Hopewell Train Station in 1881

This wonderful image taken at the Hopewell train station in 1881, and provided courtesy of Steven Cohen, illustrates the importance of the arrival of the railroad in the 1870s to the villages of Hopewell and Pennington.

This is from a promotional poster created by Reuben Savidge, who ran the general store in Mount Rose and also distributed Lister Brothers fertilizer.

The poster features this photo showing horse-drawn wagons taking delivery from a long line of railroad boxcars, annotated as:

“Over 200 Tons delivered this day, September 1st, 1881. Of Lister Bros’ fertilizers at my store house, Hopewell Station, N. J.”

Close-up of Hopewell Train Station, 9/1/1881 ‐ R. Savidge [Courtesy Steven Cohen]

This 1897 image shows a similar view, 16 years later.

  • On the right is the railroad small freight house, built around the same time as the Hopewell train station (1876).
  • On the left is the Savidge storehouse building, with painted lettering in the 1897 image as “Listers Pure Fertilizers / R. Savidge.”
“Philadelphia and Reading Railway Depot,” facing east
[Printed earlier in Healthful Historic Hopewell, 1897 – This 1905 postcard courtesy Bill Frenchu]

It was this ability to transport large quantities of material that helped drive the growth of the industrial district down Railroad Place in Hopewell, receiving and shipping products including coal, feed and grain, lumber, cans of tomatoes, and chocolates.

The arrival of two railroads in the 1870s spurred the growth of the towns of Hopewell and Pennington, as more convenient transportation brought greater opportunities for residents and businesses. But local boosters in Hopewell also saw a greater opportunity, and invested in developing Railroad Place as an industrial district that could support larger-scale manufacturing to provide more jobs and stronger growth.

This story is told in Industrial Hopewell: Railroad Place – see the link for references on the presentation and research on Railroad Place, including the webinar video, presentation slides, tour handout, more detailed briefs on the individual properties, associated slide shows, and related Hopewell Museum videos.

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