Plan a Field Trip to the Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village
The village appears little changed since the turn of the 20th century, with the A.M. Grove Store sitting beside the beautiful Muddy Creek. The mill, grain elevator, and fertilizer buildings still stand next to the mainline of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad. Even the historic two-hole outhouse remains behind the store. People are able to ride through the scenic Muddy Creek valley where passengers have ridden for over a hundred and thirty years.
But best of all are the costumed docents who are knowledgeable about various aspects of the railroad and village. For school visits, bus tours, or other chartered events, they will lead you in an exploration of the buildings, take you back in time to the period circa 1915, challenge you to think about how life was different from today, and help you experience the joy of riding our motorcar trains.
The A. M. Grove General Store
Built in 1900, all four floors of this store sold merchandise and some was even sold on the spacious wrap-around porch.
- The Muddy Creek Forks Post Office, located in the store distributed the mail from four mail trains a day (2 north-bound and 2 south-bound). There are postal boxes in the store and there were also two rural routes.
- The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Station occupies one room of the store, with ticket counter, telegraph key, and antique phone. From here people could not only buy tickets, but could arrange for freight shipments, pick up railway express packages, and even send telegrams.
- The telephone room, a small cubicle, contains one of the switching machines from the Stewartstown exchange of the York Eastern Telephone Company and a period telephone.
- An operating player piano provides a center for a discussion of leisure time activities at the turn of the century, as well as the use of rail transportation for unusual cargoes
- The rope-driven freight elevator, built into the store in 1900, is still operational and demonstrations are given.
- Our docents use our collection of unusual antiques to provide an interactive discussion of how tasks were accomplished in earlier eras.
- A diorama and displays introduce the people and businesses in the village of Muddy Creek Forks.
- A timeline and displays of railroad artifacts, photos, and text informs visitors about the history of the Ma & Pa Railroad.
- Slide shows can be presented in the store to groups up to about 35-40 people
Unfortunately, the roller mill equipment was scrapped in the 1940’s; however a set of mill stones, the crane to lift them up for dressing, a bucket elevator, the bagger, and some of the chutes serve to illustrate some of the mechanisms needed to produce flour.
One stand of roller mills is on display in the mill to introduce you to this enhanced milling technology.
The miller, one of our docents, explains the operation of the mill, how flour was shipped by rail, and relates the importance of milling for the families in the community
The Grain Elevator
The Grain Elevator was built to allow A. M. Grove to store grain he purchased from local farmers and consolidated into boxcar-sized lots for resale to Baltimore grain dealers.
- The grain elevator can store 9,000 bushels of grain in 8 separate bins. Stored grain allowed the mill to operate year round.
- Used until 1984, the grain elevator is almost entirely intact.
- The weighing, cleaning, and moving of grain through the elevator are described by the interpreter.
- Chutes used to channel grain out of the elevator and into boxcars with doors partially boarded up can be seen.
- The scale house across the road has a still-functioning scale, which was used first to weigh full wagons, then the load was emptied and the wagon re-weighed. The weight of the impurities separated out in the cleaning was then subtracted to obtain the amount the farmer was paid.
- The milk collection building built by the City Dairy from Baltimore on land rented from Mr. Grove has a cement pool in the basement through which cool spring water flowed to keep the milk chilled and fresh while waiting for the train to the city.
- The fertilizer building, which stored fertilizer and seed which were delivered by rail until the farmers could pick it up, was crucial to the success of area landowners. This was an important business for A.M. Grove.
- The barn, in which tobacco was hung to dry and hay was stored upstairs, also was home to the livestock which grazed in some of the bottom land.
- The two-hole outhouse serves as a reminder that indoor plumbing was not available at the turn of the century.
- Although not owned by the Society, the houses which were home to the miller, telegrapher, warehouseman, and James Grove’s family (he was A.M. Grove’s brother and business partner) can be seen from the museum grounds.
- The tool house used by the track gang is still in use by the Ma & Pa Railroad Preservation Society to store equipment and supplies needed to maintain the track.
Motocar Train Rides
- A section gang, responsible for the maintenance of 10 miles of track for the Ma & Pa Railroad, was headquartered in Muddy Creek Forks.
- The equipment used for the train rides is a group of work crew cars hitched together. Some cars are covered, but most are open to the weather.
- The ride through the Muddy Creek Valley is very scenic and allows passengers to get a feel for the slower pace of travel at an earlier time and enjoy the wind and wooded hillsides.
- A brief presentation on the railroad, its history, and its crucial role in the economic development and community life of the towns it served is given by one of the train crew.
- Parking is ample, with a drop off area in front of the store and a large field across the road for buses.
- Ramps to the station platform and up to the store building can be used for handicapped access to the first floor of the store. To reach the second floor requires climbing some stairs.
- There are two steps up to the floor level of the mill and a ramp between the mill and the grain elevator.
- Restroom facilities currently consist of port-a-johns with hand sanitizer units. A handicapped accessible unit can be provided if desired.
- Picnic tables can be made available.
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The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society
P.O. Box 2262
York, PA 17405-5122