OSWEGO, NY – The Guardhouse/Switching Shanty, now installed in the East Rail/Trail Park, with the permission of the Oswego Common Council, is a community project of the Oswego Sunrise Rotary Club and the Interact Club of Oswego.
The concrete structure was built more than 70 years ago, based on a model developed by a railroad in Pennsylvania during World War II, to replace wood being used for other war-time purposes.
Various railroads used this model for many purposes including telephone booths, outhouses, and, like this one, to protect railroad switches from the elements.
Almost a dozen of these structures were located around the city of Oswego, at points where spar lines branched off the main rail line.
Since this particular shanty was located at the corner of Fort Ontario where the spar line went into the Fitzgibbons Boiler Factory, it is believed that is also functioned as a guardhouse.
It was rescued from the banks of Lake Ontario at that intersection a number of years ago, with the aid of the city DPW, and has been stored at the DPW parking lot awaiting restoration.
Its roof was actually pulled out of the lake.
Members of the Sunrise Rotary Club and the Interact Club will restore the structure as a reminder of the once important role that railroads and local industry played in the war effort during World War II.
Appropriate signage will be installed.
Appreciation is expressed for the support of the mayor’s office, the city DPW, Shawn Boshart of Oswego County Monuments for the transportation of the shack from the place of rescue to its location on East First Street and Lisa Shaw who provided financial support for the temporary repairs.