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Sussex Register - April 11, 1907 issue
The Old and the New Freight Houses

Contrasts of railroad Methods of 1854 and 1907 - Passenger and Freight Business Changed in Character and Volume - One car Trains Replaced by those of Four and Seven.

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The above is a faithful reproduction of the old freight station in Newton, which was erected in the fall and winter of 1854-55, after the first trains began running on December 11, 1854. The builder's name is not remembered, but we believe it was William Sears. The structure was about 150x60 feet, and was used for both passenger and freight service until sometime in the {eighteen} seventies, when the present passenger station was erected. Trains ran into the station and passengers from one car were discharged upon a narrow platform in front of the general office and store rooms.

All who did not care to ride in Thomas G. Coon's "Star of the West," which succeeded an old coach, walked to their homes through mud and darkness. Street lights were an unknown luxury and the plank walk, which came later, extended only from Titman's store (Union Place) to Losey's bakery, opposite the Court House, and covered only the lower half of the street.

The freight house was of wood, with heavy wooden trusses, and the roof was of Pennsylvania slate, which rotted and fell inside of 25 years. If one possessed the equivalent of the value of the freight which has been carted to and from this old station, he would rank with Carnegie, the Astors and other multimillionaires. A sketch of great length could be made of scenes and incidents about the old station, but our present purpose is to show it in contrast with the new.

With all the craze of amateur photographers for the ancient, it is somewhat singular that only one person is known to have photographed the old building, and it was a search of several months before The Register found that one person, who also has a photograph of "the hole" between the freight and passenger stations, before it was filled in and eradicated-the spot oft pointed out "where Mary Cole was hanged." This is as much if not a greater contrast than the two freight buildings, as the unsightly hole is now a level spot, ornamented with flower beds in season, green lawns, iron fencing and paved walks. Other portions of the once ill-appearing yard have also vanished and with concrete ash pits, a handsome brick round house, sand, oil and heating boiler houses, together with the placing of a turn table of the largest pattern and modern design, filling the hole on the other side of the high embankment where Jimmy Daly once stood and threw the switch that sent the locomotive onto the old turntable, and the passenger car into the old depot.

Alone of all the men connected with the early days of the old freight house, Jimmy Daly survives. S. B. Delano was the first freight and station agent under the management of Thomas Hewitt, then came ????? Clark, who afterward went to Stanhope, he was succeeded by Peter Cannon; and under the superintendency of Timothy Case, Charles Arvis passed from the old to the new station.

Since its use for freight and storage alone, until razed last summer, the agents have been John Barrett, Amzi Crawn, Ira Blazer and Wm. F. Hazelton.



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The new freight station differs as much from the old one in its style and fittings as it does in construction. It was completed and first occupied about six weeks since, though the grading and paving is yet to be finished. The tracks for loading and unloading are on the western side of the structure, and the space on the eastern side utilized by wagons to be paved with Belgian blocks. While walks of concrete cover all approaches. Concrete platforms and approaches at the southern end are railed and made convenient for the loading and unloading of live stock. It is in all respects a model freight house, and the pattern for those to be constructed hereafter by the Lackawanna road.

The Register is indebted to E. F. Cantine, Division Engineer, for the annexed information in reference to the new building.

"This building was built according to plans prepared by F. J. Nels, Architect, under direction of Lincoln Bush, Chief Engineer, and the building is an innovation in freight house construction upon the road to the extent that it is constructed of concrete instead of brick, as has been our usual practice. The building is 133 feet 5 inches long and 33 feet wide, with office and record room facilities upon the street end of the building 18 feet, 4 inches by 38 feet, 10 inches. The lower floor has beneath the office room a room which contains the furnace, and can be used for storage of perishable freight. The building is furnished with modern plumbing, heated with hot water, wired for electric light and also piped for gas. The floor of freight room proper, as well as the platforms outside of building have been constructed of concrete. It is lighted from the roof."

The Lackawanna receives a large sum from Newtonians, for passenger and freight service, and it has also been liberal in its expenditures. It is within bounds to say that the improvements during the past five years approximate an outlay of $100,000. While all are gratified with the improvements, which add to the town's appearance, and the comfort of travelers, there is but one want not yet supplied, and that is an extension of the covered platform at the passenger station. With that supplied there is no kick coming, as the station building has been modernized and calls for no immediate improvements.


[This article was called to my attention by Kevin Wright]

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