Episode 7: Summer 2021 - "Restoration and Renewal"
In this episode we feature two stories of historic restorations. They standout among restoration stories because of the extraordinary circumstance involved and the many community members who worked together for years to make it all happen.
First you will hear about perfectly restored carousel in Pottstown PA. A labor of love that has lasted nearly 15 years has resulted in a world class attraction and a lot of community pride. After reading about the Pottstown carousel in Preservation magazine, writer Stephanie Kalina-Metzger realized something special about this particular restoration project.
Stephanie did a lot of research and spoke at length with Alain McBain, one of the many volunteers involved with the carousel. She describes for us how they recreated the carousel from the ground up.
We also share with you the incredible story of the East Broad Top Railroad in Huntingdon County. Writer Darrin Youker, tells us about this railroad restoration project happening in our region. Thanks to one family and a lot of volunteers, over 30 miles of history has been preserved.
Jonathan Smith, the director of sales and marketing of this very special excursion train, grew up in Colorado, and from the age of 11 has volunteered and worked on the tourist train that went right past his house. Once he learned about the East Broad Top Railroad in Central Pennsylvania, his dream was to be part of the full restoration project. He tells us, “The East Broad Top is sort of a mythical thing in the railroad industry, untouched representation of industrial America.
As the world opens up after the long Pandemic lock down, I will share with you highlights of special events happening this summer in the Susquehanna Valley. And with people heading back to restaurants, we feature one that not only offers fine food but their own craft beer.
Susquehanna Life Out Loud is the companion podcast to Susquehanna Life Magazine. You will find a full transcript of this episode and listings of previous episodes on our show notes page. You can hear our podcast on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher Radio. All the music we use on the show is licensed via Epidemic Sound. Let us know where you hear podcasts, and we will submit our show to that platform.
Do you want to be a sponsor of Susquehanna Life Magazine? Find out about advertising options.For questions, comments, suggestions, and recommendations, you can reach us at SusquehannaLife@gmail.com
Peterson Toscano (00:00):
Welcome to Susquehanna Life Out Loud, the companion podcast to Susquehanna Life magazine. I’m Peterson Toscano and in this episode, we're talking about summer 2021.
Darrin Youker (00:13):
When you preserve history, you learn from it. So the work that went on in the coal mines or the work that went on in iron smelting, and when we can see it and experience it, I think gives us a better perspective of what was going on in that moment of time. And the more that we understand that historical context, I think helps us make decisions for the future, no matter what that might be.
Peterson Toscano (00:40):
That is writer, Darrin Youker. He will tell us about an extraordinary railroad restoration project happening in our region. Thanks to one family, and a lot of volunteers, over 30 miles of history has been preserved.
You will also hear a story about a perfectly restored carousel in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. A labor of love that has lasted nearly 15 years has resulted in a world-class attraction and a lot of community pride. As the world opens up, after this long pandemic lockdown, I will share with you highlights of special events happening this summer in the Susquehanna Valley. And with people heading back to restaurants, we feature one that not only offers fine food, but their own craft beer. But first let me check in with Erica Shames, the founder and publisher of Susquehanna Life magazine. Hey Erica, how are you?
Erica Shames (01:36):
I'm good, Peterson. How are you doing?
Peterson Toscano (01:39):
It is so nice to hear your voice. And it's, it's funny because I read the magazine and then I talk to the writers and you come up so much. You have writers who are so committed to you and the magazine, and they love working with you.
Erica Shames (01:53):
I enjoy working with them. I've never been disappointed by any of the writers that I've hired and that's, that's pretty amazing, you know, if you can assign a story to somebody and it comes in and it's just like, so right on and well-written and just, oh my gosh, it's just so gratifying. When the stories come in and I read them, I literally sometimes get goosebumps I'm so I'm just so impressed by them.
Peterson Toscano (02:22):
Yeah, and you can tell that it's like, for them, it's this adventure. Cause they're, they're always learning new things that are right under their nose often. What's jumped out at you with this issue? What, what do you want to particularly highlight for listeners?
