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“Check the Location on a Map, Don't Rely on your GPS” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
P.O. Box 189, Cresson, PA 16630
814-886-6150
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Ranked #1 of 2 Attractions in Cresson
Type: Historic Sites, Cultural
Activities: Walking
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Attraction details
Owner description: Experience railroad history at this historic Pennsylvania site.
London, England
Top Contributor
332 reviews 332 reviews
163 attraction reviews
Reviews in 180 cities Reviews in 180 cities
217 helpful votes 217 helpful votes
“Check the Location on a Map, Don't Rely on your GPS”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

My first piece of advice is in the title. My GPS couldn't find it, but fortunately I'd checked on a map before setting out and whilst I was there they had a query from a "lost" visitor. When you do find it you won't be disappointed. Start with the informative film to give a better understanding of the history, allow plenty of time to walk down to the Lemon House. A good place to spend a few hours.

Visited June 2014
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31 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Orange, Virginia
Top Contributor
140 reviews 140 reviews
39 attraction reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
“Fascinating and fun!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2014

We spent the better part of our day at this historic site and had a wonderful time! We first saw the film at the Visitors Center, and it was definitely worth the 20 minutes. Well done and informative.

After a brief tour of the Center we took the nice walk down to the Lemon House, stopping at the machinery area that shows how the railroad cars were lifted up and down the mountain.

The self-guided tour at the Lemon House was quite enjoyable and well enough signed that the lack of a guide was not felt. A leisurely stroll back to the Visitor Center and a stop at the small but well stocked gift shop completed this phase. I should note that it is a longish walk to the Lemon House, but the walk is along a modern boardwalk through the woods with plenty of 'rest stops' with benches. The grade is noticeable, but by taking our time and stopping occasionally, even my decreased-mobility husband was able to make and enjoy the walk. One can drive to the House, however, if the walk is too much.

We did drive to the Skew Arch - a fascinating bridge that was built on the skew to accommodate the wagons on the road above the railroad. It's really amazing and pleasing to the eye.

All in all, it was a totally worthwhile and pleasurable visit!

Visited May 2014
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Springfield, Massachusetts
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“great piece of history”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2014

Wonderful history lesson -- how did people and goods get from Philadelphia west, over the Allegheny Mountains, before the railroad tunnels were built? Well, this historic site will provide the answer -- and it will amaze you.

Visited May 2014
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Newcastle
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Little Known Piece of History”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2014

Back in the 1830's, people had two ways to travel from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh....One was by roads, which were little more than muddy Indian Trails through the wilderness. The other was to travel by Canal Boat......but one BIG problem stood in the way.....the Allegheny Mountains that run from north to south across Central Pennsylvania.

The solution came when some very innovative people decided to HAUL THE CANAL BOATS OVER THE MOUNTAINS via the Allegheny-Portage Railroad.

Completed in 1834, it was truly an engineering marvel......hauling boats up extremely steep grades via cables pulled by massive engines housed in buildings up and down the slopes....it ran for over 30 miles and connected to canals on both the east and west sides of the mountains.

For the next 20 years, it provided an incredibly fast way to get from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh....until the Railroad was able to be build over the mountains.

Visit the impressive Visitor's Center and other historic buildings, including an "Engine House", a Tavern (called the "Lemon House") and sections of rail as they would have appeared in the 1830s.

Less than a mile off of Rte 22, this is well worth the visit when you are in the Altoona area.

Check it out.

Visited April 2014
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Gallitzin, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“History Class!!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014

Coming to the Alleghany Portage Railroad is one interesting place. They have an old engine shed here that trains used to come in and out of. If you are visiting the visitor center they have a fee but if you just want to walk down and see the engine shed it is free.

Visited March 2014
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