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Roadside America Has Closed

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Roadside America Has Closed
Posted by dlagrua on Sunday, November 22, 2020 10:05 PM

After 85 years of entertaining guests with one of the largest indoor displays of O gauge model trains, scenery and towns; Roadside America has closed its door permanently. The display was handbuilt by the late Laurence Gieringer originally in his home then expanded to a purpose built building in Shartlesville, PA. off of Rt 78.  It was a magnificent display that covered 8,000 square feet, was quite a sight to see and it had many animations. The exhibit was quite old and depicted small town Pennsylvania living in the 1940's and 50's. No buyer has come forward to purchase it so it is likely that an auction will be held to sell the layout piece by piece. I am sad to see such an important part of model railroading history go away.

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Posted by millrace on Monday, November 23, 2020 6:30 AM

This is truly distressing news. I've made many visits since I was a small child. There are other commercial train displays, but nothing that quite compares to the exquisite nostalgia that Roadside America offers.  I sent letters to the PA legislatures just in case they are able to do anything to help find a buyer to keep it intact. Probably won't do any good, but at least it's something.

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Posted by dlagrua on Monday, November 23, 2020 7:59 AM

We visited Roadside America a few times and found it to present model railroading as it was done in the past. There is nothing else like that exhibit anywhere as it is not only an artful creation it represents a period of history like a priceless antique. It is very sad that it is going away. The Covid crisis was probably the final blow.

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Posted by Billwiz on Monday, November 23, 2020 8:58 AM

It is a shame.  Covid was the final nail in the coffin, however it was going downhill over the past few years.  Last few times I went, there were fewer trains running, lots of broken displays and it was a bit rundown.  I wish someone could have purchased and upgraded things, while keeping the historic value.

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, November 23, 2020 9:12 AM

Truly sad news.  We visited Roadside America several times years back and it was an absolutely stunning thing to see. Their motto "Be prepared to see more than you expect!" was absolutely true. 

I just don't have the words, know what I mean? 

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Posted by Roger Carp on Monday, November 23, 2020 9:53 AM

The closing of Roadside America ends an important chapter in the history of toy trains in America.

Our brand-new special-interest publication, Families and Electric Trains, includes a history of Roadside America and the family responsible for its development. You will enjoy the article and the many others included--all brand-new material.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Roger Carp

Senior editor

Classic Toy Trains

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, November 23, 2020 12:40 PM

Roger Carp
Happy Thanksgiving

And the same to you Roger, and all the crew!

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Posted by Billwiz on Monday, November 23, 2020 6:09 PM

I don't live far from Roadside America.  It holds a special place in my heart.  My father took me a few times, I went on my own many times then took my daughter.  Truly a sad day.  My dad died long before my daugher was born, but we all share interest in trains.

 

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Posted by pennytrains on Monday, November 23, 2020 7:14 PM

Flintlock76

 

 
Roger Carp
Happy Thanksgiving

 

And the same to you Roger, and all the crew!

 

Ditto!  Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Kens std gauge on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 6:00 PM

I had never heard of this layout until the last couple days despite traveling to PA often.  It looks pretty amazing and I'm sorry to have missed it.  I cannot help but think a more relevant name may have helped their promotions... "roadside America" doesn't really conjour up an image of anything!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 8:59 PM

I don't know, "R-A" was quite the attraction for a good fifty or more years.  Maybe the current members of the Geiringer family don't want anything to do with it anymore, maybe the world's just moved past attractions like that.*  

But anyway you look at it it's a sad ending of an era.

*  Considering the was people flock around large train show display layouts and all the "OOOHS and AHHHS" they generate maybe I've got that part wrong?

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 9:39 PM

Yes, this is very sad news. I have been there multiple times as a child and as an adult with my own children and grandchildren.

I think one of the challanges these days for them was the fact that there is nothing else nearby of similar interest.

Strasburg PA, where the Strasburg Rail Railroad is, has a long list of train and model train attractions, including the ChooChoo Barn. A display similar to Roadside America although not as large or elaberate, but very nice none the less.

It is a shame no one was able to take it over. It would be interesting to know the asking price and recent revenues.

On a similar note, I recently saw where Northlandz, an HO display in Flemington, NJ, is apparently under new ownership and has been refurbished and reopened. The wife and I stopped there on a road trip we took about a decade ago, large but unimpressive in my view.

I live close to Strasburg, we go there several times a year on average.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by Art Young on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 9:41 AM

After a lot of "Gotta get there one day" since I was eight years old, I took my daughter about ten or so years ago. Nearly a three hour drive, but so worth it! 

 If they can't find a buyer, I hope that at least they'll have an auction, rather than just haul it all away as junk. 

