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 Post subject: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:50 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 135
Location: Greenwich, NY
I saw a really sad sight yesterday. I was down in Middletown, NY, and drove past the former depot/headquarters of the NYO&W.

I'm sure most of you know that it suffered a fire two or three years back on one end. When I got there, it was sad to see that absolutely NOTHING has happened to the place. The entire west end is still charred and roofless.

The old order board, while still there and 100% intact last time I was there, is now 50% bladeless. The old O&W logo-ed clock that was in the east side of the building is now vanished.

And here's the kicker. There is not only ONE door wide open permitting access. There are TWO. No sign of padlocks or plywood. It's just sitting there like a dead carcass. I poked my head inside the door, and said to myself "no way" at even the though of going in. Not only did it seem like a totally unsafe structure, there was also the fact was it's now probably infested with squatters. The neighborhood is just that bad now. The whole building just gives off a bad vibe now, and it is truly heartbreaking.

I look at a place like the former D&H shops in Colonie (pre-fire) and you still had a glimmer of a thought on using it for something else in the future. I look at Middletown now and I just kinda know that the building is just past the "preservation point of no return", and that it's only a matter of time before it is either bulldozed or torched again.

Ironically enough, most of the O&W shop buildings just down the track are intact and in use.

What are the chances of a building like this literally rising out of the ashes and coming back to serve people in some way or shape again? I'm guessing that it might have been my last view of the place, but then I think that if they can secure Buffalo Central Terminal, then ANYTHING is possible.

When do you know it's time to just throw in the towel and let something die?


Last edited by greenwichlirr on Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
Posts: 1114
Location: Northeastern US
If the area is truly as bad as you say, moving the building may be its only hope.

The former B&M Maplewood Depot in Malden, MA was moved in order to be saved. Unfortunately it ended up being bulldozed at its new location, but many dedicated people did try...


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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:25 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 135
Location: Greenwich, NY
Moving the building? Not gonna happen. Look at the pics on this website (taken in better times of the buildings later years) and you'll see what I mean...

http://www.nyow.org/middletown.html


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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:54 am 

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What are the chances of a building like this literally rising out of the ashes and coming back to serve people in some way or shape again? I'm guessing that it might have been my last view of the place, but then I think that if they can secure Buffalo Central Terminal, then ANYTHING is possible.

When do you know it's time to just throw in the towel and let something die?


The towel was thrown in a long time ago, when NYO&W "fans" decided to repaint everything under the sun (from GE U-boats to F-7's) in grey, yellow and orange rather than trying to save the actual physical remnants of the railroad.

The fact that the building is in a "bad" area is not an excuse - if historic preservation can work as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization elsewhere - why not in Middletown?

Tom Cornillie


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:18 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2448
Tom,

The owner of the F-7 is also preserving some "real" O&W and LV equipment. The U-Bpat, you might remember, was not a preservation project but the main power for a shortline that actually had a few hundred feet of O&W rail.

You might also note that an NW-2, a 44-tonner, the "Warwick", Taibbi's depot and a many other O&W relics have been restored in recent times.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:47 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9312
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Let me try to be a little fair to the situation at hand.

As I recall (and please, someone step in and correct me if I'm wrong), the museum that had been set up in the depot occupied only one end of the depot. The fire struck another part of the building, damaging enough of the building to make it technically "uninhabitable" until repairs were effected.

Assuming that my recollection is correct (and that the NYO&W relics themselves didn't burn up), the O&W chaps may be trapped between a rock and a hard place.

Who owned the building? Whose stuff burned? Was it insured? One blanket building policy or individual tenants? Who was insured for what?

I'm in a city chock full of rowhouses and adjacent office buildings. You cannot imagine how many times one rowhouse catches fire and damages two adjacent ones, and the ultimate answer, no matter what the insurance, is for all three buildings to be rendered useless hulks. (Oh, if only they were demolished. Instead they sit like black or decayed teeth in the middle of a smile.)

And this is if the building was fully insured. If this was, say, a building owned by the Town of Middletown and leased out in parcels, there's no telling HOW much limbo and purgatory could be involved.

I'm not trying to make excuses or point fingers here. I'm just trying to objectively look at the possible reasons for the scenario we are seeing here. And I approach this as a member of an organization that had a large bridge on its track collapse from an undermined pier, and is still trying to find funds to rebuild the structure over a decade later.


