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NY, NH & H R R
Passenger Depot
Construction drawing 1875




Passenger Depot
circa 1906




Train Station & Main Street
circa 1908




Main Street & Train Station
circa 1915




Main Street Windsor Locks
circa 1919




Windsor Locks Train Station
circa 1920




Windsor Locks Freight Depot
circa 1920




Windsor Locks Train Station
circa 1920-1930




Windsor Locks Train Station
circa 1967




Windsor Locks Train Station
December 2005
Track side




Windsor Locks Train Station
December 2004
North side




Windsor Locks Train Station
December 2004
Interior
Windsor Locks Preservation Association, Inc.

History
Of The Train Station



Preconstruction drawing of the Windsor Locks Passenger Station built by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Rail Road in 1875.


The following Statement of Significance is taken from the application to place the Train Station on the National Register of Historic Places. The application was filed by The Save The Station committee, Robert Bickford and C. Birbara in 1975.


Statement of Significance

The Windsor Locks Passenger Station is architecturally and historically significant because it is an excellent example of the many small—town railroad stations built in America during the latter half of the~ 19th century. Its importance is highlighted by its aesthetic unity, physical condition and present position in the Amtrak system. Since there are twelve trains a day through the station, an unusual degree of public accessibility is maintained, and the building is experienced in its original context.

The basic architectural theme is one of utilitarian simplicity. The placing of the ticket offices, the use of a steep roof to shelter the boarding area, and the heavy struts all show a concern for the union of form and function. The idea of structural honesty is carried through with the roof bracing at the ends. The simple wainscot and plaster interior complements the plain external surfaces. Finally, a modest degree of elaboration — the end moldings and dormers - avoids starkness yet is entirely appropriate to the scale and workaday purpose of the building.

Historically, the railroad had a major impact on small—town life. Not only did it provide communication and opportunities for personal mobility, but it also encouraged economic growth. For many people it symbolized progress, prosperity and the benefits of technology. Depots were the centers of rail activity, yet comparatively few remain to recall the importance of the railroad in nineteenth—century America. The Windsor Locks station is a representative artifact of this era, typical in both its modest design and the role it played in the town.

For Windsor Locks, the railroad was even more significant because the town historically has always been dependent upon transportation. In 1829 a canal was built to circumvent falls in the Connecticut River and Windsor Locks grew around this facility. Beginning in 1844, the railroad replaced the canal, but continued to sustain the economic growth of the town. Rail traffic steadily increased, and in 1875 the present station was built to more adequately accommodate travelers on the Hartford—Springfield line. Up until World War II the station served a steady flow of passengers. Today, Windsor Locks continues in the transportation business as the home of Bradley International Airport.



The following history of the Windsor Locks Passenger Train Station was compiled by co-founder, current Vice President and Historian Mickey Danyluk in 2004.


The existing abandoned passenger train station was built in 1875 by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, some 31 years after the railroad came through Windsor Locks, replacing transportation of goods and people on the Connecticut River and its canal at Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

The train station is the sole surviving structure of the mid-19th century Main Street business district of the once quaint industrial village of "Windsor Locks" founded in 1854.

Many of the products of the mills in town were shipped from the accompanying brick freight station which was blown down in a hurricane which struck New England on September 21, 1938, rebuilt and in later years acquired for demolition during the urban renewal project of the 1960's through the 1980's.

The railroad yard included the freight station, passenger station, water tower, and gateman's shanty (where a gate tender would be sheltered from the weather and upon an approaching train, drop the gate manually to close the route to the canal and river bridges).

The passenger train station was for many years the "front door" to the town. The newly arrived, passing the station's thresholds, received their first impressions of Windsor Locks and their parting glances from the Station.

From its telegraph office - news from beyond the limits of this riverside town were received. The station was a gathering place to receive and send off loved ones, most particularly military servicemen who departed to train for service, and the place to which those who paid the supreme sacrifice were received.

Such military send-offs occurred during the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean Conflict. Crowds gathered at the station on June 10, 1891 for what would be the grandest day ever in the town's history - the dedication of the Soldiers Memorial Hall, when hundreds of Civil War veterans, judges, political figures and countless dignitaries arrived via train, and formed a parade marching through the streets of Windsor Locks to the Memorial Hall.

In December 1906 crowds gathered again as guests from all over New England arrived via the train and were transported by carriages to attend the wedding of Thomasine Haskell (grand daughter of Charles Haskell Dexter) and George Conant at Ashmere, the Dexter Coffin mansion further South on Main Street.

