Monuments of an Early March Trip

With Spring slowly starting to creep its way back into our lives, we had a few sunny but slightly chilly days in March to tease us. Well, tease all you want mother nature! I was off and took advantage of it (she reminded us its still winter later in the week). Day one was spent with friends Bryan and Dave, our main goal was to photograph trains. However, the railroad was not agreeing with us and it turned more into a day of good food and laughs with a couple trains and a few side stops. Day two was spent with one of my favorite road trip partners, Ilona. Almost every time we are out something memorable happens. This includes anything from having the crap scared out of us to uncontrollable laughing. Needless to say, any trip with her is an absolute adventure! A few of the photos were taken on March 3 with a majority being taken on March 6.

The trip with Ilona on March 6 was made up of stops at various places and sites to see. This blog will be focused mainly on memorials we visited on this trip, in the near future I will write about additional places we visited. The trip started with my 40 minute drive to her home to pick her up. Since I got a slightly later start than I wanted I decided a gas station visit would occur later and sooner (trust me you will hear more on this later). After picking up my side kick for the trip we headed off to the first stop, located about 10 minutes from her home that she did not know about.

Mammoth Mine Memorial

The Mammoth mines were made up of two mines. Mammoth #1 Mine was a mine shaft and Mammoth #2 was a slope mine. Mammoth #1 was owned by Colonel J.W. Moore Coke Company in Greensburg, PA. In 1889 the mine was sold to The H. C. Frick Coke Company.

Located off a country road, hidden behind the Mt. Pleasant Township Road Department remaining out of site, out of mind is the only reminder of this disaster. Here the sealed shaft of Mammoth #1 Mine remains with an old coal cart and a memorial stone with the names of those 109 men and boys forever lost.

On January 27, 1891 one of the most deadly mine disasters in Pennsylvania and the United States occurred here, the Mammoth Mine Disaster. Also known as the Frick Mine Explosion occurred just after 9:00 AM. It is believed the explosion was caused by firedamp being ignited by a miners oil lamp. Most of the miners are believed to have survived the explosion however they suffocated by the effects of the afterdamp. 79 of the 109 are buried in a mass grave at a local cemetery.

Names of the Lost

Just to give you an understanding, firedamp is a flammable gas found in coal mines. It is the name given to a number of flammable gases, especially methane. It is particularly found in areas where the coal is bituminous. The gas accumulates in pockets in the coal and adjacent strata, and when they are penetrated, the release can trigger explosions. Historically, if such a pocket was highly pressurized, it was termed a “bag of foulness”. Afterdamp, is the toxic mixture of gases left in a mine following an explosion caused by firedamp, which itself can initiate a much larger explosion of coal dust. It consists of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, another highly toxic gas, may also be present. However, it is the high content of carbon monoxide which kills by depriving victims of oxygen by combining preferentially with hemoglobin in the blood.

Mammoth Mine #1

The incident at Mammoth prompted Pennsylvania state legislation to strengthen mine safety inspections. The President of H.C. Coke Company, Thomas Lynch introduced the phrase, “Safety is the first consideration” and it appeared on every company circular. Soon after the expressions was shortened to a very common phrase we see everyday at nearly every workplace, “Safety First”. Soon after this disaster, the company published 25 mine safety rules. As the number of accidents increased, the rules increased. These rules were later adopted by other mining companies throughout the region. Most of the rules were listed in the 1916 edition of the Coal Miner’s Pocketbook.

While this was a very tragic accident to occur in Southwestern Pennsylvania, this event not only changed the industry but also gave us a simple saying that our lives depend upon, “Safety First”.

The next memorial stop on this trip is located in a much busier location but still surely goes highly unnoticed by the hundreds maybe thousands that pass by it daily. Located on the side of Route 30 East (Lincoln Highway) in Ligonier Township at the intersection of St. Clair Hollow Road stands a marker and stone monument to a man many never heard of.

General St Clair
Marker Along Lincoln Highway

Arthur St. Clair was born March 23, 1737 in Thurs, Scotland. In 1757, St. Clair purchased a commission in the British Army, Royal American Regiment, and came to America with Admiral Edward Boscawen’s fleet for the French and Indian War. On April 16, 1762, he resigned his commission, and, in 1764, he settled in Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania, where he purchased land and erected mills. He was the largest landowner in Western Pennsylvania. In 1770, St. Clair became a justice of the court, of quarter sessions and of common pleas, a member of the proprietary council, a justice, recorder, and clerk of the orphans’ court, and prothonotary of Bedford and Westmoreland counties.

