Fanwood Train Station
If you drive or walk past it frequently, it’s easy to become complacent about it. But if you take a moment to stop and really look at the Fanwood NJ Train Station, you can’t help but be impressed by its Victorian beauty. The original station, built in 1837, was actually built about a quarter of a mile to the north, and was called Scotch Plains Station. It was run by the Elizabethtown and Somerville Railroad, which had just completed the line from Elizabethport to Plainfield by that time. Today, Midway Avenue runs along what was the old line. Because the wood-burning locomotives of the time could not climb steep inclines, the original line had to skirt the big hill at Fanwood. Later, the advent of more powerful coal-burning locomotives enabled the trains to handle such a hill. So the Central Railroad of New Jersey, which had, by then, taken over the line, acquired all of the land that lay between the old line and the new line. In 1867 the station was relocated to its current location between North and South Avenues, and it was in 1874 that the familiar Victorian style main building was constructed.
Besides a new station, the railroad also built up the surrounding area into suburban housing. Some believe that Fanwood acquired its name from the fan-shaped parcel of land on which the station and housing were built. Others believe Fanwood was named after Fanny Wood, a journalist who wrote about the area and was a frequent visitor to the area and the station. Either way, there’s no doubt about the fact that the town of Fanwood formed around and because of the train station.
Today, the station stands as a historical icon in the center of Fanwood, NJ,with its Victorian beauty and charm unchanged by time. In addition to operating as a bustling train station, it also houses the Fanwood Museum and is a meeting place for various groups. Over the years, it has undergone several restorations and additions, but maintains its original Victorian charm. The Fanwood train station was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 17, 1980. So take a minute to really look at it and appreciate its place in history the next time you use it or drive by it. It’s the beautiful “mother” of the town of Fanwood!