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The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
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toptrain
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The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
 
« on: Jan 4th, 2015, 11:33am »
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**    A year ago I read a detailed description of the Roundhouse the Pennsylvania Railroad constructed in Jersey City for its Terminal there. I copied the text, I think I may have changed, or maybe not, a few things I didn't understand as it was originally written long ago in 1890 when built to last meant being of stone and brick wall construction.  
* I found the book will searching "google free E-books". Buildings and structures of American Railroads, by Walter G. Berg, published 1883. page 180.
 
link to book;
https://books.google.com/books?id=gIs5AAAAMAAJ&dq=buildings%20and%20structures%20of%20railroads&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=buildings%20and%20structures%20of%20railroads&f=false
 
**Here's is what I have.  
  
 * This is a highly detailed description of this Roundhouse. And yes it does end. Reading this will give the reader a greater understand of architectural terms. I'll post the drawings in the next post as I have them saved.  
  
 * The location was known at the time as Mount Pleasant Junction. It became " The Island" in Jersey City. I like the old name better.  
  
 *** ** Engine house at Mount Pleasant Junction, Jersey City. N. J., Pennsylvania Railroad. It became known as The Waldo Ave. Yards.
  
 * Description and Dimensions from appendix.  
  
 ** Description; The building will be a polygon of 44 sides as shown on plan. The inner space over the turntable, and around it,  will not be roofed. The outside wall and walls at sides of entrances shall be brick. Outside wall shall have windows in the sides as shown. The inside front shall be cast-iron and glazed doors. The roof trusses will be a combination of wood and iron. The roof will be slate.  
  
 ** Dimensions; The radius of the outside pilasters  will be 160 feet. The radius from face of cast-iron column in inside front will be 84 feet, 3 1/16 inches. The distance between the centers of the faces will be 22 feet 9 15/16 inches. The distance the centers of faces of  cast-iron columns will be 12 feet 9 1/4 inches.  The height of the top of the rail to center of tie-rod of roof truss will be 22 feet 1 1/4 inches. The roof will be 1/4 pitch.  
  
 * This engine house was built in built in 1890 . It is a full-circle 44 stall brick roundhouse with combination roof-trusses and slate roof. The outside diameter of the turntable pit is 60 feet. The width of the house is 168' 6", and the space between the turntable and inner circle of the house is 54 feet 3 inches. The angle of the stalls is 8 degrees, 10 feet, 54 inches. The panel of the inner circle is 12 feet 1/4 inch, and the outer circle is 22 feet, 9 15/16 inch. The clear with of the interior of the building , measures on the center line of the stall, is about 74 feet, and the clear height from the top of the rail to the tie-rod of the roof-truss is 22 feet. Two of the stalls are used for entrance tracks, with brick fire walls on each side of the track, the passage being 12 wide in the clear; all the other stalls have engine pits.  
  
 * The foundations of the building are of stone, the outer walls being 1 foot, 7 inches wide at top in the panels, and 2 foot 4 inches wide at the top of the pilasters; all of the inner walls including the wall under the door-sills on the inner front are 2 feet thick. The outer wall finishes off 4 1/2 inches below the ground surface, and is capped with a belting course of cut stone, 4 inches X 14 inches set up edgeways.  
  
 * All the engine doors have 8 inch X 12 inch sub-sills, on 2 foot stone foundation-walls; The rails are spiked to the sub-sills ( I think these are wood sub-sills above the stone ), and 4 1/2 inch X 10 inch white-oak plank-sills and nailed to the sub-sills, so that the top of the sill is level with the top of the rails. The columns of the inside front rest on cut stone base-blocks, 18 inches square X 12 inches deep, the top of the base block being level with the top of the rail. The outer wall of the foundation masonry is of brick, built without panels on the outside, but with plasters on the inside under the trusses, with a plane ample brick cornice on the outside. The brick wall is 12 inches thick between the pilasters, and 20 1/2 inches thick at the pilasters. Two of the panels on the outside of the house are occupied by engine-entrance passages; the balance have windows, two in each panel. The window openings are square, 4 feet, 8 7/8 inches X 13 feet, 2 7/8 inches, with cast iron sills and window aprons, and with three white pine lintels, each 4 inch X 10 inch. The windows have box-frames with 2 sash, each 24 lights, 12 inch X 12 inch, double-hung. The entrance passages on the outside and inside are walled over with semicircular brick arches - without doors, however.  
  
