Died: July 19, 2022
Married: Teresa Pauzi
Luke Wood was the railroad station agent at Union Depot for many years. When the New York Central was seeking to discontinue service on the Adirondack Division, he tried to interest businessmen in the idea of buying the line and operating it as a tourist and freight line, but to no avail. He lived in Tupper Lake.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 26, 2022
Luke Anthony Wood
Luke Anthony Wood, age 90, of Elderwood of Uihlein at Lake Placid, formerly of Lake Clear, died Tuesday, July 19, at Elderwood of Uihlein at Lake Placid.
Luke was born in Lake Clear on Dec. 5, 1931 the son of Peter and Rose (Lalonde) Wood. Luke married the former Teresa Pauzi who predeceased him.
Luke was a lifelong resident of the Tri-Lakes area, and worked as a telegrapher from the age of 13 in 1945 for New York Central Railroad, Pen-Central Railroad, Consolidated Railroad and Canadian National Railroad. He worked for over 40 years, retiring about 1985. Luke was a member of the Telegrapher Railroad Club.
The family would like to thank Kevin Thompson of Malone for taking great personal care of Luke in the last few years of his life.
Luke is survived by his very close cousin Steven (Carolyn) Brown of Chateauguay and numerous other cousins.
Luke was preceded in death by his wife Teresa and his father and mother.
Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home. Calling hours are scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 10 a.m. at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, 20 Church St., Saranac Lake, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. in St. Bernard’s Chapel with the Rev. Martin Cline officiating, burial will be immediately following at St. John’s in the Wilderness Catholic Cemetery in Lake Clear.
Family and friends wishing to remember Luke Anthony Wood can send memorial contributions to the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, 20 Church St., Saranac Lake, NY 12983. Family and friends can also share their memories, send a condolence and sign the online guest book at fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 27, 1964
Mail Train Made Last Run on Saturday
Saranac Lake has taken some unenviable historical steps in recent years and the latest curtailment in the nostalgia classification was the occasion Saturday morning at 9:03 of the last mail car coming into the village.
The old iron horse went out when her steam-driven wheels pulled her final load into the community in 1951. Since then we have had the cleaner more powerful diesels but they lacked the glamor of the old steam locomotives.
The gradual curtailment of passenger and freight service into Saranac Lake has caused its morbid measure of consternation but the ending of the mail car era is a deeper blow than all to the men who always set their clocks by the mail train's arrival ... or measured the winter weather conditions by its late appearance from Utica.
The old wooden mail cars were part and parcel of the Utica division back in 1892 when the railroad opened semi-restricted services to the north country. The line was completed in 1894. At one time the section from Saranac Lake to Lake Placid was part of the narrow gauge Chateaugay Railroad and sometimes called the Mohawk and Malone Railroad because the engine was named The Mohawk.*
The mail has been coming in to Saranac Lake by RPO since 1900 and of course carried its peak loads in the roaring twenties when everything in this area was booming. Yesterday had its mournful aspects. Luke Wood the station agent called Tupper Lake to see if engine number 8296 was on time. He looked as if he hoped it would be a couple of years late. The men who built and maintained; and operated the Utica Division; love its every railroad tie and water tank and to them it was just as much a day of sadness as to the rest of the people who have seen the railroad help build America to what she is today.
Luke got the bad news alright. She would be coming down the tracks in pretty short order. When she finally gave her mournful whistle at the bend of the Latour coal yards, it was Gabriels trumpet for the last mail car. We lined up the men, posed them with the final bag of mail, made them climb up on the front of the engine, handed out crying towels and generally made it a scene of historical significance.
The mail car itself was not sparkling and the lettering on her sides was dull... she looked like a girl going to her grave. We promised the boys on 8296 that we would give her a good newspaper sendoff.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 22, 1965
Choo Choo Blues
Among the many moves afoot in this darkest hour of Adirondack travail is one to have the New York Central Railroad gobbled up by a few lucky shareholders and run as a tourist attraction between Utica and Lake Placid ... the idea is to retain the flavor of old time railroading.
The railroad has been having these contracting pains lately and has been trying like the devil to give birth to something approaching evaporation up this way.
The railroad meetings with the villages involved are pretty dry going and the solons (that is a word used in city papers to mean local bigwigs) hem, haw and harangue the railroad attorneys and public service referees in an effort to prove that the Tri-Village section would become annihilated commercially without the old iron horse.
