Remembering The Past: Railroad History

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by Diane Norek Harrison

ELIZABETH—This is from material given to me by South Amboy resident Jerry Celecki. It is from the Historical Highlights of the Central Jersey and its Veteran Employees Association.

Elizabeth Railroad History
The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey Veteran Employees Association, the first in the Nation, was founded in 1903 by a handful of long time employees (hence ‘Veteran’) who entered (CNJ) service previous to or during the nine year administration of Colonial Robert E. Ricker, who was General Superintendent of the CNJ from Oct. 15, 1867 until Oct. 31, 1876.

Vets 59th Anniversary
1963 marked the Vets’ 50th anniversary, which was celebrated at a gala banquet held at Elizabeth Elks Club on Oct. 31, 1953.

Fifty-three CNJ retirees were honored at the first testimonial dinner, held April 24, 1948 at the Elizabeth-Carteret Hotel in Elizabeth. The first 400 tickets were quickly sold out. For the next six years, the testimonials were held at the Elizabeth Elks Club, which accommodated 750 persons. The club was equipped with a large stage with need lighting and sound facilities for entertaining, which followed the speeches and recognition of the honored guests, the retirees.

The Central Railroad Company Of New Jersey In The Nineteenth Century
The year 1818 saw the opening of the Elizabeth Port and New York Ferry Company, the oldest corporation in the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) family It operated ferry service between Elizabethtown Point (The Elizabethport Waterfront) and New York City.

Its first ferry boat, the “Water Witch”, was later owned by Capt. Cornelius Vanderbuilt, who became a member of the CNJ’s Board of Directors.

Although this long, slow ferry ride from Elizabethport to New York City suited the leisurely pace of the 19th century, it soon changed, for along came a new mind boggling, futuristic contraption called the “railroad.”

I will have more from this material.

This will be the final request for winter or Christmas memories or past material for my Dec. columns. I cannot accept home or family information, only from around the towns, school, organizations, stores, etc. Please send all to me by Oct. 31.

If you have your own memories or past material from Union County you can email dianenorekharrison@juno.com or send “copies” of your material to me c/o CMD Media. 1139 East Jersey St., Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ, 07201.


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