Office of the Saratoga Springs City Historian West Side Oral Narrative Collection
Interview with Eugene Corsale
Eugene J. “Gene” Corsale (1928-2014) grew up in an Italian-American “railroad family” rooted on the West Side of Saratoga Springs. Like other family members, Gene spent his early years working on upstate New York railroads, except for the period he served in the US Navy during the Korean War. Gene’s stories reveal the grandeur and admiration of locomotive technology, along with dangers that resulted in deadly crashes and scarred communities. Gene recounts the heyday and decline of the railroads, railroad work as a teenager on the home front during World War II, and the importance of the railroad for transporting military troops, tourists, and horses. His account touches on changing aspects of West Side life, including neighborhood closeness, conversations from porches, walks to the former high school, and alley shortcuts. Gene also describes his family’s connections to the railroad-crossing shanty that serves as a memorial to railroad workers of Saratoga Springs.