YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Last week, the Yorktown Town Board awarded a contract to Clemco Construction & Restoration Inc. for a little more than $476,000 to restore the defunct Yorktown Heights Railroad Station depot in Railroad Park.
And no one was more happy to discuss its significance than John Tegeder, the town’s director of planning.
“Personally, it’s very exciting for me,” Tegeder said at the board meeting on Tuesday, July 2, upon being called to the microphone before the award of the bid, noting that he’d “been after this” since taking a job with the town.
“We’re restoring—that’s the operative word, restoring—the historic national landmark, state landmark and local landmark of the Yorktown train station,” Tegeder explained. “I think it’s going to enhance Railroad Park—that’s why it’s named such—but also that park…it’s evolving, I would say, and really becoming a feature and a center of town and I think this is really going to help.”
The 420-square-foot depot, a one-story frame structure with deep, bracketed overhangs, was built in 1877 by the New York, Westchester and Putnam Railway. Its two rooms served as waiting and baggage rooms, and the building itself served as the center of town, sitting in the midst of stores and businesses, a school and churches. New York Central Railroad, Putnam Division, acquired the line and station in 1894.
But the ever-increasing popularity of another mode of transportation—the automobile—drove train service out of town. The last train to pull into the station did so on May 29, 1958, four years before freight service was abandoned between East Falls and Mahopac. In 1966, the town purchased it, and the exterior of the depot was repaired in the latter half of the 1970s.
The depot was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, followed by placement on local and state registers.
According to Tegeder, the depot is the only one of its type on the abandoned line that has not been significantly modified.
Asked how long the renovation would take, Tegeder estimated four months.
“I can’t wait until it’s done,” Tegeder said. “I can’t wait until we can open it up and people can actually enjoy it as people once did when they were traveling—the traveling public.”
The board unanimously approved awarding a bid of $476,386 to Clemco, the only bidder. It entails a base bid of $414,367, restoration of the original chimney for $26,688 and the replacement of a wall sill for $35,331.
The New York State Department of Transportation will reimburse the town to the tune of $295,762 for the project, while the town will cover the balance of $147,881.