R is for Railway station

Mmmmmadison rrrrrrailway station.

I work in a New York office, and I’m known as the employee who lives in Jersey. When my manager had to visit Madison for a client, she came back and told me the Madison train station was really beautiful, and asked if all NJ Transit stations were like that.

Answer: no.

Yeah, New Providence doesn't have staircases.

While Madison was elevating its tracks, William Haynes Truesdale, president of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad (formerly known as the Morris & Essex, but also known as the DL&W or “Delay, Linger, and Wait”), said that stations being built ought to be compatible with surrounding architecture. Because Madison is home to Drew University, the style of the station is collegiate Gothic; because Madison was an affluent and generous town, they raised wayyy more money for the construction of this station than other towns raised for theirs, and it is fancy indeed.

Madison station, 2011

Madison station, 1916

It was finished in 1916, and it’s been registered on the State and National Registers of Historic Places since 1984! The Gladstone-line shacks don’t have those kinds of bragging rights.

(P.S. Here’s a map of the line, in case you don’t remember where Gladstone or Madison are!)

NJ Transit, Morris-Essex Line + Gladstone Branch. Can you find Madison?

Cunningham, John T. (1998). Images of America: Madison. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH.

National Registers of Historic Places. (n.d.) Information board near door of station. Sponsored by NJ Transit: Madison, NJ.


4 Comments to “R is for Railway station”

  1. I thought the first photo was of a church! I love old stone buildings.

    • Me too! I’ve never liked history, but I love learning stories and origins and what the “life” of these old buildings has been like.

      And, of course, if nobody’s lobbying to knock them down after all these years, they must be pretty to look at, too. 🙂

  2. Very churchy indeed! And the interior vaulting has Guastavino tiles, nice! FYI: Raphael Guastavino was a Spanish immigrant and tile manufacturer who founded the firm of Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company, that produced a unique interlocking tile product that was especially good for vaulting, and was influenced by the ancient Catalan technique of timbrel vaulting. These tiles produced by the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company were used on more than 1,500 buildings in the United States. Raphael died in 1908 so his son Raphael Jr. would have been responsible for your station. See Andrew S. Dolkart, “Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development” (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 55. [http://books.google.com/books/about/Morningside_Heights.html?id=IQrKqzp3xtIC]

  3. More on the interior, it appears the walls are composed of limestone trim and “Tiffany bricks” or a related salmon-colored product line from the nearby Perth Amboy Terra Cotta Company of 59 Buckingham Avenue, Perth Amboy, New Jersey, established there as A. Hall and Sons Terra Cotta in 1846 because of the city’s rich supplies of clay. Renamed as Perth Amboy Terra Cotta Company in the 1880s (or before) and renamed to the broader Atlantic Terra Cotta Company by the 1900s, the firm is considered among the most succesful terra cotta firms in the US and supplied tiles for the United States Supreme Court, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Woolworth Building. The particular long thin and elegant bricks were designed by Stanford White and popularly known as “Tiffany bricks” for their prominent use at Tiffany House, on the northwest corner of East 72nd Street and Madison Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, (built 1882-1885, demolished after 1936). Perth Amboy was a town familiar with White’s partner, Charles Follen McKim, who had gone to school there. See Mosette Broderick, Triumvirate: McKim, Mead & White: Art, Architecture, Scandal, and Class in America’s Gilded Age (New York City: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010), p.191-192.

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