ROXBURY, NJ – Funding approved Monday by former Gov. Chris Christie means restoration of the historic former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad station in Landing should be finished before summertime.
The $259,000 historic preservation grant authorized by the outdoing governor will enable the Lake Hopatcong Foundation to complete most of the train station project, said Marty Kane, a local historian and chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees. The 107-year-old structure’s rehabilitation began shortly after the station was purchased by the foundation in 2014.
“That will be the money we need to complete the interior,” Kane said, noting Monday was an “amazing day” for people who care about the Lake Hopatcong area. On his last day in office, Christie also signed into law a proposal to provide $500,000 annually for maintenance and preservation of the lake.
The non-profit foundation plans to use the train station as its headquarters and as a community gathering place. So far, it has spent about $800,000 on the restoration, funds that came from state and county grants as well as private donations, Kane said.
“People have been really generous,” he commented.
For example, he said, a man who died late last year “was so thrilled the station is being restored” that his wife asked well-wishers to donate to the project in his name. Her a request brought the foundation about $2,000, Kane said.
Next on the restoration agenda is installation of new wiring, a new floor, a new ceiling, new plaster walls and new windows, according to Kane. Although that sounds like a lot, Kane said he’s been ensured by contractors that the hardest part of the restoration – structural repairs and a new roof – are finished.
“It’s been really tricky to take a building from 1911 and turn it into a community space,” Kane said. Because the station will be used for public events, it needs to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and modern fire codes.
When constructed, the station was not meant to be particularly comfortable. Heat came from a pot-belly stove, lighting was minimal and air conditioning was a thing of the future, noted Kane.
“This was not elaborate,” he said. “It wasn’t Penn Station or Grand Central Station or Union Station … It was mainly a summer station. That’s when It got major use; when people came to the lake for its hotels, camping and cottages. In the summer it was a very, very busy station.”
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