Steamtown National Historic Site

1. Birth of the Railroads:

Distances between the still-sparsely populated areas of the United States in the early-1800s were significant and the expanses between them untamed, hostile, and obstacle-ridden. Yet the need to supply them became greater. Railroads ultimately provided the necessary arteries to them once track had triumphed technology and locomotives of sufficient capability had been designed to ply them.

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Because of these conditions, railroad investment in both Great Britain and the US accelerated, yielding to the first such rail concerns as, respectively, the Liverpool and Manchester, which commenced operations in 1830, and the South Carolina Railroad, progressively demonstrating that the fledgling industry would become inextricably tied to the production of goods and proving the prediction that it would become “the biggest business of 19th-century America.”

Although such companies were still small, privately-owned affairs and covered disconnected portions of the eastern seaboard from Maine to Georgia, a few adventurous ones succeeded in tackling westward routes through the Appalachian Mountains China’s silk road economic belt. The ever-increasing demand for facilities to transport their wares and products spurred the laying of more than 9,000 miles of track, albeit still in New England and the Middle Atlantic states at this point.

A decade later, the once barren, horse- and stagecoach-only accessible expanses had been replaced by an iron network of tracks in every state east of the Mississippi River, which equated to more than triple the length of the 1830 total.

While thwarting further expansion, the Civil War can nevertheless be credited with the first US conflict in which the method played an important role in transporting troops and supplies. And, when it was resolved, the track mileage only reflected the increasing speed of the steam locomotives that plied it: 94,000 in 1880, 193,000 in 1900, and 254,000 in 1918, creating coast-to-coast country cohesion.

Self-feeding, the railroad industry both created and supplied its growth, providing factories with materials, such as cotton, coal, iron, and iron ore, and departing with the finished products they facilitated, like cloth, machines, and steel, and transforming the once agricultural nation into an industrial one in the process. Perhaps more importantly, however, was the fact that the railroads served as the means to populate, carrying emigrants to Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna Valley.

Virtually replacing stagecoach lines and riverboats, railroads offered speed and inter-city conveyance, reducing the six-day journey between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in 1812 by the former means to five hours by rail in 1920.

While the triumph of technology superseded horse-drawn transportation, it began to catch railroads with its own victimizing hands. The construction of post-World War II roads, along with the increasing proliferation of automobiles and trucks, began to prove their superiority, speed, and convenience, enticing freight and passengers from the rails to the roads in the early-1950s until reduced demand necessitated a reduction in service and sometimes the abandonment of no-longer needed lines. Contributing to this decline was the fact that the once-mighty, but polluting steam engines had begun to be replaced by quieter, cleaner diesel ones.

Reduced, today, to tourist railroads, this coal-burning technology, which had been instrumental in the country’s expansion, can be interpreted at Scranton’s Steamtown National Historic Site.

2. The Scranton Rail Yard:

Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna and Wyoming valleys were both suppliers and recipients of their win-win growth. Attracting some 30 ethnic groups, who sought iron and steel factory, silk mill, coal mine, and railroad employment, they provided the anthracite coal which fueled steam locomotives, sparked the growth, and transported the workers, their families, and the materials to and from the cities to which they gave rise.

Of the five major railroads that served Scranton and were responsible for the creation of the industrial complexes-the Central of New Jersey, the Delaware and Hudson, the Erie, the New York, Ontario, and Western, and the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley-the latter was established in 1853 by George and Seldon Scranton (after whom the city was eventually named), who sought an economical means of transporting their iron products, particularly the t-rails used in track construction.

Amalgamating the three existing companies of the Cayuga and Susquehanna, the Lackawanna and Western, and the Delaware and Cobb’s Gap, they created the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, which covered some 1,000 miles of main and branch line track between Hoboken, New Jersey, and Albany, New York. But, perhaps more importantly for today’s visitor, they laid the foundation for the extensive Steamtown National Historic Site, many of whose structures date from this period.

Its ultimate decline, along with Scranton’s-whose economic activity was inextricably tied to it-began when the need for anthracite coal diminished in the 1920s, progressively replaced with gas and oil as home and industrial fuel sources, while the diesel engines soon substituted for those of steam, eliminating the need for the facilities that supported it, particularly the repair shop that closed in 1949.

The Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western’s subsequent merger with long-time rival Erie-Lackawanna gradually dimmed the lights on the Scranton rail yard in the 1960s and the plug was permanently pulled 20 years later, when it was absorbed into the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).

