The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society Welcomes Homeschoolers!
If you would like to visit a place with a wide range of educational opportunities, we invite you to visit The Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village in Muddy Creek Forks, PA.
Especially for Homeschoolers at . . .The Village at Muddy Creek Forks
The village appears little changed since the turn of the 20th century, with the A. M. Grove Store sitting beside beautiful Muddy Creek. The mill, grain elevator, and fertilizer warehouse still stand next to the mainline of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad. Even the historic two-hole outhouse remains behind the store. Visitors can ride the rails 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. 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 1899, all four floors of this store sold merchandise and some items were even displayed on the spacious wrap-around porch.
- The Muddy Creek Forks Post Office, located in the store, distributed mail from four mail trains a day (two north-bound and two 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 window, agent's desk, telegraph key, and antique phone. From here people could not only buy train tickets, but could arrange for freight shipments, pick up railway express packages, and even send telegrams.
- The telephone room, a small cubicle next to the store office, contains an exchange switchboard from the Stewartstown exchange of the York Eastern Telephone Company.
- An operating player piano provides a center for discussing leisure time activities at the turn of the 20th century as well as the use of rail transportation for unusual cargoes.
- The rope-driven freight elevator, built into the store in 1899, is still operable 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 of the village of Muddy Creek Forks.
- A timeline and exhibits of railroad artifacts, photos, and text inform visitors about the history of the Ma & Pa Railroad and its central role in the community.
- For group visits, slide shows can be presented in the store for up to 35-40 people.
- Although milling ended in 1951, the mill equipment for stone grinding is largely intact. A set of mill stones, the crane to lift them for dressing, a bucket elevator, a flour bagger, and remaining spouts illustrate some of the mechanisms needed to produce buckwheat flour and animal feeds. Equipment for roller milling of white flour is also displayed.
- The mill docent explains 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:
- Wheat purchased from local farmers was stored in the grain elevator and consolidated into boxcar-sized lots for shipment by rail to Baltimore grain dealers. Having a local market for their grain made it possible for farmers to grow wheat as a cash crop and buy what they needed for their families at the general store. The elevator can store 9000 bushels of grain in 8 separate bins.
- 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.
- Spouts 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 platform scale large enough to weigh full wagons of grain brought for sale to the elevator. The scale was also used to weigh wagon-loads of coal sold from the store.
Other buildings which can be viewed from the exterior:
An 18 stop walking tour of Muddy Creek Forks includes additional historic structures:
- The milk collection building built by the City Dairy of Baltimore on land leased 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 warehouse stored fertilizer and seed that arrived by rail until the farmers could pick it up. More than 100 boxcar loads of fertilizer per year were sold to local farmers.
- The barn, in which tobacco was hung to dry and hay was stored, also was home to the livestock which grazed in some the bottom land near the creek.
- The two-hole outhouse serves as a reminder that indoor plumbing was not available at the turn of the 20th 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 railroad tool house, used by the Muddy Creek Forks track gang to maintain 10 miles of track through the Muddy Creek valley is still in use by the Ma & Pa Railroad Preservation Society to store equipment and supplies needed to maintain the track.
The Motorcar Trains:
- A five-mile train ride through the Muddy Creek Valley is a highlight for many visitors.
- Our motorcar train consists of a group of work cars of the kind formerly used by railroads for their track gangs. Some cars are enclosed, but most are open to the air.
- The ride through the valley is very scenic and gives passengers a feel for the slower pace of travel at an earlier time and a chance 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 cars and buses.
- Ramps to the station platform and up to the store building provide 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. A portable ramp can provide wheelchair access to the mill with assistance.
- Restroom facilities currently consist of port-a-johns with hand sanitizer units. A handicapped accessible unit can be provided if desired for large group visits.
- The village is open for visits from May through October during any of our open days, as described in our brochure.
- Also listed in the brochure are several special events of particular interest to those who enjoy learning about our country's history.
- Group visits for groups of 30 or more can be arranged. Special learning experiences have been developed for school age children with emphases on math and history and transportation. These can be tailored to the age level and interests of the group.
For more information please visit our web site, or contact one of the following.
The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society
P.O. Box 2262
York, PA 17405-2262
Download a printable copy of a Short History of Muddy Creek Forks