Historic Shawmont Station
1825 1826 1827 1830 1832 1833 1834 1835 1836 1837-1840 1842 1843 1850 1853 1857 1870 1873 1874 1884 1909 1912 1916 1929 1940 1950 1960 1963 1972 1974 1976 1979 1983 1986
2008 2013 2014
By John Johnstone Photo Gallery
Nathan Nathans, Center City Philadelphia lawyer, purchases land bordering Schuylkill Navigation Company’s Towpath, along the Schuylkill River at a Sheriff’s Sale, in Roxborough Township, above the Flat Rock Dam, formerly owned by the Criedlands.
After returning from England, Architect, William Strickland writes his “Reports on Canals, Railways, Roads, and Other Subjects”, made to the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Internal Improvement. The Schuylkill Navigation Company completes laying their Schuylkill Turnpike between Domino Lane in Roxborough and Montgomery County, previously known as The Pebble Road. Nathan Nathans builds his vacation home on a small section of land between the Schuylkill Turnpike and Towpath, close to the Schuylkill River.
The Schuylkill Navigation Company maps it entire system between Schuylkill County PA, and Philadelphia, including prior land purchases for their towpath, as well as mapping their turnpike roads and bordering buildings. Visible on map is Nathan Nathans’ country home.
Nathan Nathans sells his land and vacation home to John Wise, local Miller, but remains legal executor of Mr. Wise’s estate.
The Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad operate Philadelphia’s first passenger train between 9th& Green Streets, Philadelphia, and Germantown, utilizing Mathias Baldwin’s steam locomotive, “Old Ironsides”.
Architect William Strickland and Engineer Henry Campbell design the Norristown branch of the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad and construction begins.
Horse-drawn passenger trains operate from 9th and Green Streets to Manayunk on a set of single tracks, while tracks are laid northwest to Norristown. Nathan Nathans sues the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad, for damages associated with laying tracks in front of John Wise’s house.
The Norristown Branch is completed and passenger trains make their way to Norristown. Nathan Nathans loses lawsuit to Railroad and John Wises’s house and property are sold to Henry Croskey, local Lumber Merchant and Passenger Railway Enthusiast. Mr. Croskey creates a runoff stream leading to the Schuylkill River on his property during his lumbering process and names it “Green Tree Run”. He also builds an access road between the Ridge Turnpike in Upper Roxborough and the Schuylkill Turnpike and names it “Green Tree Lane”. He names his newly acquired house by the Railroad, “Green Tree Station”, which he facilitates for passenger service and freight service for his lumbering business, while using the Schuylkill Navigation Company for lumber transport as well. At Green Tree Station, Mr. Croskey houses Schuylkill Navigation Company workers overnight, who load large shipments of lumber onto barges, making it a “mixed use” building.
Engineer, Henry Campbell designs and sells steam Engines to the Railroad for the Norristown Branch. Freight branches are extended to the Plymouth Limekilns from Conshohocken and to a King of Prussia Quarry from Norristown. Campbell’s poorly designed engines easily de-rail on grades and sharp curves. Mathias Baldwin produces more engines for the railroad, and steam engines fully replace horses on the Railroad. The Norristown Branch becomes double-tracked to facilitate high traffic.
Henry Croskey continues to purchase nearby land for his lumbering business and builds his new homestead on a hill above Green Tree Station. He is noted to have made vast improvements to the area and to have facilitated the Railroad, Turnpike and Waterway, consistent with Pennsylvania’s Internal Improvement plan. Both the Coleman and Crawford stagecoach companies start transporting passengers from the Ridge Turnpike to Railroad stations on the Norristown Branch.
The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad open passenger and freight service between Broad and Cherry Streets, in Philadelphia and Pottsville, PA, with a branch to Port Richmond, on the Delaware River, for coal transport. Their Main line runs along the West Bank of Schuylkill River, opposite to the Norristown Branch of Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad.
The Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad combine freight and passenger services with the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, with mutual access to the Delaware River docks at the foot of Noble Street, from the 9th and Green Street terminus. Henry Croskey opens a second business at the Railroad dock, utilizing the Railroad for lumber transport between Green Tree Station and the Delaware River. The Schuylkill Navigation Company loses revenue to the Railroads, which run from the Coal Regions in five hours, as opposed to the Navigation Company, taking six days.
A freshet causes flooding from the Schuylkill River and the Flat Rock Bridge below Flat Rock Dam, between Lower Merion and the Schuylkill Turnpike, is destroyed. To facilitate travel close to the two points, a ferry is operated upstream between Rose Glen Station in Gladwyne, and Green Tree Station.
