No, it’s not just on the Monopoly Board, people! The Reading RR was a real RR that ran right behind my house growing up—connected with the Erie Canal system to transport coal and steel to the down-river ports. Today, I visited the old Port Clinton station, with its vintage steam engines and wooden station house that some entrepreneurial people have restored. Although the station building itself wasn’t open, we explored around, admiring the old engines, walking the narrow RR trestle bridge over the Schukyll River, posing L. on the large displays of coal. We even saw where the Appalachian Trail comes down off the mountain into Port Clinton, heading on north on the way to Maine.
I loved this outing so much. It connected to a lot of personal, as well as Pennsylvania history. My grandfather was a train fan, and one of my earliest memories, when I was about three years old, was him taking my sister and me on an outing on the Iron Horse Rambler steam locomotive, part of the Reading RR line. We even brought home a record album–Iron Horse Rambles–consisting exclusively of steam locomotive sounds! Today’s ONP also reminded me of my Dad who sold Old Company’s Lehigh coal in the coal yard he owned when I was a child. He would have gotten a kick out of his “grand-dog” posing on this huge hunk of anthracite!
Yeah, I had thought I’d have problems seeing new places here in PA where I grew up, but it’s amazing—the RR station is three miles from my family home, and I was never here. Usually when I visit PA I just go to the same old places, hang out at my mom’s house and complain how boring it is here. Guess my ONP project is giving me an attitude adjustment and a little more appreciation for my roots. Total cost of said attitude adjustment: $0, and less than an hour of my day.