The Erie Railroad, opened in 1851, played an important part in the life of mid-19th through mid-20th century people in Western New York. For Alfred farmers, it meant that agricultural goods could be shipped and sold more broadly. For the discerning lady, it meant that fine household goods could be ordered from places like Chicago or New York City. For University students, it meant that they could more easily travel between school and home. It also meant that invited speakers like Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass (to name a few) could manage speaking tours throughout the country and stop at places like Alfred.
The local depot was located in the appropriately named hamlet of Alfred Station. Local resident Asa Burdick was able to transport his box organ from Alfred to Andover via train in 1866. It would have provided a much smoother and more dependable mode of transportation than having it drawn in a horse and wagon on the muddy roads of March.
Asa notes the event in his diary, which also contained the receipt pictured above:
* Tuesday, March 20, 1866: Got a horse of E.B.G. and a buggy of D.M.C. and went to Alfred after Ellen and her things, boxed up the organ and took it to the depot. It stormed sleet and rain nearly all day
* Wednesday, March 21, 1866: We had a thunder shower last night the first this year. Loaded up and came home, brought up the organ from Andover. Weather warm and cloudy, wheeling good ground frozen