• Photo of Lemon House, Level #6, and Engine House on a beautiful summer day.

    Allegheny Portage Railroad

    National Historic Site Pennsylvania

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  • Road Closure

    Please be aware that part of the public area loop has been closed until further notice as the park starts preparatory efforts for this summer's paving project on the Picnic Area Road.

Things To Do

Park Visitor Center

The Visitor Center, located immediately off of US Route 22 at the Gallitzin Exit, is the best place to start your tour. The park movie is shown in the indoor 60 seat auditorium as requested to give a concentrated overview of the park story. The program lasts approximately twenty minutes. The movie is a dramatic interpretation of what it was like to work and travel on the Portage Railroad. A fictional character, Edgar West, explains life on the canals then speaks of a change of occupation to Portage Railroad worker. Edgar relates a story of blasting the Staple Bend Tunnel as well as general building techniques. He uses written accounts by writers such as Charles Dickens and local newspapers to speak of the value of the Mainline system and the thrill of faster travel.

Engine House 6 Exhibit Shelter

At the top of incline #6 were several buildings. Among them was a building to house the stationary steam engines. While actual plans for the buildings have not been located, remains of the foundation for the engine house are preserved in an unique exhibit structure. Within the Engine House 6 shelter building are exhibits to explain the workings of an engine house and a "Discovery Room" of interactive exhibits. At the east side of the Engine House Exhibit Shelter is a platform that permits you to look down the length of Incline 6 to the Skew Arch Bridge. The Bridge can be enjoyed close up by hiking down the trail or driving to the traffic island on which it is preserved. In the area surrounding the Engine House are places for demonstrations of period work skills. When the weather cooperates costumed rangers will help immerse you into the 1840s.

The Lemon House

The Lemon House has reopened as of May 10, 1997. A major restoration project was completed restoring the house to its 1840s appearance. This includes the interior first floor as well as the exterior. While it is the original house on its original location, there is a great scarcity of information available about the home. Plans or contracts for building the house remain elusive. Documentary evidence is lacking to explain how the tavern was operated and what the menu may have been. Much of the restoration was founded on archeology work, period artwork, and documentation of other 19th century taverns in the local area. In 2010 and 2011 a repointing project to replace the mortar between the exterior stones will be occurring. The Lemon House will remain open to the public as usual during this project.

Picnic Area

There are tables near the park Visitor Center for those wishing to have a quick meal or snack. Or some visitors enjoy using the empty amphitheater (the same as used for Evening on the Summit above) as a resting place. A shaded picnic area with a covered shelter and comfort station is located a half mile walk from the park's historic area. There is parking much closer but it is a separate area of the summit facilities.

For the Picnic Area only, drivers take the Cresson Summit exit of U.S. Route 22. Westbound drivers take the exit marked "Cresson Summit" and turn left at the end of the exit ramp. The Picnic Area is on the left side of 'old route 22' and is marked with a large wooden sign. Eastbound drivers take the exit marked "Summit" NOT the Cresson US Route 53 exit that preceeds it. At the end of the ramp turn right onto 'old route 22' and watch for the wooden sign on the left as you start down the long hill.

Evening on the Summit

Check out the 2014 lineup for our ever popular Saturday "Evening on the Summit" program; concerts are $2/person, all other programs are FREE!
June 7-Concert by Full Kilt
June 21-Guest Speaker William Brehun, PA Game Commission-"30 Years of Bald Eagle Restoration"
July 5-Guest Speaker Russ Love, "History of the South Penn Railroad"
July 12-Park Ranger Doug Bosley, "Take a Ride on the Mainline Canal"
July 19-Guest Speaker Jim Snyder, Blair County Genealogical Society-"Cemeteries"
August 9-Park Ranger Nathan Koozer, "Pennsylvania: The Keystone of Transportation Innovation"
August 16-Concert by Michael O'Brian Band
August 23-Guest Speaker Heidi Mullendore, PA DCNR-"Animal Adaptations"
September 20-Guest Speaker Dr. Martin Rice, "Enjoying the Night Sky"

Van Tours

The four hour Allegheny Portage Railroad van tours will be held on the following Saturdays beginning at 1:00 pm:
June 14, July 26, August 9, August 23, September 6, and September 20. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED and may be made by calling (814) 886-6150.

Heritage Hikes

The following hikes will be held on Sundays:
June 22-Hollidaysburg Canal Basin
June 29-Staple Bend Tunnel
July 13-West Penn Trail Bike Tour-Blairsville
July 27-Inclines 6 to 10 Hike
August 10-Summit Level Hike
August 24-Lower Trail Bike Tour-Alfarata
September 14-Inclines 6 to 10 Hike
September 28-Johnstown Canal Basin Hike
Some hikes begin at the park, some at other locations. Some hikes are short in duration, others are longer. To inquire further and make the REQUIRED RESERVATIONS for these hikes, please call the park at (814) 886-6150.

Other Special Programs
Saturday, June 28-Living History Day-a day of historic demonstrations of work and life on the Allegheny Portage Railroad. All activities are covered by the $4 park admission fee.
Saturday, October 11-Spirits on the Summit Tour-Reservations Required call (814) 886-6150, $2/person fee.
Saturday, October 25-Spirits of the Staple Bend Tunnel Tour-Reservations Required call (814) 886-6150, $2/person fee.

Did You Know?

Railroad track attached to a 'sleeper'

When the Portage Railroad opened on March 18, 1834, it was a single track line. The rule was when 2 drivers met the one who had passed the center post had the right to go on. The other driver had to back up. Some sat nose to nose until a magistrate determined who got to the center first.