I’ve driven by it a bunch of times, but never made it in. But on Saturday I finally stopped into Roadside America in Shartlesville, PA. The main creator, Laurence Gieringer, died in 1963, the year I was born, so it’s a sort of living time capsule. I didn’t really plan to stop by, so I didn’t have the right lenses to show detail, but here’s some general shots.
There is a regular night show (you can see above), which is entirely manually operated:
I talked to Richard Peiffer (that’s Village Supervisor Jon Jordan pictured above), and it turns out that (besides being a retired nuclear submariner, about which he had lots of good stories) he is the primary guy who maintains the whole thing, with a title of “Road Foreman of Track, Trains, and Trolleys “. He showed me around a bit and it was really incredible behind the scenes, and, well, very, uh, let’s say “vintage”. The whole thing is so massive and spectacular and old school that it’s definitely worth a visit (and admission is only $8).
But get there soon, since the whole thing is up for sale, and a employee led kickstarter failed, so the future is uncertain. Here’s a picture of the guys from their Kickstarter, that’s Richard on the right, with a “Make Trains Cool Again” hat, and Jeff Marks, restoration artist on the left.
Below is a video from PennLive.