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Sparta, NJ (rshsdepot)
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   Author  Topic: Sparta, NJ (rshsdepot)  (Read 138 times)
Posts: 6146
Sparta, NJ - NYS&W
« on: Dec 15th, 2006, 1:58pm »
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Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 13:32:04 -0500 (EST)
From: Henry Priebe
Subject: Sparta, NJ - NYS&W (rshsdepot)
Red tape continues to tie up station sale
Friday, December 15, 2006
Herald Staff Writer  
SPARTA . The historic Sparta Railroad Station has been sitting unused for more
than 70 years, and it may need to wait a few more months more.  
Though township officials have expressed a tepid interest in purchasing the
four-acre Station Road property, a former Superfund site, they are frustrated
by the lack of information coming from the federal government about the future
"Despite repeated calls (to various government agencies), I do not have a date
or a minimum bid price," Township Attorney Tom Ryan said at a recent council
meeting. "All (funding options) are contingent on the feds moving on the
Ryan said the property's assessed value was about $237,000, but the minimum
bid in auction could be driven up by more than $1 million in tax liens accrued
on the property by the federal and state government, an amount that continues
to grow the longer the property is held.  
"Unfortunately, that's kind of typical of bureaucracy," Mayor Manny Goldberg
said in a conversation Thursday, expressing some concern that the longer the
government holds the site, the higher the minimum bid price may be. "I don't
think they would try to make back everything they are losing, but they are
certainly going to try to get back as much as they can."  
Ben Barry, a Superfund press officer, said it is tough for the Environmental
Protection Agency to set a date right now.  
"There are several departments involved in this and we don't know who will be
leading the auction," Barry said, indicating the EPA does not commonly handle
bids. "We will be able to better determine the auction situation after the new
The A.O. Polymer company, which used to own the site, abandoned the property
12 years ago after receiving several violation notices from the EPA. Through
the Superfund clean-up program, the government organization treated polluted
groundwater in the area and removed the property from its National Priority
List in 2000.  
The township's interest in the property came earlier this year when several
railroad and historical organizations . including the Tri-State Railroad
Historical Society and the Sparta Historical Society . requested the town
consider purchasing the site so the groups could refurbish the 124-year-old
Local historian and author Bill Truran said he has been trying to find other
people that could develop an interest for the site.  
"Right now, the land is laying fallow," Truran said. "We (historical groups)
want to preserve the station, but the town could use the rest of the area for
soccer fields or basketball courts."  
Truran's idea was endorsed by the Sparta Planning Board and passed on to the
"I think the council is willing to look positively on this," Goldberg said.
'We want to make sure it would be available to the public ... (but) the
council has not reached any kind of decision yet."  
However, if the federal government continues to "drag its feet" setting up the
auction, Goldberg said, he may consider contacting district representatives in
Congress to help expedite the process.  
In the meantime, the council has expressed some interest in finding potential
funding help. At the council meeting, Ryan suggested Green Acres or Historic
Preservation funding may be available, though with only limited auction
information, he could only speculate.  
But, Ryan said, other groups may be eyeing the property, including at least
one private party. He also indicated the New York, Susquehanna & Western
Railroad, which still has freight running on those tracks, may consider taking
down structures near the tracks that it deems hazardous. Town Manager Henry
Underhill said the station was not likely in danger, but one of the old A.O.
Polymer structures might be.
The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org

W.G McAdoo
Former Member
Re: Sparta, NJ - NYS&W
« Reply #1 on: Dec 15th, 2006, 2:57pm »
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 Henry: Thanks for posting that article about the old NYS&W Sparta depot. Years ago, the old depot was leased to a manufacturing concern for office space. The Sparta station was of the very few stations standing west of Beaver Lake. It is interesting to note, that, when the station was leased,  the company constructed a small wooden water tank on the old standard Erie poured concrete foundations from the original water tower. The company manufactured industrial chemicals, and the process required large volumes of water, thus the need for a new (yet tradional-looking) tank on the old footings.

