Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Starrucca Viaduct

We have have had no computer for almost a week now. A storm wiped out our network. Good news is my blog posted automatically so you didn't even know I was gone. We are up and running again thanks to our very nice, local, DSL man.

We went on some awesome school field trips this weekend! Both trips we plan to go on again in the next few years. The first trip was to a tiny town in Susquehanna county. The town's name is Lanesboro. I want to let you know that Lanesboro is hiding an incredible treasure! I have lived in this area all my life. I NEVER have heard of Lanesboro or it's secret treasure! My husband has also lived in this area almost all of his life and didn't know of Lanesboro so I am guesssing many people don't know what is tucked away in that little town.

Lanesboro is the home of the Starrucca Viaduct. This viaduct is made of stone. When someone says viaduct in NE PA we all think of the Tunkhannock viaduct. I think everyone in PA knows of the Tunkhannock viaduct/Nicholson Bridge but honestly I have never heard anyone tell me about a stone viaduct in Lanesboro.

If you happen to be studying or curious about the Geology of NE PA I will tell you the type of stone the viaduct is made of is PA bluestone. This bluestone is only found in small parts of Northern NJ, Southern NY, and Susquehanna County PA. Most of the bluestone is found in Susquehanna County (my house sits on this Bluestone). I read that this stone is a valuable stone because it is not real slippery when wet like many other rocks so it is used for walkways, patios and around pools. It is a very strong stone (the Starrucca viaduct is proof of that), and it is beautiful (it has a blue tint to it). We have a ton of rock quarries near my house (several on the road we live on) but I never knew the rocks that came from them had rocks that were any different than the rocks found all over the USA. I am starting to realize that I am learning just as much as the children with this year's school.

Back to the Viaduct! The Starrucca viaduct is made up of PA bluestone. It has 17 arches, It stands over 100 ft high. It took 800 workers (paid each about $1 a day) to build. I think I read it only took 1 year to build. It is wide enough for 2 sets of tracks. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen! I find it sad that it is not marketed to the public as a popular tourist spot anymore. When we went to see it nobody else was at it (nobody was at the pothole to see it the day we went to that either). The man at a local hardware store said he doesn't hear many people come in and talk about visiting the viaduct anymore. What I think is the most amazing thing about this bridge is it is still being used! It has had trains running across it and has been continually used from the day it was built! I guess the rock is very solid here in NE PA!

Here are some of the pictures we took. It is a place you should try to see in person (it is so much better in real life than it shows in pictures).

Travis is asking about some holes he sees in the picture below.
Here is a look up if you look close you can see a tiny hole in the top and another on each side. I read someplace that they are believed to be holes that held wood beams to support it when the arches were being made.

To give you an idea of the size of this Rob parked the car under one of the arches. Our 2 little girls standing right behind the van. Travis is leaning on the pillar on the left and I am standing in the grass.Here is the part that little Zee found most interesting.

To her a tiny puddle was more fun than a giant stone bridge.

We drove up the hill and Rob walked up the train tracks. The children didn't want to walk on it because they worried a train might come down the tracks and hit them so I we all sat in the car while Daddy went off with the camera. Here are some of the pix Rob took.

This is a picture of downtown Lanesboro.

And an old water tower in town.

I hope someone reads this and takes a trip out to see it someday!

I think some people might wonder how this relates to our school this year. You might be thinking that we are learning about medieval/renaissance time and this viaduct was not built back in that time. It is the actual rock it is made of that falls into our school year. I have added a list of links on our blog for the field trips we have taken so far. We plan to take most of our trips in fall and in the spring (we don't do much traveling in the winter) so expect the list to stop growing in the next couple months then pickup again in the spring.

I hope to have another incredible trip we took post tomorrow!

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