Rome, NY (ROM)
An example of Neoclassical design, the depot is noted for its fine detailing, including glazed brick, bronze chandeliers and paired staircases with ornate ironwork railings.
6599 Martin Street
Rome, NY 13440
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2021): 6,228
- Facility Ownership: City of Rome
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Rome
- Platform Ownership: CSX Transportation
- Track Ownership: CSX Transportation
The Rome depot, built between 1912 and 1914 for the New York Central Railroad (NYC), stands across the rails from the south bank of the Mohawk River along the historic Water Level route. The one and a half-story brick station was constructed in a Neoclassical style and has been carefully restored.
Pairs of white-washed pillars flank both of the open entrance vestibules facing the street and parking lot. On the east end of the building, two tall double-windows flank an inset bay of four, all with three vertical lights each, and those with matching transom windows above them. A similar pattern is repeated on the western extension of the building, where offices sit. The front windows are in double sets of 3-over-3, having interior decorative grillwork. The upper mansard roof is of red tile trimmed with white-washed brackets and eaves. Inset and smaller than the flat first story, the walls of the second story possess large arched windows with decorative diamond panes typical of Beaux Arts structures. On the first story, three belts of pale stone wrap the building, two narrow above and below the windows, and there is a thicker belt on a frieze just below the first story roofline.
Upon entering from the front, the spacious waiting room reveals that the smaller top story’s arched windows provide plentiful light over the tiled floor and dark woodwork of the benches, window and door trim. The tall and gracefully curved and molded frame of the bowed ticket window provides a triplet of decoratively latticed lights over the grilles. The station’s interior walls are brickwork, which is light-colored and glazed above a slightly darker earthen glazed brick, the light colors providing an airy feeling. The dark wooden beams across the whitewashed ceiling form a sympathetic and harmonious pattern with the dark brown and cream tile work on the floors. A series of delicate triple-globed bronze chandeliers hang seemingly weightless above the waiting room floor.
At the rear of the waiting room stand paired symmetrical staircases with ornate openwork iron railings up to the near platform. These arch over the entrance to the pedestrian subway to the center platform, which features an enclosed waiting shelter under the traditional Y-shaped awnings. The platform itself is heated, eliminating the need for snow removal during the winter.
Amtrak acquired the station from Conrail, and in 1988 it conveyed the building to the city of Rome. In 1996, Amtrak was planning to close the Rome station as a money-saving measure, which would have meant consolidating passenger traffic through Utica’s station. City officials managed to maintain the stop in Rome, and thereafter turned to their state officials for funds for renovating the station.
Phases one and two of the renovation undertook the construction of the inter-track platform and the passenger subway, both completed in 2002. Phases three and four, concluded in 2004, renovated the station building, including roof and window repairs, updating the bathrooms and constructing offices beside the waiting room. The cost of the renovation was approximately $4 million, funded in part by federal transportation grants, and supported by $25,000 raised and donated by the Rome Rotary Club. A plaque on the front of the building honors the club’s generosity.
Originally the city had planned for their transit contractor to occupy offices in the station. However, the current transit contractor works out of downtown Rome, and because of its distance from the center of the city across the river, the station’s office space has proved difficult to fill.
Before there was a Rome, N.Y., there was the Oneida tribe’s Great Carry, which was a portage trail of one to six miles (depending on the season and wetness of the weather), between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. For centuries, this portage formed a crucial link between waterways and bridged the gap between eastern and western territories: the Mohawk River flows east to the Hudson and Wood Creek flows into Oneida Lake and thence into Lake Ontario via the Oneida River. Present-day Rome stands at the eastern end of the Oneida Carry.
As early as 1674, Dutch explorers might have reached the Oneida Carry. The English later began to exert a presence in the area, building a fortified trading post where Oswego marks the entry of the Oneida River into Lake Ontario. Eventually, they built fortifications all along the portage and river route, but this initial effort was erased by French military efforts during the French and Indian Wars in that region. But in the late summer of 1758, the British forces returned to construct Fort Stanwix on the Mohawk River, giving them a dominant presence over the Carry, which they retained for some years until they later abandoned the fort.
The Oneida, who sided with the patriots in the Revolutionary war, urged the Americans to occupy Fort Stanwix. In July of 1776, the 3rd New Jersey Regiment under Colonel Elias Dayton became the first Americans to garrison the fort. Because the fort was now in American hands, Colonel Dayton renamed it in honor of General Philip Schuyler.
The British force, under General Barry St. Leger, arrived on August 2, 1777 and besieged the fort with approximately 2,000 British, American loyalist, Canadian, German, and British-allied natives. On August 6, a relatively untried force under General Nicholas Herkimer, on their way to assist the besieged fort, was ambushed by loyalist forces at Oriskany, close to the fort, and a bloody battle ensued. In the end, both sides retreated but the fort did not fall to the loyalists, although Herkimer died of his wounds a few days later. In this part of New York, at least, the Revolutionary war was more of a civil war, and left deep scars.
