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Pennsylvania Railroad stations and Whitney Dam, North Carolina postcards

1909-1912
 Collection
Identifier: 1992-234

Abstract

This is a small collection of three postcards. Two postcards have images of Pennsylvania Railroad stations in Greensburg and Swissvale, Pennsylvania. The third postcard is an advertisement for Pennsylvania Cement Co. showing the Whitney (N.C.) Dam. The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) was chartered in 1846 to completing an all-rail road across the state. In 1857 the Pennsylvania Railroad purchased the old Main Line system and eventually brought the entire line from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh under one management.

Dates

  • 1909-1912

Creator

Extent

3 item(s)

General Physical Description

3 postcards : color and b&w ; 4 x 6 in.

Historical Note

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) was chartered in 1846 to completing an all-rail road across the state. In 1857 the Pennsylvania Railroad purchased the old Main Line system and eventually brought the entire line from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh under one management. Between 1855 and 1874, the PRR underwent rapid expansion and emerged as one of the two largest railroad systems in the area east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio. Through stock purchase or lease, it reached Baltimore in 1861, Chicago and Indianapolis in 1869, St. Louis in 1870, Jersey City opposite New York in 1871, and Washington in 1872. Purchase of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad in 1881 brought complete control of the important New York-Washington corridor, and in 1910, the PRR entered Manhattan through tunnels under the Hudson and East Rivers. Most of the main lines lying east and south of Harrisburg, Pa., were electrified between 1915 and 1938.

Pennsylvania Railroad built the Greensburg station because of the economic activity brought on by coal in the region and Greensburg’s stature of being an industrial and retail hub. The station was designed by architect William Cookman. The station was heavily used by freight and passenger lines until the 1940s when the country began to rely on highways and the automobile and oil overtook coal as the main source of fuel. By the 1960s, passenger service had been suspended until Amtrak restored service in 1977, which is when the station was added to the National Register for Historic Places. The station, with its landmark clock tower, has been fully rehabilitated and is owned by the Westmoreland Cultural Trust.

The Swissvale station was in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It was on the southwest side of Braddock Avenue. There was a freight station across the tracks to the northwest.

The Whitney Dam in North Carolina was an ill-fated project of Pittsburgh industrialist George Whitney. It was the largest construction project in the state at the time and included a five-mile canal as well. It was projected to produce 27,000 horsepower. This number grew as the project progressed. It was to be the centerpiece to regional economic activity that included mining, manufacturing, utilities, and real estate. A town named Whitney sprung up next to the construction site. But George Whitney lost his fortune in the Panic of 1907 and declared bankruptcy in 1910 before the dam was finished. In 1917, a dam was built at a new site downstream submerging the Whitney Dam under water.

The Pennsylvania Cement Company was located in Bath, Pennysylvania in Northampton County. This location is in the Lehigh Valley. Because of the availability of raw materials, including nearby coal mines that provided fuel for the kilns, the Lehigh Valley became the center of American portland cement manufacture. Portland cement was invented by a British stone mason, Joseph Asplin, in 1824. It is a finely ground mixture of limestone and clay that hardens when water is added. At the turn of the twentieth century the Lehigh Valley accounted for three-quarters of portland cement produced in the United States.

Scope and Content

This is a small collection of three postcards. Two postcards have images of Pennsylvania Railroad stations in Greensburg and Swissvale, Pennsylvania. The third postcard is an advertisement for Pennsylvania Cement Co. showing the Whitney (N.C.) Dam which used the company's Pennsylvania portland cement product.

Location

GL Box 2.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Related Material

Pennsylvania Railroad Company records (accession 1807), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Pennsylvania Railroad stations and Whitney Dam, North Carolina postcards
Status:
Date:
2015
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400