Extraordinary Stories

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The "Over a Century of Jungle Love" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Thinking back to all the great movies that I saw with my friends when I was young.  Sometimes my mom or dad would take me and a friend to see a movie, but I eventually was allowed to attend the movies by myself with a friend or two.  Often ventured to the second block of North Queen Street where there were multiple movie theaters to take your dollar.  Some of my favorites were the Western movies, but I can still see that guy swinging from the tree.  You know, Tarzan!  I'm sure if you are past the prime of your life you have to remember those great movies where he saved Jane from some catastrophe.  Just the other night on TV was a replay of a black and white Tarzan movie.  Didn't watch it because the Phils were playing and I couldn't miss the game - even though I got upset with the game and turned the TV off.  It was in 1912 that Edgar Rice Burroughs created the fictional hero.  If you might have been walking past a newsstand that year you might have looked at the October issue of All-Story magazine.  On the cover was a thinly clad man sitting on a rampaging lion, his knife raised for the kill, as another man (the lion's target) looks on in horror.  "Tarzan of the Apes" was born.  It was the story of the English lord who was raised by apes in an African jungle and eventually became king of his ape tribe and fell in love with the beautiful marooned Jane.  It wasn't until January 27th, 1918 that the first movie about Tarzan was made, mostly because they didn't know how to film something like that.  It opened at New York's Broadway Theater and was a hit, being one of the first films in history to gross over a million dollars.  The producers promised the largest and finest specimens of apes to be found ... not two or three lions, but a herd of twenty or thirty, plus wild boars, leopards, antelopes, and other African animals.  The movie didn't have everything the producer said, but people loved it anyway.  Elmo Lincoln was the first of many Tarzans, but perhaps two of the most famous were Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe. Tarzan made his first radio appearance, if you can imagine that, on September 10, 1932.  In 1959 Burroughs died, but by then the Tarzan character wasn't the popular one that thrilled the masses in the first half of the century.  In 1962 a Los Angeles librarian tried to take the Tarzan books from the shelves, since Tarzan and Jane weren't married and the books were immoral.  By the early 60s the Tarzan movies were being shot in exotic locales around the world and finally made the leap to TV in 1966.  I saw many of the Tarzan movies, but I must admit that one of the most recent which was filmed in 1981 and featured Bo Derek, Richard Harris and Miles O'Keefe in a more mature version of the story, was .... well, very interesting.  There were over 45 Tarzan movies made with the 1999 Disney animated version one of the biggest hits.  I'm sorry to say I missed that one.  I would have been tough to top Bo Derek walking around the jungle dressed in ......... well you know, so I passed on the last one of Burroughs' hero.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The "Adventures on the Lincoln Highway: Part IV" Story


It was an ordinary day.  Heading east on the Lincoln Highway to visit Saturday Farmer's Market in Paradise, PA. to purchase vegetables and fruit as well as Amish baked goods.  The farmer's market has stands with flowers, crafts and artwork, but mostly perishables which are brought to market by Amish farmers from around the area.  The Lincoln Highway is celebrating it's 100 Anniversary this year and I have posted a few stories about my adventures on this historic strip of macadam that was started in 1913 to create a route for travel from New York City to San Francisco, California.  Today's post starts on the east side of Lancaster and will take me to the market which is near Gap, PA.  Town originally was called "Gap In The Hills" in the 1700s when settlers moved into the valley known by that name and, living out the first treaty began by William Penn.  Log cabins and stone cottages cropped up in the valley and along the road that went from Philadelphia to Lancaster.  One of those first stone homes was occupied by Samuel Jones.  In 1759 Samuel's granddaughter had married a judge from Lancaster, Henry Slaymaker, and moved into the small cottage. The home changed hands several times until June 2, 1779 when Henry and his wife purchased it one more time and started to make additions to the home as well as naming it "White Chimneys."  For years White Chimneys was a stopping point for many famous visitors along the heavily traveled road.
It was in 1825 that General Marquis De Lafayette spent a night at White Chimneys visiting with old companions.  Henry Slaymaker made an addition to the original cottage and then his son Amos made more additions.  The final addition was made in 1923 with the addition of the western wing. Generations have passed at the Slaymaker's White Chimneys and the once  small cottage took on different ventures along the way from toll house stop to stage line stop to tobacco farming and eventually the family mansion.  My father-in-law Charles was the personnel manager at Slaymaker Lock Company in Lancaster City in the 1950s and often would tell stories of the great White Chimneys.  
White Chimneys
 It is also where he met his wife and my mother-in-law.  Today as Carol and I pulled into the driveway of the mansion along the Lincoln Highway for a few photos, she said, "Is this private property?"  Wasn't sure since we saw no signs of life and the name on the front mailbox no longer read
Slaymaker.  I still pulled over on the side of the drive to take a few photos to show you what the place looks like today.  
Paradise HIgh School
We were back on the road
lickety-split and in a few minutes found our intended destination of Saturday Farmer's Market.  Parked along the drive and headed to the semi-circle of buggies in front of the original Paradise High School.  The high school is a towering

