The Robertsdale Museum Complex
The Friends of the East Broad Top museum complex is located in Robertsdale, Wood Township, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. During the era of common-carrier EBT operations, Robertsdale was the railroad’s southern operating terminus, although the rails continued a few miles farther south, through Wood to Alvin PA.
The FEBT museum site is located on the Huntingdon County sub-loop of the “Path of Progress”, a 500-mile driving route that extends through nine southwestern Pennsylvania counties linking various heritage sites.
The museum complex consists of two historic buildings on the west side of Robertsdale’s Main Street (Pennsylvania Highway 913) at the crossing of the tracks of the East Broad Top Railroad. These structures are two of what was originally four “company square” buildings erected by the Rockhill Iron and Coal Company (RI&C) and the East Broad Top Railroad in the center of Robertsdale. The FEBT museum site includes the former EBT Depot, located on the northwest corner and the Old Post Office, located on the southwest corner of the square respectively. The other two buildings of the “company square” are the stone Company Store, located on the northeast corner of the square, which was, unfortunately, torn down in 1997, and the Company Office Building, located on the southeast corner of the square, which now serves as the Robertsdale’s Post Office.
In its operation of the Robertsdale museum complex, FEBT has four goals, all directly related to its organizational mission:
- To preserve the two historic structures owned by the FEBT which are associated with the EBT’s presence in Robertsdale.
- Through restoration and adaptive rehabilitation of these structures, to provide space for the preservation and exhibition of historic artifacts important to public understanding of the East Broad Top Railroad and Robertsdale; and to provide space for the preservation, storage, and research use of historical materials and records related to the history and operations of the railroad.
- Through museum exhibits, interpretive tours, and special events, to enhance public awareness of the unique historical legacy of the EBT, its relationship to the development of railroads in the United States, and its role in the industrial development of southwestern Pennsylvania.
- To encourage public support for the continued preservation and complete restoration of the East Broad Top Railroad.
Also nearby in Robertsdale is the Broad Top Coal Miners Museum of the Broad Top Area Coal Miners Historical Society. This museum, located a short walk south from the FEBT museum along Main Street, presents exhibits on the coal mining heritage of the Broad Top Mountain coal field. The museum is housed in the former Reality Theater.