FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2002 --
A crisp Spring morning with a spectacular view of the Susquehanna River greeted local history buffs as they arrived at the Riverside Restaurant in Wrightsville for the start of a half-day tour of local historical sites. The tour was sponsored by Rivertownes PA USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the history and heritage of the Susquehanna River towns of Columbia, Marietta and Wrightsville.
After grabbing a quick bite of breakfast on the veranda, they boarded a chartered trolley and headed for the first stop on the tour. The riders got a close look at the limekilns on Front Street in Wrightsville, a site of particular importance to Rivertownes, as it is an important example of early industry in the area. Rivertownes is working to raise funds necessary for the restoration and preservation of the limekilns. The Burning of the Bridge Diorama was the next stop in Wrightsville, where the group learned how an outnumbered Union force briefly defended against a larger Confederate force and then ultimately withdrew and destroyed the bridge over the Susquehanna, stopping the Confederate advance. Rick Schmidt of Historic Wrightsville described some of the events and pointed out locations on the model while a recording depicted the sounds of the action.
The trolley then headed east on Route 462, crossing over the Veterans Memorial Bridge, successor to four earlier bridges, and just downstream from the newest span, the Wrights Ferry Bridge, which carries US Route 30 across the mile wide river. After driving by several historic sites in Columbia, the tour stopped at the First National Bank Museum and was greeted by owner and tour guide Nora Stark. Nora gave the group many interesting insights into the banking industry of the 1800's, pointing out that this bank was the one that financed the bridge destroyed in the war.
Enroute to Marietta, the tour stopped at Breezy View Park to take in the breathtaking view of the river and surrounding communities. During a quick stop at the Vesta office building, another potential restoration location, tour guides Claire Storm and Albert Storm, Jr. described for the riders the extent of the iron industry that flourished between Columbia and Marietta from the early 1800's to the early 1900's. The trolleys then dropped the riders off at the Marietta Union Meeting House. Karen Sullivan described that building's significance and use by numerous religious groups in the area. She also described the efforts of the Marietta Restoration Associates to repair and maintain this and other structures in the Community. The group then walked two blocks to the First National Bank of Marietta, where Bob Carroll demonstrated the bank's unique globe shaped bank vault.
Finally, the hungry group boarded the trolley for the return trip to Riverside Restaurant where they enjoyed lunch. The chill of the morning subsided somewhat and many chose to dine outside on the veranda, enjoying the view and discussing the sights they had seen. Most of the members of the group were from the local area, but many remarked that they learned much from the trip.