 building that was built in 1927.  My guess is that the Lincoln Highway brought additional housing to the "Gap in The Hills" and the need for a high school was soon felt.  Carol and I talked with the vendors, made our purchases including a baker's dozen ears of corn and headed back to the car.  Time to head west towards 
Lancaster.  Traffic was moving slowly on the three-lane macadam so when I saw a pillar with a stone plaque declaring N. Milton Woods Home I couldn't resist the chance to pull into the winding drive and head towards the 19th century home on the hill in front of us.  Stopped to look for signs of life before getting out of the car, camera in hand, and heading up the hill for a photograph.  Wished I could have met the owner to share family stories, but with no movement on the property, I turned around and departed onto the highway.  
Woods Residence
Did make one final stop when I pulled into the parking lot of the 1740 stone building once called the "Sign of the Spread Eagle."  At one time it was one of the better inns along the 62 miles of stone and macadam turnpike from Philadelphia to Lancaster.  It catered to many classes of travelers for meal, drinks and board.  
Original Revere House
A hundred year later the building which was the tavern was the home to the minister of the local Episcopal Church, Rev. Edward Buchanan and his wife, Eliza.  His wife just happened to be the sister of Stephen Foster who penned some of his music along the
Pequea Creek and the two played and sang many of the songs together along the creek.  

The Revere House as it appears today from the side.
Songs such as "My Olde Kentucky Home", "Way Down upon The Swanee River" and "Oh, Susanna".    In 1854 the Rev. and his wife moved to a different parish and they sold the building to Edward's brother, James, who just happened to be the Fifteenth President of the United States.  The historic tavern, now know as "The Revere House", still houses four dining rooms with 7 working fireplaces throughout the building.  The King George Room still has the 6 original shutters and pine door and the Stephen Foster Room features two original stone fireplaces, chair rail, 18-inch deep window sills and exposed beams.  Pretty neat history!  The tales that can be told about the 100 year old Lincoln Highway abound.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - I will post one more story dealing with the Lincoln Highway from the York County line to Rt. 15 near Gettysburg. 


Amish buggy loaded with goods for market.
Baked good for sale.  The center package of sticky buns was no longer there after we made our purchases.
Young Amish family.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The "A Day At The Races" Story

