History of the Garrison Train Station / Depot Theatre
Built in 1892-1893 by William H. LaDue, contractor and builder of Cold Spring, theGarrison Station was the dominant building in "Depot Square." Mr. LaDue had built the home of Mr. James Toucey, Superintendent of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, as well as many other homes in the vicinity. He also built the depots at Cold Spring, Croton, Bronxville, and Woodlawn. How did Garrison merit such an imposing edifice? The answer is that in this community, in addition to Mr. Toucey, lived a number of men who were in high positions in railroading. Samuel Sloan was a former president of the Hudson River Railroad and was at the time president of the Delaware and Lackawana, Stuyvesant Fish was president of the Illinois Railroads. Other residents had strong business connections with railroading, and the station served West Point as well.
The stationmasters at Garrison were able, courteous gentlemen. Among them were William Woods, William Mckinley, Fred Lawson, Leonard Bluto and the last to serve, George W. Picchiotin. They were most cooperative in planning a trip by rail and produced the yard long composite tickets needed for trips of any distance cheerfully and promptly. Travel agents were not needed in those days. They knew their rate books and could give information as to the cost of shipping this or that by express or freight with ease and dispatch.
The waiting room, a half oval in shape with a high ceiling, is commodious and cheerful with windows on all but the north end of the room. Through them a fine view of the Hudson River can be seen, the boats sailing on it, the gulls and even eagles flying above it. The circular steam radiator welcomed many a commuter who had driven to the station in an unheated conveyance. The ticket office is large and cheerful too because of its' large bay window which gives a clear view up and down the track. At the north end of the building was the baggage and express room. Scales stood on the platform north of the bay window of the ticket office and along side the platform were two or three baggage trucks and the mail cart. Alongside the track, just beyond the shed, was the pole with the arm and hook to snare the mailbags from the passing mail trains.1
In recent history, the station served as a theatre for the "Hand To Mouth Players." November 9, 1996 was the beginning of its new life as "The Philipstown Depot Theatre", a community performing arts center for theatre, children's programs, poetry readings, chamber music, cabaret, film, and many other events which draw on the diverse talents and interests of this corner of the Hudson Valley.
1Excerpted from "Garrison Landing" by Jean Saunders, published in 1996 by the author.