Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton

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Steamtown National Historic Site (NHS) is a railroad museum and heritage railroad located on 62.48 acres (25.3 ha) in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania, at the site of the former Scranton yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W). The museum is built around a working turntable and a roundhouse that are largely replications of the original DL&W facilities; the roundhouse, for example, was reconstructed from remnants of a 1932 structure. The site also features several original outbuildings dated between 1899 and 1902. All the buildings on the site are listed with the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Yard-Dickson Manufacturing Co. Site.

Most of the steam locomotives and other railroad equipment at Steamtown NHS were originally collected by F. Nelson Blount, a millionaire seafood processor from New England. In 1964, Blount established a non-profit organization, the Steamtown Foundation, to operate Steamtown, U.S.A., a steam railroad museum and excursion business in Bellows Falls, Vermont. In 1984, the foundation moved Steamtown to Scranton, conceived of as urban redevelopment and funded in part by the city. But the museum failed to attract the expected 200,000 to 400,000 annual visitors, and within two years was facing bankruptcy.

In 1986, the U.S. House of Representatives, at the urging of Scranton native Representative Joseph M. McDade, approved $8 million to begin turning the museum into a National Historic Site. The idea was derided by those who called the collection second-rate, the site's historical significance questionable, and the public funding no more than pork-barrel politics. But proponents said the site and the collection were ideal representations of American industrial history. By 1995, the National Park Service (NPS) had acquired Steamtown, USA, and improved its facilities at a total cost of $66 million.

Steamtown National Historic Site has since sold a few pieces from the Blount collection, and added a few others deemed of greater historical significance to the region. By 2008, low visitor attendance and the need of costly asbestos removal from many pieces of the collection were spurring discussion about privatizing Steamtown.
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Steamtown National Historic Site reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
864 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Well worth at least 1 hour of your time even if not a train nut. Good exhibits and fun to explore the round house. Not to be missed if in the Scranton area. Very knowledgeable park rangers.  more »
  • Parts of the museum being closed per COVID. I have been to this area on normal circumstances but have never rode the train or gone inside. Even with having a couple parts open, its a fantastic place.....  more »
Google
  • We visited Steamtown on a family trip. It was an excellent experience. We enjoyed being able to view so many trains. The museum is an excellent educational experience. The cost is $10 per adult $7 per child. Don't let the cost discourage you from this experience, you can literally spend open to close here with the vast amount of information. If you are a photographer you'll be blown by opportunities of amazing shots!!!
  • Historic and also very informative. Very good place to visit especially with kids. Activity area for kids with model trains are nice. Restored models of actual rail cars is very neat for experiencing a piece of history. Trolley ride is like traveling in a time machine, complete with old ad boards to look the part.

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