While horses made their way through the streets, and festival-goers milled about the vendors’ booths on Market Street yesterday, a red and white motorized trolley, a new one this year from Wellsboro, made stops at the corner every thirty minutes to take on new passengers for the historical tour through Shamokin and Edgewood.
I arranged to take the 12:00 tour, and as I got on as soon as it arrived, I was able to take a number of photos before many passengers came on.
The trolley, which seats about twenty people, had a beautiful oak interior with brass accents and round ceiling lamps, and in the back a speaker played quaint haywagon-style tunes. Tour booklets were laid out on the seats, featuring old and new photos for stops on the ride.
After the trolley had taken on a few more passengers, the tour got underway, and the driver began to maneuver the historic vehicle through Shamokin streets. With the cord for the bell swinging rhythmically up front, the trolley made its way first through the creekside residential area of central Shamokin, going down Arch Street, later 1st, and eventually back to Arch. A few of the locations mentioned by the tour guide included the site of the Sanitary Milk Company, Reed’s Ice Cream Parlor, and, in Coal Township, the former Arch Street Shamokin & Edgewood Electric Railway carbarn (now Catawese Coach Lines garage).
As the trolley proceeded into Coal Township, one of the stops was the former site of the Eagle Silk Mill–the original mill, built 1909–where now one of the numerous elderly housing highrises in town is located. On Lynn Street, the tour guide pointed out Oak Gardens, the small housing development that was once the site of the Kulp residence, Oaklawn.
The trolley continued down Lynn Street and Park Avenue, with the guide noting the former location of the Park (originally Kearney) Hotel, and the entrance to Edgewood Park, where now Shamokin Area public schools stand.
From the parking lot shown above, the trolley turned and headed back into Shamokin, clanging the bell in the old fashion as it returned to Market Street.
Overall, the trolley tours lent unique atmosphere and nostalgia to the Heritage Festival. A thirty-minute trip back in time on a method of transportation once common in Shamokin, it was an experience that was informative, memorable, and an irreplacable part of the festival action.
As I was not able to revisit the museum at the American Legion Building today, the next festival article will be on the cemetery tour, and should be posted within two or three days.