Camille showing me her many ribbons
she has won over the last few years for
her ability in swimming.
It was an ordinary day. Saturday morning and I'm sitting under a tent on a grassy knoll at the Frederick High School in Frederick, Maryland.  Visiting with my daughter and her family this weekend.  Drove the two hours from Lancaster to see my granddaughter swim for the Villages of Urbana Seahawks in the 25 meter breaststroke in under half a minute and  try to beat 23 other young girls. Nine year old Camille, who swims in the 8 and under category (I know that doesn't add up, but she just had a birthday) beat the qualifying time a few weeks ago when she placed 1st out of 30 some other girls and made it into today's "Stars Swim Meet." Today's competition will be tough swimming against all of the other girls who also beat the qualifying time around this area of Maryland.  She is excited, but well prepared.  She has her blue swim suit and lucky Speedo swim cap on and is ready to go.  There are over 60 races today, but they go surprisingly fast, unlike some of the other meets we have attended in the last few years.  
Today she is in race #30 and will be in lane 2 of heat #2.  Know this because she has it written in permanent marker on her left hand.  She also will swim in the 25 meter backstroke which she also qualified for, but should do much better in the breaststroke.  Her mom and dad as well as her sister, Carol and I are all gathered under the tent with Camille and a few of her best swim friends.  
Camille's mom wishing her good luck.
About 10:30, a half hour after we arrived, she noticed that race #29 has just been called.  Time to head to the tent with all the rows of chairs so she can get in place when they call for race #30 competitors.  I position myself next to the tent so I can electronically and visually document this exciting event in her life.  I hear the loudspeaker call for the #30 swimmers and she walks briskly to the tent.  There are approximately six rows of chairs under the tent, each row carrying large numbers from 1 to 6 taped on the back of them.  Camille's name is called and she occupies the chair with the #2 on it in the rear.  Before long, and with my camera clicking with every move, she makes it to the front row.  
The "Waiting Line"
I now depart with the rest of the family to find our way into the indoor pool for the race.  We no sooner get into the seating area when I see her in another row of chairs behind lane #2.  She advances quickly through these chairs until she is standing behind the starting platform for lane #2.  The excitement and anticipation can be seen on her face, but she is a determined and competitive little girl and will do her best for the half minute she is in the water.  I leave my seat and position myself for the best shots I can get in the congested area around the water.  
Heading towards the finish line.
She steps on the starting block, the starter announces, "Swimmers to your mark", the starting tone sounds and off she goes.  She seems to fly across the water as her lithe body breaks the water over and over.  
Ready to touch the wall.
I have the camera on continuous shooting and just hold down the shutter release till she strikes the wall.  25.58 seconds!  Wow!! Takes me longer than that to stand up out of my lounge chair at home.   She bettered her qualifying time by .38th of a second.  That's a major accomplishment for anyone.  She finished 10th today out of 24 and she is all smiles.  Why wouldn't she be?  She just loves competition and doing her best.  
A satisfied smile on her face.
Race #44, the backstroke, was about 30 minutes later, but by then she had satisfied herself that she could swim with the best and beat most of them.  She told me that now it is time for cheerleading, gymnastics and maybe lacrosse.  Oh her poor mom!  Congratulations are here offered to Camille for her great performance at the swim meet where she tried her best and was successful.  Another ribbon will be arriving soon at her home.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The "Adventures on the Lincoln Highway: Part III" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Heading into Lancaster on the Lincoln Highway from the west end of the city.  Have driven this stretch of highway many times in the past 50 odd years and many of the original buildings that lined this historic stretch 100 years ago still reside here.  It was in 1913 that Carl G. Fisher had the idea of a coast-to-coast rock highway from New York to San Francisco.  If only he could see what has become of his dream!  When the Lincoln Highway came through the south-eastern part of Pennsylvania, it followed an already made road in the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike.  This is my second story of multiple posts where I will share with you some of the historic sites within a short travel distance of my hometown of Lancaster that are located on the Lincoln Highway.  My last story took me from mid-York, PA to where I started my journey today.  Today I will travel to center city on the old Lincoln Highway, now known as State Route 462, to the other end of the city near the city line.  
Hamilton Watch Company
My first stop takes me to the Hamilton Watch Company on the outskirts of the city.  The Hamilton Watch Company was established in 1892, after Keystone Standard Watch Company was purchased from bankruptcy.  The new company was named after James Hamilton who was granted a large tract of land from William Penn which included the property where the watch company was built.  

The watch company was housed on a 13-acre plot and was one of the major employers in the city of Lancaster.  In 1957 Hamilton introduced the world's first electric watch and when I graduated from high school in 1962 my parents gave me one of the electric watches for a graduation gift.  Still have it even though it no longer functions.  Hamilton Watch Company eventually left Lancaster and the large facility along the Lincoln Highway was turned into apartments.  
301 W. King Street.  Former home of Meiskey's
wholesale jewelry store.
My next stop along Rt. 462 is at 301 W. King Street.  Throughout the city, Rt. 462 is better known as King Street.  301 W. King is where my dad worked as manager of Meiskey's Jewelry Store for what seemed like forever to a young boy.  It was primarily a wholesale venture and I spent  many an hour watching my dad work on summer evenings when he went back in to the store to take care of orders that hadn't been filled during the day. Eventually I met my wife Carol through Meiskey's since her mom was hired by my dad and the two of them set up a blind date in 1966 for Carol and me and the rest is history, as they say.  
Old postcard showing the Lancaster
Umbrella Works.
The building that  housed Meiskey's was the Henry Krauskopf Store which was the oldest surviving structure for the manufacturing and marketing of cigar boxes and tobacco related products.  It was built in 1874 and is on the National Register of the United States Department of the Interior.  It was an important part of the landscape of the Lincoln Highway as it passed through Lancaster.  Today it houses a barber shop.  
Current photo of Umbrella Works
Across the street at the corner of West King and Mulberry street is the Umbrella Factory.  This five-story brick structure built around 1892 

