For today’s Tuesday Tour, we venture back up to the un-electrified territory of the Hudson Line, 41 miles north of Grand Central, and make a stop at Peekskill. Many Hudson Line stations have been recently renovated, however, the process still continues at Peekskill, hopefully to be finished by this fall. As such, the station isn’t much of a looker right now. Construction vehicles surround the tracks, orange cones sit on the platforms, and a portion of the overpass is blocked off. Although a minor inconvenience for passengers right now, when the station is complete it will be well worth it. Besides the aesthetics of making the place look nice, there will be new canopies, lighting, heating, and an upgraded elevator.
Although in fairly poor shape today, Peekskill’s old depot, built in 1874, is still standing and in the process of being restored. The building had been occupied by a restaurant called PJ Kelleys since the early 90’s, but they finally closed their doors in December of 2009. It has been unoccupied since then, with Metro-North performing various renovations on the building. Before the true restoration could begin, asbestos and lead paint had to be removed from the old building. As of last year Metro-North was still looking for a tenant for the 7,395 square-foot building, who will likely be allowed to move in when the station is restored to its former grandeur.
When Peekskill’s station was completed in the 1874, the area surrounding the depot was a bit different than it is today. Peekskill had quite a few factories, many of which made use of the nearby river and railroad. Believe it or not, Peekskill was once a major producer of yeast – or as the city boasts, “The Yeast-making Capital of the World.” The Fleischmann’s factory that produced this yeast was located along the railroad tracks, about one half mile south of Peekskill station. By 1915, the complex was comprised of over 125 buildings, and had over 2 miles of track interconnecting them. By 1977, however, the company had vacated Peekskill.
Before I wrap up Peekskill, I just wanted to offer a quick sneak-peek of one of the upcoming additions to the station. The last portion of Metro-North’s Peekskill project is to install some artwork, courtesy of the Arts for Transit program. The piece selected for the station, titled Jan Peeck’s Vine, is comprised of various steel sculptures and was designed by artist Joy Taylor. The name of the piece derives from Peekskill’s namesake, Jan Peeck. Taylor also created the mosaic piece that was installed at Larchmont station on the New Haven Line.