Steamtown National Historic Site

A real feather in the cap of the National Park Service is Steamtown.

SteamTown Locomotive 2421
Great Locomotives of the Past

Steamtown is located in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Houses a Fantastic collection of steam engines, a round house, and a staff that’s incredible. They are building and working and building and working on these trains and they have an entire shop of men devoted to the maintenance of steam engines. They are working very hard on an anniversary in 2017 to have the steam engines ready, especially a particular model that is well quite rare. The staff is full of storytellers who will talk your ears off all day long if you just engage them a little bit, They’re the friendliest guys you’ve ever wanted to meet. There’s a 20-minute movie called Steam and Steel and it is marvelous. It gives all of you I look and insight into the history and the glory of steam engines.

SteamTown – Glory Days of History

SteamTown - Where Steam is King
Great Wheels of Power
SteamTown - See inside the Great Steam Engine
Look Inside a Steam Engine

Their Glory Days may have passed but hold on to the memories. The Steam and Steel movie is about 20 minutes in a beautiful, beautiful theater that seat hundreds. I’m sure on some days in the weekends and the holidays this place is jam-packed,however for me, I came on a Monday, I believe, and the place was pretty vacant so I had Private Tours, private viewings and couldn’t ask for anything more. When you come up to the place, on the outside there are a couple of Big Engines and a Diesel. The steam engine in the parking lot that are in such pristine shape.Steamtown-sign Enter the SteamTown  lobby and talk to Pete, one of the volunteers, and he could talk about trains I think Forever. I just listened and asked questions and he just kept pouring on the information until I think my brain was somewhere between full and ready to explode. I looked at many of the SteamTown cars the cabooses the tank cars the freight cars it was very nice, very very nice, And I found an interesting display outside the theater concerning women and our history and women and jobs and trains. It was so well done. I mean it brought up, of course, the Harvey girls who were part of bringing me railroad West and civilizing man, then there were the airline stewardesses and of course the hostesses on the trains that separate the Zephyr Hostesses. They really did a service and in their own cars they would point out monuments and point out the countryside they would bring service. In the early days they were even cars separate for just the women and children and the men were not allowed. How interesting ti was that the food on the trains was posted as some of the best and served in an elegant manner. How nice that must have been. It was however a money loser for the train companies and eventually discontinued. The major money for the train has been moving Freight. And the freight pays the bills. The passengers on the trains begin to dwindle especially with the Advent of the automobile. People wanted their freedom and the automobile gave it to them. Passengers were then a losing money situation. This is probably still true today and contributes to the high prices on the train today. It seems today when I look it up I can fly Coast-to-Coast cheaper than I can take the train Coast to Coast. But enough whining let’s get back to the Train. The early days of the train so and many changes The trains were wonderful thing that helped put the canals out of business. The canals were used to move Freight around the east and with the Advent of the train there was not a faster cheaper way to move Freight. This resulted in many boom towns Especially with the need for coal. Coal could be loaded on the trains and shipped the city and that was wonderful. The trains in the early days were influencing the growth of cities, It turned out now that people could take the train into town and take the train home and still have a good job in the city, how interesting.
Well the train did have its pluses and minuses there was an early time when Brakeman were just a lot of fatalities, but the calculations on the part of the train company showed that it was cheaper to replace Brakeman then it was to replace the couplings that were so dangerous. Well eventually there was an act of Congress, there was a lot of outcry, and magically things got better.
Well I could ramble on about trains and the people who drove them and the people who rode them, and the people who service them, and the people who Moved Freight, and the people who took tickets and the people who handle baggage, and the people who greeted you – all of these people made the train such a wonderful thing for a memory – SteamTown is an Experience – That now is two to three generations old.