On Saturday, March 31, 2007, over 50 people gathered at the M&NJ Depot at 140 East Main Street Middletown to remember that day, 50 years ago March 29, 1957 when the O&W officially ceased operations. Many present were not alive at the time but we were fortunate enough to have several former O&W employees in attendance, many who still live only a few blocks away in Middletown and one employee from South Fallsburgh.
The M&NJ Railway were kind enough to let us use the station on this fine afternoon and GM Tom Winant kicked off the memorial by welcoming everyone, followed by a inspiring prayer from Rev. Hulseapple, whose Father worked for the O&W. Paul Lounsbury closed the tribute with his outstanding "Catskill Mountain trilogy" on acoustic guitar.
The M&NJ's 44 tonner was taken out of the enginehouse and we were able to see some live movement as they brought the caboose up to the station. We then were treated to a "Mountaineer" cake that event creator and organizer Bob McCue had specially made for this day.
Presented at the 50th anniversary program of the closing of the O&W Railroad
held at M&NJ Railroad Station Middletown, NY
by Rev. Daniel Hulseapple
Almighty and Everlasting God, by whose grace and mercy all things were made, by whom mankind was created and made to live through the gift of the breath of life: before you, O God of All, we come with humble hearts and souls. Through the ages, you have endowed your creation with skills and understanding which have enabled the life which first you bestowed to endure and to continue. By your mercy, and with your blessing, you have imparted to us ever increasing knowledge so that we could use the ordering of your universe to make our dwelling time upon this earth a time in which to rejoice and be thankful.
This place in which we gather is such a place from a time not so far back in our past, a time when the power of steam was harnessed to produce the energy of mighty machines whose purpose was to make our lives easier and more productive. We gather here, to remember those from the past, who lives were dedicated to this industry of railroading. As pioneers, they sometimes gave their lives in the development of trails and paths into roadways for these mighty giants, which by your blessing, were created by humans hands. We are here to thank you for the ingenuity of the skills of the craftsmen who built these wonders; we are here to thank you for those who had the ability to drive these marvels, enabling their power to be used for the good of all; we are here to thank you for those whose talents kept these “iron horses” in good repair.
But we remember not only those of the past, but also those who yet today labor in this field, continuing to create and maintain these systems for the movement of goods and peoples from place to place. Only through their unfaltering pursuits of service for others do we share in the pleasure of using these great conveyors of products and people. Grant to those who have departed this physical world their rewards for faithfulness to you through their talents; keep faithful those who now strive to continue in service with the same fervor as those men and women from days of old; and bless all those who are yet to be, who, in their own time and place, will strive to keep alive that spirit of service to others in providing and maintaining the means of convenient travel along the rails of life.
Here, O God, in this place, and in this time, we raise up our memories of friends and family who have serve you well, and thank you for the opportunity in sharing life with them. And when that day comes for each of us to stand in your presence beyond this earthly life, may we receive a kindred welcome, and a fond remembrance, by those we leave behind.
To you O God, Creator and Sustainer of all life, be the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.