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The Syracuse Area Outdoor Adventures Club Message Board Archives › Interesting bits on Pixley Falls

Interesting bits on Pixley Falls

A former member
Post #: 77
There is a second set of falls farther up the gorge towards Boonville. This is undeveloped and still rugged. It is really beautiful in the winter. I've been told that one of the few pockets of rattlesnakes this far North exists just below the upper falls, though I've never heard or seen any.

A friend in Westernville who is a geologist told me that there is an underground stream that starts somewhere above Pixley Falls, and resurfaces just below the falls. One dry summer I asked him why I saw more water some distance below the falls than I saw coming over the falls. The feeder streams weren't adding enough water to account for the difference.

There is a beautiful feeder stream on the East side of the Black River (Lansing Kill) some distance below the falls. It cascades down a channel carved out of rock. It is really pretty in the fall when orange and yellow leaves cover the rock. I've hiked a good distance up this. I know where the other end is. It goes on for miles. But I've never tried to go the entire length.

There is an old railroad tunnel on the West side of the road through an outcropping of rock in the vicinity of the Falls. It is likely closed off. I've wanted to get a closer look at it, but never found the time. You can still see the grade climbing the West side of the gorge. There was never any track laid though. The line was graded all the way from Rome to the St Lawrence using the initial capital. When a recession hit in 1857, they could not raise the additional capital to finish the line, so the company went bankrupt. There was a competing line out of Utica that used its capital to grade and lay track to Boonville, and to buy some rolling stock. So when the recession hit they still were able to generate income until the recession ended, and they were able to again raise capital. Up until this time Rome had been the larger of the two cities. After this, Utica with a viable railroad, grew to become a much larger city.

Found some more info on the underground streams:
I always thought of this as the Black River, but it is referred to as the Lansing Kill. My friend the geologist also referred to it as this. Come to think of it, the Black River flows North from Forestport.
Some cool pictures are here, https://www.paulkeesle...­
and here, https://www.paulkeesle...­

Where the water flows out:

One exit below the falls:

A midstream exit below the falls:

Found some more info on the railroad:
On April 7, 1853, the Ogdensburg, Clayton & Rome Railroad was formed. Their idea was to reach Boonville ahead of the U&R and since the area could not support two Roads, they would have all of Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties all to themselves. Because of funding problems and little construction work actually done, the corporation ceased to exist on April 15, 1857 having spent $550,000 on construction, with no part completed.
A former member
Post #: 51
I hear the words old and tunnel and i'm immediately sold on the idea.
A former member
Post #: 68
wow! Sounds neat. Can't wait.
A former member
Post #: 83
I checked out the whole set of pages I grabbed the pictures from. There is one of the upper falls too.

Check out the entire series starting at https://www.paulkeesle...­ There is some excellent photography on these pages.

I've skied the tow path, and hiked a bit, but I never suspected there was that much there!
A former member
Post #: 5
The line was graded all the way from Rome to the St Lawrence using the initial capital.
Mmmmm, seemingly not. They seem to have built it starting at various points, but they never managed to connect all the grading together. I'm trying to collect together all available information on that railroad here:­ so please tell me if you find anything interesting "on the ground". In particular, it looks like the railroad was graded on the western side of the valley from Dunn Brook south, but I don't know how far. It just disappears, but ... that's typical of railroads which were never finished. Just ... bits and pieces!
A former member
Post #: 2
I know this is an old post, but came across it looking for info on Pixley Falls via an internet search engine. The reason they probably referred to it as the "Black River" even though it's the Lansing Kill, is because of the old Black River Barge Canal that ran through the Boonville Gorge as well. I travel route 46 daily between Boonville and Rome. Always wondered what the strange cut in the hillside near Pixley was. Never new about the history of attempting to build a railroad through the this area. Always thought the grading was part of the old Black River Canal that route 46 parallels the 20 or so miles between Rome and Boonville. To add to your info, you will probably find some bridge stone work just south of route 46 and Buck Hill road crossing over a creek (east side of the route 46 bridge crossing the creek in the town of North Western). Hard to see from the road during the summer months due to heavy overgrowth. Also, there's another area that has some bridge stone work at the intersection of routes 46 and 274 (west side of the route 46 bridge in the Frenchville community area). Hope this helps.
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Syracuse, NY

Founded Mar 13, 2007


Jessica Hart

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