The Cigarville Station

View of the south side of the station, looking northwest. Photo by Kevin M. Smith, July 2008.
The still-active CSX freight line located on the east side of the station, looking north. Photo by Kevin M. Smith, July 2008.
The active CSX freight line looking south. The Route 31 crossing is visible. Photo by Kevin M. Smith, July 2008.
View of the north and west sides of the station, looking southeast. Photo by Kevin M. Smith, July 2008.
Southwest corner of the station, looking northeast. An old wagon is also visible on the west side of the station. Photo by Kevin M. Smith, July 2008.
View looking north from NY Route 31. It is believed that a siding once existed off the main line in order to serve the station, due to the station's location away from the tracks. If so, the siding would have run in the middle of this picture. Photo by Kevin M. Smith, July 2008.

The Cigarville Railroad Station is an abandoned passenger and freight station located in present-day Clay, New York along NY Route 31. (Cigarville was absorbed into the Town of Clay during the early 1900s and no longer exists today.) According to a sign dated 1976 posted on the premises by the Clay Bicentennial Comm., the Cigarville Station was built in 1871 and served the Syracuse Northern Railroad. It burned down and was rebuilt in 1890, and was renamed the Clay Station in 1903. It was the first P.O. in town, and was owned by D. Sotherden. At some point, the station also served the New York Central Railroad. In addition to passenger service, the station also saw freight traffic, which may have once included tobacco shipments from local tobacco farms bound for New York City on the New York Central. It is unknown exactly when passenger or freight service were discontinued and the station was abandoned, but it was likely a very long time ago.

Today, the Cigarville Station has been beautifully restored and is well maintained, and contains a small museum (The Cigarville Railroad Station Museum) of historical artifacts illustrating early life in the Town of Clay. The tracks that run by the station are today an active CSX freight line. Aside from the station itself and the present-day CSX line, no other evidence of Cigarville or past railroad activity can be found in the area as of 2008.

—  User Comments  —

What is the basic legal term that the Courts accept as abandoned right-of-way by a railroad. I own a property close to this site that has had no rail freight service for over 20 years on an existing spur on my property.There is also NO rail freight agreements with CSX for other property owners on this spur. The switch to this spur has been spiked. Thank you in advance for any information on this subject. Jay

Jay Bernhardt
Liverpool, NY

Jay Bernhardt: You need to consult a competent real estate attorney, not rely on these foamers.

john cook

John Cook
clifton forge, VA

What happens to a spur that has no freight agreement nor no maintenace agreement? Nobody maintains the track & ties & ballast. It has a 19 degree turn.

Jay Bernhardt
Liverpool, NY

I was raised and lived around Syracuse and the north shore of Oneida lake and traveled Rte. 31 frequently. I remember the Clay Hotel and their spring bullhead dinners very well. I never noticed the Cigarville station until we returned for vacation a few years ago. It looks very well done, and will visit the museum next time up. My great-grandmother was born in Clay and married a subsistence farmer from Cicero Center.

Bruce Van Deuson
Asheville,, NC

But what about an abandoned Right of Way? Is it an easement? Please email me!

Jay Bernhardt
Liverpool, NY

My Grandfather, Charles Zoller, was the Clay Station manager from about 1900 until 1926. My brothers and I grew up near the station and of course, heard many stories related to the station and Post Office which existed in a building known as the Weller Building.

Elaine Graves Smith
Clay, NY