PRESERVATION NEW JERSEY NOMINATION FORM
TEN MOST ENDANGERED NJ HISTORIC PLACES
- Property Information;
- Name of Property:
Central Railroad of New Jersey, Jersey City Terminal Train Shed
- Address: Foot of
Audrey Zapp Drive (formerly Johnston Avenue) at the Hudson River
- City/State/Zip: Jersey
City, NJ 07305
- Location: Jersey
City, Hudson County, NJ
- Date property
established or built: The first terminal was established in
1865; The current Terminal building was completed in 1889 and
restoration was completed by 1989; the enlarged adjoining and
connected Train Shed was completed with 20 tracks in 1914 and has
not been restored; In 1967 Ferry and Railroad Passenger Service was
- Ownership (choose one)
_X_ Public ___Private
- Property owned by:
State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection, and
managed by the State Park Service
- Address: 501 East
State Street, P. O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625 - 0420
- Phone: (Amy Cradic,
Assistant Commissioner) 609-292-3541 Fax: 609-984-0836
- Indicate designation,
if any, by checking appropriate status:
- _X_ National
Historic Landmark _X_ State Register _X_ National
- __ Local
Designation __Save America's Treasures __Other
- Legislative District
for Property: 31
- Name of
Individual/group nominating property: Liberty Historic Railway,
- Address: (Martin
Robins, Treasurer & contact) 7 Cowperthwaite Square
Westfield, NJ 07090
908-233-3891 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: 908-233-3891
(call first) Website: www.lhry.org
- Are you a member of
Preservation New Jersey? Yes, Liberty Historic Railway, Inc. is
- Questions to address:
- Describe the property
and its significant features (architecture, landscape, surroundings,
- The Train Shed
structure was designed by Abraham Lincoln Bush and is the largest of
its type ever built. It has cast iron columns, steel frame, and
reinforced concrete canopy roofs. It is an important part of the
sole remaining building complex from the Central Railroad of New
Jersey era of Liberty State Park. On the north side is a display
track with three railroad cars, Audrey Zapp Drive, a short term
parking lot, a lawn area, the Morris Canal Big Basin, and the large,
recently completed, 9-11-01 "Fallen Sky" monument. On the East
side is the Concourse (which was used by passengers as well as for
movement of baggage, mail and express shipments to and from the
ferries and the express building) and the 1889 Terminal building,
ferry slips and the Hudson River / NY Harbor. On the south side is
an access road, paved parking, and a lawn area. On the west side is
an access road and the large, long term ferry parking lot.
- 1What is the
John Taylor Johnston, a
lawyer, at age 28, became the second president of the Elizabeth and
Somerville RR, reorganizing it as the Central RR of New Jersey (C RR
of NJ) and began the push toward the Delaware River. He is credited
with building the railroad from a 25-mile local passenger carrier to
a 400-mile Anthracite coal carrier and one of the principal terminal
railroads on New Jersey / New York Harbor. In the process, he must
be given credit for creating much of the land which now makes up
Liberty State Park by filling tidal flats.
The New Jersey
Legislature granted permission to the Central RR of NJ to extend its
line over Newark Bay to the Hudson River at Communipaw Cove, Jersey
City, and construction began.
- The Central RR of
NJ purchased the American Dock & Improvement Co., the owner of
rights to the shore of the South Cove (Communipaw Bay) along the
Hudson River. At the time this was a shallow fishing ground off the
old section of Jersey City known as Communipaw, south of the Morris
Canal Big Basin. A vast section of this wetland was filled in over
a period of decades, partly with NYC ashes and garbage. The C RR of
NJ's terminal yards were built on this fill. In terms of acreage,
it was the largest waterfront terminal possessed by any of the
railroads at the New Jersey / New York Harbor.
complicated litigation occurred when the Central RR of NJ attempted
to build its new Communipaw terminal south of the Morris Canal Co.
basin. The canal company fought valiantly, but in the end, the C RR
The Central RR of NJ
was extended nearly a mile across Communipaw Cove tidal flats on a
wood piling trestle to the site of the new Terminal building also to
be supported by piles.
- The Central RR of
NJ constructed America's first prefabricated railroad station
(terminal). It was built in sections in Bound Brook and transported
by train to Jersey City where it was assembled.
- Communipaw ferry
connection to New York was re-established for steam operation with
the ferryboats Central and Communipaw,
terminating at Liberty Street.
