Newburgh Heritage

Riding the Northside 6

By Mary McTamaney
Posted 2/8/24

Edward F. X. Gallagher died in January and was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery last week. He was the long-time president of Gallagher Transportation and was a crucial supporter of charities that …

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Newburgh Heritage

Riding the Northside 6


Edward F. X. Gallagher died in January and was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery last week. He was the long-time president of Gallagher Transportation and was a crucial supporter of charities that lifted his hometown and gave it a better future. Among the flowers arranged at his funeral service, was a unique display of carnations made into the shape and colors of the leprechaun that is widely recognized as the logo of Mr. Gallagher’s long-distance bus company, Leprechaun Lines. But those big inter-city buses aren’t the only ones that set out each day from the Gallagher family’s transportation company to carry passengers to their important destinations. Yellow school buses now carry children and teens all over the vast school district. Local city bus routes carry people to work and to shopping as they have since the transition from the old city trolley system in the 1930’s. The Leprechaun Lines website posts the schedule for the Newburgh Local Transit Service too and it is amazingly similar to the routes I recall from my youth.

From my neighborhood just outside Downing Park, my family usually got aboard a bus on Dubois, or South or Third Street. I rode with my mother or grandmother to go shopping and I rode around town to visit friends from school. For a middle-schooler, the joy of roaming around Newburgh with a friend while looking out the window of the bus was a favorite Saturday activity.

We would decide where we wanted to get out based on the merchandise we saw displayed in store windows. The bus driver had a regular route of stops but would pull over when a passenger pulled the overhead cord that rang a buzzer. That was a blessing for older riders who could shorten their walk home if they could get off the bus at a nearby corner.

My neighborhood was served by the old Northside 6 and Downing Park routes. Each bus in the fleet had a distinct daily route and the drivers and frequent riders got to know each other, especially in the morning and evening commuter hours. The corner of Broadway and Liberty Streets was the hub where transfers took place. People would step off one bus and wait beside the Newburgh Savings Bank for their connecting bus.

In 1950, there were twelve bus routes to choose from: Northside, Crosstown, Southside, Downing Park, Heights, Orange Lake, Stewart Field, and five Broadway routes that were centered on our main street but went out beyond the city limits to Balmville or Winona Lake or had special commuter stops for the Dupont Fabrikoid plant or the junior high schools at opening and dismissal times.

My “Northside 6” route was mapped this way: “Beginning at the corner of Broad and Water Street, to Colden Street, to Broadway, to Liberty Street, to South Street, to Powell Avenue, to Gidney Avenue, to Columbus Avenue, to Fullerton Avenue, to Third Street, to West Street, to South Street, to South Plank Road, to Fowler Avenue to Broadway, to the City Line. Return over the same route.” Lots of territory covered many times a day. Amazingly, local bus service is quite similar today. Look at the Gallagher family’s Leprechaun Bus Lines website and see:

Then compare to generations back by looking at the wonderful guide book, This Is Newburgh, made by the Newburgh Chamber of Commerce in 1950. It is in the Local History collection at the Newburgh Free Library (or I can e-mail you a copy of the 1950 route schedules).

The main Newburgh bus terminal in 1950 was on the riverfront – on Front Street at the foot of Second Street – right between the ferry terminal and the steamboat dock. At that big plaza buses came and went for all points beyond this city. The sign on the long brick bus terminal proclaimed “Municipal Comfort Station and Motor Coach Terminal.” For a modest building, it gave a welcoming impression. It advertised a place to find a rest room, wash up after a journey, enjoy a drink at the soda fountain and then board not just a bus but a “motor coach” to your next destination.