Tag: Exploring Waldwick NJ

Waldwick Museum of Local History           4 Hewson Avenue                            Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Museum of Local History 4 Hewson Avenue Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Museum of Local History

4 Hewson Avenue

Waldwick, NJ  07463

(201) 873-8913

http://www.WaldwickMuseum.org

https://www.facebook.com/waldwick.MLH/

The Museum is open one Sunday afternoon a month and for special events only.

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46892-d14049026-Reviews-Waldwick_Museum_of_Local_History-Waldwick_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Waldwick Museum of Local History during the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 8th Annual History Day for their exhibition, “How Immigration & the Railroad Shaped our Towns”. They currently have an exhibition on the “100th Anniversary of Waldwick”. The Waldwick Museum is in the restored 1887 Railroad Station, which has served the town of Waldwick and the surrounding towns.

The Museum is has been planned for years and the restoration was spearheaded by Doug Cowie, the Vice-President of the Waldwick Community Alliance, who at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the opening on May 22nd, 2016, thanked resident, Kay Williams. Ms. Williams formed the Waldwick Historical Society in 1977.

The town is celebrating their 100 Anniversary and the new exhibition at the museum reflects it with exhibitions and memorabilia from the town of Waldwick. The currently exhibition is broken down into sections.

The main part of the museum has the history of the town displayed including the schools, police and fire departments and town organizations. The history of the railroad service in town is displayed of how it developed and the how the town grew around the station. Since the town is celebrating its ‘100th Birthday’, there are all sorts of pictures of the town at various stages.

Waldwick Museum of Local History V

The inside displays

The museum is only open once a month so please check their website.

In a ‘Brief History of the Borough of Waldwick’, the timeline for the town is:

Pre-1700: Lenni-Lenape Indians inhabited the land.

1600’s: European farmers settled the land.

Late 1700’s: Franklin Turnpike is a toll road.

1840’s: The Railroad connecting Jersey City with Suffern is built and ran through Waldwick, then named New Prospect.

1852: Erie Railroad Company takes over the railroad.

1880: New Prospect becomes a depot.

1886: An architectural Queen Anne Style depot is built. The depot is called ‘Waldwick’ meaning “Light in the Woods”. The depot brings more commerce to the area also called Orville Township.

1890: The Railroad Signal Tower is erected in a similar style as the Depot.

1919: The small railroad hamlet is incorporated as the Borough of Waldwick.

When I visited the museum that day, the theme of the day was how immigration had changed the suburbs and how the Town of Waldwick had a increase of Italian immigrants move into the town bringing their traditions with them and how it shaped the town.

They also had an extensive exhibition of the town’s railroad past with maps and pictures of the old railroads. The pictures are accompanied with memorabilia from the railroad era. There is also artifacts from the town in different eras on display.

The museum has limited hours and is run by volunteers. It is open one afternoon a month and for special events.

History of the Waldwick Train Station:

The Waldwick Railroad Station is one of the few extant frame terminal predating 1900 on the Erie Railroad line in New Jersey. Planned and built in 1887, the structure’s Queen Anne style is representative of the small suburban railroad depots erected throughout the United States in the last quarter of the 19th century. In 1996, the Station was named to the National Registry of Historic Places as well as the New Jersey Registry of Historic Places.

It also serves as home to the Waldwick Museum of Local History where exhibits commemorate life in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries and the impact that the railroad has had on the Borough of Waldwick and the surrounding area. The Waldwick Community Alliance (WCA) has complied a collection of hundreds of historical photographs and documents as well as artifacts from that time that are or will be on display. The WCA exhibits these historic artifacts along with others that are donated and collected.

Waldwick Museum of Local History IV

(The Waldwick Historical Society)

Disclaimer: This information was from the Waldwick Historical Society and I give them full credit for this information.

Waldwick Signal Tower                                   1 Bohnert Place                                 Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Signal Tower 1 Bohnert Place Waldwick, NJ 07463

Waldwick Signal Tower

1 Bohnert Place

Waldwick, NJ  07463

http://www.wctower@optimum.net

http://www.allaboardwaldwick.org/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erie-Railroad-Signal-Tower-Waldwick-Yard/135792839782599

Open: Please note the website for when the two buildings, the tower and the railroad station museum are open.

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46892-d10366154-Reviews-Erie_Railroad_Signal_Tower-Waldwick_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

This was the second time I visited the Waldwick Signal Tower, one of the last surviving of its kind on the railroad line. The architectural Queen Anne Style depot was built in 1886. The depot was called ‘Waldwick’ meaning “Light in the Woods”. The railroad signal tower was erected in 1890 in a similar style as the depot (Waldwick Historical Society).

