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Steamtown National Historic Site

Steamtown National Historic Site

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Steamtown National Historic Site (NHS) is a railroad museum
Railway museum
A railway museum is a museum that explores the history of all aspects of rail related transportation, including: locomotives , railway cars, trams, and railway signalling equipment.See List of railway museums...

 and heritage railroad
Heritage railway
thumb|right|the Historical [[Khyber train safari|Khyber Railway]] goes through the [[Khyber Pass]], [[Pakistan]]A heritage railway , preserved railway , tourist railway , or tourist railroad is a railway that is run as a tourist attraction, in some cases by volunteers, and...

 located on 62.48 acres (25.3 ha) in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

, at the site of the former Scranton yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company was a railroad connecting Pennsylvania's Lackawanna Valley, rich in anthracite coal, to Hoboken, New Jersey, , Buffalo and Oswego, New York...

 (DL&W). The museum is built around a working replica turntable
Turntable (railroad)
A railway turntable is a device for turning railroad rolling stock. When steam locomotives were still in wide use, many railroads needed a way to turn the locomotives around for return trips as their controls were often not configured for extended periods of running in reverse and in many...

 and a roundhouse
Roundhouse
A roundhouse is a building used by railroads for servicing locomotives. Roundhouses are large, circular or semicircular structures that were traditionally located surrounding or adjacent to turntables...

 that is largely a replica but which includes two authentic sections built in 1902 and 1937. All the buildings on the site are listed with the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

.

Most of the steam locomotives and other railroad equipment at Steamtown NHS were originally collected by F. Nelson Blount
F. Nelson Blount
F. Nelson Blount was president and founder of Blount Seafood Corporation, and as a millionaire collector of vintage steam locomotives and rail cars, he founded Steamtown, USA, which was operated by the non-profit corporation, the Steamtown Foundation. Steamtown was a steam train museum that ran...

, a millionaire seafood processor from New England. In 1964, Blount established a non-profit organization, the Steamtown Foundation, to operate Steamtown, USA
Steamtown, USA
Steamtown, USA was a steam locomotive museum that ran steam excursions out of North Walpole, New Hampshire, and Bellows Falls, Vermont, from the 1960s to 1983. Founded by millionaire seafood industrialist F. Nelson Blount, Steamtown was operated primarily by the non-profit Steamtown Foundation...

, a steam railroad museum and excursion business in Bellows Falls, Vermont
Bellows Falls, Vermont
Bellows Falls is an incorporated village located in the town of Rockingham in Windham County, Vermont, United States. The population was 3,165 at the 2000 census...

. In 1984, the foundation moved Steamtown to Scranton, conceived of as urban redevelopment and funded in part by the city. But the museum failed to attract the expected 200,000 to 400,000 annual visitors, and within two years was facing bankruptcy.

In 1986, the U.S. House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

, at the urging of Scranton native Representative Joseph M. McDade
Joseph M. McDade
Joseph Michael "Joe" McDade is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, having represented Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district.-Early life and career:...

, approved $8 million to begin turning the museum into a National Historic Site
National Historic Sites (United States)
National Historic Sites are protected areas of national historic significance in the United States. A National Historic Site usually contains a single historical feature directly associated with its subject...

. The idea was derided by those who called the collection second-rate, the site's historical significance questionable, and the public funding no more than pork-barrel politics. But proponents said the site and the collection were ideal representations of American industrial history. By 1995, the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 (NPS) had acquired Steamtown, USA and improved its facilities at a total cost of $66 million.

Steamtown National Historic Site has since sold a few pieces from the Blount collection, and added a few others deemed of greater historical significance to the region. Low visitor attendance and the need of costly asbestos
Asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

 removal from many pieces of the collection have spurred discussion about privatizing Steamtown.

New England roots


F. Nelson Blount, the heir to the largest seafood processor in the United States, was an avid railroad enthusiast. When he was 17, he wrote a book on steam power; later, he amassed one of the largest collections of vintage steam locomotives in the United States. By 1964, part of his collection — 25 steam locomotives from the United States and Canada, 10 other locomotives, and 25 pieces of rolling stock — was housed at North Walpole, New Hampshire
North Walpole, New Hampshire
North Walpole is a census-designated place in the town of Walpole in Cheshire County, New Hampshire. It had a population of 828 at the 2010 census....

. The Monadnock, Steamtown & Northern Railroad, as the enterprise was then called, ran excursions between Keene
Keene, New Hampshire
Keene is a city in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 23,409 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Cheshire County.Keene is home to Keene State College and Antioch University New England, and hosts the annual Pumpkin Fest...

 and Westmoreland, New Hampshire
Westmoreland, New Hampshire
Westmoreland is a town in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,874 at the 2010 census. Westmoreland is historically an agricultural town, with much arable farmland.-History:...

.

