Thursday, February 23, 2012

Railroad Depots – Pennsylvania & Maryland

At this point in our late summer/early fall 2011 road trip; it was time to head south from Lancaster County Pennsylvania into Maryland and Virginia, finally beginning the last couple of days before getting back home to East Tennessee…

But what the heck!  Never pass up a railroad depot or two along the way…

This very attractive railroad passenger depot is in downtown Lititz Pennsylvania.  Laurie took these photos the evening prior to our departure from Lancaster county.  However, this Victorian Gothic depot is just a replica of the original that had been built back in 1884.  It serves as the visitor’s Welcome Center for Lititz…

Despite the fact that it’s a copy, it is nevertheless a handsome building.  The first depot in Lititz was dedicated on the day after Christmas in 1863.  The ‘new’ 1884 depot was built on land leased by the Lititz Moravian Congregation to the Reading & Columbia Railroad for 999 years.  Both depots survived until they were demolished, following the demise of passenger service to the town.

The Reading & Columbia Railroad Company had only 39.8 miles of track.  Despite its short length, the railroad had a tremendous impact on the community for many years.  In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, 6 passenger trains stopped here each day.  By 1899, local street cars or trolleys were also operating and stopping at the depot. 

In late 1952, passenger service to Lititz ceased and the 999 year lease was terminated.  Interestingly enough, the last passenger train to come through the town carried Presidential candidate Adlai E. Stevenson.  That was on 10/28/52.

This lonely looking passenger depot is in Smithsburg Maryland.  No one seems to know when it was built, but it wasn’t on the town map in 1875 and it was on the town map in 1916.  The first train that came though Smithsburg was in 1872 and the last train came through in 1957.

The railroad brought prosperity to the area.  Farmers now had a way to ship their Mountain Peaches and Smithsburg Pride Apples to market in a timely fashion. 
Smithsburg was founded in 1806.  One interesting sidenote about the town involved General George A. Custer.  On 7/5/1863, Custer celebrated his promotion to General with the town’s residents as well as his troops.  Tables were set up on the main street and they were laden with hams, cold pitchers of milk, cakes and pies.  That evening, he accepted an invitation to dinner from a local family…

This is the Western Maryland Railway’s Smithsburg passenger depot as it originally appeared… There have been quite a few changes!  At various times, the building has served as a beauty salon and a bank.  In the late 1990’s, the mayor tried to have it converted into the town’s police station.  In March of 2001, the building and property changed hands once again in a foreclosure auction that took place on the courthouse steps.  It was sold for $89,700.  The building is listed in the Maryland Historical Trust’s Inventory of Historic Properties.

Just click on any photo to enlarge it...

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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