Whitehall has been a railroad town since 1848 when the Saratoga and Whitehall line reached here from the south, and “railroaders” as the people in that occupation have been known are an important, community-minded group of citizens.
Delaware and Hudson Railway’s contribution to the Capture Days: The D&H Railway Spirit of Freedom engine and a 1916 baggage car proved an extremely popular display during Whitehall’s Capture Days, May 9 and 10.
The 1776 engine (Spirit of Freedom); painted red, white and blue, was detoured from its occasional duty tours and was open for inspection at the old freight depot. Not only youngsters thrilled at being allowed in the cab of the train engine but adults had a long standing desire to see the inside of an engine satisfied.
The baggage car, newly painted, had railway displays prepared by Special Services Chairperson Ellen Freeman of the D&H and her assistant, Lewis Wasserman. The exhibits contained a history of the company and many artifacts of railroad life — lanterns, keys, plaques, pictures.
Railroad retirees of Whitehall acted as hosts throughout the two days, being on hand to converse with the visitors, to explain the apparatus in the engine, and to set up and dismantle the exhibits from Skenesborough Museum. These men were Timothy Carroll, Adelbert Herron, Joseph Manell, Peter Sparano, Ralph Sparano and Charles Tinsley. Lurvey Rooker loaned two oil cans and a lantern for the display.
Through the interest generated by the D&H exhibit, additional gifts were made to the Skenesborough Museum. Mrs. Charles Tinsley gave a nickel plated oil can individually owned by her father Alexander Pratt. His name is engraved on the can. Among some other items given anonymously were railroad hats, service pins, buttons and keys.
This railway display was initiated by D&H Vice President James Colpoys, a former Whitehaller.
Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – May 15, 1975