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Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #20 on: Jul 29th, 2007, 10:32am »
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Another view of the train crossing Main Street in Sugar Grove. This view seems to have better detail and appears to have been taken at a different time of year-note the grass in front of the coach and the leaves on the trees not present in the first photo. Scanned from a postcard won on eBay, not postally used.

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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #21 on: Aug 5th, 2007, 10:35pm »
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I had no idea that this thread was even here...I'm so sorry. I can shed some light on some of these things for you all. As Art might remember, I've been trying to write this trolley bopok for about 7 years now, and once my principal program is finished next week, I will be getting back to it.  
 
In regards to the connection, or lack thereof, with the Panama Traction Company, I can help somewhat. Willis Eddy was the owner of Panama Rocks, a geologic formation in Panama (where I currently teach) and it was a huge attraction, in spite of its location off the beaten path, so to speak.
 
Willis wanted desperately to get people there, and as you'll note by the years, the early 20th century was a boom time for interurbans and the like. Willis wanted to get a trolley to his attraction badly, but wasn't sure how to do it. The closest connection to the outside world was either the Erie, in Watts Flats or Boomertown (later called Ashville) or the Pennsy in North Clymer. Incidentally, both lines had a station known as "Panama" at one time or another, easily found on the internet. Panama on the Erie was likely the Watts Flats station, while Panama on the Pennsy was definitely North Clymer.
 
Either choice was a rough ride from the station to the attraction, and Eddy wanted better.
 
His job was made much easier when the Chautuaqua Traction Company came to pass. The line was built in 1904-1905, and connected to Ashville proper, allowing people from Jamestown to easily get closer to the Rocks. This line also connected to the vaunted Chautauqua Institute,a nd Eddy knew if he could get access to the Institute, he would be sitting on a gold mine.
 
The Panama Traction Company, then, first came to pass as a line incorporated to connect Ashville to Panama. Much was done to get the line completed; more than half of the proposed line was graded, and rail was purchased. In fact, some of it reportedly exists down an embankment along the grade, though I have not seen it. Up until perhaps 10 years ago, the line's name still showed up on property deeds in the Blockville area (about half way to Panama from Ashville) and these poles allow the line to be easily seen for a stretch, even today.
 
Even as things were happening on the namesake line, Eddy and other investors became involved somehow in the Corry and Columbus, the only electrified part of any line associated with Panama to exist. This line worked for a time, but was greatly limited by its scope, and ultimately folded.  
 
A map exists which I can't find at this second but documented the entire proposed line, which really, was a network of epic proportions. If there was a location untouched by a trolley in the region, this line would get to it. Notably, Busti would get service (south from Sugar Grove, no doubt) and the line was ambitious enough to suggest it would get to Erie and Meadville. Lost in all this was that there were geographic reasons why some of these areas (Panama included) didn't get rail service in the first place, but hey...this was the time of dreams.
 
The Y&SG becomes a part, as mentioned above, when the powers that be saw an easy connection with existing trackage and gobbled it up. I had not seen it labeled as such (the Panama Traction Company) though I knew that there had been some "buses" purchased, like the gas one shown. Ultimately, none of the power purchased could handle the grades, and that was another problem for the line.
 
What doomed the whole enterprise was World War I. The line lasted into 1918, but interminable delays doomed the line: since everyone was building trolley lines, the price for wire and rail was through the roof, and the wait was just as bad. With no network to speak of, and no connection to Panama itself forthcoming,the enitre line folded.
 
Panama (the town, that is) went downhill about the same time.
 
Hope this helps.
 
Dave Becker


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
 
« Reply #22 on: Aug 6th, 2007, 6:34pm »
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Dave, and all, here are a couple of links I stumbled across on a Google search for "Panama Traction" a couple of months ago. (Dave, since you said you teach in Panama, you're probably well aware of this.)
 
The site is http://teachersdiscoveringhistoryashistorians.com and it seems to be focused on Chautauqua County. There are some other links and photos of western New York railway and traction history. They can be found here: http://teachersdiscoveringhistoryashistorians.com/dArchive/site_files/queries/title.php  
 
Persuant to this discussion however, here are two links specifically devoted to Panama Traction history.
 
The Panama Traction map mentioned by Dave:
 
http://teachersdiscoveringhistoryashistorians.com/dArchive/site_files/queries/print.php?id=1046
 
And some history of Panama Traction from 1916 & 1917, culled from the pages of the "Electric Railway Journal":
 
http://teachersdiscoveringhistoryashistorians.com/dArchive/site_files/queries/print.php?id=1045
 
Note: You may want to have a magnifying glass handy, particularly for the map.


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #23 on: Aug 7th, 2007, 8:16pm »
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I actually got my copy of the map from the woman responsible for much if not all of that information posted online. I won't post her full name online, since I don't want to "get her involved" here, so to speak, but her first name is Pam, and she's the village historian for Panama, and she and her family have taken it upon themselves to rebuild a number of buildings in Panama proper, including a corner brownstone that will become the village historical office.
 
Someplace, I have those documents, and will try to locate so you can see t hem.
 
Incidentally, she has the ledger from the PTC, or all that remains of it, after it was rescued from a house fire. I had the ledger in my possession for some time, and it still smelled of smoke and had ashes within the pages. Since I'm not an accountant, I couldn't really make heads or tails of it, and it had no narrative with it, though there were a few sheets of letterhead in there. As I said, the PTC was bleeding money badly at the end.
 
Off topic a bit, Pam did a presentation about the Erie railroad and how it was responsible for immigration in Western New York, and specifically, Dunkirk. I never got a chance to see it, but she did it in several places around Chautauqua County.
 
Dave Becker


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #24 on: Aug 7th, 2007, 8:20pm »
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Here's some of the future book text:
 
As trolley lines sprung up around Chautauqua Lake, nearly every possible attraction, both natural and man-made, could be visited by trolley: world-famous Chautauqua Institute, Midway Park, and Celoron Park were destinations for trolley patrons, and parks surrounding the lake attracted area residents during the summer months. The trolley lines even began their own parks, aside from Midway, that brought riders to the cars for rest and relaxation.
 
The trolley lines also carried some freight, too, though only the Jamestown, Westfield, and Northwestern depended on it on a regular basis. Just the same, mail contracts helped each company meet the bottom line.
 
Only one line, however, was started with the intent of joining a natural wonder to the other trolley lines that already existed. The Panama Traction Company planned to connect with the Chautauqua Traction Company at Ashville, NY, pass through Blockville, and on to Panama. Similarly, the line would then extend south through Columbus, PA, and on to both Youngsville and Sugar Grove. With the exception of the cities where the new line would connect with existing trolley lines, none of these villages enjoyed trolley service when the line was planned. Panama, in particular, was a popular destination for tourist and vacationers, due to the popular Panama Rocks that was in the village. The Rocks were a geologic wonder, and their beauty drew people from around the world in spite of the difficulty in getting there. Patrons could travel to Ashville and take a stagecoach west to Panama on dusty roads, or travel on the Erie Railroad to Niobe and head north a similar distance on roads that were in even worse shape. In the mind of Willis Eddy, owner of Panama Rocks, there was no telling how many people would visit this attraction if only there was a trolley to take them there.
 
First newspaper mention, 12/13/1904 Jamestown Journal, connecting with the CTC from Ashville to Panama, Bear Lake, Columbus, and Corry...
 
One of the first mentions of the proposed line is from the Jamestown Morning Post, early in 1909 (1). Eddy, who also owned the Rock Hotel in Panama, was a participant in a meeting held in Corry, PA, about extending a line to be built between Youngsville and Columbus to Ashville, by way of Panama. The article states that Panama citizens “would greatly appreciate” this line, but likely none would have appreciated the line more than Eddy. In attendance at this meeting were other area people who might have an interest in this line, and D.H. Siggins, the president of the Warren & Jamestown Street Railway, who was also, no doubt, interested in the line for selfish reasons; three other lines that connected with Jamestown were owned by the Broadhead family, and if there was a way to extend the reach of his own empire, Siggins wanted a part. To fight the Broadheads, he did not want the Panama extension to become a reality, and Siggins likely attended to watch over his interests.
 
