to visit the Minisink Valley Historical Society website.
MISSION STATEMENT. . . .
The Tri-States Railway Preservation Society exists for the purpose of maintaining
museum exhibits within the City of Port Jervis, New York, of railroad memorabilia
for the perusal of the general public and to protect and preserve the railroad history
of the city and surrounding area. Society activities aim to manage and care for all
existing museum exhibits, collect and catalog artifacts, interpret the history of the
Erie Railroad as well as other major regional railways, research and mount new
exhibits, and to help preserve places, records, and equipment of earlier times. The
society enthusiastically solicits new members from the general public as well as
retirees for the purpose of furthering its work and sustaining interest in railroad
Newsletter of the Tri-States Railway Preservation Society
Port Jervis, NY
to download the membership application as a printable PDF file (portable document format). The free Adobe Reader
or another PDF reader is required to view/print the file after downloading).
Visit our Exhibit space . . .
While the Tri-States Railway Preservation Society still lacks a
permanent museum home, we have nevertheless provided exhibits of some
of our artifacts on Pike Street in the former Elks Home Building, now
the Youth Community Center.
Just inside the main entrance in the lobby area are four free-standing
display cases containing Erie Railroad artifacts and photographs, with
each exhibit built around a theme. There are also wall-mounted
photograph collections and an operating trolley car on the fireplace
These free exhibits are open to the public every weekday 10 AM to 6
PM. It will be open Saturday 11 AM to 3 PM. Hours are subject to
Free parking is available on Pike Street near the building entrance or
one half block away in the municipal shoppers' parking lot.
The Society Store is also to be located at the Youth Center, hours yet to be determined. The Store offers a greatly expanded range of railroad books,
publications, videos, clothing, mugs, pins and patches, and the like, for the Erie Railroad, the DL&W Railroad, the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad, and several other local railroads.
The Erie Depot in 1906 before the addition of the baggage room
on the east end and the separate REA building on the west end.
ERIE DEPOT LOCATION AND HISTORY. . . .
Located at the intersection of Fowler Street and Jersey Avenue in Port Jervis, NY, the Erie Depot was opened July 8, 1889. While less than two years old, a disastrous fire completely destroyed the building on the day after Christmas, 1890. By June, 1891, construction of a new and enlarged depot was underway on the same site under the supervision of the contracting company of Gratton and Jennings of Buffalo. The present building was opened on February 2, 1892, and served the railroad and the city unaltered for 20 years. The first floor provided a general waiting room, trainmen's locker room and ticket office, smoking and rest rooms, and a ladies' waiting room; a restaurant occupied the west end of the building. The second floor housed offices for the Delaware Division Superintendent, the Port Jervis Trainmaster and Yardmaster, and the Communications Department. In 1912, with the Erie handling a steadily-growing volume of baggage and mail, a large baggage room was added on the east end of the building, along with a Railway Express Agency Annex at the west end. The depot was heated with steam piped from a central location, here the roundhouse, as was the custom of the day. Interior lighting was electrical, and the building's exterior and platforms were well lighted for passenger safety. Built at a cost of only $30,000, this beautiful Gothic-design edifice of red brick, with bluestone trimmings and terra cotta crestings and ornaments, proudly continued to welcome Erie Railroad travelers to the City of Port Jervis for many years.
But automobiles and airplanes were increasingly taking their toll on railroad passenger train travel. Use of the Depot began to decline, with a sharp reduction as the Erie closed down westward passenger service in November of 1966, leaving only a scattering of commuter runs, themselves soon to be abolished. The Depot continued to serve the railroad, now the Erie-Lackawanna, for several years. But in January, 1974, with passengers gone and its offices no longer needed, the depot was permanently closed. With the conveyance of E-L to Conrail in April of 1976, the property was offered to a developer who had expressed interest, but his plans failed to germinate. Having no need for the structure, the new owners boarded over windows and doors and left the once-grand Erie Depot to the mercies of the weather and vandals. Decay and deterioration progressed for several years until talk of demolition began to be heard.
Then in 1984 the Minisink Valley Historical Society of Port Jervis, NY, invoked one of its Mission tenets, that Society efforts be devoted to the preservation of historic places. With Former Executive Director Peter Osborne leading the way, ably assisted by Janis McCann Osborne of The Gazette, a massive effort was launched to save the Erie Depot, beginning with the acquiring of the necessary funding. Through the combined efforts of the Historical Society, the Port Jervis Development Corporation, and the Depot Preservation Society, formed expressly to save the venerable old building, public interest and enthusiasm were aroused, and through donations and New York State grants, work commenced under the supervision of Mr. Osborne and the three parent organizations. And thus it was that the Erie Depot Museum, installed in the former main waiting room, was born. Using donated and on-loan Erie Railroad artifacts from citizens of the Port Jervis region, Peter Osborne and the participating societies created exhibits that once attracted railroad-minded visitors from far and wide, sharing with them the story of the once-mighty Erie Railroad that contributed so much to the growth of New York's southeast counties. Finally, in the early nineties, the depot building and the Railway Express Agency Annex were extensively and painstakingly refurbished, restoring both structures to their current beauty and usefulness. And so it is that reports of the Erie Depot's death were greatly exaggerated, after all.
The building now houses stores and professional offices.
from: "The Erie Depot," By Peter Osborne
The Gilded Age of Port Jervis
The Port Jervis Area Heritage Commission, 1992
to Other Great Railroad Web Pages
http://www.erielackhs.org/ - the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society.
http://arhs.railfan.net/ - Anthracite Railroads Historical
Society: information on the Reading, D L and W, LV, C of NJ,
http://www.railroad.net - offers a wide variety
of railroad subjects, historical and contemporary.
http://www.nyow.org - N Y O and W Historical
Society; clicking "Hop On Board" takes you to varied
and extensive information on the O and W along with several other
- a very useful and
detailed listing of railroad stations still existing in the State
of New York, arranged by counties; includes a "Help"
section for putting inquiries out on the net; many photographs
http://www.dnaco.net/~gelwood - Erie-Lackawanna and Other
Fallen Flag and Shortline Railroads; features an excellent collection
http://DLW-SussexBranch.com - provides direct access to the
history, maps, timetables, photographs, and news articles about
the Sussex Branch of the DL & W's former
line through Newton to Branchville in New Jersey.
http://www.rrhistorical.com - offers valuable links to the
Railroad Historical Society Index,
and Locomotive Historical Society, Railroad Historical Database
Project, the National
Railroad Historical Society, Railroad Historical Research Center,
and many other clubs and technical groups of interest to Erie
http://el-list.railfan.net - a direct link to Erie-Lackawanna
List Members's Page; click "Links" to access The Erie-Lackawanna
Railway Internet Resources, then scroll down to find useful information
and addresses for New Jersey Midland History for information on:
New Jersey and Midland Railroad
New York, Susquehanna, and Western Railroad
Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad
Lehigh and New England Railroad
New York and Greenwood Lake Railroad
Middletown and New Jersey Railroad
Erie 4-6-2 at Wanaque, NJ 3/10/51
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