News Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

Authors ask local residents to share RR history during ‘Meet the Authors’ event

This year Farm/City Day is moving back to downtown Tyrone and the Tyrone Area Historical Society will be apart of the festivities.
A booth will be set up along Pennsylvania Avenue, but a special event will take place at the Tyrone History Museum.
Four local authors will be on hand for a book signing under canopies outside, weather permitting.
The authors include Luther Gette, David Seidel, Jeffrey L. Adams and Paula Zitzler.
One featured book will be Rails to Penn State: The Story of the Bellefonte Central which was published last year.
Author Michael Bezilla, who is unable to attend the event, said co-author Luther Gette will be available Saturday for the book signing.
Rails to Penn State chronicles the history of the Bellefonte Central Railroad, a line that primarily served State College.
However, according to Bezilla, from 1930 to 1933 the Bellefonte Central offered daily train service between Bellefonte and Tyrone via State College and Warriors Mark.
The Bellefonte Central Railraod interchanged freight cars with the Pennsylvania Railroad at Nealmont where the site of the railroad’s locomotive turntable can still be seen. It then took express cars directly to the PRR’s Tyrone passenger station.
While this book does talk about the Tyrone area, Bezilla said area railroad enthusiasts may be even more interested in an upcoming book he and Gette are working on about the railroad history of Centre County.
Work on the upcoming book, which is sponsored by the Centre County Historical Society, began about two years ago.
Research and writing are still in progress, and a publication date will be announced later.
The book commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start-up of the county’s first railroad, the Bellefonte and Snow Shoe, in 1859; but will include the histories of all common-carrier lines in Centre County from that date to the present time.
For many years, the hub of Pennsylvania Railroad operations in Centre County was actually in Tyrone, headwarters of the PRR’s Tyrone Division, which consisted of the Bald Eagle Branch, the Lewisburg and Tyrone Branch and various other lines that served the coal fields to the north in the Moshannon Valley.
Bezilla, of Lemont, is managing editor and co-author of the forthcoming railroad history of Centre County.
Gette, a Philipsburg native, is a specialist in the history of the Tyrone and Clearfield Railway, which linked its two namesake towns via Osceola Mills and Philipsburg. It later became the PRR’s Cleafield Branch.
He grew up watching trains along the branch, has written several magazine articles on the old T&C and has interviewed retirees who operated trains over that line.
In the course of their research, Bezilla and Gette are uncovering much information about Tyrone area’s railroad history. Bezilla said he and Gette are interested in hearing stories of the railroad and hopes the “Meet the Author” forum at the history museum will provide an opportunity for local residents to share their experiences.
Autographed copies of Rails to Penn State will be available for purchase at the Tyrone History Museum during Farm/City Day this Saturday.