Lehigh and Susquehanna Abandoned Railroad Station in Wilkes-Barre, PA


Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of exploring, and if I encounter an interesting-looking abandoned building, I can’t help but get a closer look!  Something about dilapidated interiors–their former, deteriorated glory highlighted by the sunlight flooding through the cracks in the boards–is just fascinating to me.  

I was driving back from Connecticut on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and had hit a lull.  To avoid the risk of getting sleepy, I got off at the next exit and bought a large coffee at McDonalds.  On my way out, I took a closer look at the train station across the street.  Though it was boarded up and crumbling, it still murmured of the glory that Italianate architecture inherently boasts.  There were several train cars parked behind the station and an added newer structure (also abandoned) that appeared to have been some sort of night club.  My coffee was still too hot to drink (read: boiling-lava-scalding hot, thanks McDonalds), so I decided to walk around the perimeter and check it out.

In between the two train cars parked permanently behind the structure, one of the windows had been de-boarded and the glass was broken in.  Train cars are tall, mind you, but very climbable.  I had my camera on me, because I had been in Connecticut for a photography workshop, and I decided the train cars were worth exploring.  (I didn’t expect them to be connected to the train station itself.)  After a quick glance around and a verbal order at my coffee to “Stay, boy!”, I hoisted myself up into the train car, taking care to avoid the broken glass.

The train cars, as it turns out, are connected to the train station through a passageway that was clearly constructed later, probably at the same time as the nightclub.  At once, as I entered the station itself, it took my breath away.  From the intricate carved wood of the fireplace and staircase to the candy-colored moulding on the ceiling, it’s both fascinating and melancholic to see such architectural beauty long forgotten.

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You can read more about the Lehigh and Susquehanna train station’s tragic and corruption-filled history (ooh, dramatic!) here.


6 thoughts on “Lehigh and Susquehanna Abandoned Railroad Station in Wilkes-Barre, PA

    • Absolutely incredible. I would have never fathomed such beauty hidden inside. So glad I payed a visit. :)

      Thanks for writing such a detailed history, I was excited to be able to learn more about it!

  1. That was once a New Jersey Central train station (Not Leigh and Susquehanna)
    In the early 1980’s it was a beautiful entertainment complex known as “The Station” featuring a fine restaurant, a bar and a dance club (that rail car in your photo was the “dining car” where the tables for the restaurant were). There was also a caboose that served as a rest room. Outside of “The Station” there was a motel consisting of converted train cars (it looked like a rail yard with rows of passenger cars and cabooses all lined up) The inside of the Station was filled with Victorian furniture, upstairs there were theme rooms (I was never up there, I don’t think it was open to the public) if I remember correctly, one room had a mirror with a bullet hole, some kind of Jessie James old west thing. At the time, it was THE PLACE to party in Wilkes-Barre.
    I think the owners retired and sold the place,for a few years it was actually a Playboy Club, bunny waitresses and all, but it didn’t catch on…later, under a new owner (who eventually trashed the place), I’m not sure what the entire complex was officially named, but the bar area was called “Peanuts” (for the shells on the floor) so the whole place was locally known as “Peanuts”, and again it was a hot spot. Both “The Station” and “Peanuts” showcased local and national musical talent, it was a great place to see a show.
    …don’t know exactly what happened to the place…delinquent taxes and such…and it fell into disrepair…

  2. leo schrama has the story exactly right. Many of the fixtures pictured above are from “The Station” period of about 35 years ago and are likely not original. This train station was built in 1863. It was closed and boarded up 100 years later. What is now Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, which runs directly in front of it, was, at the time of closure, a railroad line. It was dug up and turned into the Boulevard when I lived in this city in the late ’70s and early ’80s. In 1977, local businessman Marvin Roth bought this station for somewhere around $75,000. He dumped a fortune into it. As “The Station,” it opened in 1979, maybe 1980. It was the best nightclub complex ever!!! I spent as many nights as a college kid without much money could in this place. I loved going here – elegant atmosphere, crowds and corwds of people, great looking waitresses, great entertainment. The Station had it all. It got top notch entertainment. Greg Kihn played here as “The Breakup Song” was riding the charts. Billy Idol played here when “Hot In the City” was hot. Joe Jackson world premiered his “Body and Soul” album here. Dizzy Gillespie played here on a Sunday afternoon. Foghat shot a video for the then-fledgling MTV here. The Station was a great place. But by the late ’80s, some of the changes Leo mentioned above started happening and it went downhill. By that time, it was known as Market Street Square. It closed for good about 15 years ago. In addition to back taxes, there was some of the well-know local corruption involved. In 2006, Luzerne County paid a politically-connected businessman 5.8 million dollars for this building, the rusting train cars outside, and some of the land around it. No one believed it was worth that much. The county still owns it. Right now, the county Historical Society is trying to gain ownership, with hopes of restoring it. We’ll see.

  3. I am 75 now, but I was a young boy at the start of WWll. My dad was stationed at Camp Peary VA (now the CIA center known as The Farm). My mother and I would leave from the Wilkes-Barre station to visit him and I always looked forward to seeing the model of the old steam engine from 1800’s in the lobby. It was on the order of 4 ft long (or seemed big to a little boy). You could put coins in a slot and it would play music and the wheels on the train would move! I don’t know why, but 70 years later I am dreaming about that train and wonder what ever happend to it. It was a very vivid part of my boyhood and wwII. I still remember the night my father got drafted and left on a train with a lot of other draftees for parts unknown. And I also remember soldiers and sailors holding me on their laps so I could sleep and passing me around to be held by others because I reminded them of their own kids. I have often wondered how many of them never made it back home to see their families.

    Any information on the train you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I currently live near Palm Springs, CA and do not get the chance to get back there anymore since all my family is gone.

  4. Any new updates on the status of the property? My great grandfather was a small business owner in the early 1900’s. I have freight slips and bills of lading from the goods he picked up at the station. What a spectacular town w-b was then.

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