By the mid 1800’s, the railroad industry had declared its prominence over horse power as the dominant means of transportation. As cities like Lancaster boomed with industry, Manheim gradually found rails laid through its southern end of town in the 1860’s. Over the next 20 years, Manheim would see the development of its railways carry goods and people as far as Columbia, Reading, and Jersey City.
The station sits at the corner of Charlotte Street and Railroad Avenue and serves as an example of this expansion of the railway industry in Manheim. Completed in 1881, allegedly by famous Victorian architect Frank Furness known for many other Reading Railroad stations, the Manheim station catered to the many industries that crept into town from the Lancaster area, as well as the many passengers traveling to and from Lancaster and Lebanon.
The next great leap in transportation, automobiles, would ultimately lead to the downfall of the Manheim station as trains became used primarily for goods shipments. After nearly 70 years of operation, the last passenger car serviced Manheim in 1950, and after another 25 years of only freight deliveries, the station would be closed for good. Over the next 40 years, the station deteriorated until the Historical Society acquired the building in 1984 under a Lancaster County Community Development Block Grant.
After numerous volunteered materials and hours donated by businesses and members, the station was in a usable condition and dedicated in 1987. From 1999 to 2006 a $1,000,000.00 dollar professional restoration was accomplished to the railroad station which was finished and dedicated in 2007. The community donated $200,000.00 with $800,000.00 in federal grants.
It now serves the Society as a time capsule of railroad and transportation history. The #236 trolley car running next to it, as well as a community room in the former freight room is for events and a meeting spot for other organizations.
Individual, family, life and business memberships available.