Early in Newfield's history travel was very difficult. For many years there were no maintained roads in Newfield. The first road put in was a turnpike in 1824. The turnpike went from Ithaca to Athens, Pennsylvania. In 1834 Chauncey L. Grant and Company started stagecoach service from Elmira to Ithaca. This route passed though Newfield and brought more commerce to the community. A four horse stagecoach went from Newfield to Ithaca on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. There were many problems with this system. In the spring the roads were very muddy and stagecoaches often sank up to their axles. This required four or more horses to pull them out. In the winter the roads were covered with snow and ice. With all the hills in Newfield this proved very hazardous to both riders and horses. The Pathmaster was in charge of clearing the roads. He would gather a large group of men to shovel the roads and in return the volunteers would get a tax break. When the roads were not covered in snow or mud they had potholes covering them. These potholes were very large and broke many wagons and stagecoaches.

A road crew works on Van Kirk road

The railroad would mark the end for the stagecoach. In 1837 there were plans to build a line that would go through Newfield to Elmira. This line would not make it past the planning stage because of the panic of 1837. In 1872 the Geneva and Ithaca railroad secured a charter that would go through Newfield and up the west side of Cayuga lake to Seneca Falls. This would be the last railroad to run through Newfield. Newfield had two stations. One in west Danby and the other in east Newfield (sometimes called Nina). There were a fair amount of train wrecks but no more than any other place in the country.

A train wreck near Newfield

Geneva, Ithaca, and Sayre Railroad Time Table- July, 1889

train at station
A train at the Newfield Station.

In 1852, travel by horse and buggy was revolutionized by the building of a planked road from Ithaca to Newfield. This road cost $15,242 to build. Because of it's high cost to build, it was made a toll road. Toll collections the first year were $1,695. The first car in Newfield is a 1910 Studebaker, owned by Frank Mcallister. Horse drawn buggies were still used well into the 1930's. The old plank road was named State Route 13 in the 1940's. When Route 13 was rebuilt in 1959-1960 it bypassed Newfield completely. This lead to an economic down turn from lack of commerce that the road had brought. Today the train stations have been taken down and the only train that passes through Newfield is a freight train. The Grey Hound bus service no longer passes through Newfield. Newfield is not the economic boom town it once was when Route 13 and the railroad passed through it.

This house at the corner of Main Street and Shaffer Road was a stop for the stage coach that passed through Newfield every day.

Content provided by Thomas Seaney


Finley, George M., et. al., Newfield--150 years, (1822-1972), (Ithaca: Art Craft of Ithaca, Inc., 1972), pp. 49-53. This book is available at the Newfield Historical Society. It provided much of the information for the text of this page.

"Geneva, Ithaca, and Sayre Railroad Timetable," The Newfield Tribune, July 20, 1889, on microfilm in the Newfield Historical Society.

Black and white photos on this page of the road crew and railroads are in the old photographs file at the Newfield Historical Society.

Photograph of the stage house by Tom Seaney.