Heritage: Mifflin & Centre County Railroad
CT 1000, 1945: Eastern Region, Eastern Pennsylvania Division, Middle Division, Milroy Branch
Middle Division ETT, 1954: Eastern Region, Middle Division, Milroy Secondary
Distance from Lewistown Passenger Station...
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."
3.3 Standard Steel Works Co. No. 4
3.3 Standard Steel Works Co. No. 3
Listed in 1945 CT1000.
1898 Track Diagram of Standard Steel. Courtesy of Susan Yosten.
1902 Track Diagram of Standard Steel showing proposed tracks for new open hearth furnaces. Courtesy of Susan Yosten.
1908 Track Diagram of Standard Steel showing PRR trackage. Courtesy of Susan Yosten.
1917 Track Diagram of Standard Steel showing PRR trackage. Courtesy of Susan Yosten.
Undated Track Diagram of Standard Steel showing PRR trackage. Courtesy of Susan Yosten.
Undated Track Diagram of Standard Steel. Courtesy of Susan Yosten.
Todd Treaster believes this plant was still shipping 20-30 cars a day through the 1950s.
Standard Steel continues operations today.
YA Block Station
YA Block Station; listed in 1911 Sunbury Division ETT at 4.4 miles from KA.
It is not indicated on the 1919 track chart.
|YA block station, 1917:
From the Library of Congress...
In 1842 Jacob Yeager came from Dauphin County and purchased 50 acres and the mill from John Oliver, Jr. Yeagertown, not yet named such, was not more than a collection of homes nestled at the base of Jack's Mountain in the Mann Narrows. In later years, the railroad and the turnpike would run through the town, bringing in much business.
In 1857, the old mill which had stood for more than 60 years, was torn down and a new mill erected with Jeremiah M. Yeager (son of Jacob) as miller and proprietor. The combination of plentiful natural resources, transportation, and a strong water supply all united to make the Yeager Mill a profitable enterprise. The flower produced in the mill was well-known for its fine quality.
J. M. Yeager's son Jesse Orrin added lumber and coal to the Yeager Mill business. J. M. Yeager ran the mill until his death in 1906, at which time operations passed to his youngest son, Jesse Orrin Yeager.
Around the turn of the century, a "small but very substantial and up-to-date" power plant was constructed at the mill. It had four turbine wheels of 500 horsepower which drove two 150 kilowatt generators. The Mifflin County Gas and Electric Company leased the power of the plant. By 1908, it generated enough electricity for all of Yeagertown.
The business prospered until 1917 when Yeager refused to compromise the quality of his product. During World War I manufacturers were supposed to dilute their flour with potato flour or something similar, often sawdust. However, the Yeagers were extremeley proud of their whole-wheat flour. They used the whole kernel and the product was famous for its excellence. Their Alfarata and Juniata's Queen Flour were shipped to large hotels all over the country and to South America. So when two men appeared one day in 1917, demanding to inspect the manufacturing process, Mr. Yeager refused to divulge any information about his mill process. However, the men soon identified themselves as secret service agents sent by Herbert Hoover, then head of the food administration, and informed Yeager that he was in violation of the law and thus subject to a fine. Yeager replied, "I have enough grain in the bins for about three weeks. Let me use that and I will close the mill." He did just that; Alfarata Straight Patent Entire Wheat Flour was never made again.
While the flour was never made again, J. Orrin Yeager continued other mill business until his death in 1941 at which point G. Clifford RIce, a nephew, then came into possession of the business. Rice moved into building supplies and coal and eventually closed the doors for all time on May 23, 1963.
The structure was used, from the time it was built until 1917, as a grist mill. However, the Yeager family was involved in various businesses, such as insurance, coal, lumber, structural iron, fancy glass, building supplies, and hay and feed and the building served as a base for many of these business efforts. For instance, J. M. Yeager had a patent on an incubator which he had constructed on the top floor of the mill and then sold to customers. They also constructed the barrels in which they shipped their flour. A barrel, made with Yeager lumber, would travel on a conveyor to a worker. A paper bag had been placed in the barrel previously and the worker would open a chute, fill it with flour, weigh it and put on the lid. The nails which held down the lid, often supplied by York Nail and Tack Works, were the only part of the process not generated by the Yeagers.
Listed in 1923 CT1000.
Not listed in 1945 CT1000. (Passenger service ceased in 1941.)
Plans of Yeagertown Shelter. Courtesy of Susan Yosten. This is a larger shelter than that shown in the 1917 photograph. It is unknown if thiw shelter was ever built, or only proposed.
|Yeagertown shelter, 1917:|
This structure is not railroad-related, but its prominent location on East Mill Street opposite the east end of the Standard suggested it might be significant.
After years of asking around, I finally got my answer on the If you're really from Burnham, PA, you would remember this FaceBook page.
Many volunteered that it was a bar/restaurant over the years, named Heston's during the 1970's and later.
Annemarie Clark Earley wrote "It belonged to my uncle and aunt (Mike and Katie Olnick.) in the 50s and 60s. Their daughters were Marie and Anastacia Olnick. They served meals to many workers and did bar business. They had a shuffle board game and some pin ball machines too. Loved going there cause they always had candy!"
Another contributor noted that it served coffee to steelworkers in the morning,
3.5 J. M. Yeager No. 1
3.5 J. M. Yeager No. 2
These are both listed in the 1045 CT1000.
Track charts and valuation maps show one siding with a trailing point (heading east; top of below photos) and the other with a facing point.
The 1938 Penn Pilot photo shows a fence encompassing the entire area with a warehouse at the west end, for which I have the elevation drawings (dated 1920). There do not appear to be any structures near where the facing point siding would be. Most of the area is covered with stacks of lumber or other building materials.
In the 1957 Penn Pilot photo, the fence around the area is still visible, as is the warehouse, though the location of the facing point siding is still not visible. The overall area continues to be covered with stacks of lumber or other building materials.
By the time of the 1971 Penn Pilot photo, all traces of Yeager are gone. The area is a parking lot, either for the trucking company to the east or for Standard Steel. The area has since overgrown.
|1938 Penn Pilot||1957 Penn Pilot|
3.6 Passing Siding
Listed in 1945 CT1000.
3.7 Standard Steel Works Co. No. 6
3.7 Standard Steel Works Co. No. 7
Listed in 1945 CT1000.
There were tracks leaving the secondary to the south and heading up into the hills, presumably for tailings/waste.