The people of Rome—which was at first called Lynchville—did not forget Fort Stanwix, although the original fort was long gone by the time its location was declared a national monument in 1935. In the 1970s, the fort was reconstructed in the midst of the city, a joint effort between the Park Service and the city at both preservation and urban renewal. The fort and its accompanying Oriskany Battlefield monument remain popular historical attractions to this day.
The Erie Canal had its beginnings in the wetlands just south of Rome, paralleling the Mohawk River, and there the first shovel-full of earth was turned on July 4, 1817. The canal brought freight trade to the city when it opened in 1825, but passenger traffic did not really increase until the first train passed through in the summer of 1839. With the railroad and the canal providing transport, the village’s first industries began to grow.
Rome’s farming community contributed to the city’s growth through the efforts of Jesse Williams, who in 1851 created a factory system for the manufacture of cheese—hitherto an unpredictable item as to its availability and quality. By 1864, Rome had become a world center of the cheese market.
The industrial base expanded significantly after the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad built its shops to the west of Rome in 1863. Three years later, the Rome Iron Works organized and John B. Jervis, pioneering civil engineer and Rome resident, formed the Rome Merchant Iron Mill as well. Jervis designed and supervised the construction of five of America’s earliest railroads, was chief engineer of three major canal projects, designed the first locomotive to run in America (the Stourbridge Lion), and designed and built the 41 mile Croton Aqueduct (New York City’s water supply for 50 years) and the Boston Aqueduct.
Rome’s industries in the latter part of the 19th century included boots and shoemaking, canning, breweries, and locomotive works. In 1878, by the time iron rails were being replaced with steel, the Rome Iron Works converted to the production of brass. By 1890 it became the Rome Brass and Copper Company, and Rome was coming to be known as “Copper City” for the amount of copper goods it produced. After mergers and into the 20th century, Rome Brass and Copper became Revere Copper and Brass. By the 1920s, Rome proclaimed the “one tenth of the copper used in the United States is manufactured in Rome”—as was posted in a monumental sign over the Revere factory.
More major shifts in transportation through Rome came about first in 1914, with the NYC’s realignment from the center of the city, the setting of the city’s first passenger station, to run south of the river close to the canal, allowing the railroad to run freight around instead of through the busy city. Then, the Erie Canal was closed in 1918: New York State had authorized the building of the Barge Canal in 1903, and this successor waterway opened in 1918, taking advantage of the rivers as the original canal had not. The Erie Canal through Rome has been largely filled in and now is marked in part by a trail on the south side of the river.
Rome’s next economic milestone occurred in 1941 when four men paid the Public Works Commission an unexpected visit to scout for the location of an Air Force Base. In 82 days, Rome was announced as the site of the $13.2 million, 2,000-acre base. Griffiss Air Force Base came to be a city within a city, accommodating 4,000 military and an equal number of civilian personnel serving four major Air Force organizations. This boom time for the region ended when, on September 22, 1995, the base was closed at the recommendation of the Base Closure Commission and the property turned over to the city.
Many of the mills and factories moved to the South in the 20th century, and like other cities of the region, Rome has had to reinvent itself. High tech industries have replaced mills, and recreation and tourism have become major income sources. Along with the Fort Stanwix and the Oriskany Battlefield monuments, Rome also offers the Erie Canal Village to visitors interested in history. The Canal Village, a living outdoor museum, presents a reconstructed 19th century settlement on the site of the beginning of the canal’s construction. Narrow-gauge train rides are offered as well as packet boat and wagon excursions. The Canal Village is also home to the New York State Museum of Cheese.
Rome has been home to several notable Americans: Francis Bellamy, author of the Pledge of Allegiance lived and is buried in Rome. Alex Haley, author of the well-known saga, Roots, also lived in Rome. Along with John B. Jervis, two more notable technologists also hail from Rome: Dr. Potter, inventor of the two-piece hand-held telephone; and John Dove, who was instrumental in the development of CD-Rom technology.
Empire Service trains are supported by funds made available by the New York State Department of Transportation.
Station Building (with waiting room)
- ATM not available
- No Quik-Trak kiosks
- Unaccompanied child travel not allowed
- No vending machines
- No WiFi
- Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure
- Amtrak Express shipping not available
- No checked baggage service
- No checked baggage storage
- Bike boxes not available
- No baggage carts
- Ski bags not available
- No bag storage
- Shipping boxes not available
- No baggage assistance
- Same-day parking is available; fees may apply
- Overnight parking is available; fees may apply
- Accessible platform
- Accessible restrooms
- No accessible ticket office
- Accessible waiting room
- Accessible water fountain
- Same-day, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
- Overnight, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
- No high platform
- No wheelchair
- Wheelchair lift available
Station Waiting Room Hours
|Mon||07:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Tue||07:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Wed||07:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Thu||07:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Fri||07:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Sat||07:00 am - 11:00 pm|
|Sun||07:00 am - 11:00 pm|