 as the Follmer, Clogg and Company Umbrella Factory, was one of the world's largest manufacturers of umbrellas by 1910. The factory building was taken over in 1944 by the J.B. Van Sciver furniture store. Vacated in 1982, the building sat empty until being converted into apartments in 1986.
Its rehabilitation included the reconstruction of the corner tower, which serves as a focal point on this corner property.  I never knew it as an umbrella factory, but as Van Sciver's store.  Carol and I made a few purchases for our home at the store. 
Old postcard showing the Stevens
House along the Lincoln Highway
 in Lancaster City
As I continued my travels east on King St. (Lincoln Highway) I reached the Stevens House which was at one time a beautiful Hotel that featured a fantastic 
restaurant.  The historic English dining room has not only excellent food but also many interesting pictures and mementos on the walls.

Recommended by Duncan Hines for both rooms and food.  
Interior of the restaurant
in Stevens House
Today it has lost much of it's charm.  The square in Lancaster features many historic sites such as Watt and Shand and Lancaster Central Market which I have written about before.  

My final stop of the day is on the eastern outskirts of Lancaster along the Lincoln Highway.  The Lancaster Prison was built in the 1850s to resemble England's Lancaster Castle.  Directly in front of it appears a marker on which is inscribed: 62 M. to P. by the Turnpike (62 miles to Philadelphia by the Turnpike).  The majestic prison remains in excellent shape, though it is extremely overcrowded.  My trip will end today, but you will be able to catch another story as I finish my travels toward the eastern border of Lancaster County on another day.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

Current view of the Stevens House.
The 1850 Lancaster County Prison along the Lincoln Highway.
Road Marker showing distance to Philadelphia along the Philadelphia-Lancaster Turnpike
Old postcard showing the Monument in the center of Lancaster along the Lincoln  Highway.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The "A Restaurant Made To Last" Story

