Its Depot and Distinguished Citizen
By Beryl Frank
The Kane Depot:
The town was named for General Thomas L. Kane. Its depot was built in 1873. The first railroad to operate through the depot was the Philadelphia/Erie. Subsequent railroads included the Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Eastern and, finally, the Buffalo Western. The Kane Depot Preservation Society purchased the building from the Buffalo Western in 1995.
Today, the Kane depot is the oldest surviving building in the town. It is also one of two existing buildings that General Kane was sure to have been in.
General Thomas L. Kane:
Thomas Leiper Kane was born January 27, 1822, in Philadelphia. His father was an attorney who later served as a federal judge. His mother was the former Jane Duval Leiper, who was described as one of the most beautiful women of her time.
Kane, himself, married Elizabeth Denniston Wood, who became a doctor. The Kanes must have been very proud of their children; all became professional people.
Thomas Kane had a close friendship with Brigham Young, which lasted until Young's death in 1877.
Kane had presidents of the United States for his friends, and knew editors such as Horace Greeley. Kane had a mighty pen, was an eloquent speaker, and worked for such causes as freedom for slaves and women's suffrage. But his thoughts turned to the Civil War, and so he volunteered to the Union Army and served heroically at Gettysburg. He left the war as a major general.
Sometime after his recovery from war injuries, and serving time as a captive in the Shenandoah Valley, the Kane family settled in to their homesite at Kane Summit. The two-story mansion was started in 1860, but delayed because of the war, and completed in 1868.
General Kane died December 26, 1883. He is buried in Kane.
The mansion at Kane Summit burned to the ground in 1896; due to its elevation, it was out of reach of water to save it. Kane's widow then built another mansion on Clay Street.
Source: Pioneer Magazine, September/October 1994.
The Kane depot as it looks today. [photo by Blanche Stein]
Historic marker showing for whom town was named. [photo by Blanche Stein]
Postcard photo of the depot prior to 1890. [courtesy Kane Historic Preservation Society]
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(A book of postcards may be purchased from Kane Historic Preservation Society, 1 S. Fraley St., Kane, Pennsylvania 16735)