Luke Wood, who is surrounded by cobwebs over at the ticket office on Depot Street, has a head-full of ideas, but how Luke is ever going to get this railroad thing straightened out is something else again. Luke is a quiet, soft-spoken guy when he should be a fire-spouting dragon, driving up and down the roadbed with a public address system playing The Old Blue Water Line and giving speeches at all the whistle stops between Remsen and Thendara. The old line railroad admirers, of course want to revert back to the real days of rail-roading if they become stockholders. They want a steam engine and wooden cars brightly painted and on the front of the engine they want a cow catcher that really catches cows. On the big ugly diesels the front end section looks like the rear end of a hippopotamus with handrails and some polished hippopotamus underwear buttons and the thing lacks dignity and the rakish and adventuresome look of the gay nineties.
If Luke can't get the railroad sold to a legitimate concern of freight and passenger haulers, he will have to go after the romantic exponents of railroading and get her going under the old and friendly label of “The Blueberry Special" which was what the extinct D&H was called before they tore up the tracks and laid down the strip known as Lake Colby Drive. The D&H was also called "The Delay and Hesitate” in those years to follow up the initial pattern of the letters D&H.
Anyway the faction that is out to retain the old-time railroad flavor are the ones who think Petticoat Junction is the best program on because there is so much in there about the engine itself.
They are visionary people. Most visionary people follow this pattern of having what seems a wild idea in the realm of absolute fantasy and all of a sudden some well-heeled tycoon picks up the idea and converts it to cash and fame.
Several of us who have been approached about buying up the railroad as a tourist ride on an old steam line haven't got the price of a ticket to Lake Clear Junction. We are the visionaries but we have all voiced a willingness to ride shotgun, play conductor on our day off or sit in the engine cab and pull the whistle cord when she chugs into town. There is something pathetic in our desire to be a part of it all without a nickel in our pockets.
Luke is an independent, He doesn't care who gets the railroad as long as she keeps on being a railroad. Luke will often leap from his chair in the ticket office on a stormy night in a howling blizzard and shout “My God -- here she comes!“ Luke knows a miracle when he sees one.
The only way the visionaries and the practicals are going to get this mess ironed out with Luke is to have the line insert a couple of sightseeing observation cars from the boneyard of the Rock Island Line of the 1870's into the regular freight and passenger rolling stock. Then let the dreamers have their little oasis right in the middle of the confusion and clatter of running the bread and butter boxcars. That's a hell of a way to run a railroad... but at least it will be running!
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 22, 1965
Railroad Could Be Saved by Local Ownership
A project is under way that could bring an end to the battle between the New York Central Railroad and the communities along the Adirondack Division over the threatened shutdown of the 127-mile line from Utica to Lake Placid.
The project involves the purchase of the Adirondack Division by a proposed corporation to be called the Central Adirondack Mountain Railroad.
In essence, the railroad would be an operation under the direction of Resident management with the support of businessmen, shippers and residents in the communities served by the present New York Central line.
The idea is not a new one, for a Saranac Lake resident, Luke Wood, associated with the Central has been compiling figures and statistics for more than two years to prove that the Adirondack Division, labeled a losing proposition by Central officials, could be run on a profit-making basis under resident management.
The proposal for the project was placed before a group of civic officials from Lake Placid and Saranac Lake at a meet ing held Wednesday at the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking before the group were Mr. Wood:. William K. Viekman, vice president of the Cadillac and Lake City Railway Company, Lake City, Michigan and Preston L. Schoentube of the Railroad Evangelistic Association of Long Island City.
Following an hour and a half of discussion on the plans involved in the purchase and operation of the proposed C. A. M. Railroad, and the problems to be faced in financing and maintaining the project Mayor Robert J. Peacock of Lake Placid gave the three railroad men assurance that the community of Lake Placid would be interested m their plan for C. A. M. and urged that they continue with it; Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce President Chester T. Cole and executive director Al Eccleston voiced a similar opinion and directors of the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce present. James Murray, Phil Hyde and Jack Delahant stated that their community would be vitally interested in any plan that would keep the railroad in operation.
