Attendance Up 8.5% This Year at Steamtown

Steamtown National Historic Site has seen an 8.5 percent boost in attendance this year the National Park Service said recently.

Located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the park between January and July hosted more than 61,400 visitors.

That compares with 56,567 for the same period in 2018.

Visitation at Steamtown was 104,000 in 2017, the first time it exceeded the 100,000 visitation mark in five years, and 97,950 in 2018.

The attendance high water mark came in 1995 when more than 200,000 people came. That year also coincided with the park’s grand opening.

William Fischer, chief of visitor services and resource management at Steamtown, said a number of factors are driving the increase in visitors, including interest in the restoration of Union Pacific’s Big Boy steam locomotive and the 50th anniversary of the driving of the golden spike.

Fischer said some visitors want to see Steamtown’s own Big Boy No. 4012, a stable mate of the recently restored 4-8-8-4 No. 4014.

“I have noted an increase in requests for information about our ‘Big Boy,’” Fischer said.

In related news, the Park Service said more than 38,000 people visited Golden Spike National Historic Park in Utah during the three days in May when the golden spike anniversary was observed.

Officials said that was nearly four times larger than the number of people who come to during the course of a normal month.

Visitation at the Utah site has since returned to closer to normal with more than 11,000 visitors in July.

Nonetheless, the Park Service said visitation to the Golden Spike site has increased 12 percent this year compared with 2018.

Leslie Crossland, superintendent of Golden Spike, said it can be difficult to determine exactly what causes spikes in visitation because visitation can vary wildly from year to year.

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