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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Visiting the Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station

The Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station was built in 1859 to serve area residents who wanted or needed to travel from Gettysburg to Hanover Pennsylvania and vice-versa. It's located one block from Lincoln Square at 35 Carlisle Street in Gettysburg. If you're visiting the downtown business district, you'll want to visit the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station which is FREE.

During the Civil War the railroad station served as a make-shift field hospital for injured soldiers and officers. However, it's best known for President Lincoln who arrived at the station before delivering the Gettysburg Address. One day after delivering his famous speech, he departed from the railroad station and headed back to Washington D.C.

We had the opportunity to visit the station on a recent trip to Gettysburg and got a personal tour of the place. It's a FREE museum that is open to the public and open year-round. You enter the building through the front and once inside you'll see various exhibits of how the train station looked back in 1863. It looks a LOT like it did back then, however some changes have been made to the building, so that it could be preserved and visited by tourists.

A very nice gentleman greeted us and immediately started giving us the history of the building and how the civilians used it before the war. He gave us information about the type of trains that used it and explained to us that back in those days women had to sit in a separate area from the men while waiting for the train. Wow! I'm sure glad that things are different these days!

As you walk around the visual displays you'll find plaques & signs that you can read that will give you a lot of in-depth history about the building, the town of Gettysburg and the people who called this beautiful place, home. In the main lobby area you'll see a 3-D model & diorama of how the train station looked back in those days. I was told that this model is an exact replica depicting the building from 1863.

As you walk through you'll see a "faux" ticket window that has some information about what it was like back then to purchase tickets to ride the train which I found very interesting. Even back in those days, women were often times separated from men, even during travel.

In the second large room towards the back of the building you'll see all of these tall plaques & signs that you can read that tell you about President Lincoln and his use of this station, along with some facts about the Gettysburg Address. There is a hole in the floor that is covered in a clear acrylic that you can look down through and see some of the rails below. Super cool.

This is pretty much a self-guided tour unless one of the workers or volunteers come out to greet you and give you the additional information. On the day that we visited there was only one other couple in the building, so we basically took our time and had the place pretty much to ourselves. The two employees there were super helpful in giving us some history about the place & answered any questions that we had.

They have a small on-site gift shop that you can visit after your tour if you're looking to buy some souvenirs. I picked up a little girl's and a little boy's train conductor hats for my grandchildren and found that they were really reasonably priced. They have some prepackaged snacks, candy & beverages for sale too.

I really enjoyed this little FREE tour because it wasn't crowded and we could leisurely take our time through it. I've always enjoyed visiting old train stations from around the state and this one was exceptionally enjoyable. I learned a lot about it's history and learned new information about President Lincoln while I was there. A definite must-see when visiting Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.

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1 comment:

jopb said...

This historic train station seems to be a wonderful place to visit. I like that the station is free to tour and I love the clear acrylic to see the old rails.