Thomas B. Cantwell, Saranac Lake attorney, approved a move encouraging the railroad men to continue their efforts. Mary Kaltenbach, a Lake Placid travel agency owner, gave the idea support, and support of important note was the opinion voiced by David Short of the C. V. Whitney Industries, with lumber holdings at Sabattis, that the Whitney interests were giving he C.A.M. project study and that if it should prove feasible to them, the Whitney interests might invest in its operation. Mr. Wood, in addressing the group at the opening of the meeting, said that his purpose, enthusiasm could be aroused was to determine if community for Ihe project. Mr. Schoentube told the group that the people in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid had a "Gold mine" in its resort facilities and that railroad business could be built up into the area with improved service. He said that under proper management, the railroad could be come a "growing thing". Mr. Viekman declared that with the return of steam power to the line, as planned, the C.A.M. would have three important factors which would make it a successful tourist attraction. These he said were resident management, steam-power and scenery.
The regular passenger service he said, would have sleeping coaches instead of the coach and separate, sleepers and that he believed that the round trip cost of a trip to New York City could be cut to about $48 which would then be below the present air line round trip cost of $53.
It was agreed, however, that the build-up of the freight service would be the most import ant factor in sustaining C.A.M. and special effort to attract many of the business customers lost by the Central because of its "Lack of interest" would be made. For economy purposes, the passenger and freight operation would be combined on one train. The freight business would be modernized, in both methods of Pick up and delivery of carload or commodity-class ed traffic by piggyback, door to door services, known as the "trailer on flat car system.". Mr. Wood said he was certain the C.A.M. operation would be a profitable, one.
Two things the communities must do, it was pointed out, are to arrange to give the proposed new carrier tax relief; and offer cooperation from among the big businesses and shippers in investing in the project. The railroad men said at the conclusion of the session that they "felt highly encouraged' by the reception of C.A.M. and that their next step would be to contact New York Central officials for their reaction to selling the line. It was felt that since railroad has been making such an effort to abandon the division, it might be possible to work out a "very agreeable" arrangement that would insure continued operation of the line.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, November 3, 1965
by Bill McLaughlin
For the man who has everything there is a steam locomotive for sale over in Tupper Lake. The locomotive... you guessed it... is old 790, fire belching hero of the Mississippi floods, creator of headlines as the reincarnation of steam railroading in the Adirondacks... and a dream dropped dead from inertia!
The sale of 790 has not been officially announced. Dave de Camp of Old Westbury, L. I., fair broke his spirit getting the legendary iron horse up here from the Cedar Rapids siding only to find that railraoding is truly dead in our fabled hemlock pasture.
Dave of course was the Messiah who was destined to give the bored tourist a steam locomotive ride from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid along America's most beautiful right of way.
Dave, a redhead, was fired up with enthusiasm and had Luke Wood stoking the local chamber of commerce and others in the area with the idea of promoting the attraction for general community interest.
Luke would face any audience to give railroading a boost or a shot of adrenaline. His insight and know-how were treasured assets and he put then to use in concentrated form whenever he found a willing ear. Today, Luke is up on a siding himself more or less having taken exit with the New York Central passenger service. Luke is up in Huntington, Que., but his heart is right here on the rusting strip of steel stretching from Lake Placid to Utica. Dave hardly sniffed the wind of a good thing here when he bolted into buying the engine and getting it berthed on the Oval Wood property ready for the renovation and face lifting that could make her the pride of the Tri-Village trunk line.
Dave, like Pagliacci, the clown, was laughing with tears in his eyes just recently when his bubble burst with a sickening “pop” and caused him to realign his energies to selling the old historical locomotive and probably at a loss.
Everyone in this section was aware that Dave and Luke were pulling to get the thing launched on proper course but the deplorable disinterest of possible backers other than a scattered few finally led to thoughts of gas pipe and greener pastures in places far removed.
Personally I would like the locomotive to stay right here even if it is part of the moth ball fleet. Someday, somehow the idea of the little scenic line will blossom into reality but by the time they may have to lay a whole new set of tracks and hew a right of way through land that the state will fight to hold even though the empirical land gobblers have already got more than they have a right to usurp.
Dave may be remembered by a little mile post on the imagined line with the initials D. D. People will interpret this to mean “departed despondent” or “died disgustedly” but it will mean simply Dave De Camp, a man who came to fruit 20 years before his time. A lot of people who couldn't or wouldn't see the proposed tourist railroad will now rush rush over to Tupper Lake to get a last look at old 790 before she shows her tail feathers on the southbound route to posterity. She's as Dead as Casey Jones!