Flemington began as a farming community in the early 1700s, and by 1785 was chosen as the County Seat of Hunterdon. By an act of the New Jersey Legislature in March of 1870, Flemington was formally made a town, but it wasn't incorporated until April 1931. Beginning in 1856, the County Fair was held on the Flemington Fairgrounds to promote competition between farmers, stock raisers and machinery manufacturers. The Flemington Raceway, also located on the Fairgrounds, hosted the Race of Champions as well as a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Plus, Flemington was home to a number of well-known manufacturers such as Stangl Pottery, Flemington Cut Glass, Flemington Furs and others. Today the town is a hotspot for tourism and shopping, with countless outlet stores.
Flemington had three passenger stations, one each for the Pennsylvania (up from Lambertville, above), CNJ South Branch, and Lehigh Valley (below), located at Flemington Junction, just north of town. All three are still standing, although the Lehigh station is in an acute state of disrepair.
Flemington was once home to numerous businesses and industries, including a sizeable foundry (now replaced by a sea of outlet stores). Three railroads served the community, and there were two turntables and three or four coal trestles. On the map below, the blue line is the BR&W; red lines still exist but are disused and overgrown; the rest are long gone.
Modeling-wise, Flemington presented me with a quandary: if I rolled the clock back to the BR&W's early days, I'd need to use the PRR station, which I'd love to model, but there simply isn't room for it on the layout. On the other hand, using the shelter that came later would mean I'd have to fill what was once an empty field (site of an old foundry) with huge, ugly outlet stores, and lose a neat little coal trestle. The only viable solution is to totally mess with reality, and mix and match features from different eras.
To that end, I replaced the outlet stores with a McDonalds and a Burger King (low profile and somewhat more interesting than outlet stores), reinstated the abandoned coal trestle, and crushed the area between the PRR and CNJ stations from blocks to inches. Plus, Stangl Pottery, Flemington Cut Glass and others got transplanted to new locations.
But where I really got "creative" with reality is with the industries along the BR&W. Today, their primary rail customer is WBM International, a supplier of liquid nitrogen. Decades ago, however, they served Ralston-Purina Mills and the Delaware Valley Farmers Co-op, which I placed side-by-side. And I went totally over the top by running opposed sidings for them complete with a diamond. While this is pure fantasy, it saved quite a bit of layout space and added interest at the same time.
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While larger than Lambertville, Flemington is much less dense, with most buildings spread out; the only relatively compact area is around Union Hotel on Main Street. Out of necessity, a tiny fraction of the town appears on the layout, and many of the structures have been radically rearranged so the more familiar ones are present.
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