Monument to St Clair
Monument to St Clair

By the 1770’s Arthur St. Clair seen himself as more of an American than British. During the Revolutionary War, he rose to the rank of Major General in the Continental Army, however after a controversial retreat from Fort Ticonderoga he lost his command. After the war, he served as the 15th President of the Continental Congress. During his term he passed the Northwest Ordinance. He then became governor of the Northwest Territory in 1788. In 1791, St. Clair commanded the American forces in what was the United States’s worst ever defeat against the American Indians. Politically out-of-step with the Jefferson administration, he was replaced as governor in 1802.

Major General Arthur St. Clair died in poverty on August 31, 1818 in Greensburg, PA. He was buried under a Masonic monument in St. Clair Park in Greensburg. Arthur St. Clair has had many places named after him in seven states as well as in Scotland. The American Civil War steamer U.S.S. St. Clair was also named after him.

After departing the St. Clair Monument, we were also done with Westmoreland County for now and headed for Johnstown in Cambria County, PA. Here we visited the Grandview Cemetery. Good reason for this cemetery be to named Grandview, the view is just that. However, if you plan on visiting wait until spring. We hoped to ride the incline while there however it was closed for the season. The cemetery is one of the largest in the state, over 235 acres.

Johnstown has had a pretty rough history. Besides for being an industrial powerhouse at one time, the city was nearly wiped off the face of the earth. After several days of heavy rain the South Fork Dam on the Little Conemaugh River gave way releasing 14.55 million cubic meters of water. The wave of the flood waters reached as high as 75 feet and speeds of 40 mph, it took 65 minutes for the lake to drain. When it crashed into the city of Johnstown the wave was 36 feet high. When it was all over most of Johnstown was destroyed and 2,208 people per killed, 777 of those bodies were never identified. Those 777 souls were laid to rest at the Grandview Cemetery in an area known as the, “Plot of the Unknown”.

Plot of the Unknown
Plot of the Unknown

A simple sign marks the location of the unidentified remains of those killed on May 31, 1889. Here in the Plot of the Unknown stands 777 identical unmarked headstones, one for each of the unidentified. While they may never be known, these headstones ensure they will never be forgotten. On the backside of this section stands a large monument to honor those lost.

Plot of the Unknown
Plot of the Unknown

A short walk from the Plot of the Unknown stands the tallest monument in the cemetery. Paid for by the public, this monument was placed here to honor those who served in the American Civil War. The monument is surrounded by the Circle of Soldiers who served in the Grand Army of the Republic.

Soldier's Circle
Soldier’s Circle

On the other side of the cemetery at one of its highest points stands this large memorial. Originally placed in the Union Cemetery in 1898. This monument honors the graves of those that were washed away in the flood on May 31, 1889. In 1949, this monument was moved here, possibly to protect it from any future floods.

Lost Remains
Lost Remains

After departing Grandview Cemetery we continued our journey for the day. There were other stops in between the monuments we already talked about and the final monument of the stop. Since this blog is only focused on the monuments and memorials we will discuss the other stops in future blogs.

As I said before, trips with Ilona are always entertaining. This time, it was my own fault. At the beginning I told you I skipped the gas station stop to make up time for me getting a late start………. As a divorced male, I should have known better, but typical man moment, I did it anyhow. When we left Johnstown I knew fuel was getting low but I did not want to go into downtown to get gas. We left the city and most of Cambria is pretty rural. I knew we would be okay, however a woman is a woman. The discussion for this part of the trip was mainly focused on the fuel situation. Against her better judgement we continued on making stops, none of which included a gas station as none were nearby along the way. My goal, make it to Sheetz gas station in Portage, and we did. Here we got lunch and gas, she was happy once again. However I did hear about it the whole trip…… lesson learned here fellas, start with a full tank of fuel.