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Posted by Billwiz on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 10:37 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Strasburg PA, where the Strasburg Rail Railroad is, has a long list of train and model train attractions, including the ChooChoo Barn. A display similar to Roadside America although not as large or elaberate, but very nice none the less.

Sheldon, other than the size difference, Choo Choo Barn does a lot more updates to the display.  RA, wanting to keep it as Mr. Geringer originally created it, did not do enough basic updates.  

It is still a shame.  Perhaps the TCA could get at least some of the display for historic value.

 

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Posted by York1 on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 11:00 AM

Flintlock76
Maybe the current members of the Geiringer family don't want anything to do with it anymore, maybe the world's just moved past attractions like that.

 

While I don't have any inside information, it sounds like the children of the original owner are now older and unable to continue the attraction.

One of them posted in Facebook:

"Nearly 3 years ago we decided to place the display for sale, hoping to find a buyer who would continue business operations. Despite meeting with multiple interested parties over the last 2 years, each with their own unique vision, none committed to moving forward with the village," the post said.

York1 John       

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 11:01 AM

Billwiz

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Strasburg PA, where the Strasburg Rail Railroad is, has a long list of train and model train attractions, including the ChooChoo Barn. A display similar to Roadside America although not as large or elaberate, but very nice none the less.

 

Sheldon, other than the size difference, Choo Choo Barn does a lot more updates to the display.  RA, wanting to keep it as Mr. Geringer originally created it, did not do enough basic updates.  

It is still a shame.  Perhaps the TCA could get at least some of the display for historic value.

 

 

Agreed, ChooChoo Barn is fresh, well maintained and up to date. Always a good time.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 11:12 AM

Care for a look at Northlandz?  As Sheldon said, it's an HO-themed railroad and might be of a bit more interest to the "Model Railroading" crew, but it's fascinating just the same.

https://weirdnj.com/stories/personalized-properties/northlandz/

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Posted by thesiding on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 11:38 AM
IF ONLY I COULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THOSE DAMM LONE WINNERS OF MEGA MILLIONS if only
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Posted by Banks on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 5:51 PM

Sad to see it close. Visited a few times. Was there as a child, took my kids And most recently about 8 years ago a business trip took me near so I stopped. It was very nice in the beginning but last visit it was looking like It needed lots of attention and a thorough cleaning . Still an impressive display knowing it history. I do think location was bad. If it were closer to Strasburg it would've had more business.

Banks, Proud member of the OTTS  TCA 12-67310

  

   

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Posted by zugmann on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 6:06 PM

Flintlock76
Care for a look at Northlandz?  As Sheldon said, it's an HO-themed railroad and might be of a bit more interest to the "Model Railroading" crew, but it's fascinating just the same.

Northladdz and Roadside America seemed to have a bit of a internet tinkling contest with each other.  To what end?  Who knows...

  

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Posted by cheapclassics on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 10:34 PM

Good evening all,

Always meant to go there.  Never did.  Will have to get back to Strasburg sometime.  I hope everyone has a good day.

Keep on training,

Mike C. from Indiana

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Posted by dlagrua on Friday, December 4, 2020 12:50 PM

UPDATE: I just read that the Roadside America Layout, rolling stock, structures and scenery will all be going up for auction in Mid December. Some of the scenes on that layout took Laurence Gieringer months to create.It was his lifes work.  It is a very sad time in model railroading history but as the saying goes nothing is forever.

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Posted by Banks on Friday, December 4, 2020 3:14 PM

Will it be an online auction?

Banks, Proud member of the OTTS  TCA 12-67310

  

   

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Posted by Banks on Friday, December 4, 2020 6:37 PM

Banks, Proud member of the OTTS  TCA 12-67310

  

   

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Posted by dlagrua on Sunday, December 13, 2020 9:53 PM

Randy Plessor may be a good meaning fellow but who is going to supply the funds necessary to purchase the Roadside America layout? The present owners are probably looking to gain thousands of dollars from its sale. No small museum is going to pay that. It will go to auction..

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, December 14, 2020 9:06 AM

Yes, I hope Mr. Plessor has the financial wherewithal to make it happen, or is connected to an organization that does.  Best of luck to him!

Aside from the property, which I'm assuming the Geiringer family owns, I wonder just how much money an auction of the assets is going to bring, that is the individual models.  I wouldn't mind owning a small piece of RA myself, maybe one of the locomotives.  I'd give it a very good home!

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Posted by thesiding on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 9:42 AM
auction is later this month I'LL BE WATCHING
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Posted by thesiding on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 9:44 AM

Looks like it for a month or so

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 10:30 AM

Any idea who's handling the auction, that is, what auction house?

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Posted by Billwiz on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 10:48 AM

Flintlock76

Any idea who's handling the auction, that is, what auction house?

 

 

https://gotoauction.com/sales/view/252892.html

 

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