Train Depot Demolished, Removed From Millwood Property

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The deteriorating train deport on Route 133 in Millwood as it looked in 2008. Last week, the property owners demolished the 133-year-old structure.
The deteriorating train deport on Route 133 in Millwood as it looked in 2008 Last week the property owners demolished the 133 year old structure

The owners of the Millwood property where a 130-year-old train depot stood demolished the structure last week.

The roughly 500-square-foot deteriorating wood building that resembled a shack was originally used to shelter passengers at the Briarcliff train station on the old New York City & Northern Railroad Company.

Last Wednesday it was suddenly torn down by the Rotta Family of Eastchester, owners of the nearly half-acre parcel where the depot stood on Route 133 near the North County Trailway. A call placed to the family’s home was almost immediately disconnected by the woman who answered the phone.

New Castle Town Historian Gray Williams said he was saddened when he heard of its demise. Repeated attempts over the years by various individuals to move and restore the depot fell through and there wasn’t any use for it.

“I don’t think anyone wanted to go to the expense of moving it,” said Williams, who mentioned that the depot lacked any historical designation. “It’s really a monument that sat there but I don’t think it’s interior was used for years.”

Town Administrator Penny Paderewski said the challenge for the owners and the town was that the depot was continuing to deteriorate, making it a potential hazard to the public. The area attracts its share of pedestrians and cyclists who use the trailway.

Paderewski said the Rotta family obtained a demolition permit from the town’s building department and had it removed last Wednesday.

Although the original structure is now lost, there are plans to recreate the depot. The county is currently working with Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in Yorktown to have a replica constructed and placed in the vicinity on county property, Paderewski said. There is the possibility the replica could be used as a concession stand, she said.

One person who was devastated by the loss of the depot last week was Mahopac native Joe Schiavone, the author of three books about “The Old Put,” the nickname for the railroad, which ended its commuter runs in the area in 1958.

He said he and others had tried for years to raise money to have the depot, built in 1879 and moved to Millwood in the late 1970s, relocated and restored. In 2008, he was part of an effort to fundraise to transport the building to a location upstate but those plans also fell through. Estimates at the time for that work were as much as $30,000.

Although it wasn’t a historic structure, Schiavone had difficulty talking about its demolition because the area has now lost a piece of its history.

“I’m very, very sad this morning that it’s gone,” he said simply.

There were 11 nearly identical depots scattered throughout the county during the time that the New York City & Northern Railroad Company was in operation. The only original remaining depot is in Yorktown’s Railroad Park.

The Rotta family owns the land that houses the nearby lumberyard and other parcels in town. Currently, the owner has submitted no plans to the town to develop the parcel where the depot stood.

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