Growing up only a block or two from the Warwick yards complex, I spent a lot of my free time 'hanging out' there as a kid- and it didn't end as a 'supposed' grownup.
I didn't start seriously photographing what had been a kind of a playground (in the late fifty's and early sixty's) until after my time in the Army- about 1972.
What I call 'the yards' underwent many changes over the years. This is
a map, from the L&HR archives, of the
layout in 1937. What's left in 1998 was there then; it can used as a
reference for the following photos.
Prior to 1910-1911, when the 'new' yards/shops complex was built, the freight yards were in the area now occupied by the South Street parking lots. They dated to the original Warwick Valley days. Engine and car servicing facilities were added west of Elm Street sometime around 1880, partly in the area currently used by a local automobile dealer as a storage lot.
For some pictures and maps from this era, see At the Turn of the (last) Century.
In 1987, a friend offered me a ride in his Cessna 150. Of course,
among the first things I wanted to see from a few thousand feet up were
my house, and the Warwick yards. This shot includes both.
The view is looking roughly south.
The shops are just right of center. The Pelton Road crossing is just out of frame to the right, the village of Warwick is to the left.
As a part of its centennial celebration in 1960, the L&HR turned on the PR machine- postcards, brochures, Caboose 81 set up as a special display on the
station lawn, and most impressively, a pair of steam powered excursions over
the length of the line.
One available memento was this photo, which was sold all over town as an 8"x10" photographic print.
The view is from an estimated 500-1000' altitude, looking west-northwest.
In 1910-1911 the booming Lehigh and Hudson built a new freight yard, new servicing facilities, and a new headquarters office building, at their current location. This view was taken from the roof of the nearly completed office building, looking towards the new shops, roundhouse, and storehouse.
A month or so prior to the previous shot, the photographer climbed to the top of the coal pocket and took this picture. It looks the other way, back towards the 'under construction' office building, with the village of Warwick in the background.
This 'official' photo was taken by the L&HR. Dating it isn't too hard; the new RS-3's are on the property, but it's still very much a steam operation. A penciled note on the back of the last steam roster blueprint from the road's archives notes the final run by a steam locomotive in December 1950.
Compare this photo to the one above taken in 1911. The location, direction, and angle are nearly identical.
The currently existing Warwick passenger station, when relatively new. The photo is dated 1919. The tracks in the foreground are part of the pre-1910 freight yards. Some of these tracks lasted into the early 1960's.
The original Warwick station, circa 1885. This wood structure was built by the Warwick Valley Railroad, and served until the current stone structure was built.
A couple of things to note...
The brick building in the background is a constant over the years. Now called the Demerest Building, it was built as the Demerest Hotel. It was only one of several hotels within walking distance from the station at the time. Two others remain; what's now the 10 Railroad Avenue restaurant was Kelly's Hotel, and the Dispatch Building was the National Hotel.
Note the birdhouse on the roof of the station. It's a 'purple martin house'- many pictures of the era show them. Purple martins were a deterrent against insect pests (they feed on mosquitos, gnats, flies, etc.), and residents would have the birdhouses somewhere on their property to attract the birds. Kind of like a turn-of-the-last-century version of a bug zapper.
It's spring, 1975; the mysterious Poughkeepsie Bridge fire was a year in the past, and Conrail was still a year in the future. A pair of pairs of the C-420's idle in front of the shops building, with a newly-repainted flanger 105 sitting outside on track 33. Two of the 10 class cabooses are stored on track 34, the 'loading dock'.
On the same late spring day, looking the other way at the same switch. Track 27 was being used for caboose storage, and the work equipment held down track 26. By this time the 100-ton steam wrecker was long gone; the work train consisted of the self-propelled 'Burro' crane No. 220, a couple of the old flat cars, a low side gon, and the 'bobber' (4-wheel caboose 81).
To the left, the yards are still active and relatively full. The tank cars to the right of the cabooses are incoming loads for Jones Chemical Co., a major chlorine supplier in the northeast. At the time, they occupied the former storehouse building and the area of the old roundhouse. Today, with the exception of the main, the 'runaround track' (track 15), and yard track 1, they own all of what used to be the L&HR's Warwick yards and service facilities.