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Warren Street Station

Warren Street Station

Warren Street 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” (“Kenilworth Notes”).


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