The 1980’s

In 1979 the Museum’s “Park & Ride” operation (established in 1971) was able to drop visitors off at the gate to the Fair. This was an improvement on our earlier efforts as well as the the trolley era when visitors would get off the Pittsburgh bound car at Arden stop and then walk along N. Main Street to the Washington County Fair gate.

Completion of the highway crossing and the first 600 feet of track to Fairgrounds stop allowed extensions to be made as time and funds permitted. A huge boost to this effort, came in the fall of 1980 when a grant from the Allegheny Foundation provided funding for grading the right of way, purchase of track and overhead materials. The first order of business was construction of a bridge at Fairgrounds stop. This bridge, primarily constructed by Museum volunteers, eliminated a back up problem that had washed out the track near N. Main Street in 1980. The next order of improvement was for the new stop was a siding and platform. Track extensions continued as time permitted with the line reaching the cut near Yanavich stop by the end of the decade.

In 1982 an extensive written appeal to lawmakers, orchestrated by museum volunteers coupled with the assistance of State Representative (and later Senator) J. Barry Stout, secured preservation for a number of historic streetcars, retired by SEPTA from the former Red Arrow (Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co.) lines in west Philadelphia. These acquisitions once again filled County Home siding with cars looking for indoor storage and proper preservation. This was added to with acquisition of the body of Harmony Route 115 in 1986 and a couple more pieces from Philadelphia Suburban in 1988, increasing the need for new indoor storage for the valuable collection. With this need, land was acquired from neighbor the Ruetom Group and Thepitt Manufacturing (that

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had acquired the former RCA plant) at the museum’s eastern end. This acquisition was made possible by a grant from the Allegheny Foundation and also allowed plans to be created by professional architects that would move the operating center of the Museum to the site.