Erica Shames (02:37):
One of the articles in the magazine by Erica Jo Shaffer talks about our backyards. I love my backyard. We're surrounded by woods. And I remember years ago when we first looked at the house before we moved in, it was that, that serenity and the woods and the quiet that really kind of drew me in. So this article by Erica Jo Shaffer talks about different types of backyards. And you know, maybe this one is more inclined for people who want to play and be active, or maybe this one is more for people who just want to relax and look at their beautiful flower beds. I think it's really a neat exercise to look at your backyard. Maybe it's a clean slate. Maybe it doesn't have a personality right now. And maybe you can take some ideas from these different backyard personalities that Erica talks about and say, Hey, that's what I, that resonates with me. That's what I want my backyard to look like.
Peterson Toscano (03:43):
And I bet after COVID, some people have gotten tired of their backyards, the way they are. They've noticed like this isn't working. So this is the perfect time to say, let's do a makeover here.
Erica Shames (03:52):
You know, we have certain features or certain columns that are in most, if not all of the issues. And one of those is Cooking at Home. We were blessed with many, many wonderful restaurants, but there's not a restaurant to illustrate every type of ethnic food. And I love ethnic foods. Not in every issue, but a lot of times I try to bring out a recipe for something that might taste a little bit different than what you you're used to eating every day. And this recipe in the summer issue for this shish kebab chicken speaks to me and I'm hoping it will speak to our readers. And it's especially meaningful because it came to me from a friend of ours. Lauria and Maurice. It's very simple. It's just a matter of marinating some chicken breast cubes in yogurt that's been infused with all these delicious spices. By keeping it in these spices for at least 24 hours and the yogurt, the chicken comes out of this bath, very tender and very flavorful. And it's just one of the perfect things to grill, again in your backyard, grill in the summer. And then if readers will go to our website, there we will have a recipe for a rice pilaf dish that will go really nicely with the chicken.
Peterson Toscano (05:17):
I'm excited about this issue because, uh, there are a couple of pieces in it that hearkens back to things in the past, the Appalachian trail, for instance. Also this, you know, renewal, the restoration projects of carousel and the railroad bringing the past back and making it alive again.
Erica Shames (05:39):
I wish sometimes that I could go back in time and revisit some of these things that we talk about—some historical aspects to what life was like. And in this case for this carousel and for this railroad, I think that's one of the things that kind of interests me, and I think it interests readers—being able to go back and look at some of the history of these things and, and to see them revitalized is just so wonderful. It's just so a wonderful enterprise.
Peterson Toscano (06:12):
If you go to this carousel, you're going to see it's brand new, but it's old at the same time, it's kind of extraordinary. And the railroad, they saved everything from this railroad. So like everything is original. It's amazing.
Erica Shames (06:28):
Yeah. And the idea that those things that are there, whether they're tracks, whether they're buildings, whether they're the actual railroad cars, you know, nothing was taken away or nothing was brought in. Everything that's there has always been there. It is kind of a time capsule, in a way.
Peterson Toscano (06:47):
It is, it's like going into a time machine. Well, I'm excited about summer 2021. It sounds like, it feels like things are opening up and there's lots of events and hopefully they'll all go through and people can find out about them all in Susquehanna Life magazine. Well, thanks, Erica. It's great hanging out with you and I'm so excited about this issue.
Erica Shames (07:12):
Great. Well, thank you for your wonderful work. I really do appreciate it.
Peterson Toscano (07:16):
In Pottstown, Pennsylvania, there is a gem: a beautiful carousel with hand-carved painted animals, draws thousands of riders, young and old, every year. For the citizens of Pottstown, the carousel symbolizes much more than fun for the whole family. It reminds them have their own community spirit to make their town a better place for all. Stephanie Kalina-Metzger wrote about this community-based preservation story for Susquehanna Life magazine. Stephanie enjoys writing preservation stories, and also loves writing about food.
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger (07:52):
And inspirational entrepreneurial endeavors. So I write for the Burg News and the Central Penn Business Journal. And usually I interview people who are starting businesses and learn about their inspiration and things like that. My food and drink column appears as the Discerning Diner every other week in the Carlisle Sentinel. And I also write about travel at travelgumbo.com. Every 24th of the month you can see my work there. And then I have a blog called Cheese Plates and Room Service.
Peterson Toscano (08:19):
Preservation stories are Stephanie's favorite to write about. It was in reading Preservation magazine that she learned about the Pottstown carousel. And she understood that there was something special about this particular restoration project.
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger (08:35):
There was an army of volunteers in the Pottstown area who came together and they were very patient. They did each little step at a time as they could. And it took, I think it was 14 or so years to, for it to come to fruition. But it, you know, they were very excited about it. It was a community. It's something that community could get behind. And I thought it would be quite an interesting story.
