Fanwood station!

Fanwood Station!

Jersey Central Railroad built the Fanwood railroad station in 1874 (back when there were a million different railroad companies crisscrossing the state), and donated it to the borough of Fanwood in 1964. It’s currently being used as a NJTransit stop on the Raritan Valley line (orange on maps), as well as the home of the Fanwood Museum [website] (open the first Sunday of each month, October through June, 2:00-4:00). Fanwood Station has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, and it was restored in the early 1990s (I think).

Fanwood Station, 1875 (just one year old!)

On a different note, the tracks are really straight through this stretch. New Providence is sort of in the mountains, so it’s a given that the terrain necessitates somewhat undulating tracks. Here in Fanwood, it’s a lot flatter, and you can see the outbound tracks for MILES.

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles

Check it out— you can see the headlamp of the oncoming train at its previous stop (or further!), over a mile down the tracks.

See the teeny headlamp way in the distance? That's not normal.

The inbound tracks, not so much.

I cannot see for miles and miles.

Aaaaand here’s a map for context.

NJ Transit Rail System Map, as of 2009

I’m not sure why the Raritan Valley symbol is the Statue of Liberty, since the rail line stops in Newark and therefore doesn’t go anywhere NEAR the Statue of Liberty.



Bousquet, R. and Bousquet, S. (1995). Images of America: Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0738563188.

7 Responses to “Fanwood station!”

  1. Stunning photos! Very unique !

  2. The Fanwood Station Complex consists of the main station building (1874), the shelter (1897) and the overpass (1946). The station main building was built in 1874 in the popular Victorian Carpenter Gothic style. The station was part of a new line from Westfield to Plainfield and named Fanwood after Miss Fanny Wood, the daughter of a railroad official. Similar portmanteau names are present in the town of Elberon, named after local property magnate L.B. Brown. The lands surrounding the station became known as Fanwood Park, and the Borough of Fanwood was created in 1895. Several stations were erected in this style. These include Matawan on the North Jersey Coast line (though it lost its gingerbread trim) and Red Bank (restored), and the now demolished/replaced/completely remodeled stations Branchport, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy and Asbury Park.

    The shelter was built 1897 for the Central Railroad of New Jersey (New Jersey Central) to the designs of an unknown architect in a similar style to the main building. It was designed as a baggage facility and passenger waiting area for the Southside (non-main building) of the tracks. and converted into a temporary commuter sheeted in 1965 when the station was sold to the Broough of Fanwood and converted for community use. The overpass, which bridged two sides of the tracks, was erected in 1946.

    Here are some public domain Historic American Building Survey elegant B&W photos from Dec, 1985 of the station from photographer George Eisenman of the Historic American Building Survey (Record No. NJ-941).

    Note in particular the two final images:
    17. Photocopy of original blueprint drawing by Engineers Office, Jersey City, September 14, 1897 (original negative at CONRAIL, Chief Engineer – Design and Construction, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) PLAN SHOWING PROPOSED SOUTH SIDE WAITING ROOM AT FANWOOD
    18. Photocopy of postcard, postmarked 1907 (from collection of T. J. McMahon, Fair Haven, New Jersey) VIEW SOUTHEAST, NORTHWEST ELEVATION OF FANWOOD STATION (South Side Waiting Room or Shelter is to the right behind horse and cart)

    Survey number HABS NJ-941
    Building/structure dates: 1897 initial construction
    Significance: Fanwood Station is significant as the only remaining original frame railroad station on the Raritan Valley Line, as a good representative of railroad architecture during the Victorian period and for its key role in the development of the surrounding community of Fanwood.The eastbound shelter at Fanwood Station is significant as part of the Fanwood Station National Register Complex. The Fanwood Station Complex consists of the main station building (1874), the shelter (1897) and the overpass (1946) bridging the two sides of the tracks.The shelter, constructed in 1897 23 years after the main station building was built in 1874, was converted into a temporary commuter shelter in 1965 when the main station was sold to the Borough of Fanwood and converted for use as a community center. The shelter was constructed by the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The architect for the shelter building is unknown. Plans for the shelter are attributed to the Engineer, Buildings and Bridges, Central Railroad of New Jersey.

  3. The railroad built more than the station, they built the whole freakin town, roads and all: Their real estate holding company built and sold most of the boro’s houses from 1870 to 1920.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: