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Tolchester Beach, Maryland

Looking at the Chesapeake Bay from Tolchester Beach

The region known as the Eastern Shore of the U.S. state of Maryland has many great small towns.  (The region is called the Eastern Shore because it is on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay which divides the state.)  Among these towns is the coastal town of Tolchester Beach.  It is a peaceful quiet town with a few houses with the beach.  The only sites in the town are the Kent County Agricultural Center and the Caulks Field Battlefield Memorial where a battle in the War of 1812 took place.  Tolchester Beach is a quiet town where the only noise heard is the waters of the Chesapeake Bay splash on the beach.

Some of you are saying, “This is very lovely.  I love quiet small towns especially beach towns.  The problem is that the is no railroad here.  Therefore, I will find no peace and quiet with this town.

The town of Tolchester Beach, Maryland, simply called Tolchester today, except for events at the Kent County Agricultural Center, has been a quiet and peaceful town… since 1962.

Some of you are saying, “What do you mean by ‘since 1962’?”

The peace town you see today was not peaceful and quiet from 1877 to 1962.  The town known today as Tolchester was a bustling amusement park.  What amusement park?  The Tolchester Beach Amusement Park.  Steamboats brought people from Baltimore and other towns to Tolchester Beach, and they played games, they watched shows, ate food, and rode the rides.  I know.  Most amusement parks have games, shows, food, and rides, but one of the main attractions of the park was the miniature steam train.  They stood in line to ride the steam train around the loop.  When the park was closed in 1962, everything, including the train, was no more.  (The train was sold off.  It is currently unknown where it is today.

Today, when you take a drive through Tolchester, Maryland, you see houses, a marina, the fairgrounds, and the small beach at the end of Maryland Route 21.  There are no signs of an amusement park or of a miniature train.  It is a peaceful and quiet little place on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay.

If you would like to see photos of the park, you can go to the ‘Tolchester Beach Amusement Park Tolchester Maryland’ Facebook page where you can also read more into the history of the park itself.

Old Train Station, New Oxford, Pennsylvania

Old Train Station and Pennsylvania Railroad Caboose

U.S. Route 30, nicknamed the ‘Lincoln Highway’ to honor Abraham Lincoln, is the third longest route in the United States of America (behind U.S. Route 20 and U.S. Route 6) and runs from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast.  It passes through numerous states of which Pennsylvania is one of them.  It mainly runs along the southern tier of the state passing through the major cities of Philadelphia, home of where the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed, and Pittsburgh, the home of steel manufacturing and other major companies, and through Lancaster, the most famous Amish community in the nation, York, home of the Weightlifting Hall of Fame and a Harley Davidson factory, and Gettysburg, the place where the turning point and one of the greatest battles of the American Civil War took place.  It passes through many small towns.  One of these small towns is New Oxford.

The Old New Oxford Train Station

Some of you are saying, “Wow!  This is amazing.  U.S. Route 30 passes through the town of New Oxford, Pennsylvania.  What is so special about New Oxford, Pennsylvania?”

Pennsylvania Railroad Caboose Number 476582

It is a town that had no famous historical events.  It is a town that has nice and fancy houses, and it is also a manufacturing town being home to companies like Pilgrim’s Pride and Aero Energy who works with containers for Blue Rhino.  It, as mentioned, is a stop on U.S. Route 30, and it was once a place where the Western Maryland Railway stopped.  Where?  New Oxford, like many small towns in America, had a train station.  Passenger trains no longer stop in New Oxford, but you can visit the train station where the trains once stopped.

The Railroad Passing the Old Station

Today, this old train station is a museum.  On the outside, you see Caboose Number 476582 of the Pennsylvania Railroad, an old Railway Post Office Car, and a few luggage carts.  On the inside, you have model train displays with model trains displayed on the walls and in cases.  You have a corner of whistles and lanterns.  You can step into the old ticket office and get the view that the ticket man once had.  You can see the old switchers that once switched the tracks around the station.  You can see an old semaphore that was used to signal trains.  (A semaphore was a traffic light for trains. Regular light signals are used today.)  If you are fortunate enough, you may even see a passing CSX train.

