Research Blog

In my pursuit of modeling the Pennsylvania Railroad and Lewistown with historical accuracy, articles in this blog will address specific topics.

Your contributions and insights are not only welcome, but appreciated!

Articles are sorted by modification date, so if an existing article receives an update it will be presented at the top of the list again.


Late 1800's atlas of Milroy:

N. O. Reardick

Not listed in any of the CT1000's.

A late 1800's atlas shows this location as a lumber yard and labeled TU&Co. (or IU&Co.)

Valuation map shows N. O. Reardick with its own siding. The map was updated in 1939, 1958 and later.

Appears in Penn Pilot aerial photographs of 1938, 1957, and 1971. The 1938 aerial view closely matches the footprint on the valuation map, which was originally drawn in 1918. The later aerial shots, being less clear, show an expanded or different structure at this location.

Does anyone have photos of this structure, or anecdotal information?

The LN destination is split between the Lewistown Secondary (including Furnace Branch Siding) and the Milroy Secondary.

Milepost (MP) references are taken from the 1945 CT1000 and are distances from Lewistown passenger station.

Where street addresses are indicated, the years in parenthesis indicate first and last years confirmed in street directories. Entites could have been at the address before and after these dates.

The photos below are from the 1936 "Saint Patrick's Day Flood" and show many of the industries discussed later on this page:
flood1 flood2


William Mann Jr. Axe Works (ca. 1900). The large building with smokestacks in the photo was added after 1877.
An 1884 Mann catalog refers to the site as the “Hollis Works.”

Lower Mann


Listed in 1923 CT1000.

Not listed in the 1945 CT1000. (Passenger service ceased in 1941.)

Lower Mann shelter, 1917:1917 lower mann shelter  

 The locals refer to this area as "Mount Rock". This is the area where the McDonald's restaurant is today on Electric Avenue. 

Electric Avenue, looking east, 1958:electric avenue 1958 mt rock mill



Listed in 1923 CT1000.

Not listed in 1945 CT1000. (Passenger service ceased in 1941.)

Honey Creek shelter, 1917:
1917 honey creek shelter


National Limestone Co. No. 2--West End

Listed in the 1900 CT1000 as Woods & Co.

Listed in the 1923 CT1000.

Not listed in the 1945 CT1000. 

National Limestone Co. No. 3

Listed in 1923 CT1000.

Not in 1945 CT1000. 

Does anyone have photos of this location?


Listed in 1923 CT1000.

Not in 1945 CT1000. (Passenger service ceased in 1941.)

reesville undated


A photograph of a water tower at this location is on page 117 of Lewistown and the Pennsyvania Railroad (PRRT&HS).

Junc. Kishacoquillas Valley R. R. No. 1

Listed in 1923 CT1000.

Not listed in 1945 CT1000. The KVRR ceased operations in 1941. 

Bethlehem Steel Co. No. 1

Does anyone have 1950s era photos of this location?

Listed as James C. Naginey and A. G. Morris No. 9 in 1900 CT1000.

Listed as Cambria Steel Co. No. 1--Stone Siding in 1923 CT1000.

Listed in 1945 CT1000.  

Photo is of an NRHS excursion train passing the tipple at Naginey in 1937.

applause-clipart-applause.jpgThere are a number of folks that I would like to thank for providing me with answers to my research, source material, photographs,etc.

Rich Ader - Lewistown resident who knows the people I need to know!

Michael Bezilla - Author; Bellefonte Central R. R. historian.

Dan Cupper - Author; grew up in Lewistown.

Paul Fagley - Author “Memories of Kishocoquillas Park”; authority on Mann Axe and other industries.

Acetylene Gas Plant

For years I did not know what this building was, thinking maybe it was a gas works that supplied gas to the town, Finally, Donald Swank chimed in on the If you're really from Burnham, PA, you would remember this FaceBook page...