After failing in 1962 to convince the State of New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 to take over control of the bulk of the collection, Blount established the "Steamtown Foundation for the Preservation of Steam and Railroad Americana" to operate Steamtown, USA
Steamtown, USA
Steamtown, USA was a steam locomotive museum that ran steam excursions out of North Walpole, New Hampshire, and Bellows Falls, Vermont, from the 1960s to 1983. Founded by millionaire seafood industrialist F. Nelson Blount, Steamtown was operated primarily by the non-profit Steamtown Foundation...

 in 1964. The non-profit, charitable, educational organization was to have nine un-salaried directors, including the five incorporators: Blount, former New Hampshire governor Lane Dwinell
Lane Dwinell
Seymour Lane Dwinell was an American manufacturer and Republican politician from Lebanon, New Hampshire. Born in 1906 in Newport, Vermont, he served in and led both houses of the New Hampshire legislature before his two terms as Governor...

; Emile Bussiere; Robert L. Mallat, Jr., mayor of Keene; and Bellows Falls Municipal Judge Thomas P. Salmon
Thomas P. Salmon
Thomas Paul Salmon , U.S. Democratic Party politician, served as the 75th Governor of the U.S. state of Vermont from 1973 to 1977....

, who later became governor of Vermont. The president of the Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company , also known as Campbell's, is an American producer of canned soups and related products. Campbell's products are sold in 120 countries around the world. It is headquartered in Camden, New Jersey...

, William B. Murphy
William B. Murphy
William B. Murphy was an American film editor who, in the course of a twenty-year career, served as president of American Cinema Editors from 1952 to 1955 and was distinguished in 1966 with ACE's Eddie Award for his work on the science fiction film, Fantastic Voyage, which also earned him an...

, who had also served as National Chairman of Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East "where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed"...

, and the vice president of Blount Seafood, Fredrick Richardson, were among the other directors. The first order of business for the Steamtown Foundation was to acquire the Blount collection at North Walpole, and move it to property once owned by the Rutland Railroad
Rutland Railroad
The Rutland Railway was a small railroad in the northeastern United States, primarily in the state of Vermont but extending into the state of New York. The earliest ancestor of the Rutland, the Rutland & Burlington Railroad, was chartered in 1843 by the state of Vermont to build between Rutland...

, in Bellows Falls, Vermont.

Blount was killed on August 31, 1967, when his private airplane hit a tree during an emergency landing, in Marlborough, New Hampshire
Marlborough, New Hampshire
Marlborough is a town in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 2,063 at the 2010 census. The town is home to the Kensan-Devan Wildlife Sanctuary at Meetinghouse Pond....

. By that time, a good deal of Blount's collection was controlled by the Steamtown Foundation and had been moved to Bellows Falls. One of Blount's corporations, the Green Mountain Railroad
Green Mountain Railroad
The Green Mountain Railroad is a class III railroad operating in Vermont.GMRC operates on tracks that had been owned by the Rutland Railroad and Boston and Maine Railroad. The railroad operates on a rail line between North Walpole, New Hampshire and Rutland, Vermont. Corporate colors are green...

 (GMRC), controlled the tracks that lay between Walpole, Bellows Falls and Chester, Vermont
Chester, Vermont
Chester is a town in Windsor County, Vermont, United States. The population was 3,044 at the 2000 census. The town was originally chartered by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth as Flamstead in 1754. The terms of the charter were not met and the town was re-chartered as New Flamstead in 1761...

, which Steamtown was to use for its excursions. When Blount died, most of the controlling stock of the GMRC was transferred to the president of the railroad, Robert Adams. By 1976, the relationship between Steamtown and GMRC was strained as the two organizations fought over maintenance of the tracks, which were owned by the state of Vermont. In addition, the steam excursions that Steamtown sponsored violated Vermont's pollution regulations, but the railroad was able to operate for several years under waivers issued by the state. By 1978, the Steamtown Foundation had begun scouting for a new location for Steamtown, USA.

In 1980, Ray Holland, the Chairman of the Board of Steamtown Foundation, resigned after accusing the board of incompetence. His resignation was followed by that of Robert Barbera, a long-time director of the board. In the year that followed, Steamtown did not run excursions. Don Ball, Jr., had taken over direction of Steamtown by this time and discovered that the excursion train did not meet federal safety guidelines. In 1981, despite its vast holdings of vintage railroad stock, Steamtown had only 17,000 visitors, while Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

's Essex Valley Railroad, which ran two small engines, had 139,000 visitors. Even in its best year, 1973, the Vermont location had attracted only 65,000 visitors.

When questions about Steamtown, USA in New England are posed, the official response of the National Park Service is:
Steamtown National Historic Site was created in 1986 to preserve the history of steam railroading in America, concentrating on the era 1850 through 1950. This is the mission of the park. The park was not created to preserve the history of Steamtown USA. Our site does touch on the history of railroad preservation, specifically in our History Museum. The work of F. Nelson Blount, creator of the former Steamtown USA, and other pioneers of the steam preservation movement, is a part (albeit a small part) of the story Steamtown NHS has been charged with preserving.

