The Otis Elevating Railway (1892-1918)
For the first 64 years of its
existence, the Catskill Mountain House
was accessible only by a long stage coach from Catskill Landing on the
Hudson. Faced with increased competition from the Kaaterskill
Hotel, served by the Kaaterskill Railway, in 1892 Charles Beach
hired the Otis Elevator Company to build a cable funicular railroad
straight up the Wall Of The Manitou. The line was 7,000' long with a
rise of 1,630', a maximum grade of 34%, and an average grade of 12%.
Click here for an explanation
how the railway worked.In 1904 the line was shortened and the lower
trestle was eliminated.
The Otis Junction station (pictured left after
the 1904 reconstruction) connected the Otis to the Catskill Mountain
Railway, a 15 mile railroad between Catskill Landing and Palenville.
At the Otis Summit station at the top, it
connected to the Catskill & Tannersville Railroad, that ran the
5.2 miles to Tannersville. In 1918, all three railroads were closed
and sold for scrap.
For more details on the
Otis, read the article from the Oct. 5, 1895 issue of Scientific American