"Your unknown building called the Gas Plant. It did not supply gas to the town. It’s purpose was to manufacture acetylene gas. Maintenance required a lot of torch burning and welding. They ran acetylene and oxygen pipes side by side through out the plant. They had drop downs off the main piping at several locations in every shop. Maintenance did not have to cart oxygen and acetylene bottles. Just had to have their torch, hose and gages. These acetylene lines were feed from the Gas Plant. Oxygen was generated at a different location and feed into the oxygen lines. I think Rudy Doebler was the last person to work in the Gas Plant. They get there gases from very large bulk tanks now. It’s delivered by tractor trailer gas trucks. Instead of laying Rudy off, they let him transfer to the Pipefitter gang. Rudy was our dear friend Marsha Nulls father!" 

"The Gas Plant was not in operation when I started there in 1968. But if I remember what Mr. Elder told me in Chemistry Class, if you mix water with calcium carbide, the mixture will generate acetylene. So I am assuming they mixed water and carbide to make the gas."

P1010718 P1010719 P1010724

Anyone have any photos of this building from the 1950s?


The Milroy Secondary began life as the Mifflin and Centre County Railroad (M&CC), incorporated on April 2, 1860. The Pennsylvania Railroad assisted in the construction of the first seven miles of the line, to Reedsville, which was completed by May 1, 1865. The M&CC then initiated a 999 year lease with the PRR to operate the line. By January 6, 1868, the line reached Milroy.

In 1896, the M&CC merged with the nearby Sunbury & Lewistown Railway Company. The PRR executed a new 79 year operating lease on October 1, 1896. Several minor reorgs occured, culminating in the line being merged into the Pennsylvania Railroad as of April 1, 1902.

Having spent most of its life operating as part of the PRR's Lewistown Division, the newly absorbed line was detached for operating purposes from the Pennsylvania Railroad Grand Division and became part of the Philadelphia and Erie Grand Division.

No later than 1911, the line was part of the Sunbury Division. Sometime before September 25, 1927, the line was transferred to the Middle Division. 

See: Milroy Secondary Divisional Heritage.

The Kishacoquillas Valley R. R. operated passenger trains over the branch under an operating agreement through 1941. When passenger traffic was discontinued, the branch was redesignated a secondary, which changed the rules under which it operated.

58740063 2673558462685574 6400387988513095680 n

 Two early views of the Standard Steel plant from Burnham.

59390882 2673564376018316 3543983386596999168 o

J. H. Miller

Miller was a sand provider. Narrow gauge "donkey tracks" led up the mountain to the quarry. John Snyder recalls there actually being an electric "lokie" with overhead wire. Paul Fagley recalls there being a "covered bridge" on the donkey tram above a scale just west of the creek.


The Lewistown Secondary is a 2.3 mile stretch of track from Lewistown (on the Middle Division main line) to the junction with the Milroy Secondary and the Selinsgrove Secondary.

The Lewistown Secondary has its roots in the Mifflin & Centre County Railroad, which was incorporated April 2, 1860, to build from Lewistown to a point near Milesburg in Centre County. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company invested in the new railroad and construction began in February 1863. The line reached Reedsville, a distance of seven miles, by May 1, 1865. The line entered into a 999-year operating lease with the Pennsylvania Railroad, dated May 27, 1865.

By January 6, 1868, the line extended another 5.4 miles from Reedsville to Milroy, which proved to be its final terminus.

Under PRR management, the Mifflin & Centre County and the Sunbury & Lewistown, effective December 1, 1871, were formed into a separate operational unit known as the Lewistown Division. The Sunbury & Lewistown met the Mifflin & Centre County about two miles east of the main line at Lewistown as its western terminus.



For the greatest span of its life (1941-1956), the Pennsy's Middle Division main line spanned from BANKS tower (exclusive) near Marysville, Pa., to SLOPE tower near Altoona, Pa.

The following historical references to the Middle Division come from Chris Baer's "Chronology of the Pennsylvania Railroad"...