Move to Scranton


Self-syndicated newspaper columnist Michael McManus once said that his goal in writing his weekly column was "to suggest answers to problems of the old industrial states." In March 1982 a substantial article by McManus appeared in the Bangor Daily News
Bangor Daily News
The Bangor Daily News is an American newspaper that was founded on June 18, 1889; in 1900 the paper merged with the Bangor Whig and Courier. The Bangor Publishing Co. publishes the paper in Bangor, Maine, in addition to two weekly papers distributed by the BDN and several others distributed by the...

. In the article, McManus proposed several reasons why a city, like Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Pittsburgh, or Scranton
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

, might benefit from a tourist attraction like Steamtown. McManus went on to explain why the business was failing in Vermont: past failed management, an isolated location and the lack of signs on Interstate 91
Interstate 91
Interstate 91 is an Interstate Highway in the New England region of the United States. It provides the primary north–south thoroughfare in the western part of New England...

, which the state opposed. Moreover, the roof of the largest storage shed on the property had collapsed under heavy snow the previous winter, damaging several pieces of equipment. Among the injured were the Canadian Pacific Railway No. 1293, which had served on Vermont's "Bicentennial Train" and on the movie Terror Train
Terror Train
Terror Train is a 1980 Canadian horror film, directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Johnson, and David Copperfield.- Plot :...

(1979), and the Meadow River Lumber Company No. 1 Shay
Meadow River Lumber Company 1
Meadow River Lumber Company No. 1 is a Shay locomotive at Steamtown National Historic Site. It spent its entire working life in East Rainelle, West Virginia. The locomotive is in terrible condition, being heavily damaged on February 4, 1982 by the collapse of the roof of its motive power depot...

.

Asked by McManus to describe the value of the Steamtown collection, Jim Boyd, editor of Railfan
Railfan
A railfan or rail buff , railway enthusiast or railway buff , or trainspotter , is a person interested in a recreational capacity in rail transport...

magazine, said, "Everything there is no longer obtainable anywhere, whether it is the "Big Boy" [Union Pacific No. 4012] or the Rahway Valley No. 15, a nice-sized locomotive any museum would give a right arm for. Most of the other large collections do not have any serviceable equipment." McManus closed his argument for moving Steamtown thus: "What is at stake is more than tourism and jobs. It is a significant part of America's past before the welder's torch is turned on the likes of the 1877 'Prince of Liege', the rare Union Pacific diamond stack, etc. The steel alone is worth $3 million."

In June 1983, McManus wrote about Steamtown again, this time announcing that Scranton had taken his suggestion. He said that Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern...

, and Willimantic, Connecticut
Willimantic, Connecticut
Willimantic is a census-designated place and former city located in the town of Windham in Windham County, Connecticut, United States. The population was estimated at 15,823 at the 2000 census. It is home to Eastern Connecticut State University, as well as the Windham Textile and History Museum....

, had also vied for the collection. "But on May 24, Scranton signed a contract to get it, pledging to raise $2 million to cover the cost of moving 40 ancient steam engines and 60 cars, few of which are operable, and to create a museum." On October 23, 1983, Steamtown sponsored its last Vermont excursion, using Canadian Pacific 1246 to pull a "dozen or so cars" on a 100 miles (160.9 km) round trip from Riverside station to Ludlow, Vermont
Ludlow, Vermont
Ludlow, Vermont may refer to:*Ludlow , Vermont*Ludlow , Vermont...

, and Scranton began raising money for the move.

When Scranton agreed to take on Steamtown, it was estimated that the museum and excursion business would attract 200,000 to 400,000 visitors to the city every year. In anticipation of this economic boon, the city and a private developer spent $13 million to renovate the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad station and transform it into a Hilton hotel, at a time when the unemployment rate in the city was 13 percent. Only 60,000 visitors showed up at Steamtown in 1987, and the 1988 excursions were canceled. After only three years, it was $2.2 million in debt and facing bankruptcy. Part of the problem was the cost of restoration of the new property and the deteriorating equipment. In addition, while the tourists in Vermont had enjoyed the sites of cornfields, farms, covered bridges, a waterfall and a gorge on a Steamtown excursion, the Scranton trip to Moscow, Pennsylvania
Moscow, Pennsylvania
Moscow is a borough in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,026 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Moscow is located at ....

, cut right through one of the nation's largest junkyards, an eyesore described by Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader is an American political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney. Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government....

 as "the eighth wonder of the world".

Nationalization


In 1986, the U.S. House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

, under the urging of Scranton native, Representative Joseph M. McDade
Joseph M. McDade
Joseph Michael "Joe" McDade is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, having represented Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district.-Early life and career:...

, voted to approved the spending of $8 million to study the collection and to begin the process of making it a National Historic Site
National Historic Sites (United States)
National Historic Sites are protected areas of national historic significance in the United States. A National Historic Site usually contains a single historical feature directly associated with its subject...

. By 1995, Steamtown was acquired and developed by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 (NPS) at a total cost of $66 million, and in 1995 opened as Steamtown National Historic Site. In preparation for its acquisition of the collection, the NPS had conducted historical research during 1987 and 1988 on the equipment that still remained in the foundation's possession. This research was used for a Scope of Collections Statement for Steamtown National Historic Site and was published in 1991 under the title Steamtown Special History Study. Aside from providing concise histories of the equipment, the report also made recommendations as to whether or not each piece belonged in the now government-funded collection. Historical significance to the United States was a criterion of the recommendations. Many of the pieces of equipment that did not meet the report's recommendations were sold or traded for pieces that had historical significance to the region.

