O&W Train Station
Middletown, NY - May 7, 2011
This O&W station in Middletown, NY is one stop along the Ontario & Western Railway which operated from 1868 (then known as New York & Oswego) to 1957. The O&W train ferried passengers and freight from Weehawken in New Jersey across the Hudson River from midtown Manhattan to Oswego, NY on Ontario Lake, one of the great lakes that borders with Canada. After WWII, railroad companies began a rapid decline when convenient and efficient highways were built. The automobile came on the rise and freight started to be hauled by truck instead of rail. The O&W Railway earned the distinction of being “the first major U.S. railroad to be abandoned in its entirety.” (source: wikipedia.org)

Even in (or perhaps because of) its dilapidated state, it stands out among the mostly two storey residential homes built in recent times in the relatively quiet suburban neighborhood as a relic from a forgotten time when the station must have been the hub of activity in the region. It’s not hard to imagine travelers in Charlie Chaplin suits and hats pouring out of wagons as steam hisses from the locomotive with its trademark smokestack and cylindrical barrel engine when it comes to a stop. (Lots of steam O&W locomotive pics here courtesy of Cornell.)

I have ignored taking photos of the structure in the past because it had chainlink fencing around it. Last weekend, I decided chainlink fencing or not I’d go and take pictures. So I was surprised to find the chainlink fence removed and I was free to walk around even under the dilapidated roofing of the station platform. I didn’t go inside as all doors and windows were boarded up.

Later I learned that the train station has been converted into a night club in the 70s and then occupied by retail shops until a fire burned down one end of the building in 2004. It is now abandoned and unofficially a homeless shelter.

But it won’t stay abandoned for long. Last month, it was announced that the old O&W Station in Middletown will be converted into a health center. The City of Middletown has agreed to sell the derelict building to the Middletown Community Health Center for $1. (source: recordonline.com)

Click on a picture to enlarge.
The O&W Train Station in Middletown, NY was completed in 1892. It is a three-story structure and is considered big by train station standards of the day.
Train station platform.
This is probably where you'll sit if you were waiting for the train.
Burned down roof.
Abandonded railroad tracks leading west.
Leading east toward Weehawken.
There was no meal served on the O&W. So passengers got off to eat at the O&W train station in Middletown. (source: recordonline.com)
A fire destroyed the building's west end in February, 2004.
It was winter (February, 2004) when the building caught on fire. People suspect homeless people inside who were trying to keep warm caused the fire.
Back of the station platform. The old city of Middletown has its share of undesirable elements.
Middletown was
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