New historical marker in Hughesville celebrates the Williamsport & North Branch Railroad. Learn how it shaped the area and why its history is vital today.
When Lewis Peterman talks about the Williamsport & North Branch Railroad, you can tell it’s close to his heart. For Peterman, who’s on the board of the East Lycoming Historical Society, it’s all about family. His great-granddad Harry was a station agent in Sonestown, and his great-uncle Philip held the same job in Nordmont.
I enjoyed celebrating the Williamsport & North Branch Railroad in Hughesville with Mayor Richard Smith and the East Lycoming Historical Society. This marker recognizes the importance of the railroad from 1864-1938 and the development of eastern Lycoming County and Sullivan County pic.twitter.com/iWA2PI6mTq
— Joe Hamm 🇺🇸 (@josephdhamm) October 2, 2023
Recently, the people of Hughesville gathered for a special reason. A new historical marker was shown to the public, and it stands where the old railroad once was. Peterman led the ceremony, explaining just how much the railroad meant to Hughesville back in the day.
“Back in 1864, this area was full of untouched woods,” Peterman shared. “The railroad was the only way to ship timber and other goods, especially since we’re talking about a region that’s all mountains and valleys.”
The gathering took place on today’s fire department grounds, right at the corner of West Academy and South Railroad streets. Mayor Rick Smith and council member McKenna Long helped cut the ribbon, marking the spot for everyone to see and remember.
Picture this—100 years ago, this exact spot was bustling with activity. “There was a railroad station here, a freight house over there. And if you look carefully to the right, you’ll see concrete in the ground. That was the engine shop,” Peterman said.
When the railroad shut down in 1938, its main owner gifted the land to start Hughesville’s Fire Department.
Bill Foresman, another board member, spoke about his mom’s old stories. “She’d say they took a horse and buggy to Halls Station, hopped on the train, and went all the way to Williamsport just to shop for school clothes,” he shared. “It was an all-day event back then.”
At the ceremony, State Rep. Joe Hamm stressed how crucial it is to teach our kids about the past. “We can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve come from,” he said.
Peterman agreed, pointing out that this was the main reason behind the marker. “We want young folks to know about this railroad, because not many do,” he added.
So, what’s next? The East Lycoming Historical Society is organizing a special talk about the railroad. It’s happening on October 19 at the Hughesville Library. The group also runs a museum that’s open three days a week. Why not drop by and discover more about your local history?
Discover the story of the remarkable discovery of a 5,000 year old tomb in Scotland’s Orkney Islands, with exclusive details…
Dive into ancient Hawaii with the expanded 2023 edition of Feathered Gods and Fishhooks, revealing new archaeological findings and insights. …
Thanksgiving 2023 insights from historical myths to current trends, and everything in between. Dive into the holiday’s facets this Nov…