From the Windsor Locks Passenger Station departed Miss Jane Carr, an Irish domestic servant who worked in the mansions of two families here. She left to attend to the needs of her nieces and nephews in Ireland, but was lost before returning here in the Titanic tragedy of April 1912. There were many whistlestop visits of war heros after World War I.

Originally painted a yellow-cream with tudor brown and forest green highlights, the station was neglected and fell into disrepair in the 1920's and 30's. In the 1940's a thorough clean up was done and the building was sand blasted, leaving it's red brick appearance.

Dwight Eisenhower visited the Windsor Locks Train Station on a whistle stop during his presidency (1953-1961) much to the joy of the townspeople and school children who were let out and gathered at the station.

The last boarding passes were sold about 1971 and the building was closed thereabouts. Slated for demolition, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 (the Station 100th anniversary) by a group called, The Save The Station Committee. Sadly, the town's redevelopement agency did not pursue it's acquisition.

Windsor Locks native, Ella Tambussi Grasso, the first woman elected governor in the nation, boarded a Hartford bound train from this very station January 8, 1975 for her inauguration.

By the late 1970's the Passenger Station ceased to be a functioning train stop. Twice in the past 30+ years, local businessmen attempted to lease and rehabilitate the structure, but their attempts failed.

Although the building has been vacant, neglected and time-worn by the elements; despite surviving arson, the old Train Station has captured the imagination of the townspeople, railroad buffs and travelers, young and old. All cherish its appearance - its simple but stunning architecture, and wonder about the tales of people who have come and gone, and the places departed for and arrived from which hang in the space between its walls.





The Windsor Locks Preservation Association was formed on October 2004. We received 501(c)(3) non-profit status in December 2004.

Our goals are to encourage and educate the public and town government on the importance of preservation.

Our main focus is to obtain and preserve the Historic Windsor Locks Passenger Train Station. Additionally, we have compiled and introduced educational programs into the school system and have encouraged students to become involved in our efforts.

Our group has completed a structural study, site work, and cost analysis of the area. A site plan for future renovations has been prepared, and an appraisal is in the works.

All proceeds from our fundraising efforts go directly to the Save The Train Station project and educational programs. To make a donation, join our membership, volunteer, or view our merchandise, call us at 860-798-5376.

We can also be reached via our mailing address at Windsor Locks Preservation Association, Inc., PO Box 158, East Windsor, CT 06088-0158.

Help us make Windsor Locks a place we can all be proud of, once again!


Windsor Locks Train Station
December 2004
Main Street side


Join The Effort To Save The Windsor Locks Train Station!



Train Station
Time Line


1829
Windsor Locks Canal is completed.

1844
New York, New Haven & Hartford Rail Road inaugurates train service, connecting Windsor Locks with Hartford, Springfield and beyond.

1854
the Pine Meadow district of Windsor is incorporated as the town of Windsor Locks.

1875
Passenger Train Station built by the NY, NH & H R R.

1891
June 10
Crowds gather at train station for the grandest day in town's history - dedication of the Soldiers Memorial Hall. Hundreds of Civil War Veterans, judges, political figures & countless dignitaries arrive via train and form parade marching through streets to Memorial Hall.

1904
Trolley service is begun

1906
December
Crowds gather as guests from all over New England arrive via train to attend the wedding of Thomasine Haskell and George Conant at Ashmere, (the Dexter Coffin mansion) further south on Main Street.

1924
Public buses begin operation on June 24.

1938
September 21
Brick freight depot next to passenger station blown down during hurricane. Though rebuilt, freight depot was acquired and demolished in 1960's & 70's during urban renewal project.

1940's
Originally painted cream-yellow with tudor brown and forest green highlights, station is given a thorough clean-up and sand blasted, revealing red brick appearance which remains to this day.

1953-1961
President Dwight Eisenhower visits town during whistle stop.

1971
Last boarding passes sold, building is closed.

1975
The Train Station is 100 years old!

Slated for demolition, building placed on National Register of Historic Places by The Save The Station Committee, which was formed by Robert Bickord & C. Birbara.

Sadly, town's redevelopement agency does not pursue acquisition.

1975
January 8
Windsor Locks native, Ella Tambussi Grasso, first woman elected governor in USA, boards train to attend her inauguration in Hartford.

2000
The train station vandalized by fire. Thankfully, fire is discovered quickly and exstinguished.

2004
October
Windsor Locks Preservation Association founded by Barbara Schley & Mickey Danyluk

2004
December
Preservation Association receives 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

2006
March
Preservation Association unveils new newsletter format & new professionally designed website.



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Windsor Locks Preservation Association, Inc. - PO Box 158 - East Windsor, CT 06088-0158 - 860-798-5376 - WindsorLocksPreservation.com