Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern

Remembering the Shawmut

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the final run of the Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad. An obscure railroad even in its heyday, the Shawmut hauled bituminous coal out of northern Pennsylvania, and served no major cities. Its major claim to fame was operating in bankruptcy for longer than any other American railroad—over 40 years. After they finally pulled the plug in 1947, this lantern found its way onto a mantelpiece in my hometown. My parents bought a house across the street in 1969, and Dad first saw the lantern soon thereafter. Decades later, the neighbor’s children gave it to him after their father passed away. I once asked a memorabilia vendor at the Syracuse show for a ballpark value on a Shawmut lantern with a marked globe. He gave me a number. I mentioned it later to Mom.

She’s afraid to dust it now.