UPDATE: Work is now underway! The platform has been removed and the interior is being gutted. Check out the photos:
In late September, the Nicholson Heritage Association (NHA) announced that renovations will commence on the Nicholson Tourism Center at the Historic Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W) Railroad Station. In late 2014, this historic transportation facility preservation and community economic revitalization project received a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for preservation and rehabilitation of the historic train station. Thank you to the Wyoming County Commissioners for agreeing to be the sponsor of the project, a TAP grant requirement.
The bids received in response to the call for June 2018 call for bids, were reviewed by PennDOT, and Perry’s General Contracting, Dunmore, base bid of $1,154,000 was accepted. While this is more than the original grant amount awarded, PennDOT is fully funding the work to complete the project. The TAP grant program requires that NHA provide a match to cover inspection costs.
We purchased the station in June 2012, with donations from individuals, businesses, and a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant. In 2014, we held two public meetings, to present and discuss the results of the feasibility study, funded mainly in part by a grant from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region with PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources funds. The designs are complete and possible in part to a Tom E. Dailey Foundation grant. Reuther+Bowen, a highly accomplished and diverse engineering, design, and construction services firm in Dunmore, PA, has been working with the Nicholson Heritage Association on the project, including the designs.
The Nicholson Tourism Center at the Historic DL&W Railroad Station will revitalize the region by attracting tourists to the station, the Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct (also known as the Tunkhannock Viaduct or the Nicholson Bridge), Nicholson, Historic Tunkhannock, Wyoming County, and the Endless Mountains. The station also will attract visitors to the region by linking to the area’s railroading and transportation attractions, including the Martins Creek Viaduct, Viaduct Valley Way Scenic Byway, Starrucca Viaduct, Steamtown, Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces, Electric City Trolley Museum, Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, D&H Gravity Railroad Depot Museum, and Honesdale: the birthplace of American Railroad. It will also be used for community events.
Keep in mind, we have already purchased the station. Renovations are our next step (the building is not yet open to the public) and donations are needed for long-term stability of the project. You can make a tax-deductible donation by mailing us a check (to P.O. Box 496, Nicholson, PA 18446) or even via PayPal (by clicking on PayPal button on right/below). Thank you!
We’ve received the following letters of support: Nicholson Borough, State Representative Sandy Major, State Senator Lisa Baker, U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, Endless Mountains Heritage Region, Preservation Pennsylvania, Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission, and Steamtown.Airline Petroleum Canadian Pacific (match for the EMHR/DCNR grant for feasibility study) Facet Cycling LLC First National Bank First Presbyterian Church (Nicholson, PA) Geisinger Medical Group Golf Tournaments – Craig Smith of F. Smith & Sons Golf Tournament – Matthew Lochen H & D Waste Lech’s Pharmacy (match for the EMHR/DCNR grant for feasibility study) M&R Trucking Nicholson Alumni Association Nicholson Women’s Club (match for the EMHR/DCNR grant for feasibility study) Pepsi – Refresh Project (Made Station Purchase Possible) Peoples Neighborhood Bank, now Peoples Security Bank and Trust (Made Designs Possible) Pump n Pantry (Made Designs Possible) Southwestern Energy (Made Designs Possible) The Tom E. Dailey Foundation (Made Designs Possible) Union Grange #152 United Methodist Church Mission Group (Nicholson, PA) United Methodist Women
Members of the Association have met or discussed this project with representatives from Preservation Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development, Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation, the Endless Mountains Heritage Region, the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau, the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority, and the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission to garner technical and financial support. We’ll continue to foster these relationships, as well as continue to garner support within the community and region. We are excited about spearheading this initiative and want to encourage innovative partnerships and approaches to the historic preservation of this station with local, state, and federal partners, individuals, and other organizations. By working together, we can preserve this historical, cultural building and promote economic revitalization within our town and region.
