Early History

Pre-Civil War: "...Cordwood was a major source of revenue for the railroad to transport to New York City for people to use as a  source of home heating fuel before coal became more common.   Farmers who were clearing their land would bring the wood to trackside locations by wagon for the railroad to ship to the city. The LIRR on eastbound trips would haul back wood ash and horse manure as fertilizer..."
The Growth and Decline of the Long Island Rail Road Freight Traffic In Suffolk County
by Michael Bartley

April, 1867: "...Over toward Newtown Creek in Maspeth work was also progressing. The railroad successfully negotiated the purchase of thirty-five acres of meadow land belonging to Calvary Cemetery between Jack's and Dutch Kills creeks with a valuable frontage along Newtown Creek on which to establish a freight and manure depot.  A depot on the East River would crowd existing factories, and the trans-shipment of manure would make the area intolerable to residents..."  The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part One: South Side R.R. of L.I. by Vincent F. Seyfried 1961

Flushing & North Side R.R. 1873-1874: Next to passenger traffic, in production of revenue, came the freight traffic of the road. The Flushing & North Side R.R. In February, 1874, as a result of a reduction in freight rates, the manure hauling business doubled.

July 22, 1874--
Manure on the Island Trees siding makes the passing siding so slick that one engine is unable to stop and slides into another.

The Central R.R., because of its newness and glamour, won the preference of the Hempstead and Babylon people and secured the lion's share of the New York travel. The farmers along the line appreciated the low freight rates, and a heavy traffic developed in shipping
manure with trains of as many as twenty-four cars.  During the 1880's and 1890's and up to about 1898, all the fast trains to points beyond Babylon ran via the Central R.R. Regular local freight service (carload lots of manure, potatoes, etc.) continued until at least the mid 1920's.

The flourishing freight business of the road induced the company to build a new freight depot and storehouse with a 100 foot platform at Vernon Avenue. The new structure was completed for use in July 1874. In February, 1874, as a result of a reduction in freight rates, the manure hauling business doubled.   The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part Two: The Flushing, North Shore & Central Railroad  by Vincent F. Seyfried Part Two 1963

Kings Park Hospital manure siding
Emery Map 9/1957
Archive: Dave Keller

Bushwick Branch manure track
CR4 1924 p.45

LIRR post card Notification Form 121 - Manure at Bushwick siding 2/17/1894

 "Please send check for car manure 1115 to C. R. Buffett, East Northport for $1225 and oblige."  

Bushwick Branch manure track Emery map 1920's Archive: Dave Keller

In 1924, site of Minor C. Keith manure farm siding east of Bay Shore. Removed c.1930, per Emery map MP 37-38  7/1958  Archive: Dave Keller

Telegram to Minor C. Keith Babylon siding "out of service" notification 9/08/1930 Archive: Dave Keller


Emery Map Central Ext.  MP 31-32  Maywood Siding 8/1958 Archive: Dave Keller

Patchogue PD Tower Crew Messages these two specially mention manure:

F. R. G.  11/02/1929
L.I. 5615 car
manure for East Hampton set out at Sayville.  Hot box.  Bill left at Sayville.     
Condr. Welsh, Eng. 118

J. F. H.  11/09/1932
Set out LI 5815 at Lindenhurst with hot journal.  Dest. Southampton.  Lading
Waybill at Dest.  Condr. Collins, Extra 109



Lime lading waybill Maywood Siding 11/11/1909
Archive: Dave Keller

A shipment of lime from Amityville to St. Catherine's Infirmary at Maywood Siding.

Back then, lime was used for two major purposes: 
1. Dump down the openings under the outhouse seats to kill the smell and disintegrate the waste collected
2. Use to assist in the decomposition of dead bodies

Being an infirmary, they may have used it for both those purposes, such as when they had a "John Doe" or "Jane Doe" in the morgue.
Dave Keller

“Maywood Siding”  lime delivered to be added/mixed to the outbound manure loads to facilitate transport as lime assists in odor control and facilitates the manure solid breakdown process.  Steven Lynch

ISLAND TREES:  Original station stop of  CRR of LI 1870s (?)  No depot building erected (per Vincent F. Seyfried) located at Massapequa Road (later Hicksville Rd.) crossing the CRR’s tracks.  Discontinued as station stop: c.1880s (?). Later site of manure siding (25.40 miles from LI City) listed in CR4s as “Island Tree” eff. 3/01/1913, 9/01/1919 and 7/01/1924. Out of service: __?
2nd station consisting of a 1,000 foot long, low, cinder platform opened: 1916 at Hicksville Rd. crossing of Central Branch at what is today’s Levittown, for Merillon Estates Corp. (real estate developer). Closed: 19__?
Research: Dave Keller

Island Trees Siding: July 22, 1874 - The CRR of LI: Manure on the Island Trees siding makes the passing siding so slick that one engine is unable to stop and slides into another.  The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part Two: The Flushing, North Shore & Central Railroad  by Vincent F. Seyfried Part Two 1963

1924 CR4 Central Extension - Island Tree siding Archive: Art Huneke

 Central Extension manure sidings blueprint  c.1920 Archive: Art Huneke

Sprague’s Barn - Manure siding between Meadowbrook 1 and New Bridge Rd. stations
New Bridge Rd - 1874 Manure siding where New Bridge Road crossed the Central Ext.
Island Trees - Manure siding CR4s as “Island Tree” effective 3/01/1913
Plain Edge - 1873 Discontinued as station stop_? Location of manure siding last used in 1939
  Research: Dave Keller

The property in Levittown where the main electric utility service wires are, is still owned by the Long Island Rail Road/MTA. This was the site of the former Central Rail Road Line, which is located north of Hempstead Turnpike, Levittown, NY.  In the years before Levittown, when this was all farmland, the local farmers would sometimes refer to it as the "Manure Line". This property has been in the news in the past. In 1963, the Nassau Planning Commission recommended that the rail line should be reactivated as part of a transportation loop. The plan was protested by homeowners along the right-of-way area.

Nassau Loop Proposal - Nassau Planning Commission Levittown Tribune 6/27/1963
Info/Archive: Joshua Soren


Ex-LIRR ROW Jerusalem Ave. to Hicksville Rd., Levittown - Design/Archive: Steven Lynch

"Peck's Siding" in Brentwood was just west of the original Thompson Station.  According to Dyson's book, William L. Peck came to Brentwood in 1887 and bought massive estate of a thousand acres, which included part or all of the original Wicks land at Thompson Station. The Peck Farm extended to both sides of the LIRR mainline. In 1903 the property was inherited by his two sons Benjamin S. and William L. Peck, Jr., both NYC politicians and fertilizer tycoons. Apparently they got contracts with various city agencies for exclusive collection of horse manure collection. The LIRR "built a ten-car spur at Pine Aire, which became known as 'Peck's Siding' to handle the vast quantities of fertilizer that were brought and stored at the farm." After the manure was rendered into fertilizer, it was shipped back by the LIRR to "Peck's Slip" at 34th Street on the East River where it was loaded onto two masted schooners. During World War I, the Peck brothers obtained an exclusive contract for the horse manure from Camp Upton and it was shipped to Pecks Siding, Brentwood at a rate of  3-15 car loads a day. As many as 500 rail car loads of fertilizer would pass through Peck's Siding in a summer. The Peck Brothers made millions in the fertilizer business; Peck's Siding was closed or abandoned about 1922 and according to Dyson the tracks were torn up a decade later.  Peck's Siding was rather famous or infamous, depending on your outlook, and made it into the writings of the time.  (Verne Dyson, A Century of Brentwood, 1951, Pgs. 149 &150).  -  Pine Aire Emery map MP 39-40 5/1958 -  Archive: Dave Keller