Spook House Station Stop of the Reading & Columbia Railroad

AI-generated image from descriptions of the Spook House Railroad stop.

Haunted houses are typically considered works of fiction by someone with an overactive imagination. But are such places more credible if the railroad designates it as haunted? The Reading & Columbia Railroad thought one such place was when they established an East Hempfield Township station stop as “Spook House.”

Just take a look at this 1863 R&C timetable.

đź“·: LancasterHistory

The R&C was probably the only railroad in the country with a station stop named “Spook House.” The rail line was built in 1863 to connect the City of Reading to the Chesapeake Bay Region via the Susquehanna Tide Water Canal. It transported coal, iron ore, and general merchandise. During its heyday, the railroad expanded into Marietta and Lancaster and carried as many as ten passenger trains daily.

The Spook House sat a mile north of Landisville, along the tracks near the northern end of Spooky Nook Road. 19th-century residents of the area and some R&C train crews believed the abandoned house to be haunted.

1875 map of East Hempfield Township with the area of the Spook House station stop highlighted in the red circle.

By 1863, the thatched roof house had been vacant for many years, so little is known about its origin or owners. One story given for its possible haunting was that some sheep entered into the empty structure. Their bleating during the night night was interpreted by neighbors as the wailing of spirits, giving rise to the theory that the building was haunted.

Others were convinced the Spook House had nothing to do with Little Bo Peep’s lost sheep. The railroad utilized the Spook House as a watering stop for their steam engines. Engineers, who stopped their train there to load water, sometimes saw a mysterious figure in the stream flowing through a culvert by the Spook House.

The structure was torn down around 1899, with no signs left of it today. Only Spooky Nook Road remains to recall the legend.

Through the years, the railroad declined, and the last regularly scheduled passenger service was on November 5, 1950. It was abandoned in 1985.

Today, the section of the rail line that once went past the Spooky House is now part of the Lancaster Junction Recreation Trail. Lancaster County acquired the trail in 1987. It runs 2.25 miles between the hamlet of Lancaster Junction and Route 283. Haunted or not, Lancaster County’s “Spook House” station stop was likely a first and only in the United States.

Here is the approximate location of the Spook House station. GPS Coordinates: 40.110151, -76.413409. Click here for more information on accessing the Lancaster Junction Recreation Trail.


Resources


Adventure Awaits!

Never miss a new article by signing up for email updates below. Follow Uncharted Lancaster on Facebook or Instagram for additional exclusive content.


More Haunted Lancaster

Haunted Lancaster: The Legend of Ironville’s Headless Horseman

“I’ll be in Columbia by the stroke of midnight…or I’ll be in Hell!” These words and an unfortunate accident forever cursed a headless horse rider to patrol the Pike between Ironville and Columbia. Legend says that on cold autumn nights in the minutes before midnight, the sounds of a galloping horse can be heard along Ironville Pike. Click the link to read the whole story.


The White Werewolf and the Full Moon Curse of Shock Graveyard

Legend holds that anyone foolish enough to walk seven times around Hans Graf Cemetery under the full moon’s light will perish before sunrise, hunted down by the werewolf who guards the graveyard. While I’m not superstitious or even a “littlestitious,” I don’t like walking around cemeteries in the middle of the night. Tread with caution. Click here to read the whole legend and the history of Hans Graf Cemetery.


Meet Columbia’s Little Bigfoot—the Albatwitch

At Chickies Rock near the ancient Susquehanna River, stories of a 4-foot-tall hairy ape-man fond of apples have existed since Native Americans dominated the region. As recently as 2020, people have seen the hairy beast. Click the link to learn about Columbia’s little bigfoot—the Albatwitch.


More Haunted Lancaster

If you have a ghost story you want to share as part of Haunted Lancaster, comment below or email me.

%d