The Great Railroad Sign Caper of 1940 – 1

Who doesn’t like “Then & Now” photos? I have some to share which have never been seen before. The origin of these is as interesting as their content: In 1940, someone stole the black-and-yellow “Railroad Crossing” signs at the two Butler crossings on the Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike. An employee of the NYS&W (New York Susquehanna & Western) railroad was sent to document the scene. Were the vandals caught? Doubtful. The signs were, however, replaced.

This 1940 view shows the Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike approaching the first RR crossing as you head north; just around the bend lies Excelsior Lumber – the same company that is still there today. (The history of the company is interesting!) The building at right, at 160 Hamburg Turnpike, has been replaced by a much larger one.

Click the photo to view it full sized.

If you look closely, above the roadside railing, are houses on Apshawa Cross Road. (There are a lot more trees now than there were then.)

Here’s a street view of the same scene today. Feel free to drive along. Note the railroad siding at far right. It was used for the lumber yard as well as for the Pequannock Valley Paper Company, which was – and still is – behind us.

Let’s head down the road to the next view from 1940. We’ll see more of the Excelsior Lumber company in the third photo.