The N.Y.S.& W. Blairstown station circa 1900– 1910 This article was originally published in the Skylands Visitor Magazine. I would like to thank both the author, Robert Kopperhaver and Tom Drake of Skylands visitor magazine for graciously allowing us to use the article. Considering how important John Blair was to the history of Northern New Jersey and our new York Susquehanna & Western I thought you would enjoy this. I n 1839, the Warren County village known as Gravel Hill renamed itself in honor of its most celebrated citizen, 37year-old John Insley Blair. In 2014, Blairstown's 175th anniversary celebration of that event brought to mind not only the man's profound influence on the development of transportation and industry in America, but also suggests a virtual trail of his life through the places where he learned to make his way. Blair's life, which spanned the entire nineteenth century—more than 40% of America's history—reflects the country's development over those hundred years from a segmented rural society, to a cohesive industrial nation designed in no small part by the railroad and financial networks that he facilitated. Despite his accomplishment as one of the world's wealthiest men, Blair, known to townsfolk as "plain John I.", sustained a simple, unembellished lifestyle in his beloved village. The area's extraordinary heritage is in large part due to the fact that his ambition, 3 and his ideas that flourished throughout America originated here in the New Jersey frontier. Perhaps someday John I. Blair's birthplace will be marked for all to see, but for now its exact location is uncertain. In 1802, he was born in a log cabin near "the big spring", Shippen's spring, located on Foul Rift Road near the railroad culvert two miles south of Belvidere. It was here that his father oversaw shipping of iron products downriver from the Oxford Furnace's company wharf. When John was two, the Blairs moved to a farm near Hope. Along the way, much of their route probably followed that of today's County Route 519. They may have passed by a tiny house, now the White Township Historical Museum at Bridgeville, that two centuries later would hold memorabilia relating to their son's accomplishments. And continuing in their wagon a short distance farther, how awed his parents would have been to imagine that half a century later a huge steam-powered Warren Railroad "iron horse" would cross this road, due mainly to the entrepreneurial genius of their son. Young Blair spent his boyhood on the Beaver Brook farm along present day CR-519, two miles south of the village of Hope, near Swayze's Mill Road. Although he received only a

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