The Edwards Nature Trail

Google map link

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Town+Barn+Dr,+Edwards,+NY+13635/@44.3236792,-75.262329,605m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x4cccc1c86a8732a5:0xfbbf279c43f8f703!8m2!3d44.3236754!4d-75.2601403

History 

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The Edwards nature trail was donated to the town of Edwards, by the Iroquois natural gas-line. It runs on the old New York central railroad bed. Interestingly enough,in the distance, the sound of the train whistle running through Richville and Bigelow could be heard today. Before I talk to much about the trail, here’s some history of the rail line.The railroad that ran to Edwards, was known as the“G &O”. This was short for the Gouverneur and Oswegatchie branch, and ran for a little better than 14 miles. This was part on the New York Central Railroad (NYCRR). A local man by the name of Thomas Todd, gave the NYCRR the needed one mile of property, basically from where the railroad would cross the Oswegatchie river, requiring the building of a trestle (which still stands today)– to the banks of the Oswegatchie on the “Brooklyn” side of town.

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The depot as it sits today at the end of Hall road.

He also agreed to give them seven additional acres for a stockyard, a depot and rail yard. This would allow freight to be shipped to and from the village, haul ore from Talcville and passengers as well. There would also be stops along the way in Dodgeville, Emeryville and Hailesboro. It was completed in the beginning of August 1893. edwards-depot-013-2The train shipped out, among other things, cheese from the two local cheese factories, and livestock. Later a spur-line was built to accommodate ore from the local zinc mines. As time progressed, and automobiles became commonplace, passenger service was stopped and eventually the railroad came to an end. The zinc mines were closed in January 1981. At the time of closing, the depot was vacant, and an Agway feed store ran next to it. The last building on the line was then the Edwards Central school bus garage. As of now, that building is now owned by the Edwards fire department. The Agway store burned, and the depot was donated to the local Lions club by the owners of Jim’s Auto, and moved to the end of Hall road. Jim’s Auto built a garage there, and still maintains a thriving auto repair and car sales in that location.

The trail

The trail starts at Town Barn drive, and runs about 1.75 miles southwest to the Talcville road. In the opposite direction, the railroad ran to the sight of the former depot and rail yard. You can still find remnants of the railroad in the trees and brush between Town Barn drive and Hall road. Going back towards Tacville again, at about the 1/2 mile mark you cross the main branch of the Oswegatchie river on the old trestle.

12-28-dwards-nature-trail-043-2As you continue along you will see the old mile marker sign on your left (around the .65 mile mark) and at around the 1 mile point, you can see the 765KV power line on your right, along with a corn field food plot planted for wildlife. Obviously it makes a positive impact on local wildlife, judging by the deer tracks and other wildlife signs. There were plenty of song birds, mourning doves, and even a quick look at a beautiful cock ring-neck pheasant (too quick for a photo unfortunately).

The Reynolds mine

When you get to the Talcville road, turning right will take you to the ruins of the old Reynolds mine on top of Newton hill. This was an independently owned talc mine that started in the mid 1950’s, and closed later due to some “romantic indiscretions”as local lore has it . From the road you can see the sealed up shaft entrance, and the crumbling buildings.

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The Reynolds mine shaft has been sealed for many years.

Round trip back to the trailhead, including the side junket to the old mines, is about 3.25 miles. This is an easy hike with no grades, and good footing . The Town highway department mows the trail to keep the weeds & brush down in the summer. If you are in the area, it’s an enjoyable hike, and doesn’t take much imagination to picture it in it’s heyday.

Slideshow

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The Edwards Nature Trail

Thank you to these sites for helping to fill in the blanks of information.

The Edwards History and Genealogy Center

http://edwardshistory.org/index.htm

St. Lawrence County Historical Association

http://www.slcha.org/

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The G & O railroad trestle over the Oswegatchie river
About the Author
  I  am a life-long resident of the north country, calling Edwards my home.I have always had a passion for the outdoors, and for local history.  I recently started this site to share places that have been  part of  our local history and heritage. I hope you get a chance to hike some of these trails for yourself, and reflect on the rich history of those that walked here before you. And if not, sit back and experience  these from where ever you are right now.  Either way, enjoy!
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The author William Hill

**ALL RIGHTS RESERVED **

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8 thoughts on “The Edwards Nature Trail

  1. My name is John H. Webb and I lived in Talcville from 1952 to 1961 then we moved to Edwards in 1961 in the house that Dale Barker now lives in. Our home in Talcville was the old John Holly store next to the Pat & Anna Hurley Store. While in Edwards I have been on that bridge when the trackes were there. Since I left Edwards in 1963 all the things you talk about have come about. I rode the train if I remember right from Edwards to Gouverneur with the TV host of the Circle M or W ranch that was on channel 7 who sponsored that ride. That was in maybe the mid or late 50’s. I have a lot of fond memories of those days with my pal Burt Lutz and of all the ground we have covered in those days in Talcville and the area around there. Proboley not many people know much about the two of us and our explots around Talcville.

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    1. Thank you for sharing these memories! I am working on a piece about Dodgeville, just downstream from Talcville. There will be some information about Talcville as well- the two places went hand in hand. Please feel free to share any other memories you have of the region, this is just the thing I hoped the sight would become. Thanks again- Bill

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      1. I remember that program I mentioned in my last comment and that was the Circle 7 Ranch and I also remembered that Fuzzy Q Jones was the guest on that trip.

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      2. I found a mention of this in the July 1978 Quarterly magazine: [Since then there have been two special excursions over the Edwards line, one in May 1952 on the occasion of the Sesqui- centennial of St. Lawrence County when 843 excursionists and one regular passen- ger made the trip and again in May 1955 when Gouverneur observed its own Sesquicentennial. On that occasion 1000 passengers, many of them children, were accommodated. It would have exceeded that figure except for the fact the size of the train was limited to the length of the siding at Edwards, where the locomotive had to be uncoupled and run around the coaches to the other end]

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      3. It was probably one of those trips I took but could not for sure say which. I do remember the Edwards Sequi-centennial, so it might have been that one but that was the year we moved into Falkville??

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  2. grew up in Talcville,used to hitch a ride with the train to Edwards,when the engineer would let us,it would stop at Pascoes store for candy and a sip or too of black lable,dont know if they was okay to do it.I remember one engineer his name was Star. Playing baseball I use to run from talcvilele,to th e field over by the cemetery in Edwards,and it would start getting dark,i would run the (tracks)all the way hoe not scared hah.great memories.

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  3. The trail has been part of many rides, I have been down that trail on foot and bike and each time I have been down the trail across from my home I notice something new every time. I have taken friends and my adapted Southern NY Daughter who is afraid of bridges actually went across and was amazed of the stories I remember as a kid also. The river is a beautiful view and a great way to wash your thoughts away.

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  4. I love this blog for the simple reason I think my grandmother played a very important role in the community – teaching in a one-room schoolhouse and housing a school bus in her garage. Her name was Lina (McGill) Hall Peabody. I would enjoy knowing her commitment to the community in the early 1900’s.

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