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East Orange Train Station History

The Morris & Essex Railroad used passenger cars drawn by horses along the tracks from 1836 until 1838 when the company was bought by the Delaware, Lackawana and Western Railroad which replaced them with the new steam powered trains. Service went from Orange to Newark at the time, but it was soon extended further west to Morristown and beyond. The above view shows the East Orange Station as it appeared when it was built in 1883. The tracks ran along the ground, crossing streets, until the tracks and stations were elevated in 1922.

The city of East Orange, then guided by Mayor Charles H. Martens, wanted the tracks lowered, subway fashion, but the Delaware, Lacakwana and Western Railroad decided to elevate the tracks instead. This was completed in 1922.

Brick Church Station was originally constructed in 1864 by Matthias Ogden Halsted, who donated it to the Morris & Essex Railroad for use with their horse drawn trains going through East Orange from Orange to Newark. The station in the photo was rebuilt in 1880 and remained at ground level until the train was elevated in 1922 by the Delaware, Lackawana and Western Railroad for their steam powered locomotives. In 1930, the train was electrified through the influence of West Orange's Thomas Edison, who rode as a passenger aboard the first electrified train.

As the above 1904 Map of East Orange shows, two more railroad stations were added in 1901 and opened to the public in 1903, the Grove Street Station and the Ampere Station and Post Office, marked by red dots at the bottom of the map.

We recently acquired a copy of this colorized post card circa 1905, showing the glamourous side of the Grove Street Station. It was sent to us on 02/05/17 by Tom Geiger, who has been collecting Post Marks and donating them to our collection. As you can see from the Ampere Station on the 1904 map, it was a common practice for railroad stations to house post offices on the premises. The large building in the foreground is for the east-bound tracks - commuters going to work in Newark and New York. The smaller building on the other west-bound side of the tracks was where they got off to return home to East Orange.

Again, looking to the east, the flag shows the location of Oval Park at the time this post card photo was made, c. 1906. There were both horse pulled and horseless carriages to accomodate commuters of the time along Eaton Place.

A regular photo (not glamourized for the post card trade) shows the dangerous Grove Street crossing in the foreground. When the tracks were finally elevated above street level in 1922, a second story was added to the large East-bound station house, but the whole station was later eliminated and torn down.

The above postcard was dated 1906, and shows the west-bound view of the Grove Street Station. In the earliest days, before 1890, The Grove Street location was simply known as "The East Orange Station." The name was changed in 1890 when the town began planning the new city hall further west.

More Information and Photos about Elevating the Train Tracks

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