The establishment of Steamtown as a National Historic Site caused controversy. On November 23, 1991, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

published an editorial that took up one side of the debate. The article, by Michael deCourcy Hinds, said, "The provision for the park was inserted into a huge appropriations bill at a late-night meeting near the end of the legislative session in October 1986. Congressional authorizing committees, which are charged with setting policy and reviewing such proposals, were bypassed, and the Park Service did not conduct its customary two-year review of proposed new parks." Hinds also pointed out that "a number of historians and museum curators around the nation call Steamtown a second-rate collection of trains on a third-rate site. They say that while such historic recreations have a place, the Federal Government should not be financing them simply because influential members of Congress want them for their districts." Hinds wrote that James M. Ridenour
James M. Ridenour
James Michael Ridenour was the director of the National Park Service. He served as director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for eight years before becoming NPS director in April 1989. Director Rindenour was not willing to accept additions to the system simply for local economic...

, director of the Park Service, said that Steamtown was among other projects that the agency neither needed nor wanted, adding that the same collection was rejected by them when it was still in Vermont because it "lacked historic importance". Aside from the $73 million that had at that point been proposed for the development of the project, there would also be a projected annual operation cost of $6.5 million. In a December 17, 1991, follow-up article, it was reported that the development appropriation had been capped at $53 million. This article said that the Steamtown project had siphoned resources "from the Park Service's worthier, maintenance-starved projects."

William W. Scranton, former governor of Pennsylvania and descendant of the founders of Scranton, along with J.A. Panuska, president of the University of Scranton
University of Scranton
The University of Scranton is a private, co-educational Catholic and Jesuit university, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the northeast region of the state. The school was founded in 1888 by Most Rev. William O'Hara, the first Bishop of Scranton, as St. Thomas College. It was elevated to a...

, responded to Hinds' article with a letter to the editor that was published January 8, 1992. The letter said that the statement, first made by a former Smithsonian curator, that "Steamtown was a second-rate collection on a third-rate site," was unfounded. Scranton and Panuska added, "The collection of 29 steam engines and 82 other railroad cars and equipment is the third largest in the country, the only one available for commemorating the industrialization of America in a historic setting." They said that the 19-century American Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 was under-represented in the National Parks system and further charged:
Scranton is the only city in the Eastern United States with the vestiges of the era of industrialization (1840-1920) in plain sight, 40 acres in the middle of downtown, with car shops, locomotive shops, roundhouse, turntable, grand passenger station, a working yard, iron furnaces, passenger excursions -- the whole works and a restored coal mine nearby. There is no other site like it. This city [Scranton] was founded because of its iron ore and its ability to produce rails (previously imported from England), followed by its graduation to a coal and steel economy. It is a graphic demonstration of the industrial period of our country, an excellent site for Americans to learn about their history.

The site they were referring to had belonged to the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company was a railroad connecting Pennsylvania's Lackawanna Valley, rich in anthracite coal, to Hoboken, New Jersey, , Buffalo and Oswego, New York...

 (DL&W). On the property were 13 buildings, built between 1865 and 1937 and all listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

. DL&W, also known as the Lackawanna, owned the route of the "Phoebe Snow." Phoebe Snow was the name of a fictional character in an advertisement for the DL&W's use of clean-burning anthracite coal. She was a young woman who frequently rode the Lackawanna, always dressed in white. There was never any soot on Phoebe Snow's white dress as the Lackawanna traveled its route from Hoboken, New Jersey
Hoboken, New Jersey
Hoboken is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 50,005. The city is part of the New York metropolitan area and contains Hoboken Terminal, a major transportation hub for the region...

, to Buffalo
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

. The Lackawanna merged with the Erie Railroad
Erie Railroad
The Erie Railroad was a railroad that operated in New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, originally connecting New York City with Lake Erie...

 and "kept the Phoebe Snow name alive even after it converted to diesel locomotives in the 1950's." Later, some of the trains that ran on the DL&W became known individually as the "Phoebe Snow." The railroad passed hands to Conrail, and the site was eventually bought from them, by the city of Scranton as the site for Steamtown, USA. According to Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times, "Scranton was once served by five railroads, an almost unthinkable luxury for a city of just over 80,000 people. The passenger trains stopped decades ago, but one memory remains: the Lackawanna's elegant station, just up the street from Steamtown, completed in 1908 and converted into a hotel through a public-private partnership in 1983."

in April, 1992, Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

printed an excerpt from a soon-to-be published book about pork-barrel politics called Adventures in Porkland. It said of Representative McDade's leadership in securing funds for Steamtown:
McDade has achieved the dream of most pork-barrel congressmen, a living memorial, indeed two: the University of Scranton
University of Scranton
The University of Scranton is a private, co-educational Catholic and Jesuit university, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the northeast region of the state. The school was founded in 1888 by Most Rev. William O'Hara, the first Bishop of Scranton, as St. Thomas College. It was elevated to a...

