Sticking our nose back into the oddly delightful Mount Pleasant: A History of a New York Suburb and Its People, we see that train commuters in Hawthorne in the mid 1800s didn’t have a whole lot of options. Two trains ran each way every day; there was a train out of City Hall at 7:30 a.m. (the early days of reverse-commuting!) that pulled into Hawthorne (then “Unionville”) at 9:27. Next up was a train from City Hall that left at 3:30 p.m. at pulled into Unionville at 5:42.
So, if you missed the 7:30 train, you had to wait eight hours for the next one.
The southbound trains, meanwhile, left Unionville at 8:42 a.m. and 3:56 p.m.
The trains ran on burning wood. They bypassed Valhalla, which was known as Robbins’ Mills and later Kensico.
An 1851 map showed that Unionville consisted of its new train depot, which tripled as a store and post office; a church, a parsonage, school, and some mills.
Throw in Gordo’s and the Punta Cana restaurant, and it’s not much different today.
Pleasantville, meanwhile, was rocking. It had a general store, Hay’s Hotel, the Depot House (now the Iron Horse Grill), a saw mill, a church and a school.
In 1891, a directory of what everybody in Unionville did for work was published. There were 32 farmers, 15 laborers, a pair of milkmen, two gardeners, two blacksmiths, a grocer and a station agent, among others.
Of the 82 “heads of household” in Unionville, there were three NYC commuters. Edward Ledley was a glove manufacturer, William Weed was an “expressman” (not sure what that means), and Ambrose Van Tassell was a customs house official.