The final  stop as far as monuments and memorials go on this trip was a very interesting place that is probably little known outside the local community. I first stopped here on March 3rd with my friend Bryan but knew this was a place Ilona would really enjoy. She is that dark morbid friend of mine that we all have…….now that I think of it I have a lot of those but she is the darkest. Take my word on this when I tell you…….she has an antique casket in her home.

Located at St. Michael’s Basilica in Loretto, PA is the tomb of Prince Demetrius Gallitzin. The tomb sits in front of St. Michael’s under a statue of the prince. The tomb is vary narrow with not a lot of space but it is open to the public.

St Michael's Basilica
St Michael’s Basilica

Prince Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin (December 22, 1770 – May 6, 1840) was an emigre Russian aristocrat and Roman Catholic priest known as The Apostle of the Alleghenies. Since 2005, he has been under consideration for possible canonization by the Catholic Church. His current title is Servant of God. The Prince was born into inherited privilege. His father was the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands and his mother was a Prussian Countess.

Prince Gallitzin
Prince Gallitzin

The Prince arrived in the United States on October 28, 1792 and quickly became interested in the needs of The Church in the United States. He chose to give up his inheritance and become a priest.  He attended the newly formed Seminary of St. Sulpice in Baltimore on November 5, 1792 and Father Gallitzin was ordained on March 18, 1795. In 1799, Gallitzin founded the settlement of Loretto, PA and it became the first English-speaking Catholic settlement in the United States west of the Allegheny Front.

Prince Gallitzin Tomb
Prince Gallitzin Tomb

The Prince would go broke at one point in an attempt to build the community of Loretto. Even through the toughest of times he never forgot where he planted his roots in Pennsylvania. He turned down numerous positions within the Roman Catholic Church to remain in Loretto. He was considered for positions in Philadelphia, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, and was also nominated to be the first bishop of Cincinnati and Detroit, all positions that would require him to leave Loretto. Finally, he did accept appointment as Vicar-General for Western Pennsylvania.

St. Michael's/Prince Gallitzen
St. Michael’s/Prince Gallitzen

By the end of his life he paid back all of the loans he incurred to create the town of Loretto. It is believed that he spent nearly $150,000 of his own money to create a community for Roman Catholics. For 41 years, Price Gallitzin traveled the Allegheny Mountains in all types of health and weather conditions. After a fall that severely injured him preventing him from riding a horse, he continued to travel by sleigh. His travels consisted of preaching, teaching, serving, praying and offering the sacraments. A doctor had recommended bed rest and warmth for the exhausted priest, but he was reluctant to curtail any of the Lenten or Holy Week services. Father Gallitzin ministered faithfully until the very end of his life, and after a brief illness, died at the age of 69 in Loretto on May 6, 1840, shortly after Easter.

For more photographs of these places and many more places, click over to my Facebook Page, Neat Road Trips. Be sure to watch for additional blogs coming out soon on other places I visited on this most recent trip. Please share this page and be sure to “Like” Neat Road Trips on Facebook and invite your friends.

The post Monuments of an Early March Trip appeared first on Neat Road Trips.

Source: Neat Road Trips

Monuments of an Early March Trip

First Short Cold Road Trip of 2018

For those that have followed my road trips and photographs in the past, I had promised to try and make 2018 more eventful and interesting. Part of doing so was adding a blog of the trips to share the experience, photographs, and some history. To try and keep with my promise I started the new year out with a short trip on January 1.

As 2017 ended and 2018 began with a cold blast here in the Southwestern Pennsylvania. I didn’t let the cold stop me (after being out of the car more than 15-20 minutes my hands and face disagreed). With temperatures hanging around 15 degrees, I had  blue skies with some clouds. Off I went, unfortunately the blue skies decided to play games at times.

Apples Mill ChurchFirst stop would be at a favorite location of mine, located about 10 minutes from home. Apples Mill Church is a plain simple structure that reminds me of easier days gone by. The church also once went by the name of the United Brethren Church. Little history is known of the church. Reliable sources tell me its history goes back to at least Civil War. A walk through the Funk Cemetery (located in the rear) shows a possible longer history. While many locals are familiar with the church, it did receive its own 15 seconds of fame. It appeared in the opening sequence of the television show Justified. Thankfully, the neighbors of the church care for both the church grounds and the cemetery. Due to weather conditions and the driveway not being maintained I wasn’t able to park and explore. I don’t know what my attachment to this place is. It is truly an enjoyable  place for me. It may sound silly but this place is a Powerball dream of mine. I would definitely consider purchasing this place and restoring it. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Once I was done here, I decided a few updated covered bridge photographs in the snow were needed. Lucky for me (and you) the only remaining covered bridge in Westmoreland County is located just minutes away. Along the way I stopped a few times for random photographs. Most of the land in the area of Apples Mills Church is farm land with old homes, barns, and rolling hills.