Old Post Office Car

The New Oxford Train Station is run by volunteers.  There is no paid staff.  It is at 206 Lincoln Highway West (U.S. Route 30) about a quarter mile west of the town square and ten miles east of Gettysburg and U.S. Route 15.  It is easy to find because it is on the north side of U.S. Route 30 at the railroad crossing.  It is open every first and third Sunday of the month from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.  Parking is on site.  Admission is free, but they do accept donations to help keep the museum running for many generations to come.  Although the museum is wheelchair accessible, there may be a few tight spaces to maneuver through.

Old Lionel Model Train

U.S. Route 30 passes by many great sites as it makes its way across the country.  The old train station in New Oxford, Pennsylvania is one of them.

Savage Mill, Savage, Maryland

The Old Savage Mill, Savage, Maryland

The Historic U.S. Route 1 is the first and oldest route in the United States of America.  It runs north and south through the eastern section with the northern terminus is in Fort Know, Maine, and the southern terminus in Key West, Florida.  (It is the most southern U.S. route in the 48 states and the third most southern route in the 48 states with only two state routes, 5A and the famous A1A, being father south.  It is also the most northern route in the 48 states.)  U.S. Route 1 passes through all the east coast states except for Delaware, plus it passes through Pennsylvania, the only non-coastal state the route passes through.  It passes through the major cities of Boston, Massachusetts, New York City, New York, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland, Washington D.C., Richmond, Virginia, Raleigh, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, Augusta, Georgia, Jacksonville, Florida, and Miami, Florida.  It passes through many small towns.  One of those small towns is Savage, Maryland, a suburb in the Washington D.C.-Baltimore, Maryland metropolis.  In this small town is an old mill.

The Savage Mill is named after a man named John Savage.  Who is John Savage?  He loaned four brothers $20,000 to build a cotton mill on the Little Patuxent River.  The mill began operation in 1822.  Because the mill was built on a high ridge over the river, a waterwheel 30 feet in diameter was built to harness the waterpower.  What great things were produced here?  In its heyday, sails for ships sailing out of Baltimore, tents and covered used by Union soldiers fighting in the American Civil War, backdrops for Hollywood movies in the early days of Hollywood films, and truck covers and bags for soldiers fighting in Europe during World War I and World War II.  Sadly, the mill ceased operation in 1947.  The mill was spared demolition, and it was eventually made into a place for shops and artists studios.  When you visit Savage Mill today, you will see a place where great products were once made, and you will see a place where great products are made today.

Some of you are saying, “This is amazing.  This mill made some great products, and it was spared demolition.  There is a big problem.  You see.  This was a mill.  There are no railroads here.  Therefore, I will not be manufacturing my visit to this place.”

The Old Telephone Booth

So, you have refused to visit Savage Mill because there are no railroads here.  Today, there is no railroad at this old mill.  In the mill’s heyday, the railroad was a big part of the mill’s operation.

Walking Path in the Old Rail Line

When you approach the mill from U.S. Route 1 along Gorman Road, the very first thing you will notice is not the mill.  The first thing you will see is an old truss bridge.  What is special about this bridge?  It was built by Wendell Bollman.  He went on to build many truss bridges using one material: iron.  His company built about one hundred iron truss bridges.

The Bollman Truss Bridge

Some of you are saying, “This is wonderful.  What makes this iron truss bridge special?”

The Old Tracks

That is a great question.  The answer is that this bridge is a railroad bridge.  It was built by Wendell Bowman and used by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad over the Little Patuxent River to connect the mill with the main line half a mile east of the mill.  (The line is owned by CSX today.)  It became a standard bridge used by railroads.  When operations at the mill ceased, so did service on the spur line.  The bridge is the oldest iron truss bridge in the United States of America, and it is the only surviving iron truss bridge built by Wendell Bowman in the world.

Today, the Bowman Iron Truss Bridge is a pedestrian bridge, but a set of tracks remain to remind you of the days the railroad came to the mill.  It is registered as a National Historic Landmark.

Does the mill have any other railroad connection?  It does.  When the mill was closed, it was turned into a Christmas village for three years before it was bought by another owner.  To enter the village, patrons had to park at a lot on U.S. Route 1.  How did they get to the village?  A miniature train took patrons from the parking lot to the village.

A Ruined Section of the Mill

Now you have a reason to visit the old Savage Mill in Savage, Maryland.  What was once a working mill now works to house shops, art, and dance studios.  It you have the time you can walk along the truss bridge and look down into the Little Patuxent River.