Peterson Toscano (09:00):
For her article, A Carousel for All Ages, Stephanie did a lot of research and spoke at length with Alan McBain, one of the many volunteers involved with the carousel. This community recreated the carousel from the ground up.
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger (09:17):
The Pottstown Historical Society learned of a carousel mechanism and flooring that was for sale in Pine Grove in 1999. They jumped at the chance to embark upon a community project. They learned the history of the carousel and that it was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1905, first operated at Euclid beach in Cleveland, Ohio. What was interesting about this as, ‘In 1905, there were no electric lines out there,’ said, um, Alan McBain, the vice-president of the Carousel at Pottstown Board. He said, ‘We were told it ran off a steam engine in the middle of a field.’ In 1910, the carousel was moved and to make a long story short, it was moved all around until it was dismantled in the seventies or eighties, with the animals and the artwork being sold off. Then they decided to take the mechanism and solicit sponsors to underwrite the cost of adding animals. And that was a pretty huge ordeal for the small Pottstown Historical Society. But it was something that everyone could kind of get around.
Peterson Toscano (10:19):
The town purchased the mechanism for $25,000.
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger (10:23):
And now after completion and all of this work that has been done mostly through volunteers, they ended up with a million dollar carousel.
Peterson Toscano (10:33):
Perhaps the biggest job was to recreate the animals from scratch. The seed money came from Mark Saylor and Donna Pearson. They created a monetary fund in memory of their late toddler, Derek S. Saylor, to whom the carousel is dedicated.
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger (10:49):
According to McBain, who was an illustrator who also worked on the, on painting the animals, he said that the only photos the group were in possession of were in black and white. ‘The animals were recreated from the photos, and we tried to color coordinate them,’ send McBain, adding that the mechanism still contained some of the, some of the correct colors. The next hurdle was to find a carver. ‘The historical society reached out to the community and learned of California-based Ed Roth, a master sculptor of hand carved wooden animals. Ed did the Santa Monica pier carousel and also cars for Disney theme parks,’ said McBain, adding that Roth agreed to carve the animals at a discount with the stipulation that he could carve them well in between projects. Over the next 15 years, he carved 48 animals.
Peterson Toscano (11:31):
Once he finished carving an animal, Ed Roth shipped it back to Pennsylvania where the Pottstown volunteers got to work on sanding and painting.
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger (11:40):
A blind volunteer and Pottstown native Bob Roebuck did a majority of the sanding between the years 2003 and 2013. That's an awful lot of sanding. If you see these horses, they've got such intricate detail that, uh, you know, they were very lucky to have him dedicate his time to that. And then other people in the community decided to do the painting. An elementary school art teacher, Arline Christ, volunteered to paint many. I believe Alan McBain said she painted 18 out of 48. And then he also painted some as well. It's estimated that it took a total of 250 man hours to make each animal from start to finish
Peterson Toscano (12:22):
For 48 animals that took approximately 12,000 hours. This was a massive labor of love. And the result is spectacular. The carousel is a bright whimsical wonder. It is fully operational and wonderfully affordable.
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger (12:42):
There’s a gift shop on site as well. And it costs relatively little to ride this, at $2 a person.
Peterson Toscano (12:48):
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger told me the carousel needs only one last thing to finalize the full restoration project.
Stephanie Kalina-Metzger (12:56):
Now, the only thing right now they're missing is piped in music. Alan McBain, who spoke to me, he said, ‘We have two band organs that are in need of repair, but it will cost twice the value of them to replace.’ So maybe that's something that's another project for them down the road that they will be able to fundraise for.
Peterson Toscano (13:14):
Or maybe someone listening knows a thing or two about carousel music. Either way, it is well worth the trip to see this extraordinary restoration project. For more information, visit the website email@example.com. That's firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a moment, you'll hear the story of one boy's dream to have a model train and another boy's dream to run a tourist railroad service. These two dreams came together in Central Pennsylvania.
You're listening to Susquehanna Life Out Loud, the companion podcast to Susquehanna Life magazine. I’m Peterson Toscano. We welcome your comments and your ideas for stories. Feel free to email me by writing to SusquehannaLife@gmail.com. And if you like what you hear, please tell your friends and family about our podcast.
Stay tuned. There is still lots more ahead, including highlights of summer events in the region.