Farm House in South Huntingdon Twp





As I approached the next stop I noticed an older fella along the road watching me. Out of curiosity I stopped. He watched me with little reaction until I pulled the camera up to photograph him, then he would look away. After a few moments of a one sided conversation he finally gave me a pose. Granted I couldn’t get a smile from him but I guess when you’re standing along the road in very cold temperatures I can’t get too greedy. After a few moments of talking to a farm animal I arrived at my next stop, a true gem Westmoreland County has to offer.

Bells Mill Covered Bridge was designed and built by Daniel McCain in 1850. The bridge crosses Sewickley Creek connecting Sewickley and South Huntingdon Townships. It sees a fair amount of traffic as many use this as a short cut to I-70. Protecting the bridge on each side is a large steel “I” beam. This prevents over-height vehicles from damaging the bridge.
Bells Mill Covered BridgeBuilt with a burr truss design, it measures 104 feet long and 13 feet wide. Bridge sides are covered with barn red horizontal clapboard siding and painted inside and out. There are no windows just the wide eave openings. The roof consists of cedar shakes and the deck has lengthwise planking in wide tire track areas that are laid over crosswise planking. The entire structure rests on stone and mortar abutments that are reinforced with concrete both at the ground and road level. There are also stone and mortar wingwalls that are protected with heavy wooden guardrails.

After finishing the covered bridge I dipped back into the valley along the Youghiogheny River into the town of West Newton for a few stops. The next stop was a last second add on. I remembered the home and thought I had to share it. Owned by Dr. Hope, a retired veterinarian who served the community for decades. A small sign out front says, “Welcome to Hopeville”. This is definitely a memorable home and must see. Dr Hope HouseLocated a few blocks away along the railroad tracks stands the former B&O Railroad Station. Built in Queen Ann Style, it was built in 1892 and served as a station for both the Pittsburgh & Connellsville Railroad and the B&O Railroad. The building was built by renowned architect Ephraim Francis Baldwin. Baldwin was named Head Architect for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1872 and during the course of his career designed numerous buildings for the railroad. While the building no longer serves as a station its current owner, CSX still uses it for railroad operations.West Newton B&O Station A half a block away from the former train station stands the Plumer House on the corner of Vine Street and Water Street. This is the oldest building in West Newton. In 1979 the home was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The original section was built in 1814. It’s a 2 1⁄2-story, wood-frame structure with a gable roof. In 1846 an addition was added,  the addition is a 2 1⁄2-story, brick structure with a gable roof and two chimneys. The home features a rear porch overlooking the Youghiogheny River.Plumer HouseWith a short drive to the other side of the river I arrived at our next stop along the Great Allegheny Passage Trail. At one time railroad tracks operated by the P&LE Railroad (Pittsburgh & Lake Erie) connected to the Western Maryland Railroad and ran into Cumberland, MD. Today, the tracks are gone and the structure that stands here is not the original P&LE Station. In an effort to preserve historical appearance a close reproduction of the original was built.  The site has an old P&LE car, railroad signal, and a concrete mile marker showing milepost 113.

P&LE StationP&LE Station






Across the street from the station stands a small white church with a red door, St. Paul AME. While I don’t know much about the church, it is definitely something you would see in small town America. This will be another place I return to in hopes of getting a peak inside. These small old churches reach out to me and I enjoy them very much.

St Paul AME St Paul AME







After departing the train stations and St. Paul AME, it was time to get my education on. While the weather was not improving and by improving I mean getting warmer, it was good so far. I headed off toward Rostraver Township, my next stop would be about a 10 minute drive, just long enough to warm up.