The Interior of the Old Mill

The Savage Mill is located at 8600 Foundry Road in Savage, Maryland.  It is half a mile east of U.S. Route 1 and a short drive from Interstate 95.  Parking is on site.  The truss bridge connects you to a hiking trail.  You can get more information at https://www.savagemill.com/.

Thomas, West Virginia

The Store Fronts Along Southbound West Virginia 32

If you look at a map of the U.S. state of Maryland, you will see that the western border of the state has a point at the south end.  This point points to the town of Thomas, West Virginia.  When you visit the town today, you will see a town that rests on a hill with the Blackwater River flowing through the valley below with the mountains of West Virginia surrounding it.  It is a small and quiet town, but it is a town that is truly a West Virginia town.

Some of you are saying, “I love small towns, and I love West Virginia.  The problem is that there are no railroads in this town.  Therefore, I will not be in this town.”

If you visit the town of Thomas, West Virginia today, you will see a quiet, peaceful town… with no railroads.  It was much different many years ago.

The Old General Store. It is Now an Art Gallery.

Thomas, West Virginia was a bustling coal mining town.  With much of the coal mining came railroads, and the railroad was a big part of Thomas.  It is named for Thomas Beall Davis whose brother was a U.S. Senator.  Thomas Beall Davis opened a mine in the area, and he used the railroad to ship the coal to factories in the region.  Mining in the area ceased in 1921.

The Old Railroad Bed

In 1901, a fire burned half of the town, but it was put out two hours later.  New buildings were built to include an opera house with an elegant saloon.  Also, the Western Maryland Railway built an elegant train depot which was declared the grandest train depot between Cumberland, Maryland and Elkins, West Virginia.  Sadly, the depot was destroyed by a tornado in 1944, and it was never rebuilt.

The Site of the Old Railroad Yard

As industry declined in the region, so did the railroad.  The tracks were taken up in the early 1990’s.

Old Railroad Bridge on Rail Bed Road

Today, when you visit the town of Thomas, you can walk where a railroad yard once stood in the valley below.  You can hike and bike the Allegheny Rail Trail which now runs along the original railroad bed of the Western Maryland Railway.  You can drive along the old railroad bed and drive across an old railroad bridge to hike your way to Douglas Falls.  While on the road, you will drive past the ruins of coke ovens.  While there, visit the old general store which is now an art gallery.  As you feel the quiet and tranquility, you will also feel the hustle and bustle of a town that once was.

The Ruins of Coke Ovens

The town of Thomas, West Virginia is located in the northeastern region of the U.S. state of West Virginia at the western point of the U.S. state of Maryland.  The town center is on the National Register of Historic Places.  U.S. Route 219 passes just north of the town with West Virginia Route 32 going south from U.S. Route 219 through the historic town.

Waterfall on the Blackwater River

The Old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station, Ellicott City, Maryland

The Old Train Station, Ellicott City, Maryland

The year was 1828.  The month was February.  The railroad had begun in the United States of America.  The city was a port city of Baltimore in the U.S. state of Maryland.  Tracks were laid.  People were excited to ride the first train to ever run in the Western Hemisphere.  The train was pulled by a special locomotive.  What was this locomotive made with?

Replica of and old Passenger Car

Some of you are saying, “Well, duh, Steel.”

If that is your answer, you are wrong.  The first locomotive to ever pull a train in the Western Hemisphere was made of fur and had four legs.  In case you are wondering, the first locomotive in the Western Hemisphere was a horse.  Later, the ‘York’ locomotive began pulling trains from a station a few blocks from the port of Baltimore.  (It is the Inner Harbor today.)  The tracks were built southwest out of the city, and, in 1831, it arrived at a small mill town known as Ellicott Mills.

Some of you are saying, “Yeah.  I have heard of these towns.  They call it Ellicott Mills because they thought it was a cool name, but there are no mills here.”

The Patapsco River and the Ruins of an Old Mill

The town is named after the Ellicott family with three brothers establishing mills in the area.  Hence the name ‘Ellicott Mills’, and it was the largest mill and manufacturing town in the eastern United States at the time.  With the arrival of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the town of Ellicott Mills became the first terminus of the railroad.  A station was built.  Products from the mills were able to be put on a train and taken to the ports of Baltimore where they could be shipped around the world.  The town was later called Ellicott City.  The train station was in use as a passenger station and a freight station with passenger service ending in 1949, and it was a freight depot until 1972.