3. Steamtown National Historic Site:

Located in downtown Scranton on 40 acres of the former Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western rail yard, whose current collection consists of the steam locomotives, passenger coaches, and freight cars assembled by New England seafood processor F. Nelson Blunt in the 1950s and 1960s, the circularly configured buildings, surrounding a turntable and comprising Steamtown National Historic Site, immediately transport the visitor to an earlier era.

“You are about to experience a part of American railroading that hasn’t existed for nearly half a century-the era of the steam locomotive,” according to the museum. “Steamtown National Historic Site was established on October 30, 1986 to further public understanding and appreciation of the role steam railroading played in the development of the United States. It is the only place in the National Park System where the story of steam railroading and the people who made it possible is told.”

Admission tickets and short rail rides can be purchased at the outside booth.

“Working on the railroad was rarely romantic or glamorous,” the museum further advises. “Mostly it was hard work-grimy, noisy, greasy, and occasionally dangerous. Today, mechanics still labor to repair and maintain steam locomotives and rolling stock at this site, with tools and methods virtually unchanged since the 1930s.

“The National Park Service has retained the industrial working character of this historic Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad yard to present the Steamtown visitor a realistic portrayal of steam-era railroading.”

A pass through the Visitor Center affords access to the outside turntable and the many exhibit buildings surrounding it.

At 90 feet in length, the turntable itself, representative of the type used after 1900, served as the hub of the roundhouse complex, its tracks, like spokes, radiating to each engine stall. As locomotives returned for service, they negotiated a narrow, dual-track passage, at which time a control cab positioned operator rotated the turntable bridge so that it aligned with the assigned stall.

Real Estate Investing – How To Start An Investment In Real Estate

In today’s tough business environment, most people who have been involved in real estate business for a long time will vouch for a nine percent monthly return on investment. However, when asked if this could be possible with regard to current real estate market conditions, most investors shrug their shoulders admitting defeat, terming it a ‘myth’. However, to understand how the real estate business can be profitable, one should have a clear idea of what they are investing in.

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If you are a newbie, it is a great way to get started and learn more about real estate investing. The internet is a great place to find all sorts of information and there are also online marketing materials you can take advantage of. By investing online, you can save time and money, which are very useful when you are starting out. You can learn more from blogs and reviews you read online.

The most common investment strategy for real estate investors is buying and then holding properties. One way you can minimize your risks when investing in this kind of business is by purchasing rental property. You can always lease these properties to people who are willing to rent them out. This is a good way to get started and if you are successful, you can purchase other properties and later lease them out. Holding a property is usually called ‘vacationing’ and it allows you to get out and experience other cultures and cuisines. Vacationing is a great way to make money even when you are not investing in real estate.

There are many ways you can go about making a profit in the real estate market. As mentioned earlier, investing in real estate investing is a good way to make money. You can use all these strategies to make a profit and hopefully build up a nice portfolio. Always remember that there is always a risk involved when investing in real estate. By knowing your risk tolerance and how much you are willing to lose, you will be able to invest properly and make a profit.

Using Strategies to Win at Online Slots

Walk into a live casino and you are likely to find rows and rows of slot machines of various shapes, sizes and types. Online slots are no different. At any online casino, you’ll have a variety of different themes, stakes and other options from which to choose. Whatever type of online slots you choose, keep in mind these tips to enhance your slot experience.

Multi-Line Slots

In the early days of slot machines, there were only three pay lines, as that is all that could fit on the wheel. With the advent of digital displays and now online play, the amount of lines on a slot machine are nearly unlimited, especially since slot makers realized that straight lines could be combined with each other to form additional, zig-zagging lines pg slot.

You should feel free to play these online slots, remembering that you’ll have to put in an additional coin on each line for which you want to receive a payout. Don’t worry that you won’t be able to follow the screen, as most online slots will create a visible line through any winning combination so you can see exactly what happens.

Progressive Slots

The progressive slot connects to other progressive slot games to create a large progressive jackpot pool. The jackpot hits when the most rare combination of symbols comes up on the display.

Since it is so uncommon and so many people are paying in, hitting the progressive jackpot can win you a fortune. If you do play a progressive slot, you must play the maximum amount of coins that the game allows per spin or you will not qualify.

Bonus Games

Look for online slots with bonus games. These are “games within the game” and offer you a fun way to win additional prizes. It adds a new element of interest and excitement to the standard slot game that many players enjoy.

Payback Percentage

Remember that the House edge in online slots is predetermined by the House via payback percentage. A machine that pays back 90 percent has a 10 percent House edge. If you can find a machine with a high payback percentage, you will have a better chance of winning.