Sparta train station finds new life, salutes town's history

| 06 Jan 2016 | 01:23

By Laurie Gordon
A train station that was destroyed by a fast-moving fire in Septmeber 2012 is being renovated by William Dermody III and Wiliam Dermody IV, owners of TechFlex in Sparta.

"It’s taken over three years of effort but we are finally rebuilding the Sparta Train Station," Dermody III said. "Originally built in 1881 the station is being reconstructed as a testament to its importance to our community history."

Construction will take an estimated two months to complete.

"The station will have a new life as a community training and event center, built into a museum housing railroad artifacts from the local area," Dermody III added. "This nonprofit venture is hoping to attract local artists and craftsman who would like to 'train' a new generation in their skill. Funds generated from these activities will be used to sustain the station into the future."

The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad built Sparta Station in 1882. It served numerous dairy farms, including Sparta's Ideal Creamery Company. Coal, ice and cement and Sparta's mail also arrived at the station for delivery to the residents of early Sparta. Before the Labor Day fire in 2012, the Sparta Station was the last station left of the 15 built by New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad in Sussex County. Renovations were underway before the Sparta Train Station was destroyed by the 2012 fire. Firefighters from the Sparta and Ogdensburg Fire Departments fought the blaze for approximately 90 minutes. No other structures were damaged as a result of the fire.

When completed, the renovated station will be dedicated to William E. Dermody Jr. (Bill Jr.) of Sparta. He is the father and grandfather of the William Dermodys who are renovating the station.

"Bill Jr. was a dedicated citizen of the township and his leadership helped create many of the wonderful amenities we enjoy today," Dermody IV said. "While building his company and raising his family he still found time to work in the community. Whether he was raising money for the Sparta Ambulance Squad or serving as mayor, he did it with the admiration and respect of the people around him. This station dedication is intended to remind future generations of the commitment and sacrifice of those who went before us to make this town what it is today,"

The fire at the station was a hard chapter in the story of the station. "Having lived through the depression, Bill Jr. taught us a few things about picking up the pieces of a setback and making something good from them," Dermody III said, "The Sparta Train station was for many decades a conduit of prosperity to the growing town. The future is bright for station building and we look forward to guiding it into a new self-sustaining township amenity."

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