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Newark Train Station

A Brief History

The Newark Passenger Railroad Station was built by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad in 1877, when Newark was a town of 3,000 inhabitants. The PW&B was the major rail link between New York City and Washington.

The Newark station was soon considered one of several prestigious commuter stations in Delaware and suburban Philadelphia. The use of fine brickwork, elaborate wood trim, granite sills, and black slate roof with decorative iron scrollwork along the ridge line presented an image of prosperity and confidence. The original building featured porches, double doors, a hipped gable roof, gable roofed dormers, Victorian detailing, Gothic arched window openings, and arches over the doors.

Described proudly in an 1878 issue of The Railroad Gazette, the station provided separate waiting rooms for ladies and gentlemen; telegraph service by Western Union, and a small freight station/stockyard complex on the opposite side of the tracks. The greenhouses and gardens which surrounded the station supplied cut flowers for dining cars on PW&B passenger trains, and later on the Pennsylvania Railroad, up through the 1950’s.

Changes Made Through Time
Changes were made as time passed. The iron scrollwork, double doors, porch sections, decorative brackets, and slate roof were either replaced or removed. When the main function of the station shifted from passenger ticketing to computerized freight, partitions were taken down and room arrangements radically changed.

Eventually, in the 1970’s, the station’s owners – Amtrak – closed the building. For a time, it seemed like this relic from our transportation past would remain sealed forever.

Restoration of Newark Passenger Railroad Station
On July 28, 1986
Newark’s City Council authorized an application for a State of Delaware Bicentennial Improvement Fund grant for the acquisition and restoration of the Newark Passenger Railroad Station.

September 12, 1987
City Council awarded a contract to John Milner Associates of West Chester, Pennsylvania to develop the architectural specifications.

July 7, 1988
Council awarded a $220,000 contract to Roberts Construction of Frederica, Delaware for the railroad station’s restoration and modernization.

Late Summer of 1988
Roberts Construction began the restoration work which brought the deteriorating Newark Passenger Railroad Station back to life. The fully restored first floor ticket booths, “Ladies and Men’s Waiting Rooms,” the modernized and rehabilitated upstairs offices, and the rebuilt “piazza” canopies on the exterior, will now be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations of Newarkers.

Additional Information
FOP Lodge No. 4, and the Newark Historical Society are currently housed in this building.