April 18, 1847 PRR Board confirms engineer corps for Eastern Division... no corps is appointed for Middle Division crossing Allegheny Mountain, and Thomson abolishes it after taking charge, placing the division point at the summit; later a separate Mountain Division is created for the engineering work in the section between Altoona and Johnstown."

Mar. 10, 1848 Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad orders additional surveys between Hudson and Cleveland; contracts 32 miles of the Middle Division.

Feb. 3, 1855 Granville Bridge on Middle Division destroyed by fire.

The Milroy Secondary has a rather convoluted divisional heritage.

Lewistown Division

In 1896, the Mifflin & Centre County Railroad merged with the nearby Sunbury & Lewistown Railroad. The PRR executed a new 79 year operating lease on October 1, 1896. It was operated as the Lewistown Division.

The 1900 edition of the CT1000 lists the Milroy line under the Lewistown Division.

June 1, 1900 North & West Branch Railway, Pennsylvania Schuylkill Valley Railroad, Sunbury, Hazleton & Wilkes Barre Railway, and Sunbury & Lewistown Railway merged to form Schuylkill & Juniata Railroad under agreement of Apr. 2, 1900.

Apr. 1, 1902 Schuylkill & Juniata Railroad merged into PRR under agreement of Nov. 27, 1901. The newly absorbed line was detached for operating purposes from the Pennsylvania Railroad Grand Division and became part of the Philadelphia and Erie Grand Division. 

Apr. 1, 1907 Divisional reorganization... Lewistown Division merged with Sunbury Division to form Sunbury & Lewistown Division (also given common officers with Shamokin Division).

menzies aerial

Aerial view of Menzies. Lewistown is to the left and Burnham is to the right. The Kishacoquillas Park swimming pool is in the foreground. This photo is probably from the late 1940s or so; the route 322/22 highway has not yet been constructed across Electric Avenue.


Listed in 1923 CT1000.

Not listed in the 1945 CT1000. (Passenger service ceased in 1941.)

Kishocoquillas Park

Though not rail-served, the Kishocoquillas Park was a major attraction during the 1950s. It exists today as Derry Township Park. It is not known if the Menzies station was specifically located to serve the park or not.

I am seeking information on the following topics relevant to my modeling...


Main Line Operations

Hawstone Refractories -- The brickyard was serviced via a trailing point switch off of track one at Hawstone. A local out of Lewistown serviced industries from Lewistown through Newport. If a local were to head east out of the Lewistown yard, it could cross over as far as track two, but not to track one. There was no opportunity to cross all the way over to track one until WALL interlocking, which was well past Hawstone. I see two possiblities:

1) The local backed westward out of the yard, through LEWIS interlocking, across to track one, then proceeded eastward.

2) The local did not service Hawstone Refractories and it was instead serviced by a through train between Altoona and Enola.

Standby Power -- Lewistown maintained numerous locomotives as stand-by power to protect main line trains. Not only were these locomotives photographed around the Lewistown Junction yard, but employee time books indicate they ran light and were staged along the main line, both eastward and westward. Where were they staged? There were no turning facilities eastward, and westward there was a turntable at Mt. Union, but it was too small to handle M1's, which were typical for standby power.

Lewistown Secondary Operations

With the discontinuation of passenger traffic in 1941, the branch was reduced to secondary status. There were no signals or cab signals. Crews contacted LEWIS tower for permissions. That said, were Form 19/31's still transcribed, or was the permission simply verbal?

Milroy Secondary Operations

With the discontinuation of passenger traffic in 1941, the branch was reduced to secondary status. There were no signals or cab signals. Crews contacted LEWIS tower for permissions. That said, were Form 19/31's still transcribed, or was the permission simply verbal?

Pennsylvania Railroad location "XA" denotes Lewistown, south of the Juniata River, which can be discussed in two sections. The first is the "main line" between Harrisburg and Altoona, and the second is the portion on the Lewistown Secondary, which includes the yard and the American Viscose plant.

IMG_1725.jpgPhoto shows "J" tower above the passenger station circa 1954 with the "shaggy" roof.