Station was for several years a stop in Kenilworth for most
passenger trains of the Rahway Valley Railroad. The station was
located along the Rahway River Branch near the intersection of what
is now Center Street and N. 24th Street. In the early
days of the New Orange railroads (NY&NO and NOFJ) a stop was
made on the branch at N. 20th Street where a station building of
some sort, perhaps a waiting shelter, was located. The Rahway Valley
Railroad and the New Orange Four Junction Railroad consolidated on
March 1, 1905 and the new RV opted to move the N. 20th
Street stop further east, closer to the mainline, in August, 1905.
“The station formerly located at 20th Street is being
removed to the junction at Warren Street, and a number of men are
employed in grading and beautifying the grounds in that section.
Warren Street will be the main thoroughfare and exit from the new
depot intersecting 20th Street at the foot of College
Hill” (“Kenilworth Notes”). Whether the actual structure at N.
20th Street was moved or a completely new structure was
constructed is unclear.
Warren Street itself is somewhat of
an enigma. Whether or not a roadway bearing that name was ever
constructed is unclear. On the original plans for the town of New
Orange a one block street bearing the name “Warren Street” appears
in that vicinity. Later mentions of the street, such as in the
aforementioned quote, seem to indicate that what is now N. Michigan
Ave. was to at one point be known as Warren Street. N. Michigan Ave.
between the Boulevard and Chester Road (now Route 22) was not put
through until the mid-1920’s.
While whether or not the
“phantom” Warren Street actually existed is a matter of debate,
Warren Street was the name given to the Rahway Valley station. The
building itself, according to period tax assessments, measured 16’ x
25’ and was from all accounts an attractive building, “The Warren
Street station has been treated to a new coat of paint, and the
fascinating colors used in the operation renders the building very
attractive” (“Kenilworth Notes”).
Located cattycorner to the Warren
Street Station, on the northern side of the tracks, was the original
Rahway Valley engine shed (or sheds) which was constructed in
September, 1905. The engine shed did not last long, however, as a
freak tornado reduced the structure to rubble just a few short
months later on May 27, 1906. The Warren Street Station managed to
survive unscathed, perhaps if only a little bit battered. It is
unknown if the Rahway Valley subsequently constructed a new engine
shed at this location. The new engine shed at the corner of N.
31st Street and Boulevard was extant by 1922.
The last timetable that mentions the Warren
Street stop is one that took effect January 5, 1914. By this time
Warren Street Station was little more than a flagstop, passenger trains stopping to
drop off or pick up passengers here only upon request. Not long after
the railroad decided to discontinue the stop altogether. The building
was then leased to the Newark Novelty Company, manufacturers of fireworks and
explosive toy novelties. The firework manufacturer did not occupy the building
long, on account of a fire which broke out in
the Warren Street Station on September 13, 1914.
“The quietude of the Borough was again disturbed on Sunday morning
about 9:15, when fire was discovered in the Warren street station of
the R.V.R.R. . . . the manufacturers had only occupied the present
quarters a short time, and the half dozen people employed had worked
up till Saturday evening, when it was supposed everything had been
left in good condition, and the suddenness in which the flames burst
forth on the following morning, leaves another unsolved mystery. The
fact that the proprietors had a large order packed ready for
shipment, and the inflammable nature of the ingredients used in the
preparation, subjected them to an entire loss, on account of their
inability to secure insurance, is exceedingly unfortunate”