Upper Montclair Station Needs Saving

Upper Montclair's Mountain Train Station could soon be removed from the New Jersey and National Registry of Historic Places.

Montclair could soon lose the historic Upper Montclair station.

According to a recent email statement by SaveMontclair, “NJ Transit is requesting the removal of the Upper Montclair RR station from both the NJ and National Registry of Historic Places. This would leave the station with no protection from demolition and…development in the adjacent Bellevue parking lot which is zoned for three stories in the new master plan.”

New Jersey Transit initially requested to unlist the station in 2012 before Mayor Jackson and a representative from the Historic Preservation Commission provided letters to NJ Transit that “they did not object to delisting the station.”
According to the email, Bill Hurlock, first ward counselor, was made aware of the delisting process when he “received a copy of the state’s letter with the NJ Transit request to finalize the delisting of the station.” Now, Counselor Hurlock is organizing a “working group to oppose the delisting; however he needs the help of the public.” The report stated that at this late stage, it will be difficult to stop the process even though the mayor and Historic Preservation Commission are now reversing their original stance.

“The station is historically significant for its associations with the ascendancy and subsequent decline of rail service in New Jersey, as well as interpretations of various architectural styles for one specific function,” stated the email. “The settlement at Upper Montclair grew exponentially after the coming of the first rail line in the 1870s, evolving to be a premier suburb by the 1890s.”

According to Hurlock, there was a fire at the station in 2006, and 20-25 percent of the material from the original building was able to be preserved. The town designated the entire area as historic,
and now NJ Transit intends to petition to get the station removed from both the NJ and National Registry of Historic Places. Additionally, Hurlock says that the best thing for citizens who want to save the station to do is to contact him at either 973-509-4931 or whurlock@montclairnjusa.org. Counselor Hurlock will then give information regarding where citizens can send a letter to voice their opinions.

“We have several groups in the first ward of Montclair that already sent letters,” said Hurlock. “The Montclair Historic Preservation Commission passed a resolution opposing it. There will also be a hearing on March 12, 2015 where it will be presented.”

“Clearly the issue of the deregistration of the Upper Montclair Train Station impacts the areas nearer the station more than other parts of the Township but, in my opinion, all residents of Montclair should be concerned about the Township’s historic sites,” said Gerald Tobin of the Upper Montclair Business Association. “In many ways, Montclair is defined by its historic buildings, residences and parks. They are our heritage which we must try protect. If residents want to voice an opinion in the matter they can contact the State Historic Preservation Office.”

The final decision will be made by the State Historic Preservation Office.

Those interested in helping the cause can contact Counselor Hurlock. Additionally, “members of the public are greatly needed to support this effort by writing to officials making the decision to not allow the delisting to proceed.” The State Historical Preservation Office will make the final decision and they need to receive posted letters by Feb. 10.

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