Erica Shames told me she would love to enter a time machine to visit a distant age. Well, we may not be able to get our hands on a tardus. We can always travel to Huntington county, Pennsylvania. Jonathan Smith tells us what we will see and experience.
Jonathan Smith (14:36):
A world-class tourist attraction in the middle of rural Pennsylvania. Something that you won't be able to find anywhere else in the country. And that is a corridor of a narrow gauge steam powered railroad operating the same equipment over the same track through the same property in the same buildings that it has since, well really the 1870s. You'll be able to ride a scenic excursion train, hopefully over a variety of routes in a variety of different historic train cars, different options, classes of service. You'll be able to come back to the rail yard and take a tour of our historic belt-driven machine shop and see what it was like to maintain these trains using leather belt driven machine or machinery that by all rights shouldn't exist anymore. But here it is.
Peterson Toscano (15:34):
Jonathan Smith is the director of sales and marketing of a very special excursion train called the East Broad Top. Growing up in Colorado got Jonathan thinking and dreaming of working on the railroad.
Jonathan Smith (15:49):
I grew up with the tracks of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad running outside of my house. The Durango and Silverton is one of America's most popular tourist railroads. Running a steam powered excursion train multiple times a day, right outside of my window. I grew up thinking that was normal, that a steam that a steam train passes your house. I watched that happen and decided that I one day wanted to work for the railroad—for the steam powertrain that went outside my house. So I started volunteering for them when I was about 11 years old, eventually working on their payroll, working my way up to doing whatever I possibly could. Finally, I was on the train as a brakeman, fireman, the guy who shovels the coal and really discovered that heritage railroads are my passion. While I was going to high school and working for the railroad, I was looking towards the future and saying, Well, what is the one thing that tourist railroads need help with the most?
Jonathan Smith (16:44):
And from my perspective, it's, it's, you know, really making sure that it's a good experience for the customer. Tourist railroads are really good at running trains. They can make the wheels turn, but when it comes to being a cohesive experience that attracts people from all over the world, there's very few that actually really nail it. And so I decided to go to school for Travel and Tourism Management, with a concentration in Leisure Travel. It's a hospitality degree. I had some friends out here in Pennsylvania that were working, uh, volunteering with this narrow gauge railroad in Pennsylvania. The East Broad Top is sort of a mythical thing in the railroad industry. It has sort of a sacred site quality to it, in that it is this pristine, untouched representation of industrial America—not just the railroad, but the machine shops and the towns that it passes through.
It is just this incredibly preserved thing. And yet it has had a very long history of struggling to make it as a tourist railroad. While I was in school, and I had a school project come up that required me to do a strategic analysis for a marketing plan. I decided to base it around this little narrow gauge railroad in the east called the East Broad Top. While I was researching for this, this project, I was talking with the folks that I knew out here, and I realized that things were kind of picking up speed and that there was some interest in bringing the railroad back to life. So I started putting together rough revenue projections, and sort of a very basic plan of what it could look like—basically, just trying to convince people that yes, the East Broad Top could in fact make money, and here's how. It is being replicated all over the country at tons of tourist railroads. And the East Broad Top can be no different. One thing led to another, I met the right people. The foundation purchased the railroad in February of 2020. And next thing you know, the general manager, the guy who led the charge, gave me a call and said, ‘Wanna come out here and help us, help us bring this thing back to life?’ I said, ‘Absolutely!’ I dropped everything and moved out here in December of 2020.
Peterson Toscano (18:56):
Jonathan will share with us the fascinating story of how this train complex and rails were preserved so well for so long. It was through writer Darrin Youker that I met Jonathan. Darrin wrote the article, ‘Take a Railroad Excursion Back in Time,’ for the summer 2021 issue of Susquehanna Life magazine. After reading his story and seeing the stunning photographs of the East Broad Top train, I reached out to Darrin. A journalist since 1999, Darrin handpicks the articles he wants to cover as a part-time freelance writer. If you're a long-term reader of our magazine, you likely have come across one of Darrin Youker’s articles, including his all time favorite.
Darrin Youker (19:42):
It involved petroglyphs that are in the Susquehanna River on rocks that are located in the river in Southern York County. I had a chance to visit with, uh, with a guy who has been sort of documenting those. And it's one of those that if you don't know it's there, you just don't know about it. So we took a boat ride out to these just random looking rocks in the river. And there, carved in the, in the rocks, were petroglyphs by the Susquehannock Indians that were there. And to me, it was just this magical experience to be able to, you know, scurry out of a kayak, splash a little water on the rocks and see these images emerge that had been carved centuries ago. And it just, it just stays with me. It's just a very vivid recollection and just absolutely one of the most favorite stories I did for Susquehanna Life.