Thanks to snow, parking was difficult at the Old Concord Schoolhouse. Lucky enough for me, the traffic along the road was abnormally slow so on went the hazard lights and out I went. Built in 1830, the Concord Subscription School sits off of Route 51 in Rostraver Township. The school operated from 1830-1873. Classes ran six-day-a-week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The school master was paid 25 cents per student per month. According to historical records, between 50 and 80 students were crammed into the one room schoolhouse by the 1850s.

Concord SchoolhouseDuring the winter terms the school masters were men and in the summer it was women who taught because the men were working in the fields. By 1873, a new school was built and the subscription school was sometimes utilized as a nondenominational school and later a storehouse. After World War II, Rostraver School Superintendent E.F. Carter led an effort to have the school restored. Some history classes were taught there in 1948.

Concord SchoolhouseWith blue skies for the most part and temperatures in the teens I decided I may as well head off to get a few more covered bridges in the snow. At this point in time and location my best bet would be Mingo Creek Park in Washington County. I made a slight detour in the area to pick up a friend that wanted to go along. On the way to her home I made a quick stop at the Cook Farm in Fayette County. You may be wondering, I started in Westmoreland, now going into Fayette, then heading into Washington County. The general area I was in is where the three counties meet and can literally move between them in a matter of minutes.

Cook Farm
With a large amount of property, barn, several out buildings and 2 homes it is a beautiful piece of land. The Cook Farm was home to one of the original founders of Rostraver Township. The property dates back to around 1774, with the original stone house (seen in distance in above photo) still standing on the property. Due to a large number of cars parked there and lack of public parking, I was not able to get a good photograph of it. The home pictured below is the second home built on the property. Today the farm still remains in the Cook Family.
Cook Farm Barn
Cook Farm House
With clouds moving in and Cindy along for the rest of the trip we head off for the 20 minute drive to Mingo Creek Park. Up to this point road conditions were excellent and the cold was the only monster I had to deal with…… up until this point. As we started down some of the back roads and the main road into the park, we found roads were not well cleared and a little on the icy side. Oh well, we’ve made it this far, why stop now.
Henry Covered Bridge
First stop in the park was the popular Henry Covered Bridge. Here is where conditions got a little worse. The wind was whipping down through the park and after only 10 minutes outdoors my hands were numb and hurting, but I was here.  The blue skies I had before were also lost to cloudy and overcast skies. Henry Covered Bridge is located in a very scenic area and sees plenty of vehicle traffic in the park. The bridge was built in 1841 by an unknown builder. It’s owned and maintained by Washington County and crosses Mingo Creek. The current location of the bridge is not its original and that location is unknown.
Henry Covered BridgeHenry Covered Bridge was built using a Queenpost design and measures 36 feet long and 12 feet 6 inches wide. The roof of the bridge is a tin gable to protect the structure. Its walls are vertical board siding with two windows and narrow eave openings per side. The deck is crosswise planking with moderate length stone and mortar wingwalls capped with concrete. The deck of the bridge has been reinforced with five steel “I” beams that rest on the cut stone abutments and concrete supports.

A short drive from Henry Covered Bridge through the park on ice covered roads led us to the second bridge, Ebenezer Covered Bridge.

Ebenezer Covered BridgeThe year and builder of the Ebenezer Bridge is unknown. Original location of the bridge was in Fallowfield Township near Charleroi where present day intersection of I-70 and Expressway 43 meet. The bridge was purchased by the county for $1.00 and tore down then rebuilt at its present location in Mingo Creek Park. Here it crosses Mingo Creek and open to vehicle traffic.
Ebenezer Covered BridgeEbenezer Bridge is covered with vertical board siding on the sides and portals, it’s painted barn red both inside and out. It’s covered with a sheet metal roof and has a deck of crosswise planking. There are two rectangular windows on each side, with fairly wide eave, openings. The deck is heavily reinforced with five steel “I” beams which, in turn, rest on the original abutments reinforced with concrete. Long cut stone and mortar wingwalls that are capped off with concrete on each end.
Having enough of the cold and the sun and blue skies gone as the short winter day comes to a close we decide to call it a day. But first, dinner. Coming back into Rostraver Township we decide to stop at Italian Village Pizza. We opted for a tasty white pizza with pepperoni. A perfect pizza ending to top off a good day of road tripping.
I hope that you will take a moment to not only share this story but also stop by my page on Facebook, Neat Road Trips and “Like” the page. While there you can view additional photographs from this trip and previous road trips I have taken.