 * The inner front of the house has cast iron columns between the doors. The columns are 12 inches X 9 1/4 inches in size, and consist of 5/8 inch metal. There are lugs cast onto the back where door hinges are hung. The engine doors are square toped doors, in pairs, with a clear height on top of rail of 18 feet, 1 1/2 inch, and a clear with of 11 feet 3 inches. The door-opening is spanned from column to column by a cast-iron, trough-shaped lintel, with a stop at the bottom for the door to strike against. Te lintel is 12 inches wide and 11 inches high, and is made of 5/8 inch iron. Four of the engine-doors have small wicket-doors.  
  
 * The floor is of asphalt, level with the top of the rails. The engine pits in the stalls are 45 feet 8 inches long in the clear, X 3 feet 11 1/2 inches wide, in the clear. 2 feet 9 inches deep at the front and 2 feet deep at the back. The upper (front) end of the pit is placed 13 feet from the inside of the outer wall. The side walls are stone, 2 feet thick. The bottom is laid with a slope from the center of the pit down each way towards each side wall, along witch gutters are formed, thus keeping the middle of the pit dry. The pits are paved with brick, set on edge and grouted with cement and drain at the lower end through a 10 bell-trap with cesspool and a cast iron grate into a 12 inch circular brick sewer running the ends of all the pits, discharging into a main sewer leading away from the house. The side walls of the pits extend away from the house The side walls of the pits extend all the way across the house so as to provide support for the rails. The rails are spiked to 8 inch X 12 inch white oak stringers, anchored with 7/8 inch bolts every 4 feet to the stone side walls.  
  
 * The roof trusses are built on the triangular system, of iron and wood, the span being 75 feet 1 inch from center to center of end-pins, with a rise of 18 feet, 8 inches. The cast iron end plates of the inner front is firmly fixed to the top of the column, while at the outer front it rests on a 4 inch X 14 inch X 2 feet 6 inch white oak wall plate. The principle rafters are white pine, 9 inch X 12 inch; the struts are white pine 4 inch X 9 inch, and 3 inch X 9 inch. The heel blocks, king posts, strut caps, and strut shoes are of cast iron, 5/8 inch thick. The main tie-rods vary from 2 bars 7/8 inch thick square to 2 bars 1 inch X 2 inch. The counter-rods are 7/8 inch square.  The purlins are of white pine, 4 inches X 9 inches on the inner circle and 4 inches X 10 inches on the outer circle. The purlins supporting the smoke-flues6 inches X 19 inches, trussed by 2 rods 3/4 inch in diameter. The purlins supporting the ventilator at ridge are 6 inches X 12 inches, trussed the same as just mentioned. The purlins are cambered or cut convex on the outer circle, the rise at the center of the purlin being 2 3/4 inches at the outer wall and 2 1/4 inch near the ridge, and they are cut hollow or concave on the inner circle, the depression at the center of the purlins being 5/8 inch at the inner wall, and 1 1/8 inch near the ridge. The purlins are sheeted with 1 1/4 inch hemlock, covered with slate laid on 2 layers of roofing felt. Gutters of tin are provided on the outer and inner fronts. The gutter on the outside of the building is drained by a 3 inch X 4 inch galvanized sheet iron down-conductor at every panel point into a 12 inch pipe-drain running around the outside of the building. The down conductor is inserted into a 4 inch X 5 inch grove in the outside of the brick wall at the angel formed by the adjoining panels. The gutter on the inside of the building is drained by a 3 inch circular galvanized-iron down conductor on the inside of the house at every alternate column to a 4 inch pipe-drain that leads directly to a 12 inch circular brick drain at the engine-pits opposite the column. The down conductor is located on the back of the column on the inside of the house.  
  
