The nice folks over at the American Legion have been going through a remodel and I see that the grand opening is coming soon. So it seems a proper time to take a look at the building. Above we see the building as it looks today, Anyone who knows the history of the Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern Interurban system will know that this is one of eight stations located along the trolley line that ran between Rochester and Syracuse. Even if you are not a railroad fan, you can still look at this building and think "railroad depot". Below is a photo from the period of operations, between 1906 and 1931. However, we can see in today's structure that much has been changed.
Each station was divided into two portions; a sixteen by twenty-five foot waiting room seating thirty-five people at one end and a twenty by fifty foot fright room at the other. The waiting room included a ten by fourteen foot ticket office and suitable restroom facilities. The freight room floor was, of course, on the same level as the freight car floors. On the one side of this room, two nine foot sliding doors opened onto a loading platform adjacent to the track. Wagons (and later trucks) were accommodated at similar doors located on the opposite side of the freight room." We also learn that the depots cost $6,000 a piece (about $157,000 today) and were located at Fairport, Palmyra, Newark, Lyons, Clyde, Port Byron, Weedsport, and Jordan.
So what did this tell us? Well, the building served two functions; passenger and freight. Although we think of trolley lines as people movers, they also were very good at moving freight quickly between cities. The total trip time between Rochester and Syracuse was about three hours, much much faster than any railroad or canal boat.
The people waited in a ground floor room that served as the ticket office and "suitable" bathroom, whatever that means. In back, there was a freight room that was built at the same level as the cars, lets guess about four feet off the ground. And we learn that there was a small basement.
Here we see a car on the Auburn and Northern track, and below we can see cars on both the main and Auburn line. In the below view, we also get to see more of the building, although the back end is fairly under exposed and hard to see details.
In the colorized postcard, we can see the freight house doors and if you really look, you can see the the rear house of the depot is inset so wagons could back up to the large doors and be under the cover of the roof line. If we could see the other side of the building, we would see a wooden platform that filled this area. Again, this platform was under the roof line. (If you click on the images, they get larger, and if you click on the map, you can see the outline of the building under the dashed outline of the roof.)
When you walk in the building, you can either go up stairs or into the basement. Basically, the freight house floor was extended all way across the building, allowing for a full basement.(remember that the history said they had a small basement) (In Weedsport, the same thing happened, except that the front door was raised to match the floor and a porch was added.)
In the history, it was said that the buildings were designed and built to last. These buildings remain in use in various forms in Lyons, Clyde, Port Byron, Weedsport, and Jordan. I don't know if they remain in Fairport, Palmyra, and Newark. (later checking shows that the Fairport Depot may be the most intact in original form).