- The Central RR of
NJ bridge over Newark Bay and extension of line from Elizabethport
to Communipaw (Jersey City) was opened for passenger traffic on 1
By the end of this year
the Central RR of NJ passenger and ferry Terminal buildings, a
freight house, and coal pockets in Jersey City had been completed.
At Communipaw the engine house and machine shops were enlarged and a
block of dwelling houses was erected.
Central RR of NJ began
freight service at their Jersey City Terminal.
- The first Central
RR of NJ ferryboat named Elizabeth was
- Johnston Avenue (it
was named after Central RR of NJ President, John Taylor Johnston and
renamed Audrey Zapp Drive by Liberty State Park officials in the
1980's) was built from the former Communipaw Cove shore line to the
C RR of NJ Terminal using Belgian block paving.
On 11 November a
Central RR of NJ train ran overboard at its Terminal at Communipaw
and an engine and two cars went into the Hudson River.
The first recorded
Central RR of NJ sponsored employee outing utilized the C RR
steamboat Kill von Kull to take railroad
families from Jersey City Terminal to Coney Island for the day.
The current Central RR
of NJ terminal in Jersey City, designed by Peabody & Sterns, was
completed and opened, and the railroad's four track main line
expansion was completed to Bound Brook.
The Ellis Island
Immigration Station opened as the principal immigration station in
the US. It is estimated that 12 million immigrants entered the US
through Ellis Island. Two thirds of the immigrants who boarded
ferries for the mainland were taken to the CRR of NJ Jersey City
Terminal where they were led to trains that would take them to their
The Baltimore &
Ohio RR, a Central RR of NJ tenant at Jersey City Terminal, wanted
ferry service to Whitehall Street, Manhattan, so its passengers
could have a direct connection to Third Avenue Elevated trains. The
C RR obliged and the new service was known as The Royal
The Central RR of NJ
inaugurated the Queen of the Valley, an express
passenger train between Jersey City and Harrisburg, PA.
- A speed record
between the Central RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal and Washington, DC
of 226 miles in 4 hours and 7 minutes, including stops for
locomotive changes and stations, was set during a heavy snow storm
by the Baltimore & Ohio.
A new 6,000-ton
capacity concrete retail coal pocket and trestle facility was
completed near the Central RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal to replace
the one destroyed in 1910. It was leased by C RR of NJ to Burns
Brothers. Coal was delivered from the pockets to locations in NYC
via horse-drawn wagons, and later by trucks, using the C RR of NJ
Lehigh Valley RR
passenger trains began using the Central RR of NJ between Oak Island
Junction, Newark and C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal.
Expansion of the
Central RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal, including the construction of
the world's largest Abraham Lincoln Bush Train Shed (with twenty
tracks), and a double decked ferry shed was completed.
The Central RR of NJ
claimed there were 60,000 passengers per day passing through their
Jersey City Terminal in this year. Peak numbers exceeded 100,000
during special events and trains for some of these happenings had to
be run in as many as 28 sections to handle all the riders.
The Black Tom
explosion, south of the Jersey City Terminal, involved scores of
boatloads and carloads of ammunition delivered by the Central RR of
NJ and Lehigh Valley RR. The blast wave extensively damaged and
weakened the two-year-old C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal Train Shed
and destroyed piers, 13 warehouses, 161 railroad cars, barges and
canalboats. The magnitude of the shock wave was estimated to be 5.5
on the Richter Scale. Property damage was estimated at $20 million
in what was thought, at the time, to be one of the worst acts of
terrorism in American history.
trains of the Baltimore & Ohio and Lehigh Valley Railroads were
shifted from the Central RR of NJ, Jersey City Terminal to
Pennsylvania Station in NYC by the wartime United States RR
Administration. Some LV passenger trains were also routed to the
Pennsylvania RR Exchange Place Terminal in Jersey City.
The NY area terminal
for Baltimore & Ohio passenger trains was changed from NY Penn
Station to the Jersey City Terminal of the Central RR of NJ on
August 29th due to the refusal of the
Pennsylvania RR to extend the B & O's lease. The C RR of NJ
assigned the B & O the two most northerly platforms in the
terminal. Tracks 2 and 3 were removed from between the platforms
and paved over as a driveway for the B & O Train Connection
motor coach service which commenced in August and was the first
railroad operated train-side motor coach connection. A short
turntable was installed at the west end of this driveway to turn the
motor coaches. A fleet of Deluxe motor coaches carried B & O
passengers from train side via the Jersey Central ferries to several
routes in New York City. At peak year the buses terminated at four
points in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.