A Model Display of What the Station Looked Like When It Was an Active Station

Some of you are saying, “And the depot was demolished, and the tracks were taken up.  Now the trains do not come to Ellicott City anymore.”

You are wrong again.  The old train station remains, and it has recently survived two massive floods that did severe damage to Old Ellicott City.  It is the oldest surviving train station in the Western Hemisphere.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.  The tracks are still active, and you can see CSX trains today.  (The original rail line is still active with most of the section owned by CSX and the first mile and a half owned by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore.)

The Old Freight House Which Now Houses the Model Train Display

Some of you are saying, “And it is now decomposing and rotting like all those other old train stations.”

Inside What Was the Car House

Again, you are wrong.  When the old train station was decommissioned, local preservation groups stepped in to preserve the station, and it remains in its original location on the ‘National Road’ (Maryland Route 144) despite two massive floods that destroyed must of the historic section of the town.  It was made into a museum, and you can visit the museum today.

The Ticket Window

When you visit the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station Museum in Ellicott City, Maryland, you will see the station in the way it was when was an active train station to include the bedroom of the station master, the ticket office, and the passenger waiting room.  You can see the original train platform.  (There is a fence between the station and the tracks.)  You can see where a turntable once stood.  You can go into the old freight house and see a model train display of the original route of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Baltimore and Ellicott City.  You can climb inside a Baltimore and Ohio Caboose.  If you are fortunate enough, CSX may reward your visit with a passing train.

Inside the Ticket Office

Today, you can visit the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station Museum in Ellicott City, Maryland.  It is owned and operated by Howard County Recreation and Parks.  It is located at 3711 Maryland Avenue.  (It is at the intersection of Main Street which is Maryland Route 144.)  It is open Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00am to 3:00pm and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm.  Admission is free.  Parking is street parking.  (Metered parking next to the station, but there is free parking at nearby city lots.)  Although the freight house and station are wheelchair accessible, the caboose is not.  There is also a long flight of stairs inside the station.  (Wheelchairs have access to both floors.)  You can get more information at https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Baltimore-Ohio-Station-at-Ellicott-City.

Ellicott City, Maryland is a town with a robust history.  From a mill town to a place where history still thrives even after massive destructive floods.  Although the train no longer stops here, it is still a town with a great railroad history.

Yuengling Brewery, Pottsville, Pennsylvania

The Yuengling and Son Brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania

When you think about beer, what American city comes to mind?  Of course, most of you would think about the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  It is the home of the Milwaukee Brewers, a professional baseball team that plays at Miller Field, and many beer companies like Miller Brewing Company have their headquarters here.  Many years ago, the Milwaukee Road (a railroad company) ran rail lines that connected these different breweries.  (You can watch a video about the ‘Beer Line’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ie_mJu0-js.  The video is courtesy of the Center of Railroad Photography and Art.)  Then you have Anheuser Busch in Saint Louis, Missouri, the company that brought you Budweiser.  You also have the Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.  As much as we think of Milwaukee, Saint Louis, and Denver as the meccas of American beer, the American beer industry did not begin in any of these cities.

Welcome to Pottsville, Pennsylvania, the home of Yuengling Brewery, the oldest brewery in the United States of America.  It all began when a man named David Yuengling, in 1829, built the Eagle Brewery in the town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.  Many beers were brewed here until a fire burned it down, and a new brewery was built.  The brewery was named D.G. Yuengling and Son, Incorporated when his son joined him as a partner.  When David Yuengling died in 1877, the brewery did not die with him, but it continued, and it continues today, and it is owned and operated by David Yuengling’s descendants.  Today, Richard Yuengling Jr. is the owner of the brewery, and his four daughters work for the company.  The company continues to have it headquarters and continues to operate out of Pottsville with the structure built by David Yuengling, a second brewery in Pottsville, and there is a brewery in Tampa, Florida.  So, when you think of beer.  Do not think of Milwaukee, Saint Louis, or Denver.  Think of a small town in the central part of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

Kegs of Yuengling Beer.

Some of you are saying, “This is so cool.  I love beer.  I always thought of Milwaukee as the mecca of American beer.  I never knew that Pottsville, Pennsylvania was the birthplace of American beer.  I learned something new.  However, there is a problem here.  As you can see, something is missing.  What is missing?  This is a brewery where beer is brewed.  There is no railroad here.  Therefore, you will not see me doing ‘bottoms up’ here.”