 * Ventilation is secured by 6 foot octagonal ornamental louvered ventilators, placed in the ridge of every alternate stall. A sheet-iron smoke-flue is placed over every stall, The center of the flue being 15 feet from the inside face of the outer wall. The flue is about 20 inches in diameter with the cast iron stack of " None Such " patent at the top, and provided at the lower end with a bell shaped movable hood, the bottom of the hood, when raised, being 15 feet 2 inches from the top of the rail, and 14 feet when lowered.  
  
 * Water-plugs with 3 inch standard fire-hose connection under the floor,  protected by cast iron boxes and covers level with the top of the floor, are provided at the center of the house at alternate stalls, connected by a 6 inch water-pipe, supplied by a 8 inch water-main. Four hydrants are located inside the house along the outer wall.  
  
 * The heating of the building is done by steam, and the ventilators in the roof can be closed by flap doors as shown on the plans.  
  
 *Between the house and the turntable the rails are laid on oak ties in stone ballast. The frogs around the turntable are the same. The points of the frogs being 3 feet ,3 7/16 inches from the face of the turn-table pit. The turntable pit is drained through a pipe drain to the main sewer. The turntable pit is 60.6 feet in diameter in the clear. The turn-table is of wrought-iron, and is turned by steam power.  
  
 *** END ***  
 


« Last Edit: Aug 16th, 2015, 12:00pm by toptrain » Logged

toptrain
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Re: The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
 
« Reply #1 on: Aug 2nd, 2015, 3:44pm »
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I am still trying to increase the information aviable on this Pennsylvania railroad engine facility. I purchased a book "Pennsylvania Railroad in Jersey City, by Charles Caldes. It is copy dated 2011. By the title of this book I thought I had just what I needed. Well this book falls way short of giving a balanced history of the Pennsylvania Railroad's and activities in Jersey city. Over 95% of this book in views and text covers 1950 to Conrail. It is ashame that it only covers 30 of the year period of time the PRR's  spent in Jersey City. I would guess this book misses at least 115 years of the Pennsy's time spent in Jersey City.  The name "Waldo Yards", which is only name referred to it in this book is a street name by the yard. In 1890 when the 44 stall roundhouse was built the Pennsylvania 's in the Mount Pleasant section of Jersey City. Maybe another book can be found.  
frank


« Last Edit: Aug 24th, 2015, 7:55am by toptrain » Logged

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Re: The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
 
« Reply #2 on: Aug 5th, 2015, 10:13am »
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I believe that the book in question is simply a collection of photos from the holdings of the Jersey City Public Library.  It is one of a series that covers other railroads.  It does not purport to be a full history of the PRR at Jersey City.
 
The name Waldo comes from the name of the street, Waldo Avenue, that is the easternmost street to cross the railroad cut to the Island.  The Waldos (last name) were an old New York Knickerbocker family, that is, descended from early Dutch settlers.  For those who don't know Jersey City, the Island is a kind of one-block mesa created when the present straight PRR/PATH cut was carved through the Palisades/Bergen Hill in the mid to late 1880s.  The mesa was completely surrounded by railroad tracks with only two bridges connecting it to the rest of the city.  The nearby tower was also renamed "Waldo" when the PRR switched from call letters to names in the late 1920s or early 1930s.  Previously, it was "SC" for "Shanley's Cut," Shanley being the contractor who dug it.  I think the change of name came rather early, because building the railroad and yard destroyed whatever feature that had led it to being called Mount Pleasant.  Waldo Avenue was the street that ended at the yard.  You can still see it on Google Maps.  I have never seen the PRR facility referred to as Mount Pleasant beyond the first few years.
 
