W. W. Drinker and Frank A. Howard, Engineers
Ridgewood Station is a fine, and possibly unique (for New Jersey) example of the Mission Revival style, first popularized in California during the 1890's. Distinctive characteristics such as round arch arcades, shaped parapets with a curvilinear outline, smooth stucco walls, and Spanish tile roof, are all skillfully and consistently integrated throughout the complex. One of the engineers for the building, Frank A. Howard, once worked in California for the Southern Pacific, and obviously brought that state's stylistic conventions with him when he came east. Although it was common for lines such as the Southern Pacific, Topeka, and Santa Fe to build in the Mission Revival style, it was rare for an eastern line to do so. The station was built by the Erie Railroad on its Main Line which was formerly made up of two predecessor lines. The first line was built for shipping goods from the city of Paterson to Passaic and was chartered as the Paterson & Hudson River Railroad in 1831 by a group of Paterson businessmen. The line was extended through Bergen Hill and reached Jersey City in 1838. At the same time, the Erie Railroad was building a line west from Piermont to Suffern, N.Y. (the Piermont Branch) which caused Paterson entrepreneurs to petition
the State legislature to charter a new railroad, the Paterson & Ramapo Railroad Company, to connect with the Erie spur. By 1852, the Erie Railroad controlled the two Paterson-based railroads. A grade separation project at Ridgewood, which resulted in the bridge at the south end of the station, was a hard-fought victory for the village since the railroad agreed to fund less than half the total cost of the project. The village has historically been an important commuter stop. Until the discontinuation of long-distance service to the west, it was possible to travel between Ridgewood and Chicago, Cleveland, and Cincinnati without changing trains. Ridgewood Station was listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1984 and is recognized as a local landmark.
Photo credit: Ridgewood Public Library Sponsored by NJ Transit