Rail service reached New Paltz in 1870. After a lengthy public debate over where to build the station, it was erected on the east bank of the Wallkill River. With the completion of the hugely popular Mohonk Mountain House in 1879, the station saw an increase in traffic and was visited by many famous folk, including two U.S. presidents — Chester A. Arthur and Rutherford B. Hayes. Destroyed by a fire in 1907, the station was rebuilt the same year and remained active until passenger service ended in 1937. The building sat empty for years and was almost demolished in the 1980s; it currently houses La Stazione Italian restaurant (now under new management). Bikers, runners, and other outdoor enthusiasts pass it all the time: The old station sits directly on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which spans almost 25 miles from Gardiner to Kingston.
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