Beginning on 14
October, special trains were operated under contract to the American
Zeppelin Transport Co. to carry zeppelin passengers and mail between
Lakehurst and the Central RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal with ferry
connection to NYC. The C RR of NJ also operated special trains for
sightseers to each arriving and departing zeppelin.
The Central RR of NJ
train, The Blue Comet, with fine quality dining
service was established on 21 February between Jersey City Terminal
and Atlantic City via Elizabethport and Winslow Junction. It was
designed by C RR of NJ president R. B. White in 1928. The colors
chosen for the locomotive and train were Packard blue, for the sky;
dark blue for the sea; cream for the sandy coastal beaches; and
nickel. A special deep toned whistle (described as a cross between
a steamboat whistle and a cathedral organ) was installed on each
locomotive of The Blue Comet. Tickets for the
train were blue, car chairs were upholstered in blue, and the
porters were dressed in blue as well. It was the first all reserved
seat, all coach fare, named train and the first east of the
Mississippi to be equipped with roller bearings.
The Baltimore &
Ohio RR inaugurated "Rail - Air Passenger Service" between
the Central RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal and Los Angeles / San
Francisco. Passengers traveled by air during daylight hours and by
train at nighttime.
- The Baltimore &
Ohio RR introduced the world's first completely air-conditioned
deluxe intercity passenger train, the Columbian,
between Jersey City Terminal and Washington, DC on 24 May and it was
an instant success.
The Baltimore &
Ohio introduced diesel-electric locomotives on its new streamlined
Royal Blue train between the Central RR of NJ
Jersey City Terminal and Washington, DC – the first diesel
locomotives in long distance service in the US.
Our nations' billions
of dollars of gold bullion reserves were moved from lower Manhattan
to a new gold vault at Fort Knox. The heavily guarded shipments
continued for two years and were alternated between the Central RR
of NJ and the Pennsylvania RR so as not to establish a pattern.
The C RR movements were made using armored vehicles from NYC via the
C RR ferryboats to Jersey City Terminal where they were transferred
to special trains operating via the C RR main line for the first
part of the journey.
- In December the
Reading RR introduced a train with new streamlined (the first in the
east), stainless steel, light weight, air conditioned cars between
Philadelphia and Central RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal via Bound
Brook. A month later, in the new year, a contest produced the name
for it – the Crusader. It had reclining,
swivel, armchair seats, porter service, wide vision windows, an
observation club car, a luxury diner, smoking lounges, a cocktail
lounge, and scientific lighting – all with no extra fare.
The Central RR of NJ
Jersey City Terminal Restaurant began offering new club breakfast
combinations at the bargain price of 20 to 40 cents.
The last trip of
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt over the Central RR of NJ (name
was changed to Jersey Central Lines and referred to as JCL) was from
the Jersey City Terminal to Warm Springs, GA, where he died two
weeks later. He had made 142 unpublished trips over the JCL since
he was first elected President in 1932.
First run of the new
Reading RR Wall Street train was made from
Philadelphia to the JCL Jersey City Terminal.
- The first practical
demonstration of television aboard a moving train was on Baltimore &
Ohio's Marylander between Washington and JCL
Jersey City Terminal.
- The JCL conveyed to
the City of Jersey City eight parcels of waterfront and other
terminal land aggregating 150 acres. The annual tax savings on the
unneeded properties were approximately $250,000.
The Jersey Central
Lines emerged from a decade of bankruptcy on 1 October. A gala
ceremony commemorating the event and their 100th anniversary was
held in the Jersey City passenger terminal two days later. This and
three other bankruptcies which the JCL endured produced long periods
of deferred maintenance. Structures, such as the Train Shed, were
unfortunately low on the priority list for maintenance and repair
funds. Failure to maintain the roof drainage system, which was
routed through the center of the cast iron columns, and the roof
coverings were a major cause of the progressive failures of the
Train Shed structure. Water began to seep into the reinforced
concrete roof panels. Since the reinforcing steel was not
encapsulated it rusted. Rust expanded the volume of the steel by
six times and exploded the concrete which encased the steel.
- At the request of
JCL management the employee's Big Little Railroad Show
vocalists sang carols and popular songs of the season for
several hours each Christmas eve afternoon in the Jersey City
Terminal. They performed from the balcony for commuters and
employees on their way home annually until the Terminal closed.