Waldwick Signal Tower II

The History of the Signal Tower

The tower is a two story museum right next to the tracks in a rather obscure location in the back which you have to reach coming off Hopper Road to 1 Bohnert Place and the parking lot is off to the side.

Waldwick Signal Tower IV

There is some walking here and not ADA accessible as the building was built so long ago but you can see it from a car from the parking lot and get a feel for its look and purpose at an earlier time in history. The main room downstairs had an interesting exhibition of railroad deeds from the various railroads that used to be part of the system of Bergen County whereas the upstairs which can be reached from the outside.

Upstairs you get a better view of the tracks and the surrounding area. There was a train video going the first time I was there and there are members of the Waldwick Historical Society on hand to answer any questions.

Waldwick Signal Tower History:

Waldwick’s Train Signal Tower is both historically and architecturally significant. It is a rare historical treasure for its residents and railroad enthusiasts from far and wide. Before the turn of the 20th Century, the Waldwick rail yard was an active repair depot and turn station for the Erie Main Line from Jersey City, NJ to Port Jervis, NY and was a major employer in Waldwick thus  contributing  to the borough’s residential and commercial growth.

The ornate Queen Anne style building was built in 1890 and housed the mechanism connecting switches and signals allowing trains to safely move from one track to another. The tower men who operated the switches by hand had great power indeed in their time.

By the mid-1980’s, upgrades in computerized signal equipment warranted the elimination of the tower. The tower was slated for demolition in June 1987. The Waldwick Historical Society members led by Kay Williams campaigned to place the tower on The National Registry of Historical Places. This accomplishment allowed the tower to at least stay dormant till the next wave of enthusiasts came along in 1999.

Waldwick Signal Tower III

The tower before the renovation

Michael Brunkhorst and Glenn Corbet banded together a group of citizens to form the All Aboard committee of Waldwick’s Historical Society. Curtis Springfield of Wanaque, who is the great-grandson of the renowned locomotive engineer, Harvey Springfield, got wind of the tower’s trials. He stepped up to the plate and purchased the tower for $6,000 then gave the Tower to the Borough of Waldwick as a gift to preserve for future generations in honor of the trainman’s family name.

The small All Aboard group set out to create awareness of the tower’s existence and it’s plight. Before long, fund drives were organized grant applications were filed. The response of a number of supporters including Mr. Robert Keeble, have given this project a solid start.

Meticulous measures are currently being made and can now be witnessed at the track end of Bohnert Place, to maintain the tower’s historical authenticity. Attention is being given to the placement of exact shaped decorative shingles and the repair and replacement of the original slate roof are among the initial stages of it’s restoration.

Waldwick Signal Tower

The Mission Statement:

The All Aboard continues seeking membership and financial support to complete the tower with the vision of becoming “The Harvey Springfield Memorial Tower at Waldwick” for generations of Waldwick citizens and for rail enthusiasts everywhere. If funding continues the tower is sure to be the pride of Waldwick with time and care.

This information comes from the Waldwick Historical Society’s pamphlet.

All Aboard Waldwick

Bless this tower, standing tall,

With Memories we share with all;

Bless the levers standing there,

Their work now finished,

with a prayer;

Bless this time in history now,

Remembering its always, this we vow;

Bless the ones who share this song,

And keep us all in health and strong.

Words by Helen Taylor.

A Brief History of the Borough of Waldwick

Pre-1700: Lenni-Lepane Indians inhabited the land.

1600’s: European farmers settled the land.

Late 1700’s: Franklin Turnpike is a toll road.

1840’s: The railroad connecting Jersey City with Suffern is built and ran through Waldwick, then named New Prospect.

1852: Erie Railroad Company takes over the railroad.

1880: New Prospect becomes a depot.

1886: An architectural Queen Anne Style depot is built. The Depot is called ‘Waldwick’ meaning “Light in the Woods”. The depot brings more commerce to the area also called ‘Orville Township’.

1890: The Railroad Signal Tower is erected in a similar style as the Depot.

1919: The small railroad hamlet is incorporated as the Borough of Waldwick.

Disclaimer: This information is taken directly from the Waldwick Historical Society pamphlet and I give them full credit for the information. Try to take time to see both  the tower and the museum by the train station. The Whistle Stop Restaurant is around the corner and has a reputation for excellent sandwiches and ice cream.