Chris Baer


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Re: The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
 
« Reply #3 on: Aug 11th, 2015, 7:57pm »
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Chris thank you, On line there were no reports on this book, or any other book I have purchased. . * Well the book "Pennsylvania RR in Jersey city" had no info on the shop at Waldo Ave loco or the maintance area. They make references to a Waldo yard, but show nothing. I just got the book Jersey City in Vintage postcards. by Randall Gabrielan and it also has nothing on the Jersey city yard. It has post cards of Arlington ave station, Pacific ave station, West side ave station, Jackson ave station, all of the Newark and New York RR. Van Nostrand station also of the N and NY, and Communipaw station of the CNJ. I have another Jersey City book coming soon. Maybe I'll get lucky.
* Also to book "Images of America", " Jersey City", by Patrick B. Shalhoub is that other book. It hasn't helped either. There are at least 3 other book on stations, terminals and roundhouses I have just gotten that don't help.  
 frank


« Last Edit: Aug 24th, 2015, 7:59am by toptrain » Logged

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Re: The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
 
« Reply #4 on: Aug 16th, 2015, 10:13am »
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 Well very close to Jersey City, just west of the City border which is the Hackensack River, across which is located large freight yards of the Pennsylvania railroad, is a area of interest. This area was called the "Meadows" in info I have found. These meadow lands also continued from the river east into Jersey City right up to the west side of Bergen Hill. I have found information on a roundhouse and engine maintance facility here also. This predates the north river tunnel by many years and is close to the Waldo avenue facilities. This is what I found.  
 
 
****  New Pennsylvania railroad shops in a location called the Meadows. ****
*** A report published on November, 2, 1872 in the "Railroad Gazette", tells of the building of a new engine facility in New Jersey by the Hackensack River. This is the information from that report.
** The new shops by the Hackensack River are making great progress, the walls of some of the buildings and almost complete. The foundations of all of the buildings are done. Almost 7,000 piles have been driven in the soil there.  The roundhouse is the largest of the buildings.  It is 480 feet in diameter, with space for over 50 engines. There is a car shop that will be 240' X100". The paint shop will be 410' X 100'. The Blacksmith shop will be 160" X 120'. A Erecting Shop is to be 140', X 70'.The Machine Shop will be the same size as the Erecting Shop. This is also a Boiler Shop, measurements not stated. Every building will be 1 story high.  The site 288 acres in size was reported to have been purchased for $166,000. Preparation of the site was started several years ago, with a dike built and the area drained. This work was done by Mr. S. N. Pike.  
** A new timetable takes effect on October 27 1872. There are 53 regular passenger trains leaving Jersey City every day, with the same number arriving. There are 17 through trains. Four are Western Express trains. Three Washington express trains. Nine Philadelphia trains. One emigrant train. Local passenger trains are the last 26 trains. All trains are run on Philadelphia Time.
 
** Now all this is going on in 1872 and in 1883 this MT. Pleasant roundhouse is built. I would guess that a engine facility that far away wasn't close enough to timely handle fast turnarounds ( cleaning, fueling, sanding, watering, and inspecting) of the locomotives with so many trains constantly arriving. The building of the Mt Pleasant roundhouse and turntable, with coal, water, and sand facilities were a necessity.  
 
*** Anybody know anything else about this Meadows facility or the Mt. Pleasant/Waldo yard facility pre 1900?


« Last Edit: Aug 24th, 2015, 8:06am by toptrain » Logged

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Re: The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
 
« Reply #5 on: Aug 16th, 2015, 11:45am »
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**   Now first I have edited response 4 and 5 and added text to both.  
 
** I you have updated what is here in a reread of 4 and 5 going on, the drawings in the original article in Walter Berg's 1883 book referred to in the first post has drawings, though incomplete give's the reader/modeler a partial but informative look at this roundhouse. The outside 2 window panels for each segment of this building, plus the side view and type a central roof ventilators give enough information to find a PRR roundhouse of the period in photos when you search, "Pennsylvania Roundhouses" in google or Bing, looking through the photos shown. The photo of the Coxton Roundhouse, or the older view of the Harrisburg roundhouse, also Bellwood, and Tyrone roundhouses, definitely look like the info and drawings of the Jersey City one. So in a complete circle roundhouse the outside is of great importance, while the inside door panels on this roundhouse, where the doors open in, and in the summer my never be closed make little difference to the modeler. The door size and shape are seen in the drawings if one wishes to model them.  
 frank