A storm of hurricane
proportions occurred on 25 November, which raised the tide at Jersey
City a foot above all previous high water records, flooding the JCL
Jersey City Terminal and surrounding yard areas.
- In this era the
Railway Express Agency occupied the long, three story, brick
building on the north side of the JCLs Jersey City Terminal. The
Johnston Avenue side of the building had a continuous line of truck
docks. Over 18,000 parcels were handled daily via the JCL,
Baltimore & Ohio and Reading routes in 10 to 12 carloads of
about 1,500 pieces each. In addition, individual packages went on
any train which had an express car.
The last JCL camelback
steam locomotive in scheduled service, No. 773, departed the Jersey
City Terminal on 23 April with train No. 709 for Dunellen.
- JCL 4-4-2 Camelback
steam locomotive No. 592 departed Jersey City Terminal on loan to
the Baltimore & Ohio RR Museum in Baltimore on 1 May and remains
on display there.
- The Ellis Island
Immigration Station closed on 12 November. During its 62 years of
operation, 17 million immigrants were processed. Most boarded
trains at the nearby CNJ Terminal to travel to their new homes
across the US.
For its last run, JCL
locomotive No. 1000 hauled a special passenger train from Jersey
City Terminal to Elizabethport and return on 13 June. It was then
displayed for two weeks in the Jersey City Terminal. Then, No.
1000, the first successful diesel-electric locomotive in America,
departed the Jersey City Terminal on loan to the Baltimore &
Ohio museum at Baltimore, MD, where it remains on display.
The Baltimore &
Ohio RR terminated all passenger service between Jersey City and
Baltimore on 27 April. Thus ended nearly a century of luxurious
Royal Blue trains and over 30 years of
connecting bus service from the JCL Jersey City terminal to NYC.
- Morris Pesin
launched his successful campaign for the establishment of what
became Liberty State Park by a canoe ride with a Jersey Journal
reporter from the Jersey City waterfront to the Statue of Liberty.
His early plan included parking lots in the park and a tram line to
transport visitors on a causeway to the Statue.
A crew-less, runaway
diesel locomotive, #1706 departed the JCL Jersey City Terminal yards
moving west. At Elizabethport it was shunted south toward Perth
Amboy. The engine roared out of control at speeds averaging 40
miles per hour for 36 minutes until it was finally "caught"
by another locomotive which got up to speed ahead of the runaway and
stopped it. The throttle of the "ghost locomotive" was
found to be wide open.
- From the
Terrace, a 20th Century Fox
movie starring Joanne Woodward and Myrna Loy, was filmed at the JCL
Jersey City Terminal using Reading RR 4-8-4 steam locomotive #2124.
All JCL offices
remaining in NYC were moved to their Jersey City Terminal as an
Jersey Central Lines
reverted to their prior name, Central RR of NJ (CNJ)
The CNJ advertised that
their Jersey City passenger terminal and the right-of-way leading to
it would be auctioned on 17 November "subject to the
implementation of the Aldene Plan" (which would divert their
trains to Newark Penn Station). The State of NJ stepped in and
notified the CNJ that it would condemn the land before the sale and
prohibited the CNJ from selling it. The state paid the CNJ $1.6
million for the land and the Terminal and took title to it on 29
December, with the stipulation that the CNJ could continue to use
the land and passenger terminal until the Aldene Plan was
The CNJ filed for its
fourth and final bankruptcy on 22 March. Perry M. Shoemaker, CNJ
President since 1962 and John E. Farrell became Trustees of the CNJ.
- The use of "Fog
Tickets" by the CNJ for alternative transportation for rail
passengers when fog prevented operation of their ferry boats between
the Jersey City Terminal and New York City ended.
- Under the Aldene
Plan, CNJ passenger service to Jersey City Terminal was rerouted to
Newark Penn Station via the Lehigh Valley RR route with a new
connection provided at Aldene and their Jersey City Terminal was
closed. At Newark passengers had the option of transferring to PATH
trains for either downtown or uptown or taking the Penn Central RR
into New York Penn Station. The end of CNJ Jersey City to Manhattan
ferry operation brought to a close a 306-year service begun by
William Jensen in 1661.
filmed Funny Girl, starring Barbara Streisand
(her first film), at the CNJ Jersey City Terminal. The train used
in the movie was hauled by a steam locomotive and was the last
passenger train to depart from the Jersey City Terminal.
