Another Roadside Attraction

One of the happier pieces of news I have received in the past few days is the announcement that after a time of disrepair, the sign atop Roadside America in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania has been restored. This was good news for a number of different reasons, not the least of which, because I worked on their website, I would have an official opportunity to take pictures of their sign. But while I’m at it, of course, I might as well share with all of you.

Roadside America Sign - BeforeThe Original Sign, although in March of this year, it looked like this…click here

And now today…

Roadside America sign, June 2014

If you’ve never been to Roadside America (get ready for the plug), it is the masterwork of Laurence Gieringer, who specialized in miniatures and model railroading in the first half of the twentieth century. Essentially, it’s a gym-sized building filled with an electric train set of your dreams: trees, houses, a giant waterfall, several trains running at once and several moving parts.

Roadside America, Shartlesville, PA
It has not changed since Gieringer‘s death in 1963, so for instance, the town at the front right-hand corner has an old one-screen movie theater and an Esso station. During the presentation that happens every hour, Kate Smith signs “God Bless America,” which forty or fifty ago would be considered rather typical and quite possibly corny, but in this day and age seems strangely wonderful, nostalgic and charming.

Esso station at Roadside America

Victor Theater at Roadside America

If you’re on your way out of New York City or New Jersey going to points west along 78, this is definitely one of those places you won’t want to miss. This was my third time through and every time I see details and little things I’ve missed before.

Since I often get to hear some of the comments of the people who visit, one of the things that fascinate me is the people who went when they were kids who are now taking their children or grandchildren. Whether its spoken or not, they see the trains and the buildings and the people through different eyes now, almost fascinated with how much the world outside those four walls has changed. It’s as if their childhood, or a part of it, has been bottled up in there, still active, still in constant motion around the miles of track.

And now the plug: visit Roadside America on the internet at

So, to finish off the camera geekery I expressed in a previous post, I decided on the Pentax 35mm 2.8 Macro Limited. Essentially, it seemed to me to be the perfect Swiss Army knife for my kit. It just arrived today!

Pentax 35mm 2.8 Limited

3 thoughts on “Another Roadside Attraction”

    1. They’ve been working on their appearance this last year and it’s been good to see. They even re-painted the Amish couple that sits in the parking lot!

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