Henry Croskey moves to Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, though his lumbering business is maintained in Roxborough. Mr. Croskey becomes a leader in planning for inter-city, public rail transportation.
Henry Croskey sells Green Tree Station and grounds of approximately seven by ten perches, to the Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad, for one dollar. He also sells his estate above Green Tree Station to Thomas Shaw, inventor, who would invent several permanent improvements for the Railroads. The University of Pennsylvania begins having boat races on the Schuylkill River, between Green Tree Station and Spring Mill, through to the early Twentieth Century. The Railroad builds a freight station across the tracks.
The wealthy Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, who permanently leases the Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad, absorb a financially troubled Schuylkill Navigation Company. Green Tree Station receives several upgrades to include; a tin, fireproof roof with remodeled chimneys, an addition to house a permanent Station resident, its central doorway & stairway are removed and replaced with a bay window, housing a telegraph. Windows facing its platform are converted into doorways, one of which for a waiting room. Scored concrete is painted white and its passenger platform roof replaced.
With the Pennsylvania Railroad having a station in nearby Chester County, also named “Green Tree”, Green Tree Station in Philadelphia County, is changed to “Shawmont”, named after nearby resident and inventor, Thomas Shaw.
Henry Croskey opens and is President of the horse-drawn Ridge Avenue Railway, operating from North Philadelphia into Roxborough and Barren Hill, which eventually becomes electrified in 1894. Thomas Shaw develops an inclined railway to travel between Manayunk and Roxborough, but it never materializes.
The Pennsylvania Railroad opens their Schuylkill Branch for service, which parallels the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad’s Norristown Branch and Main Line, between Manayunk & Pottsville, PA, with through service to Wilkes Barre. They also open their own Shawmont Station, 300 feet north of the Philadelphia & Reading’s.
The Brendel Family moves into Shawmont Station as permanent tenants/station masters.
The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad close passenger operations on the West Side of the Schuylkill River, below Bridgeport, and use that section exclusively for freight. The Norristown Branch is used for all local and express passenger trains between Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal and Reading/Pottsville/Willamsport, Lancaster/Harrisburg/Gettysburg/Shippensburg. The ferry between Rose Glen Station and Shawmont Station is closed.
The last freight barge travels down the locks of the Schuylkill River, though the locks remain open for recreational use.
The shutters on the windows of Shawmont Station are removed and put into storage. Scored concrete on front façade is replaced with flat concrete.
All locks along the Schuylkill River are closed. No recreational boating is permitted between Shawmont and East Falls.
The Reading Railroad cuts backpassenger service from Williamsport to Shamokin.
The Pennsylvania Railroad cuts back passenger service from Norristown to Manayunk. Their circa 1884 Shawmont Station is removed, though that line continues to carry freight.
The Reading Railroad cuts passenger service to Shamokin and Harrisburg. Other than local commuter trains, the only express trains travelling Reading’s Norristown Branch are to Reading and Pottsville.
Though Hurricane Agnes causes flooding along much of the Schuylkill River, Shawmont Station is spared.
Shawmont Station receives its last paint job.
Conrail takes over the Reading Railroad’s passenger operations.
SEPTA takes over Conrail’s passenger operations and the Norristown Branch becomes the R6 line. SEPTA extends Pennsylvania Railroad’s Schuylkill Branch ¾ mile to Ivy Ridge from Manayunk and tracks North of that completely close for freight service, following abandonment by Conrail. Abandoned tracks above Port Royal Avenue in Shawmont are paved over into a bike path to Valley Forge.
SEPTA cuts back passenger service from Pottsville to Norristown.
SEPTA cuts back Pennsylvania Railroad’s Schuylkill Branch from Ivy Ridge to Cynwyd and a new Ivy Ridge Station is put on the R6 Norristown Branch, one mile south of Shawmont.
Shawmont Station is no longer a scheduled stop, but a whistle stop. Its waiting room is closed.
Shawmont Station is no longer a whistle stop, but remains occupied.
Shawmont Station is placed on Philadelphia’s Register of Historic Places, as the oldest passenger railroad station in America.
The last of the Brendel’s descendants, move out of Shawmont Station, after occupying the Station for 104 years. SEPTA decides to have the Station restored and submits historical railroad documents to John Johnstone, Local Historian.
Research and documents show that Shawmont Station, originated as an1826 country house, and is not only the oldest passenger railroad station in America, but also the oldest building owned by any railroad, in the World.