The Mahwah Museum is being honored by the Historic Preservation division of Bergen County for its efforts to keep the past alive.
Thursday, in honor of National Preservation Month, members from the Mahwah Museum Society will receive the 2011 Historic Preservation Commendation Award at the historic “Church on the Green,” the First Reformed Church of Hackensack, 42 Court St.
“The Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board has presented over 240 Preservation Commendation Awards to members of the local community to honor outstanding historic preservation achievements by individuals, students, organizations and businesses,” said Janet Strom, a spokesman for the Bergen County Board of Freeholders.
Specifically, the Mahwah Museum is recognized for their “restoration of Mahwah’s 1871 Old Station Museum and 1929 Erie Railroad Caboose” as the “1871 Old Station [is now an] historic museum.”
“We are very grateful the county is recognizing us for this award,” said Tom Dunn, president of the Museum board.
Dunn credits Bob Adler and Tom O’Brien for their efforts.
“It was both Bob and Tom who reinvigorated the exhibits in both facilities,” said Dunn.
Dunn explained it took about five years to repair the caboose.
“We had the original plans from the Eerie Railroad,” said Dunn.
Right before 1850, “the Paterson & Ramapo Railroad was built through Mahwah to carry passengers and freight from New York City (via Paterson) to the main line of the Erie Railroad at Suffern.” But in 1871, residents of Mahwah requested a train station be added and so one was built.
The station functioned as such until 1900, when an expansion of the tracks added a new station. According to Dunn, the station at that time was used for storage until it was burned down in 1914. It was replaced with the current structure.
Dunn explained the Old Station Museum was first established in 1967, and still stands where the original Eerie Railroad Station stood back in 1848.
Midway through the 1960s, it faced being torn down. But “it was rescued from destruction by the Mahwah Historical Society and contains many interesting artifacts given to the Museum by collectors of railroad arcana.”
The museum features a “scale model of the Erie system, and photos of the early days of railroading in Mahwah and on the rest of the Erie line.”
The Mahwah Museum is just one of 12 groups who were awarded the Commendation. According to the county, the commendations “were created to encourage preservation, restoration and adaptive use of Bergen County’s valuable and irreplaceable historic buildings, houses, schools, and houses of worship, cemeteries and other historic resource.”
And Dunn said for the future, the Mahwah Museum will continue to do so.
For more information, visit the Mahwah Museum’s site here.