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This Week in Port Jervis History

On December 26, 1890, the second Erie Depot caught fire. The depot was completed the previous July to replace the first Erie Depot, which was located on Pike Street and opened on New Years Eve in 1847. The line had not yet been completed to Port Jervis by this time. The second Erie Depot was designed by George E. Archer and built by Delafield and McLane. It was built with Hudson River brick, Georgia pine and a slate roof. The depot was accessed from Jersey Avenue through a long hall in the newly renovated Brown Building. The fire in the depot broke out in the dispatcher's room. The fire coincided with the first significant snowfall in two years. The flames destroyed the entire building within three hours, despite the quick response from the fire companies. The electrical fire is believed to have been burning in the upper part of the building for some time before it was noticed. The depot was quickly evacuated, as well as the nearby Theatre Normandie in Delaware Hall (which was built in 1850 and called the Goodale Building at that time). After the fire, the ticket office was temporarily established in Herbert Kirk's restaurant and a galvanizer’s shack was used as the baggage room. The temporary depot was then relocated to the Goodale Building until the current Erie Depot was opened in February of 1892.

The second Erie Depot and the Brown Building behind it.

This picture of the first Erie Depot was taken in the 1880’s. Behind the depot is the Dutton Building, designed by John C. Dutton and Marx Samuels in 1869 and built by George Jones. The advertisement “established since the time of Noah” belongs to George Lea’s drugstore which he relocated from his uptown location to the Dutton Building in 1869. By the time this picture was taken, Lea was spending most of his time managing the recently acquired Excelsior rink and his opera house (visible further up Pike Street, which collapsed in 1971). His assistant Fred N. Mason became the druggist at this time. On the left side of Pike Street is Werdenberg and Sedillo’s clothing store, which opened at that location in 1883.

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