Peterson Toscano (20:37):
Darrin was excited in researching the East Broad Top Railroad, but like most of us over the past year and a half, the COVID 19 pandemic presented Darrin with challenges.
Darrin Youker (20:49):
So you, you hit the nail on the head—very complicated to try to do stories in a COVID era. When, you know, you, you, you feel like the best thing to do is maybe do an interview by phone instead of in-person. And as, as a writer, I've always appreciated the immersive experience of being able to see it, feel it, touch it, that type of stuff. So it was a little bit, it was a little bit complicate. But the folks at the railroad, uh, gave of their time, uh, indulged me in asking a lot of questions and sort of that level of detail, um, you know, put me in the heart of this railroad complex—and what would I see? what would I experience? And then also shared photos, but the individuals there at the railroad you can tell are just incredibly passionate about this. And when somebody is passionate about it, that level of detail automatically sort of comes out in the interview.
Peterson Toscano (21:41):
I heard that excitement and enthusiasm as Jonathan Smith shared with me the history of the East Broad Top Railroad and the restoration project.
Jonathan Smith (21:49):
The railroad was built in 1874, chartered much earlier than that--prior to the civil war—but actually constructed in the 1870s. It operated as a functioning freight carrier until 1956. From 1956 until 1960 its fate was definitely up in the air. It had just closed. Nothing had happened to it. It was sold to a scrap dealer owned by the Kovalchick family. Everyone thought, well, that's it. The railroad is going to be scrapped. And the East Broad Top will be just another, another history book. Well, that wasn't the case. In 1960, the Kovalchicks reopened four miles of the original 33 that the railroad existed on as a tourist railroad. From 1960, until the early 2000s, the four miles that they reopened operated regularly using the same steam locomotives and equipment.
Peterson Toscano (22:43):
While the four miles of track were regularly maintained, the 29 other miles fell into a state of disrepair. Even so the family did all they could to protect and preserve the entire train line.
Jonathan Smith (22:56):
The Kovalchicks fought hard to preserve it legally. So they made sure that no one encroached on the right of way, they never ripped up the rails, which takes it to a whole new level of protection. They made sure that grade crossings were preserved when the states were redoing highways. Even though trees are growing up in the middle of these two rails sitting in the forest, it's still technically protected and preserved, just waiting for something to happen. It's definitely fair to say that the railroad, when the foundation purchased it, needed a lot of work to bring it back to life, but was far ahead of where it could have been had the Kovalchicks not fought hard to protect it.
Peterson Toscano (23:40):
But wait, that's not all you get. In addition to protecting and preserving the tracks, the family went the extra mile and saved it all.
Jonathan Smith (23:48):
That includes the equipment. That includes the track and the buildings. The fact that these buildings are still here is a testament to a lot of people that understand the value of them. And all we've done is just bring them back to a position where we can safely show them off to the public.
Peterson Toscano (24:04):
And of course there are magnificent trains on site.
Jonathan Smith (24:08):
The East Broad Top Railroad actually has six narrow gauge steam powered locomotives built by Baldwin in the early 1900s. We are working to slowly bring those back to life, one by one. For now, we started with two—number 16 and number 14. We hope that number 16 will be back sometime in 2021. That'll be the first steam engine back in operation here at the East Broad Top since 2011. It takes a lot of work. We're hoping that the majority of our trains are powered by steam. We also have, uh, some other antique equipment here. We have a gasoline electric locomotive called the M-1 that is one-of-a-kind, built here at the East Broad Top shops using kits made by Brill/Westinghouse. It's basically a rail bus. It's a bus on wheels, but in the most unique sense. We've operated that a few times for special events. You'll be able to ride that again. We have some vintage diesel locomotives here. We have some motor cars that we hope to give people rides on—they're called speeders. So we help to give people rides on these unique pieces of equipment. We'll have lots of special events to come and enjoy, lots of regular train rides to come and enjoy, with a variety of equipment, variety of passenger cars, and hopefully eventually a variety of tour options.
Peterson Toscano (25:28):
Darrin Youker wrote about the very highest level of preservation that makes the East Broad Top a unique treasure.