's new Joseph M. McDade Center for Technology and Applied Research, and the county's McDade Park
McDade Park
McDade Park is a community park located in Scranton in Lackawanna County, in northeastern Pennsylvania. It is named after former U.S. Representative Joseph M. McDade. The park is located on of land, containing an outdoor pool, a fishing pond, basketball courts, hiking trails, tennis courts and a...

, with its Anthracite Coal Museum. But the congressman's crowning achievement is a historic theme park called Steamtown.
Aside from the government spending and the tactics used to ensure the spending, the article repeated the charge that the collection was second-rate. It went on to say that at the site there was little evidence of the money that had been spent; several of the pieces were from the 1940s and 1950s, as opposed to the nineteenth century, which was the time period that was supposedly being preserved; that some of the better pieces of equipment were actually foreign, Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, to be precise; other museums, already in existence, were already fulfilling the historical mission of Steamtown; and that other NPS projects like Yosemite and Yellowstone were in desperate need of funding. Nevertheless, in 1992, the House of Representatives voted against dropping the project from the NPS and, instead voted to add an additional $14 million to its funding.

By 1994, one of the earlier skeptics of the Steamtown project, Rail Fan and Railroad Magazine editor Mike DelVecchio, who had visited the site, had changed sides in the debate saying, "When it is finished, Steamtown will be the only place in America that can recreate the experience of mainline steam railroading." The director of Steamtown, Roger G. Kennedy, said, "those who concentrated on the pork-barrel politics of the development of the park were ignorant of the history." Len Barcousky, writing for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, also known simply as the "PG," is the largest daily newspaper serving metropolitan Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.-Early history:...

, described that history saying: "It was steam locomotives that unified the nation in the century between 1850 and 1950. Maintained in giant roundhouse
Roundhouse
A roundhouse is a building used by railroads for servicing locomotives. Roundhouses are large, circular or semicircular structures that were traditionally located surrounding or adjacent to turntables...

s in a hundred cities like Scranton, the smoke belching engines carried the people and the goods that made possible the Industrial Revolution."

In June 1995, the Steamtown National Historic Site was ready for its grand opening. Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

's only surviving steam locomotive, no. 1225, was to arrive on July 1 for the occasion. Less than two weeks later, two teen-aged boys were killed when they were struck by Steamtown's Canadian Pacific 2317, which was pulling a train with 575 passengers on board during an excursion trip to Moscow, Pennsylvania
Moscow, Pennsylvania
Moscow is a borough in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,026 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Moscow is located at ....

. The boys were hit while trying to remove their all-terrain vehicle which had gotten stuck on the tracks. The parents of the boys filed a lawsuit for $48 million, in regard to the deaths, in 1997.

Despite the hardships and criticism, Steamtown National Historic Site established itself in 1995, and by November of that year The New York Times had printed a favorable review written by Supreme Court correspondent Linda Greenhouse, who had visited the site with her husband and daughter that year. Greenhouse said of Steamtown, "The pleasure of the park is to see trains not only as one might see them in a museum but to see them in motion. Steamtown is a dynamic museum, with locomotives moving regularly from the yard into the park's architectural centerpiece, the roundhouse".

With an annual operating cost of $5.2 million, the federal government's total investment in Steamtown was $176 million, by 2008. Visitor attendance had peaked during its opening year, 1995, at 212,000 and had declined to 61,178 in 2006. Many of the locomotives and passenger cars were in need of asbestos
Asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

 removal. Asbestos has been linked to various diseases including asbestosis
Asbestosis
Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory and fibrotic medical condition affecting the parenchymal tissue of the lungs caused by the inhalation and retention of asbestos fibers...

, peritoneal mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma is the name given to the cancer that attacks the lining of the abdomen. This type of cancer affects the lining that protects the contents of the abdomen and which also provides a lubricating fluid to enable the organs to move and work properly.The peritoneum is made of two...

 and other fatal lung conditions. The federal government pledged $1.5 million for its removal, to be disbursed in 2011, and more money for restoration of the equipment, providing the money is matched by non-federal funds.

Museum and collection


Steamtown NHS is located within a working railroad yard
Classification yard
A classification yard or marshalling yard is a railroad yard found at some freight train stations, used to separate railroad cars on to one of several tracks. First the cars are taken to a track, sometimes called a lead or a drill...

 and incorporates the surviving elements of the 1902 DL&W Scranton roundhouse and locomotive repair shops. The visitor center, theater, technology and history museums are built in the style of and on the site of the missing portions of the original roundhouse, giving an impression of what the original circular structure was like.

The museum has exhibits about the history and technology of steam railroads in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, particularly the Lackawanna Railroad; life on the railroad; and the business, labor, and governmental relationships between railroads. The theater shows a a short film throughout the day.

