Cole’s Station Enclosed Water Tower
Kept the Water Flowing to Railroad Steam Locomotives During Harsh Pennsylvania Winters
Now the Last Survivor on the East Broad Top Narrow Gauge Railroad
Located at mile marker 24.3, one-half mile east of Coles Valley Road, near the town of Saltillo in Huntingdon County, the Coles Station, Pennsylvania, water tank is the last surviving enclosed water station along the East Broad Top narrow gauge railroad. The tanks were enclosed so that the water could be kept from freezing during winter months by use of a small stove.
This tank was built in 1919 to replace an older tank that had deteriorated beyond use. The structure includes a tub-style wood tank of approximately 8,000 gallons capacity that is elevated on heavy wood framing set in a concrete foundation.
The two-story building features vertical board-and-batten siding over a wood frame, covered by a square hip roof. A small addition covers the stone-lined subterranian cistern that is spring-fed. This structure originally housed a pump powered by a gasoline engine, used to fill the tank.
A small coal stove inside the tank house provided enough heat to keep the water from freezing during cold Pennsylvania winters.
These plans, part of the National Park Service’s Historic American Engineering Record, were delineated by John R. Bowie. The project, conducted by the Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc. was funded by grants from the Society for Industrial Archeology and the Amherst Railway Society, Inc. Photographs were made by A. Pierce Bounds, with additional assistance by William L. Adams. Henry F. Inman, president of the Friends of the East Broad Top provided editorial and technical oversight of the project.
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