Darrin Youker (25:35):
You know, when you walk into a particular building, you can still see the leather overhead belts that pulled the machinery. Obviously that is incredibly dated, but yet preserved. So you can walk in and as was described to me, it's like, you're walking back into the 1930s or forties. What a worker at that time would have experienced, you get to experience the same thing. It's one thing to read about. It's one thing to see a historic photo or something like that, but it's completely different when you walk in and it's an immersive experience. I mean, that's one of the reasons that the Gettysburg Battlefield is so fantastic—because it has preserved and documented here is where these particular regimens were during this particular part of battle. And the landscape and the view shed was preserved. It is the same way with the East Broad Top Railroad. It is preserved. It's a snapshot in time. And the folks there are doing a great job to, to spruce it up and make it just that immersive experience. This is just not another passenger railroad service of which there is a lot of great historic railroads in the state, but it's also the industrial complex that is there that tells the complete story of this railroad, instead of just the rolling stock that you might have a chance to ride on.
Peterson Toscano (26:55):
None of this would have been saved, had it not been for Nick Kovalchick buying up the entire railroad—buildings and equipment. And it wasn't easy for the Kovalchick family to be custodians to this historical collection, which includes 13 buildings. Jonathan Smith explains.
Jonathan Smith (27:15):
The Kovalchicks fought hard to just keep the railroad running, which takes a lot of effort. The buildings themselves, the facilities, the machines inside the machine shop, all of that required an extra amount of care. The Friends of the East Broad Top were formed. Their purpose was to help keep the buildings standing, basically, and to eventually start interpreting them to the public, preserving their stories, and really bringing them back to a state of authentic representation of what they used to be. So the Friends of the East Broad Top for a long time, for decades, have been here, just a small group of people, keeping these buildings standing. When the foundation announced the sale in February, they actually doubled their membership in the course of just a few months. These work sessions, these monthly work sessions that had maybe five to 10 people showing up now have up to 40 people showing up every month to do various projects around the property, which allows the foundation to expedite the restoration of this railroad. So our staff can focus on restoring track and equipment, while the foundation works with the friends to restore these incredibly valuable buildings.
Peterson Toscano (28:35):
Darrin Youker told me why his story about this railroad appears in the Family Life section of Susquehanna Life magazine.
Darrin Youker (28:43):
Obviously I think it falls under that family friendly destination that, you know, once fully open and we're all safe to travel, a great place to be able to take a family. But the important part of this story is the family that originally purchased the railroad when it was about ready to go defunct. And instead of salvaging it and taking up all of that material for scrap, of which that was the family's livelihood, they said, we need to preserve this because it is so unique and so intact. By the fact of that preservation, you also are then by default telling the stories of the men and women that lived around that area and then worked for the railroad or worked in the mines or worked in the coal fields. You're sort of preserving all of that family story and that family legacy.
Peterson Toscano (29:37):
Darrin stresses that although it is challenging and costly to preserve the past, doing so is a gift to future generations.
Darrin Youker (29:47):
Even today, we, you know, have that always tug and pull between why preserve a historic structure. It might not make sense at the time, but for the generation to come that structure is important. That view shed is important. Kudos to the family that bought it, who owned a scrap metal facility, but said, this is worth preserving.
Peterson Toscano (30:12):
Darrin shared with me a fascinating detail about Nick Kovalchick, the scrap metal businessman who made all of this happen.
Darrin Youker (30:22):
The individual that purchased this facility back in the 1950s, I mean, his, his job was, was scrap metal recycling—grew up though, I think, always admiring railroads and like many folks grew up in, in, in tough circumstances. And his family didn't have a lot, but always was drawn to railroads and wished that he could have, at one point in time, owned a model railroad, like a lot of kids would love to. Was never able to as a kid, but became a successful business person, purchased this and realized he now owned a life-size model railroad with all of those components. So it, it to him was sort of the fulfillment of a childhood dream.
Peterson Toscano (31:02):
The East Broad Top Foundation is currently restoring the 13-building complex at Rock Hill in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. They're restoring several key pieces of railroad equipment, including two steam engines, with a goal of regular excursion train service. Several special events are planned throughout 2021. A date to resume regular service has not yet been determined. In addition to seeing all that, there's even more.