Many locomotives and freight and passenger cars are on display. Some have open cabs and compartments that visitors can climb in and walk through, including a mail car
Railway post office
In the United States a railway post office, commonly abbreviated as RPO, was a railroad car that was normally operated in passenger service as a means to sort mail en route, in order to speed delivery. The RPO was staffed by highly trained Railway Mail Service postal clerks, and was off-limits to...

, railroad executives' passenger car (with dining room and sleeping / lounge areas), a boxcar
Boxcar
A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

, two caboose
Caboose
A caboose is a manned North American rail transport vehicle coupled at the end of a freight train. Although cabooses were once used on nearly every freight train, their use has declined and they are seldom seen on trains, except on locals and smaller railroads.-Function:The caboose provided the...

s, and a recreated DL&W station with ticket window. A steam locomotive with cutaway sections helps visitors understand steam power. Part of one of the 1865 roundhouse inspection pits uncovered in archaeological excavations is also preserved in situ, under glass.

Some of the rolling stock is historically connected to the site, including a DL&W steam engine, caboose, boxcar, a former World War II troop sleeper
Troop sleeper
In United States railroad terminology, a troop sleeper was a railroad passenger car which had been constructed to serve as something of a mobile barracks for transporting troops over distances sufficient to require overnight accommodations...

 that the DL&W converted to maintenance of way service, and numerous passenger cars. Former Oneida & Western
Oneida and Western Railroad
The Oneida & Western Railroad, known as the Oneida & Western or O&W, was a short coal and goods hauling railroad that ran between Oneida and Jamestown, Tennessee. It was prosperous during the 1920s, hauling coal and lumber and provided groceries and mail to residents along the O&W in the remote...

/Rahway Valley
Rahway Valley Railroad
The Rahway Valley Railroad was a shortline railroad in the Northeastern United States which connected the Lehigh Valley Railroad in Roselle Park and the Central Railroad of New Jersey in Cranford with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western in Summit...

 2-8-0 engine #15 was overhauled by the DL&W. Other noteworthy pieces are the popular Union Pacific Big Boy
Union Pacific Big Boy
Big Boy was the name of the Union Pacific Railroad's 4000-class 4-8-8-4 articulated steam locomotives, built between 1941 and 1944 by American Locomotive Company...

 #4012, Canadian Pacific #2929 (a rare Jubilee 4-4-4), Nickel Plate Road S-2 #759, and Reading Company
Reading Company
The Reading Company , usually called the Reading Railroad, officially the Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway until 1924, operated in southeast Pennsylvania and neighboring states...

 T-1 #2124.

Engines Nickel Plate Road #759 (which is rumored to be the next American engine to be rebuilt), Canadian National #47, New Haven Trap Rock Co. #43, and Rahway Valley #15 have operated at Steamtown, but not since the move to Pennsylvania.

Locomotives


  • Baldwin Locomotive Works
    Baldwin Locomotive Works
    The Baldwin Locomotive Works was an American builder of railroad locomotives. It was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, originally, and later in nearby Eddystone, Pennsylvania. Although the company was very successful as a producer of steam locomotives, its transition to the production of...

     26: Was inactive as of winter 2007-8. Long rebuild, slated to be completed in 2011.
  • Berlin Mills Railway 7
    Berlin Mills Railway 7
    Berlin Mills Railway 7 is a steam locomotive at Steamtown National Historic Site. It was built in 1911 by the Vulcan Iron Works for the Berlin Mills Railway, an industrial line in Berlin, New Hampshire. Number 7 worked there as a switcher until November of 1944, when it was sold to the Groveton...

  • New Haven Trap Rock Company
    Branford Steam Railroad
    Branford Steam Railroad is an industrial railroadserving the Tilcon Connecticut stone quarry inNorth Branford, Connecticut in the United States.It exchanges freight with the Providence and Worcester Railroad and withthe Buchanon Marine Company....

     43
  • Boston and Maine 3713: Under restoration, which will be ramped up once Baldwin #26 is finished, providing funding is enough to finish the project. When this is complete, this will be the first American engine at either Steamtown USA or Steamtown NHS to be restored to working order.
  • Brooks-Scanlon Corporation 1
    Brooks-Scanlon Corporation 1
    Brooks-Scanlon Corporation No. 1 is a 2-6-2 steam locomotive at Steamtown National Historic Site. This type of locomotive was originally developed for use on the flat terrain of the prairie, such as the Great Plains of Kansas and surrounding states, thus it was referred to as a Prairie-type...

  • Bullard Company 2
    Bullard Company 2
    Bullard Company No. 2 is a small tank locomotive at Steamtown National Historic Site. It spent its working life as an industrial switcher in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The locomotive joined the Steamtown collection in June 1963, and is displayed inoperable....

  • Canadian National 47
    Canadian National 47
    The Canadian National #47 is a preserved 4-6-4 tank locomotive in the United States of America. It is one of only two preserved CN 4-6-4Ts , and is the only Baltic type suburban tank locomotive remaining in the USA.-History:The #47 was built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in September 1914 for...

  • Canadian National 3254
    Canadian National 3254
    The Canadian National 3254 is a preserved Canadian National class S-1-b 2-8-2 type steam locomotive. It is a part of the operating fleet at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.-History:...