Jamestown Morning Post. January 18, 1909 (1)


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #25 on: Sep 18th, 2007, 1:31am »
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on Aug 7th, 2007, 8:20pm, pablo wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Here's some of the future book text:
 
As trolley lines sprung up around Chautauqua Lake, nearly every possible attraction, both natural and man-made, could be visited by trolley: world-famous Chautauqua Institute, Midway Park, and Celoron Park were destinations for trolley patrons, and parks surrounding the lake attracted area residents during the summer months. The trolley lines even began their own parks, aside from Midway, that brought riders to the cars for rest and relaxation.
 
The trolley lines also carried some freight, too, though only the Jamestown, Westfield, and Northwestern depended on it on a regular basis. Just the same, mail contracts helped each company meet the bottom line.
 
Only one line, however, was started with the intent of joining a natural wonder to the other trolley lines that already existed. The Panama Traction Company planned to connect with the Chautauqua Traction Company at Ashville, NY, pass through Blockville, and on to Panama. Similarly, the line would then extend south through Columbus, PA, and on to both Youngsville and Sugar Grove. With the exception of the cities where the new line would connect with existing trolley lines, none of these villages enjoyed trolley service when the line was planned. Panama, in particular, was a popular destination for tourist and vacationers, due to the popular Panama Rocks that was in the village. The Rocks were a geologic wonder, and their beauty drew people from around the world in spite of the difficulty in getting there. Patrons could travel to Ashville and take a stagecoach west to Panama on dusty roads, or travel on the Erie Railroad to Niobe and head north a similar distance on roads that were in even worse shape. In the mind of Willis Eddy, owner of Panama Rocks, there was no telling how many people would visit this attraction if only there was a trolley to take them there.
 
First newspaper mention, 12/13/1904 Jamestown Journal, connecting with the CTC from Ashville to Panama, Bear Lake, Columbus, and Corry...
 
One of the first mentions of the proposed line is from the Jamestown Morning Post, early in 1909 (1). Eddy, who also owned the Rock Hotel in Panama, was a participant in a meeting held in Corry, PA, about extending a line to be built between Youngsville and Columbus to Ashville, by way of Panama. The article states that Panama citizens “would greatly appreciate” this line, but likely none would have appreciated the line more than Eddy. In attendance at this meeting were other area people who might have an interest in this line, and D.H. Siggins, the president of the Warren & Jamestown Street Railway, who was also, no doubt, interested in the line for selfish reasons; three other lines that connected with Jamestown were owned by the Broadhead family, and if there was a way to extend the reach of his own empire, Siggins wanted a part. To fight the Broadheads, he did not want the Panama extension to become a reality, and Siggins likely attended to watch over his interests.
 
Jamestown Morning Post. January 18, 1909 (1)

 
Oh! it's good to see some recognition for the "Jesus Wept & Nowonder" -Jamestown,Westfield and Northwestern RR. I have a soft cover book that is published in 1974 by the FENTON Historical Society Titled Jamestown and Chautauqua Lake TROLLEYS which was my Grandmothers book.. And as the Swedish would say Jamestown --> Yamestown!


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #26 on: Sep 21st, 2007, 11:42am »
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The book was updated in the 90's, I think. Largely the same.
 
Dave Becker


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #27 on: Oct 7th, 2007, 10:39am »
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An item in my "archives" I'd forgotten about.  
 
Here's a copy of a photo that was offered on Ebay over 4 years ago (that I was seriously outbid on) of a lone passenger car parked at the northern end of the line in Sugar Grove on Forest Street (AKA Big Tree-Sugar Grove Road). This is the only copy of this photo I have ever seen.
 
The brick building in the back still stands, now serving as a medical center. During my youth (late 1950's/1960's) the building served as the home of the Sugar Grove Free Library with the borough office(s) being on the second floor and the Sugar Grove Volunteer Fire Department (two doors for the fire trucks having been opened on the east side of the building) in the area to the left of the coach.
 
However, the front left hand portion that was the library had originally served as the ticket office with a lady named Carrie Mattison serving as the ticket agent in Sugar Grove.
 
I apologize for the poor quality of this picture. It is a scan of a print of the Ebay offering.
 
PS-Regarding the books on Jamestown trolleys-the original volume Jamestown and Chautauqua Lake Trolleys was published by the Fenton Historical Society in 1974 and reprinted in 1987. As second book Trolleys of Jamestown and Chautauqua Lake-A New Look by Helen G. Ebersole was printed in 1998. (I have copies of all three of these.) While good references, these books are disappointing to me at least, for the lack of photos of the equipment that served the Jamestown area.
 
  


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #28 on: Oct 7th, 2007, 11:07am »
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Here are a couple of views of the building as it looks today taken on a recent trip to my hometown.


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #29 on: Oct 7th, 2007, 11:10am »
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And an end view of the building. The boarded over door was the entrance to the ticket office.


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #30 on: Oct 11th, 2007, 10:18am »
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Those are amazing pictures! I drive past that building every day, and in fact, that's my doctor's office...and I had no idea that the line ended there. You can see why it did, though...there's no way from there it could continue going North into NY or anywhere else due to the hills...and if it ended there, going the other way direct to Jamestown made no sense either. That explains why I've never seen a right-of-way along the other road.
 
Nice connections!
 
David Becker


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
 
« Reply #31 on: Oct 11th, 2007, 10:36am »
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Dave, I have another, hand drawn map of the trackage in Sugar Grove (both actual and proposed) that I will try to scan and post, as time allows.
 
South of Main Street on Wilson (?) Street is the laundromat. The building was an auto repair/welding shop when I was young. The building sits on the site of the engine servicing facility for the Y&SG. You can still detect "ripples" in the street in front of the building where there was a switch that turned into the facility. (I believe this is from the ties that may have been left in place, paved over and are now deteriorated. You could still see it when I was home in September.)


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #32 on: Oct 11th, 2007, 11:01am »
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In Warren, where I live, and in front of my house, the road has gotten bad ripples from what I bet are ties and rail still buried and simply paved over.  
 
The Warren street railway had an extension down my street to the former fairgrounds, and I'm willing to bet that there's rail down there.
 
When they tear it up, I'll be on hand to see if I can salvage any rail from it.
 
Dave Becker


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #33 on: Oct 14th, 2007, 11:11am »
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Here's the hand-drawn map of Sugar Grove I mentioned in a previous post. Some of the dimensions leave a bit to be desired-for instance the wye should be further south, there's not a whole lot of room for the Seminary building. I also take exception to the annotation that the siding for the wye was extended to Patterson Street, which is actually north of the drawing.
 
As you mentioned, the line north along Forest Street (Big Tree-Sugar Grove Road) would have immediately encountered some hills which would have made the building of a line north virtually impossible. The dotted line along Jamestown Street was the proposed extension that was to have gone to Busti, NY and eventually Panama.



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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #34 on: Oct 17th, 2007, 9:40am »
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Interesting stuff...and some of the ROW is gone due to the construction of the school.
 
I agree about the odd path of the line to Jamestown, and then to Panama: I drive to Panama every morning, and I take that road immediately north of the main drag off of the Big Tree/Sugar Grove road. It turns into Wellman Road in New York.
 
By car, going to Jamestown then to Panama from there would add a minimum of 35 minutes to the drive. By train car? I can't even imagine. It's no wonder it was never built. Getting to Jamestown from Sugar Grove via rail had a variety of options already, and I know there would never have been enough traffic to justify a direct line.
 
