Preservation of Shawmont Station

Discussion Related to the Reading Company 1833-1976 and it's predecessors Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway.

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Preservation of Shawmont Station

Postby glenonoko » Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:50 am

Some of you may have heard the recent rumors about the possible demolition of the ex-Reading passenger station at Shawmont, on the Norristown Branch, now SEPTA’s R-6 line, a bit west of Manayunk. SEPTA closed it as a rail stop in the early 1990s, but the building still stands, in relatively good shape and still occupied by a tenant. The demolition rumors prompted local community groups to try to preserve it. Professional studies were done early this year and have confirmed that this “Greek Revival” style station building does indeed date to the opening of the railroad in 1834. This makes it the OLDEST railroad passenger station still standing in the United States, quite a distinction for the City of Philadelphia, and for fans of the Reading RR. (The B&O’s Ellicott City station near Baltimore is an older structure but was originally not a passenger station). Furthermore, Shawmont was possibly designed by William Strickland, a very famous architect and civil engineer in his time, whose other credits include the Second Bank of the United States in Philadelphia, and the Tennessee State Capital building.
The first step in preserving Shawmont is to get it placed on the Historical Register. The groups leading this effort have asked for the public to show support by sending letters to the Philadelphia Historical Commission's Committee on Historical Nomination, BEFORE June 27th, addressed to:

Erin Cote
Philadelphia Historical Commission
Room 578
City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Letters can include your reasons why you think the station should be registered in the City, your connection to the community, City, or interest groups, the importance of historic preservation to teach future generations about accomplishments of previous generations, tourism potential, etc.. Also, there will be a Public Formal Meeting on Friday July 11, at 9 AM in Room 10-029, 1515 Arch Steet, Phila. (also known as One Parkway), and anyone interested is encouraged to attend.
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Re: Shawmont Station

Postby PARailWiz » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:27 pm

Any word on why it's possibly being demolished?
The picture to the right is a photo of Silverliner I 246 located at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA.
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Re: Shawmont Station

Postby glenonoko » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:15 am

John Johnstone, who is helping to lead the Shawmont Station preservation efforts, reports that on Friday June 27, the Philadelphia Historical Commission's Committee for Historical Designation voted unanimously that Shawmont Station should be designated as a significant Philadelphia historic landmark, including the undisturbed grounds, which are also historically significant archaeologically. There were several letters of support and no letters of opposition. The next meeting for the final historic designation will be:

Friday, July 11 at 9 AM at:

1515 Arch St. (One Parkway)
Room 18-029
Philadelphia

Anyone who can do so is encouraged to attend.
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Re: Shawmont Station

Postby John Johnstone » Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:36 pm

I just wanted to thank you for including Shawmont updates on the Railroad Net. I believe I have already been emaiing you info on the station? So glad that you're on board. John Johnstone
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Re: Shawmont Station

Postby Nacho66 » Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:28 pm

Thank you Philadelphia.
I can't say how relieved I am.
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Re: Shawmont Station

Postby BaltOhio » Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:22 pm

But now comes the hard part, I guess. Does anyone know who plans to restore it, where the money will come from, etc.? And can it be kept on site, or will SEPTA insist that it be moved?
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Re: Shawmont Station

Postby PARailWiz » Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:16 pm

I'm still curious why they wanted to demolish it...does anyone know?
The picture to the right is a photo of Silverliner I 246 located at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA.
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Re: Shawmont Station

Postby John Johnstone » Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:48 pm

We're going for National Landmark status, now that as of today, it is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. We'll be looking for funding at the City and State level and later from the National, being the oldest passenger railway station in the United States. When restored, it will display both its 1834 P,G & N Greek Revival Period and 1870 added Victorian Phila. & Reading attributes. Wish me luck.
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Re: Shawmont Station

Postby scotty269 » Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:44 pm

John Johnstone wrote:We're going for National Landmark status, now that as of today, it is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. We'll be looking for funding at the City and State level and later from the National, being the oldest passenger railway station in the United States. When restored, it will display both its 1834 P,G & N Greek Revival Period and 1870 added Victorian Phila. & Reading attributes. Wish me luck.


Congratulations so far, and good luck!
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Re: Shawmont Station

Postby Hal » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:59 pm

PARailWiz wrote:I'm still curious why they wanted to demolish it...does anyone know?


I think the concern was that it could have been demolition to construct riverfront condos.

Several years ago, there were plans to demolish then refurbish the nearby Shawmont Waterworks/Roxoborough Pump Station site,
so this may be a situation where people notice the value.

It appears that the Shawmont Waterworks is scheduled for demolition, although the work seems to be suspended
in the current funding crunch.

I don't think anyone is lined up to demolish the station, but placing it on the register helps.

As an aside, you can find "before" photos of the Shawmont Waterworks at the
philadelphia photos site

http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/

there are plenty of "after" photos on flicker
http://www.flickr.com

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Re: Preservation of Shawmont Station

Postby BaltOhio » Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:00 pm

Has anything new happened here in the three years since the last posting?
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Re: Preservation of Shawmont Station

Postby John Johnstone » Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:47 am

The only thing new is that the nearby old pumphouse buildings have been torn down. The old towpath behind the station has been cleared with a road barrier in place. Things have been "hush hush" in regards to the station building. To think that the current tenant is the only one who has made repairs to the building and maintained the grounds since SEPTA took ownership and they do nothing to maintain it, yet collect rent for it. A complete disgrace.
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Re: Preservation of Shawmont Station

Postby MainLineTrains » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:19 pm

Hi created some 'PicBricks' of shawmont station and the whole main line...

Today I launched a crowd funding photography project about the Philadelphia Main Line Train Stations. In it is Shawmont station.

Thought it may be an interesting piece for the main line / Philadelphia community during the holidays.

Here it is http://www.indiegogo.com/mainline

feel free to contact me with any questions.
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Re: Preservation of Shawmont Station

Postby John Johnstone » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:09 am

Good news! I have a meeting with SEPTA on Monday to discuss Shawmont Station's history and architectural attributes. They want to start restoring it. They have already cleaned up the grounds and cleared away much of the brush as well as the towpath behind it. Keep your fingers crossed and thank you all for your support! John
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Re: Preservation of Shawmont Station

Postby John Johnstone » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:23 am

SEPTA announced at a Shawmont Community meeting, that they are acknowleging local architectural and financial support for a proper restoration of Shawmont Station. Future use is pending. Measures have been taken to better secure the building. Grounds are cleaned-up and a new heating system was installed to prevent further deterioration. The building pre-dates the railroad to 1826, according to deeds. Actual build date will have to be confirmed via Schuylkill Navigation Co. records. It is the only surviving multi-use building which facilitated the Pennsylvania Improvement Project of Canals, Roads and Railroads, written by William Strickland in the late 1820's. It was purchased by Henry Croskey, Lumber and Railroad Merchant in February of 1835. Croskey owned much of the acherage surrounding the Station and is said to have named; "Green Tree Run", "Green Tree Lane" and 'Green Tree Station". Croskey sold the well-established station to the Railroad in 1857. Croskey also became President of the Ridge Avenue Railway upon its opening in 1874. The name "Green Tree Station" was changed to "Shawmont Station " in 1873, years after inventor Thomas Shaw moved into Henry Croskey's residence and had invented several improvements for the Railroad. A history page will be posted on the internet as well as an updated historic video, in months to come.
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