Jonathan Smith (31:33):
And you'll actually be able to ride a trolley as well across the street from the railroad. We have, uh, the Rock Hill Trolley Museum is a fantastic partner of ours. And you'll be able to ride a variety of vintage trolleys, you know, electric powered that used to run the streets of America cities right here on the same property. So you'll be able to spend a day immersed in not only America's transportation history, but really in America's industrial history in a way that you can't anywhere else.
Peterson Toscano (32:05):
To learn more, visit eastbroadtop.com. There you will find out about summer train rides. You can also take a virtual tour and see how you can help with this ongoing restoration project. That website again is eastbroadtop.com. Read all about the train, the tracks and the equipment, and see stunning photos in Darrin Youker’s article, Take a Railroad Excursion Back in Time. It's in the Family Life section of the summer 2021 issue of Susquehanna Life magazine.
If you are ever at a loss for what to do in the region, just open the pages of Susquehanna Life magazine. In the summer 2021 issue, you will find five pages full of events. They're organized by sections like history, holidays, food, art, and music.
So what is there to do in the Susquehanna Valley this summer? Here are some highlights. On July 16th, check out the Blueberries and Bluegrass Festival in Mifflinburg, or head over to the Ned Smith Center in Millersburg. On July 16th and 17th , they offer Shakespeare in the Woods with live performances in their amphitheater. Or for lighter theater head over to Williamsport for Monty Python’s Spamalot. The Community Theater League performs it July 31st and August 1st and 2nd. July 31st to August 7th, the Clinton County Fair will be held at the fairgrounds in Mill Hall. On August 7th, the Pocono Environmental Education Center will lead an edible and medicinal plant walk. August 12th to 14th, you will enjoy live music at the Kettle Creek Music Festival held at Quiet Oaks Campground in Cross Fork. One of my absolute favorite events each year is the Sunbury River Fest. It will take place at the Sunbury Riverfront Park, August 13th and 14th. If you want even more bluegrass music, head over to the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, which takes place August 19th to 22nd. And for art lovers, save the date on August 21st. You can experience the Art Fest in downtown Bloomsburg. You will find details about these events and nearly 100 more over at the events guide in the summer 2021 issue of Susquehanna Life magazine.
Our magazine is also available online at susquehannalife.com.
With all kinds of businesses opening up all over, this is the perfect time to visit an old favorite restaurant or experience a new one. The Rusty Rail Brewing Company in Mifflinburg is housed in a gorgeous renovated factory. It features a large outdoor beer garden patio outfitted with Bavarian style beer tables and a rustic gas fireplace. Handcrafted brews on tap range from an IPA or Heferweizen to an Imperial stout or Porter. Wash it down with with some sourdough pretzel knots, before you move on to, I don't know, a black bean burger and their warm Brie and apple salad. Finish with a delectable dessert and then enjoy the live music. You will find our complete restaurant guide and listings in the summer 2021 issue of Susquehanna Life magazine. There is much more in this issue that we not have time to cover on today's show.
Peterson Toscano (35:39):
For instance, you will see Karen Hendricks’ article about a famous hiking trail that's having a big birthday this summer. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Appalachian Trail proposal. What was a grand idea back in 1921 is now known as the most popular hiking trail in America. Also in the magazine, you will read about a woman who made baseball history, learn about paddling in the Susquehanna River, and even get help in giving your backyard a personality makeover. These stories, and more, are available in both the print and online editions of the magazine.
Thank you for listening to Susquehanna Life Out Loud. Our podcast is available on Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher Radio and Apple Podcast. Since we are a fairly new podcast, giving us a rating and review will help increase our visibility. And if you like what you hear, please share the podcast with your friends.
Many special thanks to my guests, Stephanie Kalina-Metzger, Jonathan Smith and Darrin Youker. Feel free to visit us online susquehannalife.com. There you will find a comprehensive list of the many businesses that sell our magazine, or if you want us to come directly to you, look at our subscription options. Just visit SusquehannaLife.com.
Send comments, suggestions, and questions about the podcast to SusquehannaLife@gmail.com. You can follow us on Facebook and see so many beautiful photographs on our Instagram account, and you can find our show notes with links to our guests, a full transcript, and the many resources we mentioned in today's show, just visit SusquehannaLife.com and then click on Susquehanna Life Out Loud podcast.
Susquehanna Life Out Loud is written and edited by me, Peterson Toscano, and co-hosted by Erica Shames. Thanks again for listening and enjoy summer 2021.