1. Carriage/etc. to Ashville, take either the CTC or Erie in to Jamestown.
2. Carriage/etc. to Kiantone, Warren and Jamestown to Jamestown.
 
Y&SG to Youngsville, and then:
1. DAVP to Falconer, Jamestown Street Railway to Jamestown.
2. PRR (Philadelphia and Erie) to Corry, then Erie to Jamestown, or to Warren, then W&J to Jamestown, or DAVP to Falconer, JSRY to Jamestown
 
There's no easy way to do it, and if there was a need (large oil field discovered, huge farm/livestock market, etc.) money could have been found, but getting to Jamestown would have been hard without a significant engineering investment due to the hills involved.
 
Depending on the timeframe, this possible never-built charter occurred around the time the JC&LE built the Moonbrook branch to tie in with the DAVP in Falconer. For something like 1/10 the trackage of the whole railroad, it cost 1/3 the value of the line, and that cost alone crippled and killed the steam line. The JW rose from its ashes, but the memory of that experience would likely doom anyone thinking something similar just south of Moonbrook, and this group already couldn't connect to the Panama Rocks attraction, which I believe could have kept the line in business for a very long time. Shame they couldn't do it.
 
Dave Becker


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #35 on: Apr 29th, 2008, 5:33pm »
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Here's my most recent acquisition-another view of the Y&SG that I've never seen before. This is a photo postcard that is postally unused but addressed to a Mrs. A. V. Engstrom in Warren, PA. The correspondence is dated Dec. 23, 1908 and states that it was written in Chandlers Valley, PA.
 
Chandlers Valley is about 3 to 4 miles south of Sugar Grove and was not directly served by the railroad, which passed about 1 mile north of the village on it's run between Youngsville and Sugar Grove.
 
I only wish that there was more "background" in the photo so I could try to discern where it was taken however the hillside makes me think this was somewhere near Sugar Grove. The current Route 27 between Youngsville and Sugar Grove closely follows the old roadbed. Closer to Youngsville the land opens in a valley.
 
There is a stamp on the back of the photo that reads "Yagear's Post Cards, Panama, N. Y."


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #36 on: Jul 6th, 2008, 7:34pm »
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When is a traction company NOT a traction company? The Youngsville & Sugar Grove Street Railway became part of the Warren County Traction Company sometime around 1910. While there were plans to electrify the line, those plans, like many others hatched during those heady days around the turn of the last century, never came to fruition.  
 
So here we have the Warren County Traction Company train sitting for a posed picture on Main Street in Sugar Grove. I realize that this is the same photo I posted last July 29th (2007). This is only the second copy of this view that I have ever seen and is my most recent eBay acquisition.  
 
I couldn't let this one pass due to the "Warren County Traction Line" heading. The card is postally unused with no writing on the back.
 


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #37 on: Mar 26th, 2010, 9:18pm »
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Another street view from downtown Youngsville. Note the Y&SG tracks, barely visible on the left of the postcard as they approach the bridge crossing the Brokenstraw Creek. A recent eBay win, postmarked Oct. 19, 1911.

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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #38 on: Jul 14th, 2010, 10:55am »
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A wonderful surprise! Thanks to the generosity of a gentleman named Mike Chapel who shared this image of a Y&SG locomotive. The photo was in an album belonging to his father Karl Chapel. Mike posted the photo on Facebook at a site titled "Bring Back Youngsville", dedicated to reviving that borough, and was looking for additional information. Thanks again Mike!
 
EDIT: I neglected to mention that Mike doesn't indicate a date or location of the photo but being familiar with the route where the railroad ran, the hill in the background looks like it was taken on the outskirts of Youngsville, along Matthews Run Road (PA Route 27), near the location of the old Youngsville brickworks.


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #39 on: Aug 19th, 2010, 4:15pm »
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Another postcard view of the street trackage in downtown Youngsville. While I've found a number of these cards showing the trackage in the streets of Youngsville I've yet to uncover a photo of the DAV&P depot on Oak Street where the DAV&P and the Y&SG interchanged.
 


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