The "Old" Doan's Bones Restaurant
It was an ordinary day.  Sitting at the exact same table that we did a few years ago when we visited the log cabin restaurant called Doan's Bones In Stone Valley, PA.  Great place for ribs or pulled pork sandwiches.  Two years ago, after eating at the restaurant we headed back to State College, PA where our hosts for the weekend, Jerry and Just Sue, live.  Following day we said our goodbyes and headed back to Lancaster, PA.  
Shortly after the accident
Shortly after returning home we got a call from our friends telling us that the table we ate at was no longer there.  Seems a Ford Explorer, avoiding an accident on the highway outside the restaurant, exploded through the wall of the restaurant and landed on the table we had occupied the day before.  Our waitress that day was pinned to the back wall under the car's bumper and three restaurant patrons were blasted off their feet.  Luckily no one died in the crash, but the waitress fractured her leg and the patrons had cuts and bruises.  The old log cabin was destroyed, every chair in the place was broken and the restaurant had to close until repairs could be made.  The 9 year-old restaurant did continue to stay open with outside dining, takeout and catering.  It took months before Doan's Bones, located at the corner of Whipple Dan Road and state Rt. 26 in Huntingdon, PA, could open their doors again.   
The "New" Doan's Bones Restaurant.  Notice the "logs"
look different than on the photo above.
So, it's back to business as usual.  Should mention that the place is so named because the owner, Brandon Corvin, is known as "Doan" and the ribs and chicken he barbecues  are known as his bones, therefore Doan's Bones fits perfectly.  As we are sitting at the table today I rubbed the wall which looks as if it is wood as it used to be.  I looked at Jerry and ask, "What is this stuff?"  He tells me that the new walls may look like logs but are actually concrete reinforced with re-bar.  Not taking any more chances!  Now the hungry customers can keep coming back for more of Doan's Bones and not have to worry about the place exploding again.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The "Getting the most out of Vacation" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just got back from another successful vacation at the beach with the family.  
Front: Carol, Camille, LDub, Middle: Barb, Caden,
Courtney, Brynn, Back: Derek, Tad, Dave
The "family" would be my wife Carol and myself, our oldest son Derek and his wife Barb and their son Caden, our daughter Brynn and her husband Dave and daughters Courtney and Camille, and our youngest son Paul, known to everyone as Tad.  This year was probably the 5th or 6th year we taveled together to Ocean City, NJ during the last week of June to a condo on 9th Street, one half block from the boardwalk.  Perfect time of the year and perfect location.  No high humidity and no streets to cross to get to the beach or boardwalk.  Everything is a win-win situation so far.  Now is where the differences begin.  Everyone enjoys something different during their vacation and that is what is expected when you get ten different people together.  As the families grow older you can see changes in what they enjoy to do during their vacation.  The grandchildren no longer want to dig tunnels in the sand and make sand castles as they once did.  Our children and their spouses enjoy eating out more now that their children are growing older and can sit for longer periods of time without crayons and multiple trips to the bathroom.  Most like to stay in bed longer in the morning than they used to with the exception of LDub who still has to walk to the boardwalk early in the morning for a newspaper and to take a few photos of those who also enjoy the early morning hours.  Tastes change from year to year and the toppings we used to get on the pizzas are not good enough anymore.  Evening hours seem to get later every year and naps aren't a needed requirement anymore, except for LDub and Carol that is.  The bi-daily Bingo games went by the wayside this year.  Year after year we would buy inexpensive prizes and make sure that everyone of the grandkids would win an equal amount of gifts such as gum, tick-tacks, cookies, crayons, tablets, etc.  I believe it did teach them their letters (B,I,N,G and O) and their numbers.  This year no one asked about playing ..... luckily, since we forgot to bring the game.  Barb and Tad put their yearly jig-saw puzzle together on the living room coffee table and this year had all the pieces when they were done.  Everyone is more willing to take out the trash, help prepare the meals, clean up after themselves and be more considerate of others as the years go by.  My grandkids and I enjoy our late afternoons, after beach time and showers, sitting on the small second-floor balcony watching events unfold in the parking lot next to our condo and laughing and laughing about what we see.  Everyone enjoys dessert on the boardwalk in the evening, but the desserts differ as much as the people eating them.  As for my wife and me, we still enjoy our day-off from all the commotion for time to travel the half-hour to Cape May for shopping at our favorite shops on the downtown streets, a lunch date at The Lobster House, and a walk through Stone Harbor on our way home in the late afternoon.  For me, I enjoy the evening Phils games on the TV and yelling with my grandkids "It's Out Of There" when a Phillie hits a home run, which doesn't seem to happen very often this year.  I also enjoy the quiet mornings by myself and the sun and sand at the beach.  But I find it harder to walk and walk the boards as I once did and to stay up with the children and grandchildren as they head from one store or amusement park to the next.  Carol and I follow them around and watch them enjoying themselves for an hour or so, then treat ourselves at Dairy Queen and then it's off to home for quiet time before they return.  Still enjoy walking hand in hand with my wife and pointing out the differences in the people we see on the boardwalk.  But, most of all, we all love the morning trips to Browns or Oves for a breakfast of home-made cake donuts.  We can put away four dozen in a sitting.  My one regret this year was that I didn't get a chance to ride the Ferriswheel with my granddaughters.  Put if off too many evenings and then the weather shut the ride our last night.  Oh well, there's always next year and we already have it planned.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The "History of the Lancaster Railroad: Part II" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just got back from visiting with our friends Jerry and Just Sue in State College. Had a great weekend talking about our next trip we plan to take and looking at Jerry's Master's of Education research report on the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad which he wrote and submitted in August of 1974.  Interesting book which helped me with the two-part story that I posted on my blog.  Some of the information for my stories was supplied by Jerry or found in his report.  Several of the photos I  have included today were original photos he took in 1974.  Yesterday I gave a brief story about how and why the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad (P & C Railroad) came to be and the people who were involved in it's beginning.  Today I will give you the story and history of the Lancaster Station.  It all began like this ...... The P & C Railroad originated in Philadelphia and eventually made it's way to Columbia, PA on the Susquehanna River. 
Bridge over the Conestoga.  I would fish and swim
under this bridge while the trains passed overhead.
One of the stops that was planned was in Lancaster, but at first the stop was on the outskirts of the city.  Lancaster's residents became concerned so they protested and on July 2, 1832 passed a resolution to make the railroad go through the city.  After the railroad passed through Gap, PA it entered Lancaster County and made a sharp southern turn across the Conestoga River on a viaduct which was 804 feet long and 47 feet high.  Beautiful span that originally had four tracks, but now has only two.  I can remember spending many a summer's day fishing and swimming in the Conestoga under the viaduct and listening to the the trains pass overhead.  
Part of old tracks that remain
behind Lancaster McCaskey H.S.
After passing this point the track ran parallel to New Holland Avenue and entered the city close to what is now Lancaster McCaskey High School.  Continued in a south-westerly direction to the Lancaster Train Station at the corner of West Chestnut and North Queen Streets.  The station was across the street from the Hotel Brunswick and made it possible for famous people to stop briefly on their travels and address Lancastrians from either the train or the Brunswick.  Famous notables such as Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, Horace Greeley, General Winfrield Hancock and Theodore Roosevelt all made stops in Lancaster to greet the crowds gathered near the train station.  The corner in the city where the station was located was among the first city lots sold by James Hamilton in 1745.  James had obtained much of Lancaster city from William Penn.  
Original station at N. Queen and E. Chestnut Streets
The original houses were torn down when the railroad came to town.  The initial station was nothing more than a small building with a platform behind it where passengers could board.  Within a year hotels and warehouses had been built around the depot increasing property values about 300%.  Eventually a much larger station
1861 Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Lancaster, PA.