The post First Short Cold Road Trip of 2018 appeared first on Neat Road Trips.

Source: Neat Road Trips

First Short Cold Road Trip of 2018

Train Trip Along CSX, Part 1.

Many of us as kids had two things in common, we loved fire trucks and trains. As we grew into teenagers and adults many either let go of both or held onto our love of them in one way or another. For me, it was both. In January of 2018, I will have 28 years as a volunteer firefighter and still get some enjoyment out of trains. Some people ask, “What’s so great about trains?” For me, it’s the power and lets face it, trains and railroading are as American to me as Baseball,  apple pie, and Old Glory.

I was lucky enough to work on the railroad for a short period and sit behind the controls of the beast that keep America moving. As adults some people build and design model layouts in their homes. While others like myself would rather relax track side, listening and seeing these massive machines. Then there are those that deny any interest in trains but still put a train under the Christmas Tree. Many of us have the itch, some more than others.

Train photography is where I got my start. For many years I only focused on trains. Then I decided to use the camera for my love of history. The number of train photographs I have taken over the years could fill a blog site itself. So for this blog I will share with you some of my favorite photographs and their locations along CSX.

This trip will depart from the station at Point of Rocks, Maryland. The photo above was taken on October 23, 2016 and shows CSX Q416 passing the former station heading west from Washington D.C. This is the furthest east I have been for trains. The station was built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1873. The station is situated at the junction of the B&O Old Main Line (running to Baltimore) and the Metropolitan Branch (running to Washington, D.C.).  The main station building is a ​2 12-story, triangular Gothic Revival with a four-story tower and a ​1 12-story wing at the base. The tower has a pyramidal roof containing a dormer on each side. On top is a square cupola supporting a pyramidal peaked roof.

This photograph was also taken at Point of Rocks, Maryland on the same date. Seen here is CSX N77 going east to Baltimore.  There is plenty of parking on the weekend. However, it is a very busy location during the week as this is a main transportation HUB for MARC passengers.



Continuing west. Our next stop brings us to the historic town of Harpers Ferry, WV. If you have never visited here, it’s a must! The only thing that upset me about this stop was not having the time to visit the historic locations. Needless to say, next trip there will be more time. This photograph shows the Capitol Limited stretched across the Potomac River. After stopping at Harpers Ferry it will continue east to Washington D.C.

Another photograph from Harpers Ferry below shows CSX Q130 passing through the station. Built by the B&O Railroad, the station is part of the Historical District. It’s a wooden frame Victorian style building, dating from 1889. It sits on buried foundations of the original Harpers Ferry armory buildings. If visiting here, paying attention is important. As you can see there is no protection from the trains.

Continuing the move west, but to a different day. We come to a location known as Foley’s Overlook. Located just outside of the small town of Fairhope, PA. With a scenic view this is not a real easy location to find or access. This photograph of CSX Q276 was taking on October 15, 2016. Q276 among the fall mountain colors glides down the mountain heading east towards Maryland.


From Fairhope continuing west and skipping a few locations. Our next stop is one of my all time favorites. Known as Mance, there is very little left of this village but the landscape is great. In this photograph taken on August 2, 2015 CSX K145 passes the former Mance Post Office heading west.

Just over a later we returned to Mance, just for the Fall colors. This photograph was taken on October 15, 2016. Here CSX Q135 is working west up the mountain. The difference was the color nature provided. Rolling mountains, Fall colors, and plenty of sun as it crawls through the trees.

Rolling in to our final destination for this blog, we arrive at Sand Patch, a little village outside of Meyersdale, PA. The village got its name due to its location on the rails. If coming west from Cumberland, MD or east from Connellsville, PA trains must climb the Allegheny Mountains. Sand Patch is the summit of the steepest railroad grade on the East Coast. In the days of steam, many times trains would need sand to get over the grade.

Pictured above is CSX K145 seen starting down the mountain at Sand Patch. The peak is just past the little shed along the rails.  We first caught this train at Mance climbing the grade on August 2, 2015. Thanks to steep grades and slow speeds up mountain it allowed us to catch it a  second time.