    : Ran excursions in 2011.
  • Canadian National 3377
    Canadian National 3377
    Canadian National 3377 is a preserved 2-8-2 steam locomotive at the Steamtown National Historic Site.After being retired, the locomotive was sold to the Edaville Railroad in September of 1961, and then became part of Steamtown in 1969. It has been cannibalized for parts for Steamtown's operating...

  • Canadian Pacific 2317: Seen running but made no excursions during RailFest 2008. Hauled the Scranton Limited. Entered the Roundhouse for the final time under steam in September 2010, and awaited its 1,472-day rebuild.
  • Canadian Pacific 2929
  • Delaware, Lackawanna and Western 565
  • E.J. Lavino and Company 3
    E.J. Lavino and Company 3
    E.J. Lavino and Company No. 3 is an inoperable steam locomotive preserved at Steamtown National Historic Site. It was built by the American Locomotive Company in 1927 as Poland Springs Railroad No. 2. No record exists that the locomotive was ever delivered to Poland Springs. In any case, it is...

  • Grand Trunk Western 6039
  • Illinois Central 790
  • Lowville and Beaver River 1923
  • Maine Central 519
  • Meadow River Lumber Company 1
    Meadow River Lumber Company 1
    Meadow River Lumber Company No. 1 is a Shay locomotive at Steamtown National Historic Site. It spent its entire working life in East Rainelle, West Virginia. The locomotive is in terrible condition, being heavily damaged on February 4, 1982 by the collapse of the roof of its motive power depot...

  • Nickel Plate
    New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad
    The New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad , abbreviated NYC&St.L, was a railroad that operated in the mid-central United States. Commonly referred to as the Nickel Plate Road, the railroad served a large area, including trackage in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois...

     44
  • Nickel Plate 514
  • Nickel Plate 759
  • Norwood and St. Lawrence 210
  • Public Service Electric and Gas Company 6816
  • Rahway Valley 15
    Rahway Valley 15
    Rahway Valley Railroad No. 15 is a steam locomotive on display at Steamtown National Historic Site. It was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works as Oneida and Western Railroad No. 20 in 1916, and was sold to the Rahway Valley Railroad in 1937. It last ran in 1953 before being replaced by #17 a GE...

  • Reading 2124
  • Union Pacific 4012
  • Wabash 132


Engines sold off by Steamtown NHS/Steamtown USA Foundation include Canadian Pacific 2816
Canadian Pacific 2816
Canadian Pacific 2816, named the Empress, is a 4-6-4 H1b Hudson used by the Canadian Pacific Railway in occasional excursion service. The 2816 is the only non-streamlined H1 Hudson remaining .-First career:Locomotive 2816 was one of ten H1b-class Canadian Pacific 2816, named the Empress, is a 4-6-4...

, the sole remaining non-streamlined Canadian Pacific 4-6-4
4-6-4
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 4-6-4 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, and four trailing wheels on two axles .Other equivalent classifications are:UIC classification:...

 Hudson, which has been restored to working order and hauls trips for the Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

; and Norfolk & Western 1218
Norfolk & Western 1218
Norfolk & Western 1218 is a steam locomotive that at one time was the strongest-pulling operational steam locomotive in the world. It is a four-cylinder simple articulated locomotive with a 2-6-6-4 wheel arrangement. The Norfolk & Western Railway built it in 1943 at its Roanoke Shops in Roanoke,...

, which ran for the Norfolk Southern Steam Program and now resides at the Virginia Museum of Transportation
Virginia Museum of Transportation
The Virginia Museum of Transportation is a museum devoted to the topic of transportation located in Downtown Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.A..- History :...

.

Several engines not part of the collection have visited the Scranton site: NYS&W #142, BM&R #425, a Lowville & Beaver River Shay, former Reading Company T-1 #2102 (not operable) and MILW #261.

Demonstrations, tours, and excursions



Steamtown NHS offers a variety of demonstrations, tours, and excursions that demonstrate how railroads functioned in the age of steam. Park rangers give guided tours of the locomotive shop, where one can see work being done on the steam engines in the original roundhouse area; the Union Pacific Big Boy
Union Pacific Big Boy
Big Boy was the name of the Union Pacific Railroad's 4000-class 4-8-8-4 articulated steam locomotives, built between 1941 and 1944 by American Locomotive Company...

 locomotive on display; and demonstrations of the turntable on a regular basis. They also give talks on the history of Steamtown. The Scranton yard occupies about 40 acres (16.2 ha).

