I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. e.e.cummings
It doesn’t get any prettier than the Susquehanna Valley in beautiful tree- laden Pennsylvania. Jim and I took a small road trip last weekend with friends and visited Susquehanna University and the surrounding valley, including the famous Horseshoe Curve.
We began at the University which has a long history. It was started in 1856 by Benjamin Kurtz as a Lutheran based missionary institution. It sits on 325 acres, is well tended, and has many historical buildings. There is a large church with a sweet sounding bell which tolls every fifteen minutes and on the hour.
At 6pm on Saturday, the bells rang out in song for a few minutes. I stopped my walk to sit and listen, the lovely melody carrying up through the evening sky.
Next we visited the famous Horseshoe Curve. Five minutes after we arrived, the Funicular was ready to take us up to this designated landmark. Yes, the funicular. I found out this was an incline plane designed to carry passengers from the visitor center up the hill to the curve. It is much like the Duquesne incline we have in Pittsburgh. We also could have walked the landscaped 194 steps but we chose to use them later to go down!
Within five minutes of our arrival, we were lucky and blessed to see a very long train of containers go by. The conductor blew his train whistle at us and we waved him on. What an exciting moment for us (really, truly!) and especially for Jim who loves trains.
We hung out another twenty minutes and then saw a smaller passenger train and waved to all those travelers, wherever they may have been going on their journey.
The Horseshoe Curve apparently changed history in the 1850’s. Here’s an interesting tidbit from the Railroader Memorial Website: By 1852, trains could cross the state but were still dependent on the Allegheny Portage Railroad, which didn’t operate at night. With the addition of the Horseshoe Curve in 1854, passengers could travel the entire route by rail, and the time was reduced to an average of 15 hours.
And yet another amazing statement: The construction of the Curve was done by about 450 workers, many of them from Ireland. The work was done entirely by hand, and workers were paid 25 cents per hour for a twelve hour day.
All I can say is the view from the curve is simply breathtaking. The huge blue sky and gorgeous Pennsylvania mountains all around just make you stop and sit still. We saw some eagles soaring (I wish I had a picture for you!); what a bonus!
Have you ever been to a place of great green beauty? Where is your favorite place?