- The CNJ Jersey City
Terminal and some of the harbor front properties were purchased with
state and federal funds in 1966, while the City of Jersey City
donated 156 acres to help preserve this important piece of American
history. This was the basis of Liberty Park which became Liberty
revealed plans for a Liberty State Park, including a marina at the
southeast corner, a transportation terminal, a mini rail shuttle
line, a Bicentennial Festival Plaza, a visitor's center,
multi-level traveling exhibitions, a 5,000-seat indoor-outdoor
amphitheater, an ecological center, a ceremonial plaza, botanical
gardens, a children's zoo, a pedestrian bridge over the Morris
Canal basin, a fire museum, and a doll museum.
The estimated $25
million restoration of the abandoned CNJ Jersey City Terminal was
begun. At this time the ferry house, the yard towers, express
building to the north of the Train Shed, coaling tower, round
houses, and maintenance buildings were still standing. The ferry
building contained a ferry concourse, offices and terminal support
facilities, and provided cover for passengers between the Terminal
and the ferry boats. Over objections of the architects, Geddes
Brecher Qualls Cunningham, the state later demolished the 1914 ferry
house which stood in front of the 1889 Terminal building and covered
the floating bridges providing access to the ferryboats. The
bridges, now exposed to the elements subsequently rotted and
The remaining Central
RR of NJ (CNJ) Jersey City Terminal and the adjoining Train
Concourse and Train Shed structures were added to the NJ and
National Registers of Historic Places.
- The Phase One
Progress Report for Liberty Park outlined proposed improvements and
venues including: Historical Museum, Immigration Museum; Maritime
Museum; Transportation Museum; Conservation Museum; Working
restoration of a 19th century Carousel;
Water Terminal for ferry service to lower Manhattan; Pedestrian
bridge across the Morris Canal Basin; Heliport; Direct connection to
the PATH system; etc.
The State of New Jersey
dedicated Liberty State Park as New Jersey's Bicentennial gift to
the nation. The Park opened and restoration of the CNJ Terminal
Building was begun. Restoration of the attached Train Shed was not
included. The Terminal and train shed were designated a National
The Geddes plan for
Liberty State Park proposed: Commercial development with shops and
restaurants for the present marina area; a farm demonstration; plus
an antique railroad and fire engine museum for the CNJ Terminal
Train Shed area.
A new ferry service
between Liberty State Park (the Morris Canal big basin, near the
Central RR of NJ (CNJ) Terminal area in Jersey City) and the Statue
of Liberty was established by Circle Line.
A Reuse Plan for the
Central Railroad of New Jersey Marine Terminal, Liberty State Park:
Jersey City, New Jersey was produced by Historic
Conservation and Interpretation, Inc. of Newton, NJ in December.
Ferry service was
re-established between Liberty State Park (Jersey Central Terminal
area in Jersey City) and Ellis Island. Ferry service between the
Jersey Central Terminal and nearby Ellis Island existed after 1890
when it was a US immigration station. Over the years, the ferry
delivered thousands of immigrants to the terminal where they boarded
trains to transport them west to their new homes in the new country.
A commercial doll
museum proposal for the historic CNJ Terminal was halted by
supporters of Liberty State Park.
rededication of the Central RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal building
was held. Governor Thomas H. Kean was the keynote speaker and now
supports our Train Shed restoration initiative. At that event the
Central RR of NJ Vets Association presented a large bronze plaque to
the Park which summarized the history of the CNJ in what had become
Liberty State Park
The Friends of the
Central RR of NJ (CNJ) Terminal, at Jersey City, was established and
published their Vol. 1, No. 1 of Jersey Central News.
Frank T. Reilly was their president and editor. In it they launched
a proposal called "Rail Link" - to restore active railroad
service into the Train Sheds using tracks 16 through 20 for static
displays and operational trains. Phase one was to place a single
track to connect Conrail (Phillips Street) with the restored C RR of
NJ Terminal, passing Liberty Science Center. Phase two called for a
rail shuttle between the Terminal and Liberty Science Center (Hudson
Bergen Light Rail System was not yet a reality). Phase three
proposed using historic trolley cars between the C RR of NJ Terminal
and the south visitor area, paralleling the Hudson River with a stop
near the Interpretive Center.
The CNJ Historical
Society was established and held their organizational meeting in the
Blue Comet theater of the Central RR of NJ Terminal at
Liberty State Park. The new organization superseded the Friends of
the CNJ Terminal Historical Society. Both organizations were formed
by Frank T. Reilly, who was president and newsletter editor of both.
The CNJ Main Line was
placed on the National Register of Historic Places.