Editor's Note--As a young railfan I knew Felix Reifschneider as one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable, and well-known of the "old guard" of railfans. What I didn't realize is that he had been a virtual child prodigy.
Long before the incisive research of Vincent Seyfried or the attractive efforts of George Foster and Ron Ziel, Mr. Reifschneider took upon himself the writing of this excellent history of the Long Island Rail Road, in an era when such efforts appealed mainly to a scholarly audience.
The 21st century reader will note some antiquities of language and usage. In rare cases, I've made changes in the text for purposes of clarity, such as where language such as "five years ago..." might be confusing. In those cases, the amendations are in square brackets: [...]. This is the first of three parts we will publish in 2001.
from The Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk
, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1925.
FRANK E. HAFF, secretary of the Long Island Railroad Company, labored for several years preparing a corporate, not a general history of the road.
While the work done by Mr. Haff is complete from the point of view of the corporation, it remained for Felix E. Reifschneider, of Hempstead, to prepare a truly interesting and authoritative account of the railroad's progress during nearly ninety years of its existence.
Mr. Reifschneider was the youngest of seven hundred students graduated from Cornell University in the class of 1922, being under the age of twenty. Born in Brooklyn on October 9, 1902, his parents moved to Hempstead five years later. At the age of eight he attended the Sacred Heart Convent School at Hempstead, and after graduation entered Hempstead High School, from which he graduated in 1918, the valedictorian of his class. He won a Cornell scholarship as well as a State scholarship.
While a freshman at Cornell, Mr. Reifschneider was nominated as a candidate for appointment to the Naval Academy. He found no difficulty in passing the necessary entrance examinations, but declined the appointment at Annapolis in order to continue his studies at Cornell. During the World War he was enrolled in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Upon graduation from Cornell, Mr. Reifschneider received the degree of Bachelor of Science and Chemistry. At the present time he is taking a course in chemical engineering at Columbia University.