So, you do not want to come here because this is not a railroad place.  There is a reason to visit the Yuengling Brewery in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Welcome to Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.  As you arrive, you enter the gift shop.  Here, you can buy Yuengling Beer and beer glasses and shirts and so many other items.  Behind the gift shop is a small museum.  In the museum, you will see the brewery process from the harvesting of the hops to the arrival at the brewery to the brewery process to the completion to the shipping process.  As you look around, you will see some model trains.

Some of you are saying, “Wait a minute.  Model trains?”

No, they do not run, but they are on display in the museum, and they boxcars, the tank cars, the passenger cars, and the locomotives have the Yuengling logo.

Some of you are saying, “That is nice, but what does Yuengling Beer have to do with the railroad?”

D.G. Yuengling and Son, Incorporated uses the railroad to ship its beer to towns and cities across the United States of America.  Although you will not see any trains at the headquarters in Pottsville, but the other Pottsville brewery and the Tampa brewery does use the railroad.  Beer is put onto boxcars and shipped to wherever it needs to go.  (The second Pottsville brewery is not open to the public.)

Although with the gift shop and museum, you can also take a tour of the brewery, and samples are offered at the end of the tour.  Please note that you must be at least 21 years old to taste the samples.  Please note that you do not have to be a beer lover to enjoy a day at the Yuengling Brewery.

The historic Yuengling Brewery is located at 420 Mahantongo Street in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.  It is a short drive from U.S. Route 209, seven miles south of Interstate 81, and twelve miles north of Interstate 78.  It is open year-round, but hours vary through the year.  There is no cost for the tour.  Parking is available behind the brewery.  (There is a steep hill from the parking lot to the brewery entrance.  Street parking is available on Mahantongo Street, but it is metered.)  Although the gift shop and brewery are wheelchair accessible, the brewery tour is not, and there are many stairs to climb.  (Flip flops, sandals, and any open toed shoes are prohibited.)  You can get more information about the Yuengling brewery to include a history timeline, and you can read more into the history and get information about hours, plus you can purchase items from their online store at https://www.yuengling.com/.

The Bar in the Tasting Room

You have Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  You have Saint Louis, Missouri.  You have Golden, Colorado.  It all began in Pottsville, Pennsylvania by a man, and his descendants continue the brewery to this present day.  Come taste a beer that departs the brewery by train.  Come enjoy a day at America’s oldest brewery and taste America’s oldest beer.  Bottoms up.

The 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts, Marlinton, West Virginia

In the southeastern region of the U.S. state of West Virginia is a small town of Marlinton.  It is here where you will find the 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts.  What is the 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts?

Looking South on the Greenbrier River Trail in Marlinton, West Virginia

Some of you are saying, “Well, duh, it is a gallery that has arts and crafts that happens to be on 4th Avenue.”

You can say that, but it is more.  The 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts is a gallery of works by a collection of artists that are part of the Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op.  What kind of artisans?  You have broom makers, basket makers, stonecutters, quilters, photographers, jewelry makers mostly from the region.  The gallery displays their works, and you can also purchase their work from the gallery.  If you are ever in West Virginia, make your way to the town of Marlinton and visit the 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts.  They will be glad to see you.

Some of you are saying, “This is nice.  Here is a gallery that displays artists’ works.  It is nice to know that a gallery does this.  There is an enormous and huge problem.  This place is a gallery.  There are no trains here.  Therefore, I will not make the art of seeing this gallery nor will I craft my visit to this place.”

Old Train Station, Marlinton, West Virginia

So, what is special about a visit to the 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts? Here is the answer.

The town of Marlinton, West Virginia is named after Jacob Marlin, one of the men who settled the area and would build a cabin that the town was built around.  Located on the Greenbrier River, the town grew, and it became the home of a opera house, a newspaper and a jail.  (These sites are on the National Register of Historic Places today.)  In the early days of the United States of America, a growing town attracted something.  What was that something?  That something was the railroad.  In 1901, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway began passenger and freight service to the town of Marlinton.  The town of Marlinton was part of the glory days of railroading.  Sadly, passenger rail service ended in 1958, and the railroad stopped service to the town years later.  The tracks were eventually taken up, and what was once the right of way of the Chesapeake and Ohio became the Greenbrier River Trail which follows the original railroad bed that runs mainly  in conjunction with the nearby Greenbrier River.

