Steamtown National Historic Site in Pennsylvania is a working railroad that recalls the era of the steam locomotive, which helped spur America's westward settlement.
©National Park Service
The Steamtown National Historic Site preserves the era
of the steam locomotive for modern-day visitors.
Not long after Lewis and Clark crossed the continent by foot, railroads duplicated the effort with tracks. In the mid-1800s, settlers pushed westward as railroads opened up new areas. Railroad companies often distributed maps printed in foreign languages to new immigrants to encourage them to settle along their rail lines.
Between the Civil War and World War I, steam locomotives helped transform the United States from an agricultural to an industrial nation. They brought raw materials to factories and carried away the finished products to supply the growing nation. Trains were the primary mode of transportation for products and people during this time.
After World War I, however, trains faced increased competition from cars and trucks. By the 1950s, railroads, which by then had replaced coal-burning steam engines with cleaner diesel engines, were closing rail lines due to lack of freight and passengers.
Steamtown, which was officially added to the Park System in 1986, occupies about 40 acres of the former Scranton Yards, housing the largest collection of steam-era locomotives and freight and passenger cars in the country. The oldest locomotive in the collection is a 1903 freight engine. Visitors to the site can take a ride through history in a steam-engine train.
Steamtown National Historic Site Information
Address: 150 South Washington Ave., Scranton, PA
Hours of Operation:
- Daily, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. for museum
- Call for excursion schedule.
Admission: Fees vary for excursions and museum
Learn more about these other national historic sites:
To learn more about national national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit:
- National Monuments: Learn more about America's national monuments.
- National Memorials: Discover national memorials in the U.S.
- National Historic Sites: Read about American national historic sites.
- Pennsylvania State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Pennsylvania as well as other recreational activities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.