was built and dedicated in 1861.  The tracks passed through the station, across Queen Street, curved north and followed Harrisburg Ave. to the Dillerville Railroad Yards.  From Dillerville it proceeded west and eventually arrived at Columbia where it traveled down the incline plane at Plane St.  

After passing through the city, the trains would
head to Dillerville Yards. 
The railroad cars each contained 1/2 of a canal boat which were taken off the train and the two halves were combined to make a canal boat for transporting across the river to the Pennsylvania Canal so the canal boats could head north to Holidaysburg.  The P & C Railroad was completed on October 7, 1834 and celebrated by sending two trains carrying Governor George Wolf and other state officials, drawn by steam locomotives named Lancaster and Columbia, from Columbia to Philadelphia.  The trains left Columbia at 8:00 AM and arrived in Philadelphia at 6:00 PM.  Just to be safe, another train pulled by horses, followed in case something would happen to the steam engine.
People lining up to get on the train downtown in
February of 1929 for one of the last trips.
The railroad opened as a public railroad meaning that the first several years of operation, private owners of horse-drawn rail cars shared the tracks with the locomotives until finally in 1844 the horse-drawn cars were deemed unsafe and banned from the tracks.  Most of the locomotives were built in Philadelphia by Matthias Baldwin, Richard Norris and Garrett & Eastwick.  Baldwin had a manufacturing plant in Lancaster as well.  Eventually a new station was constructed in the north end of the city at the end of Queen Street.  
This became necessary because the old downtown station had its problems with train noise, dirt irritating city residents, tight confines, and traffic congestion. The slow curve that the trains had to follow into the Lancaster Station was eliminated.  The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce celebrated the new station with a special train from the old station to the new station on Monday, February, 1929.  Nearly 1,000 people had the chance to ride on this train to the new station.  The last train to leave the downtown station was at midnight on April 28, 1929.  
The Pennsylvania Railroad Station at the end of
Queen Street, one block from my childhood home.
The downtown station was then demolished in 1929 and covered with two feet of macadam for parking.  For nearly 80 years the only visible reminder of that station at the corner of East Chestnut and North Queen Streets was a line of yellow-painted stone pillars along the first block of East Chestnut that lined the parking lot.  The stones were once the base of the iron columns that supported the station's train shed.  
One of the platforms at the 1929 station.
Recently archeologists uncovered parts of Lancaster's railroad past that had been buried just below the macadam parking lot where the station stood.  Workers preparing the parking lot for a parking garage and condominiums uncovered tunnels lined with ornate white brick that passengers would have walked through beneath the tracks to reach the platforms.  These tunnels would have been built in 1860.  Excavators also found a stone-lined shaft that was probably from another era.  The shaft was probably a well or privy for a house that faced North Queen Street before the station was built.  A deed showed that a log house was on the site in 1747.  The station that Jerry and I grew up near on the north end of the city was the one that was built in 1929.  

Still a neat old place with many memories.  I often take my grandson to visit so I can share those memories with him.  Looking at his face when I tell him my tales and seeing his reaction makes me feel like I am living my past all over again.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  


This is one of the most famous locomotives on the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad known as the "George Washington" and built by Norris and Long.

The next three images are post cards from the early 1900s that show the downtown railroad station.




Photo of a steam locomotive coming through downtown Lancaster on North Water Street.  This train carried Santa Claus to Watt & Shand Department Store at Christmas time.
Original Pennyslvania Railroad Station in Columbia, PA