Posts: 6146
Sparta, NJ (rshsdepot)
« Reply #2 on: Jan 12th, 2007, 10:36am »
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Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 22:30:29 -0500
From: Bernie Wagenblast
Subject: Sparta, NJ (rshsdepot)
From today's Star-Ledger.
Bernie Wagenblast
Train station site may live again
Recreational and historic uses eyed in Sparta  
Thursday, January 11, 2007  
Star-Ledger Staff  
The Sparta station was once a railroad stop for city folks taking the long
trek "up to the country" to enjoy the many summer destina tion spots
available in Sussex County.  
Starting in the late 1800s, Sparta thrived as a summer resort community,
catering to tourists who came by railroad to swim in the county's lakes and
enjoy its pristine beauty. After arriving at the station, the visitors would
take a horse-and-carriage buggy ride to one of the many resorts.  
"The station made Sparta a popular place to go in the late 1800s ... there
were 30 resort hotels in the area," said local historian and railroad buff
Bill Truran, who wants to restore the old New York Susquehanna & Western
Railroad station to its former glory.  
The 125-year-old Sparta station, which has a cookie-cutter design once used
in all depots of the NYS&W, was one of 15 built in the county by the
railroad. Today, only Sparta and Ogdensburg still stand.  
With the growing popularity of automobiles, passenger service ended at the
station in the late 1930s, and A.O. Polymer, a plastics manufacturer,
operated a plant ad jacent to the station and used the station for office
space from the 1960s until 1993.  
A.O. Polymer abandoned the plant in 1994, about a decade after the federal
Environmental Protection Agency placed it on the Superfund list because of
air and water quality violations.  
Today, the dilapidated station off Station Road near Route 15 sits vacant.  
The old ticket office, waiting room, the stationmaster's quarters and a
freight section lie in disrepair, although the station appears to be
structurally sound. Sunlight can be seen through the station's old slate
roof while all of its windows are long gone and graffiti left by vandals can
be observed throughout the wooden building.  
A.O. Polymer's old headquarters next to the station looks eerie with its
rusted steel structures and overgrown weeds.  
Over the years, thousands of tons of contaminated soil and hundreds of drums
were taken from the site and it was removed from the Superfund list in 2000.
But Truran and Ed Fritsch, president of the Sparta Historical Society, see a
future in the decrepit four-acre site.  
They are lobbying Sparta officials, as well as Rep. Rodney Fre linghuysen
(R-11th District), to get Sparta to buy the station and the adjoining A.O.
Polymer property, which is expected to be up for sale at a federal auction
this spring. The property's assessed value is about $237,000, but a minimum
bid at an auction would be more than $1 million because of tax liens on the
A purchase by Sparta, Truran and Fritsch say, would be beneficial for both
history enthusiasts and the township.  
"We feel it would be great for Sparta. It has everything Sparta is looking
for," said Truran.  
Truran has proposed that Sparta build six basketball courts and a
youth-sized soccer field, as well as a large parking lot, at the site. The
idea, Truran and Fritsch said, has been endorsed by the planning board and
forwarded to the township council.  
In the meantime, the railroad station could be renovated at no cost to the
township by volunteers from the Morristown-based Tri- State Railroad
Historical Society and the Sussex County Railroad Club who have already done
some clean-up work at the station.  
Eventually, Truran and Fritsch would like to see the station become a
historical railroad museum that could be used for railroad club meetings and
school visits. Rail road excursions, similar to those now conducted in
Newfoundland, Phillipsburg and Whippany, could also be set up on the tracks,
which are currently in use by NYS&W for freight trains.  
"Wouldn't it be great? They (Sparta) want and need the fields anyway," said
Truran. "Our biggest hurdle is for them to put their money where their mouth
Joe Moszczynski may be reached at jmoszczynski at starledger dot com or (973)
The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org
To Unsubscribe: http://lists.railfan.net/rshsdepot-photo/unsub.html

Posts: 6146
Sparta, NJ - Destroyed by Fire
« Reply #3 on: Sep 4th, 2012, 10:42am »
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Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2012 21:29:37 -0400
From: Josh Stull  
Subject: Sparta (NJ) train station fire probed (rshsdepot)
Sparta (NJ) train station fire probed
Josh Stull
Nicholson, PA
The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org

View Profile  

Posts: 4803
Re: Sparta, NJ - NYS&W
« Reply #4 on: Sep 4th, 2012, 5:07pm »
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Now that is truly sad.

Posts: 6146
Sparta, NJ
« Reply #5 on: Oct 9th, 2012, 12:50pm »
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Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2012 22:35:23 -0400
From: Josh Stull  
 anthraciterr AT yahoogroups DOT com, All_Aboard@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Owners plan to rebuild (former NYS&W) train station (Sparta, NJ) (rshsdepot)
Owners plan to rebuild (former NYS&W) train station (Sparta, NJ)
Josh Stull
Nicholson, PA
The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org

Posts: 6146
Re: Sparta, NJ - Being rebuilt from scratch!
« Reply #6 on: Jan 15th, 2016, 11:17am »
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The Sparta, NJ stations that was destroyed in a fire in September 2012 is
being rebuilt from scratch.
Thanks to Gary Kazin on the erielack list for the heads up.
Sparta train station rises from ashes
By Bruce A. Scruton New Jersey Herald
Posted: Jan. 15, 2016 12:01 am
SPARTA -- Rising from the ruins and ashes of its former self, the Sparta train
station is being reborn as an event center, railroad museum and a place where
local artists and craftspeople will be able to teach their skills to a new
Within the past couple of weeks, the framing of the new station has gone up
and the roof timbers have been installed. Construction is expected to take
about two months and when completed, the station will be dedicated to William
E. Dermody Jr., a township resident and former mayor.
For the full article that includes a construction photo see:

View Profile  

Posts: 4803
Re: Sparta, NJ - NYS&W
« Reply #7 on: Jan 15th, 2016, 12:23pm »
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Call that good news indeed. Wonder if the arsonist was ever caught and punished?

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