— Stories of Beaver County & its Rivers —
By 1851 the railroad had arrived at Rochester. Rail transit had been developed in the year before and had finally spread through Pittsburgh and surrounding western Pennsylvania towns.
Railroads were built on flat surfaces - one commonly flat location was along river banks - where land was typically level for long stretches. In Rochester, this meant that the Beaver Division canal boat cargo that was often packed onto steam boats for continued travel could now be loaded onto rail cars for even faster transportation. Eventually, the efficiency of the railroads contributed to the demise of canal systems in the area.
Beyond hauling cargo on a network that reached nationwide, the railroads provided the fasted passenger transit st the time. By 1876, two rail lines passed through Rochester's main station resulting in the loading and unloading of 55 passenger trains each day, and, at one time, more than 120 freight trains passed through Rochester every 24 hours.
The railroad at Rochester was, part of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
(P.R.R.) The old Rochester train station and platform was located near the current site of the route 65 overpass and the New York Avenue ramp.
Today, the modern four track system has come a long way from the single line which served Rochester in 1851 and trains hauling cargo through Rochester can be seen daily.
Abraham Lincoln Visits Rochester
After his election to the office of President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln set out from his Illinois home in February of 1861 and headed to Washington for his inauguration. Lincoln made this journey by rail and passed through many towns where groups of supporters gathered at train stations to catch a glimpse of their new leader. Rochester was no exception and at 4 a.m. on February 14, Lincoln's train pulled into the station to the sound of enthusiastic cheering. Though only in Rochester for 20 minutes, Lincoln spent time on the platform of the rear car bowing to the applause, answering questions and greeting members of the crowd.
The following incident was reported in the Beaver Argus newspaper that afternoon: 'Mr. Henry Dillon, a resident of Beaver Falls...and a man who is six feet and four inches tall, cried out: "Mr. President, I am taller than you are." "Let us see about that," responded 'Old Abe,' reaching out his hand to Mr. Dillon, who in a moment was by his side. Turning their backs to each other, Mr. Lincoln said, "Now stand fair and no cheating." Then reaching up his hand and patting Mr. Dillon's bald head, Mr. Lincoln said, "Ah, my friend, I can lick salt from your head!" to which the crowd responded with vociferous cheering.'