bored with retirement. To extract the lumber from his new investment, he organized the Sinnemahoning Valley Railroad to run from Keating Summit on the Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railroad (later part of the Pennsylvania) to his sawmill in Austin, PA. As the lumber and tanning business expanded, Frank Goodyear was joined by his brother Charles and more lines of various names were added to the east. In 1893 the lines reached Galeton and Ansonia PA and the lines were consolidated into the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad Company. By New Years Day of 1896 the B&S ran trains the 37-miles from Galeton to Wellsville, NY. In 1898 the brothers purchased the Addison & Pennsylvania railroad running from Galeton, PA to Addison, NY. The company began expanding the opposite direction and by 1900 was operating into Sinnemahoning, PA where it connected to the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad (later part of the Pennsylvania system). South of Galeton the line ran through a series of switchbacks to climb the mountains. These switchbacks, later abandoned, limited the trains to 15 cars. The Goodyear lumber and coal empire flourished and the railroad ran spurs and branch lines up almost every creek and valley in the area. Numerous related companies were formed, including the Goodyear Lumber Company and Lackawanna Lumber Company which by 1902 reported more than 140 miles of spurs. As coal and lumber supplies were exhausted in one area the track was pulled up and laid in another. To get their coal and lumber to market, the Goodyears built the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railway north from Wellsville to Buffalo. This line was completed in 1906 and linked the coal and timber lands to the ships of the Buffalo & Susquehanna Steamship Company in Buffalo. At it's height, the railroad ran 250 miles from Buffalo to Sagamore, PA and had more than 400 miles of track. Logging railroads using geared locomotives hauled lumber to the Goodyear mills which cut it and shipped it out over the B&S. Coal and coke from the south end of the system generated considerable revenue, as did the operation of numerous tanneries along the line, including the one at Costello, NY which was reported at the time to be the largest in the world. Unfortunately, the boom turned quickly to a bust and the Goodyear family and the B&S had a sudden reversal of fortune. Frank Goodyear died in 1907 precipitating a crisis. Shortly after the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railway (Buffalo to Wellsville) leased the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad (the rest of the system) and operated the whole as the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railway. The company was financially troubled and in 1910 H. I. Miller, who had been president of another Goodyear family railroad, the New Orleans Great Northern, was appointed receiver for both the railway and railroad. In 1913 the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad Corporation was formed. Only eight years after being built, New York Supreme Court Justice, and formed law partner of Charles Goodyear, H. P. Bissel ruled that the Buffalo to Wellsville line should be torn up for lack of traffic. All the rail, bridges and other steel were sold to the French in 1916 for a substantial sum due to the demand for steel created by WWI. H. I. Miller continued to operate the rest of the line as chairman of the board until 1932 when it was purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. In July 1942 a flood washed out the track south of Galeton leaving the rest of the former B&S separated from the B&O. In 1954 the B&O merged the B&S with two smaller railroads it had leased since the turn of the century. In 1956 the Wellsville - Addison - Galeton section was sold to Murray Salzberg who operated it as the Wellsville, Addison & Galeton Railroad until the WAG's demise in 1979.

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