Looking North on the Greenbrier River trail from the Old Train Station

Some of you are saying, “That is so cool about Marlinton.  It is sad that this town is no longer a railroad town.  What does this have to do with the 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts?”

That is a very good question.  Here is the answer.

When trains stopped in a small town, it stopped at a train station.  Although the railroad no longer passes through Marlinton and that the railroad tracks are long gone, the old train station where the train stopped remains today.  It is the centerpiece of the town today, and it is here where you will find the 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts.  Therefore, when you visit the 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts, you will be seeing the exceptional work of many artisans, you will also be visiting a great piece of railroad history.  The Old Marlinton Train Station, like the opera house, the jail, and the Pocahontas Print Shop, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts is owned and operated by the Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op which is based in Marlinton.  It is located at 720 4th Avenue in Marlinton, West Virginia which is just north of West Virginia Route 39 and its crossing of the Greenbrier River Trail and one mile east of U.S. Route 219.  The Gallery is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm.  (It is closed on Mondays.)  Parking is available on 4th Street.  Admission to the gallery is free, and many of their works are available for purchase.  You can learn more about the gallery and about the Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op at https://pocahontasartistry.com/.

The next time somebody tells you to visit the 4th Avenue Gallery Fine Arts and Crafts in Marlinton, West Virginia, go visit.  See a place where great artists and railroad history come together.

A Town Known as Centreville, Maryland

The Old Train Station in Centreville, Maryland

How many of you have ever heard of the town of Centreville, Maryland?  So, you have never heard of the town of Centreville, Maryland.  The truth is that not too many people have of this town.  Even in the town’s early days, it was not too popular of a town.

The Marsh at Millstream Park

Some of you are saying, “Of course this town is not popular.  Why?  There is nothing to see there, and nothing happened there.”

Looking Across the Marsh at Millstream Park

Oh, the history of this town runs deep.  It was built within a plantation known as the Chesterfield Plantation.  The town was involved in events like the American Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and the American Civil War even though no battles those wars took place here.  You will find historic homes like Wright’s Chance and the Queen Anne’s County Court House.  What is so special about the Queen Anne’s County Court House.  Well, you will say that it is a courthouse where court cases take places.  You would be correct, but the truth is that it is the only courthouse in the U.S. state of Maryland that has been in continual use since its construction in 1797, and it is one of two courthouses in the state that have been in continual use since the 18th century.  The Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Place, yet the only main routes through the town is Maryland Route 213 and Maryland Route 304.  U.S. Route 301 is five miles to the east and south of the town.  The town may not be popular, but it has many stories to tell.

Walking Path and Stream at Millstream Park

Some of you are saying, “This is nice.  This is a small town in Maryland.  It has much history.  There is a very big problem.  The problem is that there is no railroad history to this town.  Therefore, you will not see me in this town.”

The Walking Path at Millstream Park

This town was not known to much of the world in the early days.  It was never a major port town, and no main routes passed through this town.  What did connect this town to the rest of the world?  It started with a man who was a War of 1812 hero named Thomas Emory.  He raised money for the Eastern Shore Railroad.  Sadly, the project died, and he died in 1842, but the project was resurrected in 1856.  The town of Centreville was connected to the rest of the world by the Eastern Shore Railroad in 1868 as part of a spur line network along the Delmarva Peninsula that connected to a main line that ran south from Wilmington, Delaware to Cape Charles, Virginia.  A businessman and railroad stockholder named William McKinney from the town of Centreville sold some of his property for the rail yard.  Through the years, the Queen Anne’s and Kent Railroad, the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, Conrail and the Penn Central Railroad brought rail service to the town of Centreville… until the year 2002 when the railroad no longer served the town.

A Crosswalk at the Site of the Railroad Crossing on Maryland Route 304

Today, the same rail line ends at a warehouse just of U.S. Route 301, and you cross the rail line by way of a railroad crossing on U.S. Route 301.  You can see the site of the railyard from Maryland Route 304 that crosses the spot where the tracks crossed the road.  You can see the indenture in the ground where the yard was south of Maryland Route 304, and you can see the original railroad bed going north.  There at two signs at that location that tell the history of the railroad that include two events that took place involving the railroad.  While strolling through town, you will want to visit Millstream Park located south of the town center of Maryland Route 213.  What is special about this park?  A section of the railroad ran through here, and you can walk along the trail and see signs in the park commemorates the railroad.