« Last Edit: Aug 16th, 2015, 11:49am by toptrain » Logged

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Re: The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 20th, 2015, 12:20pm »
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Yesterday I went to the Jersey City Public library, 427 Jersey Avenue,  with the thought of doing some research there on Waldo yards. I was hoping to find some view of the yards showing the roundhouse. I was sent up to the third floor to find someone named John who was the Libraries knowledgeable person on the History of Jersey City. I met John and he could not help me enough. He produced a 1880 tax map of Jersey City for the area of Waldo St. The yard was there in scale and with all tracks and switches shown. Now the drawing shows a 2 segment roundhouse split in two places by 3 entrance, exit tracks. There are only 18 stalls for inside locomotive storage. This is not the full circle 44 stall roundhouse built in 1890 at this location. The Pennsylvania Railroads lease of United railroads in 1871. The roundhouse seen here may have been built by the United railroads of New Jersey.  
frank
Edit. I found out the 1890 printed on the map is a identifying block number and not a date. The library historian pointed this out to me and found the date of the map to be 1928. Now I feel that this image of the roundhouse may be incorrectly drawn. The search goes on.



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« Last Edit: Aug 24th, 2015, 8:16am by toptrain » Logged

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Re: The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
 
« Reply #7 on: Aug 20th, 2015, 1:05pm »
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Keep digging Frank. You have done good so far!
CHESSIEMIKE


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Re: The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
  Pennsylvania_Rail_Road_Jersey_City_1890_Waldo_yard.jpg - 87216 Bytes
« Reply #8 on: Aug 23rd, 2015, 10:40am »
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* Well todays the day a copy of track layout information for the Pennsylvania Railroad upper and lower yards in downtown Jersey City is shown. Most important is where it came from. It is from a book in the University of Michigan Library that is a part of the Hathi Trust Digital library online. A very good place to research historic information. It was in a railroad magazine Railway Age, volume 22, 1890, on page 493. This is a little part of the Pennsylvania Railroad's improvements done at this time. The PRR made a new cut through the top of Bergen hill. Then raised the roadway from The Jersey City heights down to their new train shed and terminal, with a new 6 story office building, waiting room, head house, and ferry slips. Also built was a new upper yard for passenger car and locomotive service. The yard included a 44 stall full circle roundhouse and powered turntable. This yard was built in a section of Jersey City known as the Mount Pleasant section. In a area that included a old park. A article in the Scientific American of the same time period, states the round house was built in the exact location of the parks dance pavilion.  
* Here is my long sought after, and recently discovered, bit of historic information of the Pennsylvania Railroads Waldo yard Roundhouse.  
 frank
 
Edit addition: This is the only view of any kind I have found showing the 44 stall roundhouse in position in the yard with all the surrounding tracks. No one online was able to give me information on this yard. It was just found in one of the many searches I have done. The 44 stall roundhouse is of a standard PRR design on the time. The PRR changed some thing like outside panel windows, size number. Inside door panel size and shape. A look at old photos and postcards show round houses of the same basic construction in Bellwood, Harrisburg, Coxton and others. On all the view is as expected of the outer panels. The window arrangement is the same on all. The roof type and shape also the same. The locomotive smokestack vents and rooftop decorative ventilators are all the same. All seem to be the same style that if completely built would be of a 44 stall type. The Bellwood roundhouse is a partial single segment roundhouse on less than a complete circle roundhouse.  
* Well editing again. The Coxton roundhouse view can be found in both photo and postcard. The same view. on the right side a bridge is seen crossing a river. the river fill the bottom quarter of the view. The roundhouse is seen centered on the far bank. A large mountain is behind the whole seen with a notable geographic feature call Cambell's ledge.
 
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« Last Edit: Aug 24th, 2015, 8:28am by toptrain » Logged

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Re: The 1890 Round House at Jersey City
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 25th, 2015, 6:43am »
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Mount Pleasant Roundhouse under construction.  
frank


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