In March of 2015 while visiting Sand Patch, we caught a Canadian Pacific leading a CSX train into the summit. This view is looking west down the grade. With this view we are able to catch one of many windmill farms in the area. Plus the added bonus. Any railfan will notice boxcar with the fallen flag of Conrail on it. While Mance may be my favorite, Sand Patch is a close second.


I find it only appropriate to end this ride here, at a high point per-say. For part two of the CSX Trip we will continue working west.  Check out Neat Road Trips on Facebook. The photo’s seen here will be added shortly along with many more.


The post Train Trip Along CSX, Part 1. appeared first on Neat Road Trips.

Source: Neat Road Trips

Train Trip Along CSX, Part 1.

Bells Mill Covered Bridge

While Pennsylvania has plenty of covered bridges remaining, my home county of Westmoreland only has one. Bells Mill Covered Bridge is the only covered bridge in the county making it a true treasure. The photographs for this blog have been taken at different times of the year. This is not a good excuse since it is only located 10 minutes from me, but it will have to do.

The sides of the bridge are covered with barn red horizontal clapboard siding giving it your classic covered bridge appearance. The roof consists of cedar shakes and the deck has lengthwise planking in wide tire track areas that are laid over crosswise planking.  There are no side windows other than the rather wide, typical, lengthwise eave openings. The entire structure rests on stone and mortar abutments that are reinforced with concrete both at the ground and road level. The bridge also has stone and mortar wing walls that are protected with heavy wooden guardrails. To protect the bridge from over sized vehicles, there are steel beams located before the entrance ways showing the height as 6’6″.

Built in 1850, Bells Mill Bridge is a burr arch truss design, 13 feet wide and 104 feet long.  Even though the is located in a rural area connecting South Huntingdon and Sewickley Townships.  The bridge still sees a fair amount of traffic. If you visit please stay aware. Many people use it as a shortcut to Interstate 70. The bridge was designed by Daniel McCain who was also the contractor.  This bridge was placed on the National Register in 1979.

It’s fairly accessible all year long but parking in the winter may be difficult. During the summer when the trees are in full bloom they do provide plenty of shade, and in the fall additional color. The bridge itself is a rare gem and is very well taken care of. Being the only covered bridge in Westmoreland County makes it a must see if you enjoy covered bridges.

To view more photographs of Bells Mills Covered Bridge and other bridges in Westmoreland County, PA please visit the Westmoreland County Bridges folder of Neat Road Trips.


The post Bells Mill Covered Bridge appeared first on Neat Road Trips.

Source: Neat Road Trips

Bells Mill Covered Bridge

Welcome to Neat Road Trips

As you may have already known I’m George Neat and on my free time I enjoy taking road trips and visiting many places. Some locations are very well known while others are unknown or found along the way. Here you will be able to go along for the ride and read about the adventures (good, bad, funny, and embarrassing) as well as learn about the places we go. Many of the trips will have multiple themes while others may just have one. I hope that each trip will be interesting for you and provide some sort of entertainment factor.

Due to the winter season and unpredictable weather here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, new trips may be slow to. Until then I will be sharing with you some previous locations I have been as well as creating a Gettysburg Series.

Your feedback is always welcome as well as tips and locations. While a majority of the road trips will focus on Pennsylvania, you never know where I may end up going.

For additional photos please feel free to visit my Facebook Page Neat Road Trips.



The post Welcome to Neat Road Trips appeared first on Neat Road Trips.

Source: Neat Road Trips

Welcome to Neat Road Trips

Welcome to Westmoreland County

Bridges are always a good place to start a new journey. This one is in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and is called the Loyalhanna Creek Bridge. Also known as Latrobe Viaduct, this stone arch bridge was built in the early 1900’s to service the Pennsylvania Railroad. Today the bridge is owned and operated by Norfolk Southern Railroad and is part of the NS Pittsburgh Line.

Hidden away in Sewickley Twp near South Huntingdon Twp is this old abandoned church.

A quick stop at Crab Apple Lake in Sewickley Twp to see the ducks.

The post Welcome to Westmoreland County appeared first on Neat Road Trips.

Source: Neat Road Trips

Welcome to Westmoreland County