A Few Bad Apples on the Family Tree.
Back in the middle of the 1800s, in an area vaguely referred to as “upstate New York”, but apparently near Utica, a criminal gang operated successfully and with near impunity for many years. Head of this crime family was a not-very-close relative of mine, George Washington Loomis.
Collectively, they were known as The Loomis Gang and there are at least two books and a documentary film that detail their nefarious activities. As Casey Stengel reportedly was wont to say, “You could look it up!”
These folks were primarily horse thieves and cattle rustlers, but they also dabbled in stolen property and counterfeit money. They were a crafty bunch, too, because they apparently never bothered any of their close neighbors. In fact, they went out of their way to be helpful to their neighbors who, in return, supposedly tipped them off whenever the local lawmen mustered the gumption to raid the Loomis farm.
As I heard tell, there was a sheriff somewhere along the way who assembled enough evidence to bring several of the family members to trial. Unfortunately for the cause of law and order, the night before the trial was to begin, the courthouse burned down taking all the evidence with it.
And what has all this got to do with trains and railroads? One of the more popular tourist trains is operated by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. It runs from Utica to the town of Thendara and continues on north to Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. And once a week or so, to give the passengers an extra thrill, the train is held up by daring robbers. Yep, you guessed it . . . it’s the Loomis Gang!
The fare for those rides is $16.50 per adult. Do you suppose I could get a “family discount”?
UPDATE (Thanks to a regular reader who happens to be in Lake Placid): “Currently the Scenic Railroad runs Saturday between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake . . . Plans to restore service through from Utica include an Iowa Pacific proposal for Pullman service from NYC, but the line north of Big Moose is in bad shape now and is used only for equipment moves.”