PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records

 

 

 


Manuscript Group 457
BUFFALO AND SUSQUEHANNA RAILROAD CORPORATION RECORDS
1882-1930
126 cubic feet


During the latter half on the nineteenth century Frank Henry Goodyear of Groton, New York built a corporate empire consisting of sawmills, coal mines, and a railroad linking the Great Lakes with the forests and mines of Pennsylvania. In 1872, Goodyear moved to Buffalo, New York to start a coal and lumber business, building his first mills around the Port Allegheny area. Due to the expansion of his business, Goodyear began logging in the Freeman Run area of north central Pennsylvania. Since the existing the Buffalo, New York, and Philadelphia Railroad was located too far away to service his logging operations, Goodyear decided to charter his own line, the Sinnemahoning Valley Railroad, on May 9, 1885.

The Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad Company was formed in 1893 as a result of the merger of the Sinnemahoning Valley Railroad, the Susquehanna Railroad, the Cherry Springs Railroad, the Cross Fork Railroad, and the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroads. The Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad extended sixty-two miles from Keating Summit to Galeton and was served by a Baldwin 2-8-0 locomotive. Upon reorganization, Frank Goodyear stepped down as president of the railroad and assumed the positions of first vice president and chairman of the board. Goodyear's brother, Charles, became second vice president and general manager of the railroad, while Marlin Olmstead became president.

During the years 1900-1907, the railroad doubled in size as the its main business shifted from hauling lumber to hauling coal and coke. In 1901, the Buffalo and Susquehanna Coal and Coke Company was organized to mine coal and coke in Pennsylvania. In order to get the coal and coke north to Buffalo, the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway Company was incorporated in 1902. In July 1907, the new Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway Company leased the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad line for 999 years. Although, coal was the foundation of the railroad, the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway also began to carry a considerable volume of passenger traffic, advertising its Grand Scenic Route as a popular Sunday excursion.

The Railway experienced difficulties in the early 1900s when a major customer, the Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company, was taken over by the Rogers-Brown Iron Company. The railroad also overextended itself financially, running up substantial debts. When the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway defaulted on the interest due on its debts in 1910, both the Railway and the Railroad went into receivership. The Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad was the only property worth salvaging of the two. Reorganized in 1914, the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad Corporation continued to operate as a coal carrier until the coal mines it served closed in 1925. In 1932, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad acquired the Buffalo and Susquehanna and continued to operate passenger service over the line until 1949.

The Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad Corporation records are held at two Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission facilities: The State Archives and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Records held in the State Archives at Harrisburg are primarily concerned with business operations, land transactions, contracts, stock and tickets sales. The Archives' holdings include the following series, which are as yet unprocessed:

The records located at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania may be consulted by appointment. Contact either the site administrator or curator at 300 Gap Road, Route 741 East, Strasburg, PA 17579, (717) 687-8628. The series in Strasburg include:



PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records