History of the Railroad Station:
The Nicholson Station was the first, and largest, station built by the Liggett’s Gap Railroad on its line from Scranton, PA to Great Bend, PA in 1849/1850. Initially, the wood station was used to board transient workers before being used to handle freight and passengers. As many as one hundred workmen slept on the second floor of the station during construction. The north section of the first floor, the freight room, was the big dining hall and the south portion of the first floor was a kitchen, living room, and bedroom for family.
The Liggett’s Gap Railroad was a predecessor to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad (DL&W), which was the one of the earliest railroads in the region. Railroads were crucial in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, the Industrial Age of the United States, to changing how goods, people, and services moved, especially by, literally, opening small rural communities like Nicholson to the “rest of the world.” Railroads like the DL&W moved coal, iron and steel out of Scranton through towns including Nicholson to where it was needed outside the region. They fueled our nation’s economy.
Additionally, all along the DL&W from Scranton to Binghamton, stations to receive milk were built at places most convenient to area dairy farmers. The largest milk station was at Nicholson, just north of the Nicholson station. Milk was then shipped on the lines to Scranton and Binghamton.
Nicholson was the most important stop between Scranton and Binghamton as it sent and received more passengers and freight and brought more profit to the DL&W than any other station along the line, and for some years it was more than all the other stations combined. Reverend Garford Williams reported in the January 15, 1954 edition of the Nicholson Examiner that “in 1854, the Nicholson station received 3,459 passengers who paid $1,741.32 in fares from all DL&W railroad points to Nicholson. The same year, Nicholson sent out 2,562 passengers on the Lackawanna Railroad, who paid $1,778.79 in fares to all railroad points.” It’s interesting to note that the 1880 U.S. Census records that there were 586 residents in Nicholson.
In 1855, the local Post Office moved from the edge of the settlement to the station, at which time the name was changed from Baconville (sometimes also referred to as Bacontown), after the town’s second Postmaster (Nathan Bacon), to Nicholson, named after John Nicholson, the former comptroller general of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 1782 to 1794 who greatly influenced our early Nation. For some time, the station agent, Albert King, was also the postmaster. For fifty years, the Nicholson station employed a passenger agent, a freight agent, telegrapher, and several assistants.
Between the years 1870 and 1883, all trains had to be switched at the Nicholson station; requiring a switch man to be on duty at all times day and night. About this time there were five stage coach routes out of Nicholson that made connections with the DL&W. Also, with Nicholson being the low spot on the rail line, all trains out of Nicholson needed a push up and out of the town. The “Nicholson Pusher” was a helper engine, with two engines added later, used to push or pull long freight trains either way out of Nicholson. Because of this, there was a turntable in Nicholson, with three siding tracks and one switch track, all that were connected to the main line.
In May 1878, the first telephone service in the area was installed when service was opened between the Nicholson and Scranton Stations, about 21 miles south. The station was THE center of the community.
After the DL&W built the Cut-Off that was opened in 1915, the original wood station only handled freight while passenger service was provided by the newly built concrete station on the hill next to the also newly constructed largest reinforced concrete bridge in the world, the Tunkhannock Viaduct, known as the Nicholson Bridge to local residents. The old main line was eventually sold to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to become State Route 11. In 1941, Route 11 was widened, and the ticket bay window and part of the roof on the Route 11 side were removed.
The wood station continued to handle freight after the DL&W merger with the Erie Railroad (becoming the Erie Lackawanna Railroad) in 1960. From the October 16, 1970, Nicholson Examiner article about the Nicholson station agent, it’s stated that the station “is the last station between Scranton (PA) and Binghamton (NY) to remain open.” This further illustrates the importance of the Nicholson station not just to the community, but to the region as well.
Due to financial hardship, the Erie Lackawanna Railroad closed the station in 1971. The building was then sold in 1983 to a local business and in private use until bought by the Nicholson Heritage Association in June 2012.
News/Newsletters about our efforts: