Where on earth is Trionda, NY?
Earlier this year, Kevin began the arduous task of delving into one of our newest collections, the Richard M. Bloomer Glass Plate Negative Collection. Thousands of early Twentieth century portraits are encased within 24 boxes. With only 1,000 images scanned and cataloged thus far, we are moving forward with research in the hopes of having an exhibition ready in early 2022. The simplest place to start is the names included on (most of) the negative sleeves. One of the portraits is of Gladys Donahue. Based on newspapers.com, Ancestry, and our collection of city directories, I think I have figured out who she is, but I will save that for the exhibit. What I want to write about is a little known hamlet called Trionda.
Never heard of it? Me either. Neither has my mother, and we both grew up about a mile away from Trionda.
All throughout 1919 and 1920 there are references in the "Personals" column of the Post-Star of Gladys Donahue visiting relatives in "Trianda", "Trinoda", and "Trionda". The correct spelling, I finally figured out, was the latter, after countless Google searches insisting I must mean Trinidad and Tobago.
Finally with the correct spelling of Trionda (which I am pronouncing "try-UN-duh"), I was able to find a few more mentions in the Post-Star. Joe Cutshall-King, former Washington County Historian, had not heard of the hamlet either, but he did find this page listing more people visiting Trionda from the Schuylerville Standard listed below...
-Mr. and Mrs. Luther Law and son were visitors in Rutland , Vt., on
-Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Olson and children visited relatives at Argyle on
-Mrs. Edward Brown visited Mrs. James Hickey at Ballston Spa over the
-Mr. and Mrs. William Boyce and children were guests of relatives in
-Samuel and Willliam French and mother spent the weekend visiting
relatives in Vermont
-The Rev. and Mrs. Kinney of Schuylerville visited Mr. and Mrs. Edward
Johnson last week
-Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Durkee and children of Glens Falls visited at the
home of Edward Brown Sunday
-Mr. and Mrs. George Sherman entertained the following guests Sunday
Mr.and Mrs. Clarence Ketchum, Lawrence, Alice, Agnes, and Catherine
Ketchum of Whitehall, Mr. and Mrs. Loren Schemerhorn and daughter, of
Saratoga Springs, and Emerson Cowles of Rock Hill
However, these personal visits mentioned in the local newspapers couldn't tell me "where" Trionda was. Then I found a brief article about a flood of the Battenkill in March 1905 which gave me some more search terms. I could now assume it was along the Battenkill in Washington County (confirmed a gazetteer website called Roadside Thoughts) and there was a paper mill and dam nearby.
More searching led to some rather dry government publications about paper mill output and tariff hearings. As well as annual meetings being held in Trionda, NY in the January 1907 PAPER TRADE JOURNAL volume 29 in which the Blandy Paper Company and the American Wood Board Company elected the same men officers in both companies, but in different positions (see below).
The Blandy Paper Company, of Greenwich, N. Y., held its annual meeting at Trionda, N. Y., last week, and elected the following officers: President, A. W. Hitchcock; vice president, John A. Dix; secretary, D. C. Trondsen; treasurer, I. C. Blandy. a
The American Wood Board Company, of Schuylerville, N. Y., held its annual meeting at Trionda, N. Y., at which the following officers were elected: President, I. C. Blandy; vice president, D. C. Trondsen ;- secretary, A. W. Hitchcock; treasurer, John A. Dix.
The final piece of the puzzle came when I discovered an archived railroad photography website in which the photographer and writer of the September 2005 post states that Trionda is, in fact, Clark's Mills, a hamlet in the Town of Greenwich!
In what was no more than a two-day getaway from pulling pins on my nocturnal assignment back in Pennsylvania, I went back home to visit my folks in the Empire State. The summer weather here was a bit cooler than dealing with the urban humidity back home, so I sucked it up and took a country drive through my teenage stomping grounds. This scenic, rural agricultural area of New York is half-home to the Batten Kill River, one of the most known trout streams in the Northeast. No, a fishing rod wasn't included in today's excursion, but a pair of cameras were. To rail enthusiasts, and short haul aficionados alike, this area is home to the valley's namesake rail carrier, The Batten Kill Railroad.
It's the first day of June 2005, and knowing well as a rule-of-thumb, the Batten Kill generally operates on a Wednesday to serve local customers. In driving south, as said rule would have it, this was a day I'd find their train tied down just to the south of Cambridge, New York. Not hearing a single peep on the radio all morning, I became suspect, but a glare down their bucolic mainline eased those suspicions in viewing the bright headlight of today's power. To my surprise I'd catch their longest train of the year at the time, a picturesque 15 cars.
From where I stood, I'd backtrack north in pursuit of the slow moving manifest, hustling along at a brisk ten miles-per-hour in charge of Alco RS3 #605, a Lehigh & Hudson River veteran still plying the rails. The Schenectady-built locomotive was about as close to home as any operating engine in the country. They charged along, with little reduction in their pace, nary even a lunch break. Upon arrival at Greenwich Junction, the focal point of Batten Kill operations, the crew switched out their train. General Manager, and 20-year Batten Kill veteran, William Tabor assisted the move. Within the hour, their consist was broken down to three-quarters of what they arrived with, and they proceeded west along the old Greenwich & Johnsonville thereafter.
Long time the main attraction for the Batten Kill's existence; their first stop would be the old Agway (now Cargill) elevator about a mile west of "the Junction". First thing first, the conductor spotted a quartet of log racks for a fairly new consignee for the Batten Kill. All attention then turned to Cargill, who had the BKRR Difco side-dump car on their lead, which made for some interesting in & out switching. One car in, two cars out...two in, three out...until they whittled their train down to the overflow. Then, after grabbing all but one car from the main, they spotted four cars in the mill, and left the balance outside (with the Difco, of course).
Now there's an interesting story behind the remaining car. It's a single boxcar destined for the Hollingsworth & Vose paper mill in Center Falls, one of only two consignees west of the Cargill plant. This isn't likely a location you'll find on the Rand McNally, and the 15-car freight we saw earlier is far from likely out on this end of the old G&J. Center Falls is just a locality along the shores of the Batten Kill River. Interesting enough, H&V is also the "other" consignee, with another paper mill at the far end of in-service trackage along the shores of the Batten Kill River in Trionda (Clarks Mills), NY. This single car, however, will go to the Center Falls "dock", and it's contents transported across the river in a truck to the mill. One load in, and one empty pulled, a simple switch to end the crew's day before heading back to Greenwich.
Likewise, the end to my day, a short drive around Washington County that turned into a six-hour affair with the boys of the Batten Kill Railroad. I paced them back into Greenwich, only 4 miles to the west. The overcast & summer haze was rolling in, and dinner was calling. I bid the crew adieu and headed north for the twenty-seven miles back to my parent's home.
So, thank you Eric Augatis for helping me discover something new about my hometown of Greenwich, NY!
And stay tuned for the photograph exhibition based on the Bloomer Collection in early 2022.
To see Kevin's previous posts about the Bloomer collection, click the links below.
Tisha Dolton is Librarian/Historian at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Her areas of interest are suffrage music, suffragists of Warren and Washington Counties, local women and minority populations, and embroidery.
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