Our founder, Captain Bill, aboard our first dinner vessel, the Flagship.
The Northern Central Railroad Station was built at the southern end of Seneca lake in the village of Watkins Glen in 1876. The station opened for business on July 10th of that year.
The station stood the test of time serving as a passenger and freight depot for over 100 years. As the railroads declined the Watkins station was downscaled to a single office for Con Rail operations. By the early 1980's, the station was completely abandoned and had fallen into disrepair.
In the early 1900's a wave of Italian immigrants arrived in Watkins Glen by rail, disembarking at the Watkins station. Two couples, Philip and Rose Simiele and Dominick and Theresa Roccisano arrived during this period looking for a new life in this new country. A son, William Simiele and daughter, Julia Roccisano would marry and have two children of their own. Eventually William and his family would own and develop the very lakefront location that greeted his parents in 1910.
William Simiele, best known as "Captain Bill" purchased an existing sightseeing boat company in 1963. Captain Bill was not one to sit still and after thirty years he found his business had grown to include son Mark, and daughter, Gina. He would need them for they now found themselves with the sightseeing vessel, a 270 passenger dinner vessel, a gift shop, miniature golf course, ice cream shop, and a marina.
In 1998, the Simiele's purchased the abandoned Watkins Glen station. Mark drew up plans to redesign the station into a unique waterfront restaurant. Intent upon maintaining the integrity of the original station architecture, Mark designed additions that invited the beautiful lakefront views into the structure. The transformation was spectacular. Now, 125 years after this grand old building was constructed, the station once again greets and serves visitors to our area.
The Simiele family welcomes you to the waterfront in Watkins Glen. We invite you to experience dining afloat aboard the 270 passenger dining vessel, Seneca Legacy, or for you landlubbers, enjoy a great meal at Seneca Harbor Station. Take a sightseeing cruise, or just stroll our beautiful lakefront with your family and friends.
We are looking forward to seeing you as we carry on the family's 56 year old tradition of entertaining guests on Seneca Lake.