A few years ago, Glassboro’s train museum was a decaying train station needing to lurch itself into revision. With the help of local people dedicated to preserving the building’s history, the building was fixed.
The newly renovated building was built between 1863 and 1867 according to Curator of The Glassboro Depot Rich Drobil. The station was a hub for trains run by the West Jersey Railroad, which later matured into the West Jersey & Seashore Lines.
Glassboro residents could get access to Camden and Millville NJ on one line, and Bridgton NJ on another. Though the Bridgeton line is no longer operational, portions of the tracks still sit along the railroad crossing on University Blvd and Oakwood Ave.
Drobil says that the railroad was a primary source of transportation. Summer months would especially be busy because passengers could access trains to the Jersey Shore from Millville.
Local people could also use the train station as a postal service. Small freight such as mail could also be sent by train to surrounding areas.
The train station helped grow the Glassboro Normal School as it was a main source of transportation for both the normal school and Glassboro Regional High School. Drobil says Glassboro Regional High School once served students from surrounding towns such as Clayton. The railroad also helped sell real estate in Glassboro as people would use the train to get to Glassboro to purchase property at newly developed homes.
The bustling passengers at the train station eventually dwindled. Passenger service in
Glassboro officially stopped in 1971. Regional Buses became a main source of public transportation, and forced railroad companies to cut funding for passenger trains. Mail service was the next service to tumble, as it stopped two years later.
Trains would still pass through Glassboro, but would only soar by the abandoned station. The building was eventually sold to a group of professors at Rowan University. The group aimed to turn the building into a coffee shop or bookstore, but both never happened. The building was then rented out to contractors and used for storage.
The station was also owned by the railroading company Conrail. Glassboro purchased the property for about $250,000 in 2002 according to nj.com. In 2014, a project began to transform the decaying building in to a museum and welcome center, eventually opening up in 2015.
From serving passengers throughout the week to helping retain the town’s history, Glassboro’s train station looks to continue to serve residents of Glassboro and the surrounding community for years to come.
The Glassboro Train Station, Museum, and Welcome Center is open to the public every fourth Sunday of each month. It’s located on Oakwood Ave next to the entrance gate of Rowan University in Glassboro NJ. Additional Pictures from Homer, Grobil, MacDonald, Acton’s collection here.