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The Portage Station Museum is located at the corner of Lee and Washington Streets.  This station was built in 1926 and served until 1954 for the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The first floor was the ticket office and waiting room and the second floor was for freight.  Passengers would exit the building, walk under the concrete arch next to the museum, and climb up a stairway located in the middle of the arch.  The stairs would put them at an outdoor waiting area located between the railroad tracks, allowing them to board westbound or eastbound trains.  This is clearly depicted by the photograph at the top of the HO scale model of the Portage Railroad. The station currently houses the Portage Area Historical Society.

Full front shot of the Portage Station Museum, historic train depot. Courtesy of Carol Paterick 2006.
Photograph courtesy of Carol Paterick, May 2006

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The Portage Station Museum

The Portage Station Museum is a two story brick train depot located at 400 Lee Street, Portage, PA.  Built in 1926 by John T. Gray and Son, it served as a station on the Pennsylvania Railroad until 1954.

 

The stationmaster's office and a waiting area for passengers were located on the first floor.  After buying their tickets, passengers would walk up a set of concrete steps located at the center of the railroad underpass. A small waiting room between sets of tracks provided shelter here.

Outside of the Museum looking at the railroad track.  The second floor of the depot is where passengers boarded the train.  Courtesy of Carol Paterick 2006.
Photo courtesy of Carol Paterick May 2006.

After the station closed, the Knights of Columbus used the building for several years. Later, Stager Enterprises bought it for storage purposes. Thanks to the generosity of the Stager family, the building became the home of the Portage Area Historical Society in 1991.

 

In 1999, the Portage Area Historical Society won a Keystone Grant to make sure the building was brought up to standards.  The work was completed over an 18 month period and the Portage Station Museum reopened in October 2001.  The various phases of the work were published in the Newsletters and it was exciting to see the project progress.

 


Renovations to the building - Inside and Out

Renovations Under the Keystone Grant

Our museum is being transformed. It is so exciting to see the renovations being completed. The walls and ceilings on both floors have been painted; the yellow pine second floor has been refinished and is beautiful. The first floor has been redone to look just like the original, but of course, it looks brand new and just gorgeous. Upstairs the florescent lights have been replaced with hanging lights replicating the originals, and all other old and dangerous wiring has been replaced. Our handicap-accessible ramp to the first floor is in place, and the new outside steps are done.  There is lots of volunteer work to do now, such as putting the artifacts back in the cases, making new labels, all sorts of cleaning and loads of paperwork and filing.  If you can give an hour here and there, any help will certainly be appreciated-just call any board member.

 

The Portage Volunteer Firemen and the Portage Area High School football team moved our second floor cases and artifacts back into the building. that was a lot of heavy lifting, but the boys made short work of the job and it is very much appreciated. Volunteers with strong muscles are in short supply.

Two helpful volunteers, Vic Schaffrenek and Bob Yetsko have built an extra shelf on the two units in the office and have painted the staff bathroom.  thanks, men! 

 

There is more to be done under the grant, but they are smaller jobs. We will keep you posted via newsletter and/or Portage Dispatch.

 

The next big (and expensive) project is the work required by the Department of Labor and Industry to make our building safe under the fire code. This was mentioned in our last newsletter. We hired an architect and he has submitted his plans to the D.L.I., which has approved them. Cost estimates will be next, then decisions must be made. We welcome input from any interested parties.

 

Re-Opening

After approximately 18 months of being closed, the Portage Station Museum has reopened (Wednesdays 1-4; Saturday and Sunday 1-5) with a display featuring collections and collectibles from area collectors. The Portage Area Historical Society will be celebrating the museum's Grand Reopening on Sunday, October 14th, 2001 from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.  With the renovations, there is definitely a new look to the building.

 

A ramp provides access to the first floor for those unable to walk steps. New doors with large windows allow more light to enter, as dos the opening of the transom over the emergency door that had been closed in. The original copper gutter is in place at the top of the building.