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[graphic header] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
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[photo] Different views of Steamtown, the Railroad Yard, and one historic train
Photographs by Kristen Carsto and from the National Register Collection

[photo] Historic image of the Railroad Yard, c.1900-1910
Photograph courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection [det 4a18926]

Today, Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, is the only unit in the National Park System where the story of steam railroading and the people who made it possible is told. From its inception in 1851, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (DL&W) Railroad Yard in Scranton has been a dynamic site, changing to meet the railroad's needs. As the railroad acquired more track and equipment in the 19th century, the size of the yard expanded from approximately 25 to 40 acres to accommodate additional operation and repair facilities. Almost immediately after William Truesdale became president of the DL&W in 1899, major changes occurred. To keep the railroad competitive, Truesdale decided that economy dictated bigger steam locomotives and rolling stock. As a transportation system covering three states in the northeastern United States, the DL&W Railroad management acted in the 1899-1939 period to increase its efficiency in operation through larger equipment and to diversify from its reliance on the transportation of anthracite coal. The railroad provided a transportation connection to New York and New Jersey while promoting manufacturing and tourism along the route. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad served as one of the major anthracite lines.

The current steam era buildings that have been listed in the National Register as the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Yard-Dickson Manufacturing Yard, and are now part of the Steamtown National Historic Site, were erected primarily between 1899 and 1917 with a remnant of the 1937 roundhouse also present. These buildings include the five-story concrete frame Pattern Shop, the foundry, the steel frame Blacksmith Shop, the Machine and Erecting Shop, the Oil House, Gas House, the 1902 and 1937 roundhouse remnants, which housed steam locomotives, and the three-story Mattes Street Signal Tower, among others. The current track arrangement represents, for the most part, that which evolved by the late 1930s. In 1983 the city of Scranton purchased the yard from Conrail as part of an arrangement to house the Steamtown Foundation's collection of steam locomotives and rolling stock. Steamtown National Historic Site's collection of locomotives and other transportation and train related equipment came from wealthy seafood processor F. Nelson Blount's private collection. The inventory of Steamtown National Historic Site can fall into two broad categories; "motive power," which includes steam, diesel and electric locomotives, and "passenger cars, freight cars, and maintenance of way equipment." One locomotive and one electric power car in the collection are from the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. Steamtown includes a Visitor Center, a History Museum, Roundhouse, Turntable, 1902 Roundhouse Section and a Technology Museum. Steamtown National Historic Site was established on October 30, 1986, to further public understanding and appreciation of the role steam railroading played in the development of the United States.

Steamtown National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, is located at the intersection of Lackawanna and Cliff aves. in Scranton. Steamtown is open daily 9:00am to 5:00pm, closed New Year's Day, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. There is a fee for admission. Steamtown offers seasonal train excursions from the park to various destinations. Please call 570-340-5200 for further information, or visit the park's website.


 [graphic] Link to Canal History Essay
 [graphic] Link to Delaware and Lehigh Region Essay
 [graphic] Link to Scranton and the Railroad Essay
 [graphic] Link to Establishing the Heritage Corridor Essay

 

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