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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:03 pm
Posts: 1
The fire damage to the station in Middletown, while tragic, is only the latest example of the long deterioration of the building.

As I understand it, the building is owned by a local real estate company. Various tenents have rented space in the building over the years, but few had lasted. Various nughtclub and restaurant ventures, gift shops, even a baseball card shop have occupied the lower floor. The upper floors are (were?) a rabbit warren of narrow halls with offices off of them. The O&W added the upper center section of the building to house its own operating offices, it was never designed to be rentable space even in the 1920's. Bt today's standards its possitively archaic.

If there was a "museum" set up in the building, it was a well kept secret as I never saw any evidence of it. The O&W society does have its archives center in town but had no connection with the station.

The problem in a nutshell is, that while the building has historical signifigance to railroad fans, it has little economic value in today's market. The neighborhood around it has deteriorated so much in just the ten years or so I've been going there that it is unlikely that anybody who could afford to restore the structure would even consider it. The cost of restoraration and upkeep are well beyond the resources of the O&W Soceity, although that group did make some inquiries into the availability of public funding for a restoration effort. It is my understanding that the request for state funding must come from the owner of the building, and to date that has no happened.

Lost in all of this is the old Adas Express building next door to the station which still stands intact, complete with an O&W herald in the stonework. The shop buildings and yard office are also still standing a few blocks away.

Bill Schneider


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 Post subject: Re: INTERIOR PIC AND VIDEO--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:21 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 135
Location: Greenwich, NY
I just found this link of pics and video taken by one of the tenants right after the fire......I haven't seen these before now.....I warn you, they're pretty sad.

http://www.rock2000.com/owfire/


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 Post subject: Potter Street, Saginaw
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:56 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 8139
Location: Wilton, NY
There are some parallels here with the Pere Marquette Potter Street Station in Saginaw, Michigan:

http://www.michiganrailroads.com/RRHX/S ... StaPg1.htm

This also was a grand building in its day, and was in relatively good shape until gutted by fire around 15 years ago. There was a save-the-depot group formed, which managed to get rubble removed and a temporary roof applied, but I don't think they got much further than that (please correct me if wrong).

It seems nearly half the towns and cities in the US have depot projects going or completed, thus another save-the-depot project does not stand out. Potter Street is said to be another deteriorated neighborhood, which discourages investment by developers.

The mantra taught in historic preservation courses at universities is "every
old house cannot become an old house museum - there has to be a viable economic use for it", which means adaptive reuse. This places old depots in the same category as old warehouses and mill buildings - most are not so unique as to be stand alone museums, thus I do not have an answer to the problem.

About the only railroad buildings unique and rare enough to become stand-alone museums are roundhouses - they do not redevelop easily, but could make good homes for some rusting steam locomotives in city parks if the necessary elements are brought together.


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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:00 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:07 am
Posts: 328
[Thread update -- 09/22/11]
__________________________________________________


Reviving an old thread from 2006.

I just noticed a recent set of photos taken July, 2011 of the O&W, Middletown depot. The photographer writes on his site (linked below) that a plan to preserve the building is in the works. Can anyone here comment?

Link:
http://viewoftheblue.com/photography/middle_nyow.html


Last edited by FLO on Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:36 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:35 pm
Posts: 338
Location: NJ
Flo,

From memory the City and local hospital are teaming up to convert the building to a health care center of some kind. There was a press release in the Middletown paper posted on some other sites a few months ago.

Again not sure when work will start, but they were NOT planning to tear the building down!

_________________
cv the civil E in NJ


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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:49 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1896
From the local paper:

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110409/NEWS/104090327&cid=sitesearch

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:19 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:12 am
Posts: 778
Location: cheyenne
What a happy result, well done to all concerned, perhaps they can incorporate a small museum area inside the building too.

Mike Pannell


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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:58 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 135
Location: Greenwich, NY
Bringing up an old post to wonder what has been done since the restoration was announced? And new visuals to be seen?


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 Post subject: Re: Another case of lost hope--NYO&W Middletown
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:32 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 570
Location: B'more Maryland
Looks like it's still in the works, but might have some real legs (or at least prosthetic ones).

http://mchcpathwaytohealth.com/


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