Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania

Miles outside one of the nation’s first capital, York, Pennsylvania, lies the remains of a small railroading town that almost was. In 1838 the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad started a rail line connecting Baltimore to York. In 1851 the Hanover Railroad ran rail line westward connecting the Hanover Rail line to the Baltimore Susquehanna Railroad. In 1852 Hanover Junction was born, being the intersection of the railroads. The rail line was originally run by the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad, though the Hanover Railroad owned the trains.
A station was set up including living quarters for the station master and his family. Several small businesses and homes, and even a hotel were built. The hotel also had telegraph service, which would prove to be very important. During the Civil War the hotel’s telegraph dispatching service, proved to be vital to Union Soldiers. The wounded would pass through here on their way from Gettysburg to larger cities such as York and Harrisburg. On June 27, 1863, Confederate soldiers attacked the small town destroying homes and businesses. Somehow the station and hotel survived the ambush. On November 18, 1863 President Lincoln switched trains at the historic station en route to delivering his famous Gettysburg Address. Unfortunately Lincoln would pass through the small town again on April 21, 1865, this time in his funeral procession.
After the war the small town began to flourish again with a small industrial market, so much so there was a large coal yard nearby used for the fueling of the trains. After the demise of railroad traffic during the middle of the 20th century, industry came to a halt and the town was abandoned. In 2003 the County of York reopened the station house as a museum, giving it a similar appearance it had a century ago. Also on the property are 4 Civil War era cannons and a Lincoln bust.
Outta the Way recommends visiting this little Railroad town that almost was, yet still thrives to be.

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