Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

Western Pennsylvania Tour➤

My friend Patty and I hit the road in October of 2022 for a tour of the Western Pennsylvania NPS units. The National Parks of Western Pennsylvania (WEPA) includes the following five parks: Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield and Friendship Hill National Historic Site.

We decided to start the circuit at the southernmost unit, Friendship Hill, and work our way North. Along the way we also toured a Frank Lloyd Wright UNESCO Heritage Site and Ohiopyle State Park. After the Johnstown Flood Memorial, we headed to Allegheny Portage Railroad. This concluded our Western Pennsylvania tour.

Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site➤

The Allegheny Portage Railroad operated from 1834 to 1854. The railroad connected the midwest to the east coast. Its 36 miles were connected on both ends to the Pennsylvania Canal.

The portage hauled river boats loaded on flatbed railroad cars up one side of the Allegheny Mountains and lowered them down the other side. It bridged the gap between the Ohio and the Susquehanna Rivers. The Allegheny Portage cut transport time from Philadelphia to the Ohio River from weeks to just 3–5 days.

After watching the park film and perusing the exhibits, we walked the boardwalk trail to the replica of Engine House Number 6. This building once housed a powerful engine which helped pull the trains uphill.

We walked the short trail down to hill to see the Skew Arch bridge and then back up to visit the Lemon House. Samuel and Jean Lemon first opened the tavern for stagecoach travelers. They built a larger sandstone tavern in preparation for the Portage opening in 1834. The Park Service restored the first floor to resemble a typical tavern of that era.

Western PA Posts➤

Location: 110 Federal Park Rd, Gallitzin, PA 16641
Designation: National Historic Site
Date designated/established: 1964
Date of my visit: October 10, 2022