Tour # 4
The Erie Railroad
Self Guided Tour in West Orange
This is intended as a self guided tour
that you can print out and use it as a companion to the book West Orange coinciding with Chapter Four.
It will further clarify and explain the location of the pictures used in the book. It will help the reader discover and explore
the former route of the long gone Erie Railroad and it’s two train stations that once existed in West Orange. This tour
is best taken by car. References to the pictures in the book will be highlighted in red below. Please
obey all traffic regulations and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Also you will need to refer to the captions in
the book below the pictures as indicated. That information will not repeat here other then what is needed for
further clarification. It might be a good idea to always read a few lines ahead in the directions just so that you have an
general idea where you will be going. You can cut and past this text to print it out and bring it along with your book
and imagination to discover the Erie Railroad in West Orange. There are also some additional pictures in the WO
Erie RR Photo Gallery in the navigation bars that shows additional pictures that are not in the book. You may want
to print them out and bring them along as well. References to these pictures will also be made in the tour at the proper location.
At stop # 1 below be sure to read about the lion that was on the loose in West Orange in 1913. Please let us know if there
are any inaccuracies in the directions or if you would like to add anything of relevance.
TOUR- Make left into Karl’s Appliance parking lot.
Find your way to the traffic
light at the intersection of Main Street and Northfield Avenue. Go through the light on Main Street towards Orange. Make the
immediate left into the entrance to the parking lot for Karl’s Appliance Store.
Once in the lot go to the left towards St. Marks Church. Work your way over to the end of the lot near St. Marks
Church and stop with your car facing the intersection of Main Street and Northfield Avenue.
Refer to the pictures on page 24 (top and bottom) and page 25 (top). These are the basic views of the
intersection from the location where you are.
There is also a few additional pictures of this
location in the WO Erie RR Photo Gallery
The lot where you currently are was
the location of the West Orange Erie Railroad station. It was one of two train stations in West Orange and built about 1881.
Refer to page 60 (bottom) and page 61 (top). On page 61 (top) the houses that you see to the right in the picture are those
on White Street. Some of these houses still may be standing. This was the end of the line for the Greenwood Lake Branch of
the Erie Railroad better know as the Orange Branch. The tracks did not cross Main Street and stopped here.
Refer to Chapter 4 page 59 for the complete history of the Erie
Railroad in West Orange.
There are several pictures in the book that present the view of
West Orange Center.
Refer to page 23 (bottom), page 25 (bottom), and page
61 (bottom). This is the view that you will see when you leave. It might be a good idea to look at the pictures before
you continue on the tour.
1) CONTINUE ON TOUR - Make right on to Main Street and a right
down the driveway for The Bank of America Building
Make a right out of the lot and go
through the light on Main Street towards West Orange Town Hall. Stay to the right and as you round the bend before Town Hall
and make a right down the driveway for The Bank of America Building. Continue to the end of the driveway and make a left.
Just ahead there should be enough space to pull over to the right. In doing so Town Hall will be across Main Street but will
be to your left. Make sure that you are pulled over enough so cars can pass. You should now be parked and facing the exit
of the parking lot onto White Street straight ahead. You should see the back of a white house next to the exit ahead on your
left. The old right-of-way actually crossed over White Street at the exit of the parking lot.
whole area was once the Erie Railroad freight yard in West Orange. It was actively used into the 1960s. Also located here
was a coal yard with a entrance from Main Street. Once the railroad was abandoned and the tracks were torn up the area was
developed as you see it today.
No pictures of the freight yard are in the West Orange book but
there are a few additional pictures of this location in the WO Erie RR Photo Gallery.
On May 5, 1913 a lion was on the lose here at this exact location in West Orange. As strange
as it may sound it was actually reported in the New York Times. Two young boys had opened the door to a box car. Unknown to
them was that a real live lion was inside. With the door open the lion jumped out. The freight yard at the time was more or
less walled in by fences and embankments and piles of coal so the lion could not escape the freight yard and was trapped inside.
But the two young boys managed to get up over the fences and alert a policeman. A crowd gathered outside of the freight yard
as the policeman fired shots at the lion but could not hit him. A man with a rope tried to lasso the lion but it didn’t
work either. Finally a woman named Lalla Selbini emerged from the crowd. It was her lion whose name was Pete. She was performing
at a local theater and the lion was part of a vaudeville act. Pete the lion was glad to see her and she guided him back into
the box car and secured the door without further incident.
2) CONTINUE ON TOUR- Make right
on to White Street and left onto Spring Street.
Leave the parking lot by continuing straight
ahead. You are basically driving on the old right-of-way. The back of the white house will be on your left. You will be making
a right onto White Street but the tracks would have continued going straight. As soon as you make your right onto White Street
make your first left onto Spring Street. The tracks would be behind the buildings to your left. In this area was once located
a turntable for turning the steam engines around.
3) CONTINUE ON TOUR- Make left on to
As soon a you make a left onto Park Avenue you will see the entrance to a
fenced in lot between Congdon Lumber and the Delta Gas station on your right. Pull by the entrance but be careful not to block
it. You will see the lot leads to where school buses are parked. This whole lot including the entrance was the old right-of-way.
The Llewellyn Station which was the other West Orange train station was located here next to the gas station by the brook.
It was built around 1876.
Refer to page 59, page 60 (top), and page 63
(top) to see pictures of the Llewellyn Station. It was so named because it was originally built to serve the residents
of nearby Llewellyn Park.
There is an additional pictures of this location in the WO Erie
RR Photo Gallery
4) CONTINUE ON TOUR- Go straight and make a right on to Ashland
As you go down Ashland Avenue the tracks would have been behind the houses to
your right. The factories of the sprawling Edison complex were once served by the railroad.
is an additional pictures of this location in the WO Erie RR Photo Gallery
CONTINUE ON TOUR- Make right on to Lakeside Avenue
Make a right on Lakeside Avenue. Just
after Standish Avenue by the El Primo Ristorante is where the tracks crossed Lakeside Avenue. West Orange Public Works is
on the left. Refer to page 64 (bottom)
6) CONTINUE ON TOUR-
Make left on to Watchung Avenue
Make a left on to Watchung Avenue. The tracks crossed
here just pass and parallel with the brook. The concrete wall that is to the left goes back to the days when the railroad
Refer to page 64 (top)
ON TOUR- Make right on to Alden Street
Make a right on to Alden Street. The route
continued through the empty lots that you see to your right.
8) CONTINUE ON TOUR-
Make right on to High Street
Make a right on to High Street. The tracks crossed here
where you see a slightly raised level of the roadway by the brook. A coal yard was to the right by the crossing. Through this
whole area the Erie Railroad was running along the West Orange/Orange border. But from here it continued across Alden Street
and into Orange exclusively on route to Jersey City.
Refer to page 62 and
page 63 (bottom)
END OF TOUR
You can continue
up High Street and make a right at Park Avenue and continue back to Main Street in West Orange by the Llewellyn