Watertown NY roundhouse??

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RussNelson
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Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by RussNelson » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:37 pm

I don't see a roundhouse in this location on any map, but look at this aerial photo:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=ensl ... iwloc=addr
Sure as shootin' looks like a roundhouse to me! And it's less than 1000' from the NYC (nee RW&O) line through Watertown.

I'm gonna go look at it tomorrow morning, since I'm heading through town anyway.

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Otto Vondrak
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by Otto Vondrak » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:45 pm

I'd say so. A rather substantial one at that. Let us know what you turn up.

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pumpers
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by pumpers » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:27 am

It is there on old Sanborn insurance maps, about 200 degrees of arc (a bit more than 1/2 circle), with the open side facing north towards theSacketts Harbor branch, more or less what you can make out from the aerial photo referred to above. It is labelled "New York Central RR, Pound Ho. and Repair Shop ". Maybe it is mislabelled -- should be "Round Ho." for round house? Or maybe Pound means something in NYC terminology.
It was gone on the 1958 map. JS

tree68
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by tree68 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:31 am

It was a roundhouse. The Watertown yards were located in that area at one time, ranging along parallel to Arsenal Street behind Raymour & Flannigan, etc. The area is/was known as the "sand flats".

The line to Sackets Harbor started there, too. You can follow it west for the most part, using satellite images.

The building immediately to the right of the turntable pit is the Jefferson County Jail.

I was back in there some years ago when some semblance of a structure stood - I'm not sure exactly what it was, but it was part of the overall roundhouse structure.
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RussNelson
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by RussNelson » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:23 pm

Indeed! I 'toured' the site this morning. Counted 30 bays. Estimated the diameter of the pit as 40 feet.

Marty Feldner
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by Marty Feldner » Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:08 pm

RussNelson wrote:Indeed! I 'toured' the site this morning. Counted 30 bays. Estimated the diameter of the pit as 40 feet.
A 40' table? That's barely long enough to turn a caboose! Using the scale on the Google map, it looks more like a 90' or 100' table; a MUCH more realistic number...

tree68
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by tree68 » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:20 am

Marty Feldner wrote:
RussNelson wrote:Indeed! I 'toured' the site this morning. Counted 30 bays. Estimated the diameter of the pit as 40 feet.
A 40' table? That's barely long enough to turn a caboose! Using the scale on the Google map, it looks more like a 90' or 100' table; a MUCH more realistic number...
I'm going with the 100'.

Seems like I saw a picture in the "Remembered" feature of WDT some time ago of the roundhouse in its heyday.
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BR&P
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by BR&P » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:43 am

1943 NYC book lists 5 stalls at 125 feet, 25 stalls at 100 feet. No mention of turntable length.

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RussNelson
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by RussNelson » Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:23 pm

Hey, maybe it was a caboose roundhouse ?!? I only paced off half the diameter because the other half was completely brushed over. I probably forgot to multiply that distance by two.

Photos on flickr at http://flickr.com/photos/russnelson/set ... 138338285/

I notice on this photo that when they were constructing the road around the jail, they cut off the east side of the roundhouse. Not obvious (now) where the five 125' stalls were, but I'd guess on the now-destroyed east side. They must have had to fill in pits:
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=43.97247,-75.93033&z=18&t=S
That photo has a scale at the bottom left, and the turntable sure seems to be 100'.

Oh, and if you switch that photo over to "Map" and scroll to the left a bit, you'll see that the western-most road is "Roundhouse Drive" even though it's a block away from the roundhouse. I think maybe somebody was confused.
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=43.97155,-75.93491&z=18&t=M

tree68
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by tree68 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:53 pm

Russ - If I can find the time, I'll look though my photos (unsorted - it'll take a while) and see if I can find the pictures I took a while back.
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goodnightjohnwayne
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by goodnightjohnwayne » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:33 pm

The NYC literally knocked down that old engine house, merely toppling the walls in the process, and it seems the bricks and building materials were largely left on site, at least at the time of demolition. The entire point of the exercise was merely to flatten the engine house to lower the property taxes, not to truly clear the site.

The footprint of the structure is more obvious in this satellite photo than it is on the ground. In the last couple of decades, the former NYC property has become the site of a moderately successful industrial park, and there is even a completely disused, not to mention useless, siding that was constructed only a couple of years ago with a state grant. Our taxpayer's money at work.

I don't know what will eventually become of the former engine house site, but with the prospect of jail (or should I say "Public Safety Building?") expansion, I doubt that site will remain undeveloped for too many more years. In any case, there's very little left to be preserved.

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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by goodnightjohnwayne » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:43 pm

RussNelson wrote:I don't see a roundhouse in this location on any map, but look at this aerial photo:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=ensl ... iwloc=addr
Sure as shootin' looks like a roundhouse to me! And it's less than 1000' from the NYC (nee RW&O) line through Watertown.

I'm gonna go look at it tomorrow morning, since I'm heading through town anyway.
Actually, you can trace the entire right-of-way westward to Sackets Harbor on the Google Map. There was a large oil tank farm there until a few decades ago, and during the Second World War, tank cars of gasoline moved by rail to what is currently Fort Drum.

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RussNelson
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by RussNelson » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:24 pm

goodnightjohnwayne wrote:Actually, you can trace the entire right-of-way westward to Sackets Harbor on the Google Map. There was a large oil tank farm there until a few decades ago, and during the Second World War, tank cars of gasoline moved by rail to what is currently Fort Drum.
Mmmmm, "entire" is not quite true. It's completely gone from the field to the west of Lloyd Rd. Visited it six years ago and wrote up this web page: http://russnelson.com/CWnSH/

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RussNelson
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by RussNelson » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:27 pm

goodnightjohnwayne wrote:The NYC literally knocked down that old engine house, merely toppling the walls in the process, and it seems the bricks and building materials were largely left on site, at least at the time of demolition.
Yep, if somebody wanted to mine the site for bricks, they could put their hands on many thousands of them, most of them in decent shape. Didn't find much in the way of steel; those must have been pulled out of the debris.

izzy1975
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Re: Watertown NY roundhouse??

Post by izzy1975 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:31 pm

nice discovery Russ, keep up the good work! I lived up there for several years and never even knew it existed

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