Friday, October 7, 2011

A Guided Tour by the Mayor!

We really love driving the back roads.  It’s exploration in the comfort of your vehicle…with all of the personal ‘stuff’ you might need right there with you… Although I do roughly plan out our route as well as any major attractions we might want to see, one just never knows what you might see, who you might encounter or what adventures you might experience during your travels.

This handsome structure is the former Pennsylvania Railway Station in Milton Pennsylvania.  Milton was first settled in 1771 and the town was incorporated in 1817.  The Catawissa Railroad was the first railroad to reach Milton, and that was back in 1854.  The Catawissa was later incorporated into the Reading Railroad System. 

Here is a rail side photo of the old Pennsylvania Railroad passenger depot. ( In the background, you can see the former Reading Railroad’s freight depot.)  This depot was built in the 1880’s.  It’s now been re-purposed and it houses the Milton Police Department.

On September 16, 2001, the funeral train of President William McKinley came through Milton on it’s trip from Buffalo New York, where he was asassinated, to Washington D.C.  His successor, Theodore Roosevelt, was also on the train. 

This is a photo of yours truly with Ed Nelson, the Mayor of Milton.  While Laurie was taking pictures, the Mayor approached her and asked if she needed any help.  He then graciously offered to give us a tour of both depots…the Police Station and the Milton Borough Offices.

Milton has had it’s ups and downs… Industry has fled many of these smaller river towns.  Milton was at one point known for the production of rail cars and steel but most industry has now moved on.  The downtown area was gutted in the Great Milton Fire of 1880.  Considerable damage was suffered in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes came roaring through. 
Nine days after our visit, Mayor Nelson had to declare a state of emergency as heavy rainfall from tropical storms Irene and Lee forced the Susquehanna over it’s banks and into downtown Milton.  With the river cresting at 26.6 feet, both the downtown business district and the bridge over the river had to be closed down.

This is the former Reading Railroad’s freight depot, now reconfigured to serve as the Milton Borough Offices.   

Milton was also on the Pennsylvania canal system back in the 1800’s, with it’s branch of the system opening in 1830.  The town also had a trolley service…both in town and interurban.  It operated from 1898 until 1922.

These are the chambers where the Milton Borough’s governing council along with Mayor Nelson, meets to deliberate any pending issues or legislation.  Ed Nelson rightfully pointed out that the Borough had done as much as they could to preserve original elements of the depot…in this case, the old open ceiling.  There are photos of the old railroad depots, showing them in full operation all around the walls of this council chamber. 

Laurie took this photo of a Milton patrol car…just because she thought that it was a fast looking no nonsense police car!

One other little tidbit about Milton.  One of it’s most famous residents was Ettore Boiardi.  You might ask who in the heck he is??  Well, just change the spelling a little and Ettore becomes Chef Boyardee!
Milton is a great little river town…with lots of history and interesting old buildings.  It was a nice stop along our route north.  Many thanks to Mayor Ed Nelson for his hospitality…and also for his directions up the road that led us to our next railroad depot. 
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave  

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