Several working locomotives take visitors on short excursions through the Scranton yard in the spring, summer, and fall. Most rides are on passenger coaches, but there are also caboose and handcar
Handcar
A handcar is a railroad car powered by its passengers, or by people pushing the car from behind. It is mostly used as a maintenance of way or mining car, but it was also used for passenger service in some cases...

 rides offered. These rides are included in the admission, although reservations may be required. Longer excursions are scheduled with separate tickets. These include a ride on a Pullman coach
Pullman (car or coach)
In the United States, Pullman was used to refer to railroad sleeping cars which were built and operated on most U.S. railroads by the Pullman Company from 1867 to December 31, 1968....

 and longer trips to various nearby towns, including the Lackawanna River
Lackawanna River
The Lackawanna River is a tributary of the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania in the United States. It flows through a region of the northern Pocono Mountains that was once a center of anthracite coal mining in the United States...

 valley and Carbondale
Carbondale, Pennsylvania
Carbondale is a city in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, United States. Carbondale is located approximately 15 miles due northeast of the city of Scranton in Northeastern Pennsylvania...

, Tobyhanna and Moscow, Pennsylvania
Moscow, Pennsylvania
Moscow is a borough in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,026 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Moscow is located at ....

. On rare occasions, excursions are run to the Delaware Water Gap
Delaware Water Gap
The Delaware Water Gap is on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania where the Delaware River cuts through a large ridge of the Appalachian Mountains...

, East Stroudsburg
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
East Stroudsburg is the most populous municipality in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is located in the Poconos region of the state. Originally known as "Dansbury", East Stroudsburg was renamed for geographic reasons when the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad opened a...

, and Cresco, Pennsylvania
Cresco, Pennsylvania
Cresco is a small town in Barrett Township, Monroe County in Northeastern Pennsylvania.Cresco is located in the Pocono Mountains. Other nearby towns include Buck Hill Falls, Canadensis, Skytop, and Mountainhome....

, or on the Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

 to Binghamton, New York
Binghamton, New York
Binghamton is a city in the Southern Tier of New York in the United States. It is near the Pennsylvania border, in a bowl-shaped valley at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers...

. Steamtown also plays host to RailCamp, a program put on by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 and National Railway Historical Society to educate future railroad employees and fans of the industry about railroad operation and preservation.

Restoration projects


Boston and Maine Railroad No. 3713

Whyte System Type: 4-6-2 Pacific

Class: P-4a, Series 3710-3714

Builder: Lima Locomotive Works

Date Built: December 1934

Builder's Number: 7625


Cylinders (diameter x stroke in inches): 23 x 28

Boiler Pressure (in lbs. per square inch): 260

Diameter of Drive Wheels (in inches): 80

Tractive Effort (in lbs.): 40,900; with booster, 52,800


Tender Capacity:

Coal (in tons): 18

Water (in gallons): 12,000

Weight on Drivers (in lbs.): 209,800


Delaware, Lackawanna & Western R.R. No. 565

Whyte System Type: 2-6-0 Mogul

Class: 10c

Builder: American Locomotive Company (Schenectady Works)

Date Built: 1908

Builder's Number: 45528


Cylinders (diameter x stroke in inches): 20-1/2 x 26

Boiler Pressure (in lbs. per square inch): 200

Diameter of Drive Wheels (in inches): 63

Tractive Effort (in lbs.): 29,484


Tender Capacity:

Coal (in tons): 10

Water (in gallons): 6500

Weight on Drivers (in lbs.): 140,000;

Total Weight: 161,000


This is a cosmetic restore only; she then will be placed in the 1902 Roundhouse on display.http://projectdlw565.webs.com/

Baldwin Locomotive Works (Eddystone) No. 26

Whyte System Type: 0-6-0 Switch engine

Class:


Builder: Baldwin Locomotive Works

Date Built: March 1929

Builder's Number: 60733


Cylinders (diameter x stroke in inches): 20 x 24

Boiler Pressure (in lbs. per square inch): 180

Diameter of Drive Wheels (in inches): 50

Tractive Effort (in lbs.): 29,375


Tender Capacity:

Coal (in tons):

Water (in gallons):

Weight on Drivers (in lbs.): 124,000

Nearby attractions


The Electric City Trolley Museum
Electric City Trolley Museum
The Electric City Trolley Museum is located in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania, next to the Steamtown National Historic Site.The museum displays and operates restored trolleys and interurbans on former lines of the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad, now owned by the government of Lackawanna...

, located at the western end of the Steamtown parking lot, offers trolley
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 excursions. Scranton was nicknamed "The Electric City" after it became the first U.S. city with a completely electric streetcar
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 system in 1886.

When Steamtown is open, a walkway over the rail yard connects it to the Mall at Steamtown
Mall at Steamtown
The Mall at Steamtown is a shopping center and the commercial centerpiece of Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States. It features nearly one hundred retail and specialty stores. The Mall at Steamtown was conceived in the mid 1980s as the keystone of downtown revitalization, though the project was...

.

Also within walking distance is the 1908 Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Station
Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel
The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, built as the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Station, is a neo-classical building in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It was built as a train station and office building in 1908; closed in 1970; listed on the U.S...

, now a Radisson
Radisson Hotels
Radisson Hotels is one of the leading, full-service global hotel companies with more than 420 locations in 73 countries. The first Radisson Hotel was built in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1909, and was named after the 17th-century French explorer Pierre-Esprit Radisson...

 hotel. The station has been on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 since 1977, as are several other sites associated with railroads in Scranton.

External links