The Site of the Rail Yard

The town of Centreville, Maryland is located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland about fifteen miles east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and five miles north of U.S. Route 301 on Maryland Route 213.  Millstream Park is located on Maryland Route 213 south of the town center where the route splits to go on one-way streets.  Parking is available at the park and there is no admission fee to visit.  The site of the rail yard is on Maryland Route 304 east of the town center on the south side just east of Pennsylvania Avenue.  Parking is street parking.  No meters or zoning.

So, the next time you are driving along U.S. Route 301 in Maryland and you see signs for Centreville, take a little detour.  Visit a town that was connected to the rest of the world by the railroad.

Little Train at Millstream Park

Berks Military History Museum, Mohnton, Pennsylvania

The Official Sign of the Museum Next to the Marines Only Parking Sign

The town of Mohnton, Pennsylvania is a small town situated south of the city of Reading.  In this town, you will find an old yellow building.  This old yellow building was once a place where a man named Cyrus Hornberger built carriages.  When you visit this building today, you will not see carriages.  You will see a great collection of military artifacts and memorabilia as it now houses the Berks Military History Museum.  The museum tells the history of the United States Military from the American Revolutionary War and the War of Independence to the wars America fights today.  During your visit, you will see a display of the Holocaust and get a feel of how the Jewish people were tortured and murdered by the Nazis.  They also preserved the original blacksmith shop from the carriage factory.  The Berks Military History Museum has so much in such a little space, and if you are ever in the reading or Lancaster area, you will want to make time to see this place.

The Home of the Berks Military History Museum

Some of you are saying, “This is very nice.  It is amazing that the people here have gone through great lengths to preserve the artifacts and the history of America’s military, and I am forever thankful and grateful for all those whose served.  There is a problem.  This is a military museum.  This is not a railroad museum.  Therefore, I will not make it my duty to visit this place.”

Soldiers Uniforms on Display

So, you are not going to visit because it is not a railroad museum.  Let me give you a reason why you should visit.

A Display of a Tent That You Would See on the Battlefield

As mentioned, the Berks Military History Museum displays the history of the military from the very beginning.  Did you know that the railroad was used by the U.S. Military?  One of the features at this museum is a model train.  The model train display is laid out as a display of the Battle of the Bulge that took place from December 16, 1944 to January 15, 1945 during World War II with military train from Germans and the United States.  It features tanks, jeeps, structures, land features, and, of course, trains.

The Model Train Display Depicting the Battle of the Bulge

Now you have a reason to visit the Berks Military History Museum.  Be advised that regardless of where you live, you will appreciate this museum and the great people who go through great efforts to keep this museum open for everyone to see.

Battle Scene on a Bridge During the Battle of the Bulge

The Berks Military History Museum is located at 198 E. Wyomissing Avenue in Mohnton, Pennsylvania.  It is open on Saturdays from 11:00am to 1:00pm.  Admission is free, but they gladly accept donations to help keep the museum open and running for many generations to come.  Please note that only the first floor is wheelchair accessible.  Parking it on the street.  You can learn more about the museum and the things they do to preserve the history of the military and to honor those who serve at https://berksmilitary.weebly.com/.

Locomotive Steams On

So you now have a reason to visit the Berk Military History Museum, a museum about the American Military and how the railroad played a part of military history.

Model Train Display

Love on the 1218

Photo Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.A.

A lady was sitting on her deck that was next to a railroad line.  She was looking through a book of photos taken by Ogle Winston Link.  She came to a page where there was a photo of the Norfolk and Western Railway Number 1218.

The was the toot of a whistle.

She looked up and saw the Number 1218 on the tracks next to her deck.

“Hey!” said the engineer.  “Do you need a ride?”

She thought for a moment.  “Sure!”

She climbed about the 1218.  The engineer tooted the whistle, and they were off.

They were rolling down the line passing over hills, rolling through towns, passing by stations, passing through tunnels, rolling over trestles, and tooting the horn the entire way.

They returned to the house.  “I do not need to be home.”

The engineer tooted the horn, and they went on again.  They returned to the house.

“Can we do it again?” She asked.

They did it again.

On this Valentine’s Day, may you enjoy your train ride with that special someone.

Special thanks to the great people of the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia. U.S.A.