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From: "jdent1 AT optonline DOT net" jdent1 AT optonline DOT net
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 11:56:46 -0400
Subject: Maywood, NJ
"Maywood.jpg" - image/jpeg, 30671 bytes, 240x366 (24bit)

Renovating a rail depot, nail by nail
Friday, July 26, 2002

Staff Writer

A volunteer helping renovate Maywood's 130-year-old


He's fascinated with old buildings and rail history
So, forgive Ed Kaminski for nearly panicking two months
ago when the borough was ready to knock down its abandoned
train station, one of the oldest in the state

Ultimately, Kaminski found some relief=2E He assembled an
army of volunteers who came up with a plan that convinced
local officials that the 130-year-old Maywood Avenue
building is worth keeping

Their plan is to renovate the structure, which
served a commuter line until 1966, and later was
home of the Maywood Veterans of Foreign Wars
until 1995=2E After the renovation is complete,
probably by next summer, the group plans to create
a railroad artifact museum that will be open to the
public three or four days a year

"If we can pull it off, it would be excellent,"
said Kaminski, a salesman for ACF Industries, a
manufacturer of railroad cars in Saddle Brook
"It would be good for business=2E People's land
values would go up=2E It would be good for everybody=2E"

So every Saturday, they work, carrying picks and
hammers, peeling off 40-year-old stucco and chipped
paint, and replacing a leaky roof=2E Their goal is to
preserve what's left of history in a borough that,
some believe, has forgotten its past

And once the renovation is finished, Kaminski
and his partners say, their involvement in the
museum's upkeep will continue=2E They'll donate
railroad artifacts, from lanterns and train
schedules to switch keys and conductor hats,
for display

Kaminski heads a group of about 100 people in
the Maywood Station Historical Society division
of the New York Susquehanna and Western Technical
and Historical Society

The New York Susquehanna and Western Railroad,
which has owned the station for more than 100
years, is leasing the structure to the group for
$10 a year, Kaminski said

Kaminski's group also is asking for money and supply
donations, and plans to hold a "brick drive" in which
a donor's $50 contribution gets his or her name engraved
on a brick that will be incorporated into the station's
concrete platform

Chris Cotty, a director of passenger service at the
railroad and vice president of its historical society,
envisions the railroad running novelty passenger trains
on holidays=2E The railroad puts on similar events at other
train stations, featuring Santa Claus appearances and train
rides aboard locomotives from the 19th century

In other communities such as Westwood, Park Ridge, Glen
Ridge, and Short Hills, volunteers converted their aging
train stations into small museums

"It's going to be a nice building when its done," Cotty
said of the Maywood station=2E "I'm just glad Ed got in
there=2E It was starting to deteriorate=2E"

Kaminski is married and has three children, all of whom
participate in the renovation process=2E After watching the
train station deteriorate since moving to Maywood four
years ago, Kaminski believes he had no other choice

He said the Borough Council has committed no money
toward the project, other than waiving permit fees
And he isn't asking the borough for financial help
Money at Borough Hall is tight because of a strong
public backlash against the troubled municipal building
project, beset with cost overruns in recent years

Kaminski, however, credited Councilman Thomas Richards
for showing up on a recent Saturday and lending his support
Richards, a lifelong Maywood resident, said the building has
sentimental value=2E He used to ride the train from Maywood to
Hoboken on his way into New York

"If they bring that back, people will learn what it was all
about," he said=2E "They're going to be able to have exhibitions
in there=2E It's going to be great=2E"

But even with Richards' endorsement, the volunteers consider
the project all their own=2E The members come from various walks
of life: There are construction tradesmen, a photographer, and
an accountant, among others=2E All have made regular appearances
on Saturdays, climbing ladders and scraping away layers of a
building that is in remarkably good shape for its age

"That's what I love about this=2E It's not a new construction
It's really built right=2E You couldn't knock this down with a
hurricane," said Gary Loffler, a carpenter

The small structure, nearly a twin of Hackensack's Anderson
Street station, was built in 1872 when Maywood was still the
Western Hackensack section of Midland Township=2E According to
Betty Fetzer, the borough historian, the building was known
as the Maywood Station even though the borough wasn't
incorporated until 1894

For nearly 100 years, passengers hopped aboard Hoboken-bound
trains at the station, which has slanted roof anchored by
steel, arching support braces

Then, for about 20 years, the VFW used the building=2E The
velvet-red bar remains

Fetzer, who heads the Maywood Historical Society, looks
forward to donating relics=2E "In this town, we don't even
have a place to store stuff," she said=2E "It's certainly
going to be a beautiful project=2E It's going to enhance
the town=2E"

Tom Davis' e-mail address is davist@northjersey=2Ecom

Copyright =A9 2002 North Jersey Media Group Inc

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