Government Shutdown Means More Visitors at County Museum

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SCRANTON -- Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton has been closed for more than a week now. The site closed and furloughed its employees due to the government shutdown.

Unlike the Steamtown National Historic Site, a museum nearby is still open.

The Electric City Trolley Museum is still open, and it's using the federal government shutdown to welcome new visitors.

"It means more revenue for us, more exposure to the museum and we enjoy the crowd," Electric City Trolley Museum Manager Wayne Hiller said.

Hiller said visitors have continued to pour in over the last week.

A lot of the visitors learned a little too late that the national site is not open.

"I was here about just over 20 years ago just when Steamtown was kind of being created. It was not nearly as nice as it is now. It obviously has a lot more development now and I was disappointed to not be able to go in," Bill Nickerson of Denfield, CT said.

His partner Connie Fogarty agreed.

"We were very disappointed, yeah because we had planned this for several months. But, then when we found out the trolley was running it was nice. It was a good surprise and we enjoyed it very much," Fogarty said.

Two bus groups from New Jersey and Allentown spent the day at the museum.

Hiller said they typically only run trolley rides Thursday through Sunday. Hiller said after receiving requests from two large groups, they decided to run rides on Tuesday.

Bill Lanno said at first he was disappointed that the site was closed, but he changed his opinion after riding a trolley.

"To tell you the truth we enjoyed it really more than the train because we grew up back in the 40's and 50's with the trolley car," Lanno said.

Workers at the museum said they're prepared for a busy few weeks ahead, or however long the government shutdown lasts.

"October is booked for us right now. We have a really good month going prior to the shutdown of the government so this is just cream on top of everything," Hiller said.

For more information on the Electric City Trolley Museum visit the museum's website