Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Valhalla

When I was a lot younger if you had asked me what my favorite train station was, I’d probably say Valhalla. I had never been there, but every time I rode the train and we passed it by, I thought Valhalla was the coolest station ever. You see, I was always a fan of Norse mythology (and if you were wondering, Loki is of course my favorite Norse god). I also loved this silly old game called Castle of the Winds, which I played on my computer that had Windows 3.1 loaded on it. Castle of the Winds was roughly based on Norse mythology. And if your character was to die at any point during the game, your name would be listed on a scroll: Valhalla’s List of Legends.

Usually the quick response given to anyone wondering what exactly Valhalla was, is that it was Heaven in Norse mythology. But calling it Heaven doesn’t fully explain the subject. Valhalla was the hall of slain warriors. Warriors that died in battle congregated in Valhalla with the chief god Odin, awaiting Ragnarök (battle at the end of the world). During that battle, these warriors would fight alongside Odin. The real question that comes to mind though, is how the heck did a little hamlet in Westchester county come to be known as the Norse hall of slain warriors?

The story (whether it can be validated or not, I am unsure) is that after the village of Kensico was flooded (for building the dam) the relocated people and their post office needed a new name for their town. The postmaster’s wife, who was a fan of Wagner, chose Valhalla. One of Wagner’s operas is titled Ride of the Valkyries, the Valkyries being those who transport the deceased warriors to Valhalla. Considering the hamlet is well known today as being the resting place of many people, with all its large cemeteries, I bet that woman thought she was pretty sly.

Technically the blog has visited Valhalla already – at least the old station building, which is a restaurant, and back in February I made a snow angel on the platform there. But this time I am officially visiting the station itself (and in good weather!), and in typical Tuesday fashion, have quite a few pictures.








4 thoughts on “Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Valhalla

  1. Hey, I love your blog. I grew up in Scarsdale, so I have a nice attachment to the Harlem Line, though unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to explore the parts north of North White Plains.

    I just had to correct you on your note about Wagner. The opera is actually called “Die Walkure” or “The Valkyrie.” The famous “Ride of the Valkyries” is the music heard at the beginning of the third act. Btw, if you’re a fan of Norse mythology you should try to see that opera and the other three operas of the “Ring Cycle.” Wagner adapted the Norse stories, so they’re not true to the original myths, but they’re great operas. The metropolitan opera is doing Die Walkure this spring. It will be shown in movie theaters also on May 15.

  2. riding through valhalla an early elton john song always pounded through my head.and speaking of names was purdy’s named after an old speakeasy?
    still the upper harlem lost all its color after it was electrified in 1984.no more fl-9’s pulling ex-amtrak coaches or old pullman standard coaches.colorful to watch and colorful to ride..sort of…

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