Skip to main content

Midway Service Plazas

The list can get quite lengthy.  The list of unique features the grandfather of modern highways in the United States has.   Numerous tunnels, abandoned tunnels and roadways in Bedford, Fulton and Westmoreland Counties, St. John's Church in New Baltimore, the stone faced colonial style service plazas and breathtaking scenery.  One set of service plazas located near the Bedford Interchange may be one of the most fascinating.  It is the Midway (North and South) Service Plazas.  The plazas are named "Midway" as they are located at what once was the halfway point of the original 160 mile toll road.  Midway South features a two-story colonial style building.  Midway North was a small one-story facility.  Midway South was rebuilt between 2012 and 2013, the Turnpike kept the old colonial design and stone faced exterior. In 2014, the North plaza was completely raised and rebuilt from the ground up as a more modern facility.  The new North Midway Service Plaza opened in May 2015.

The old North Midway Service Plaza in 2002.

What makes these service plazas more unique is that a tunnel underneath the Turnpike connects the two buildings.  This tunnel, now closed to travelers and the general public, is used for storage space.  The tunnel is no longer accessible at North Midway as the current restroom facilities are now above it.  The tunnels were in fact at one time open to the traveling public.  As late as the mid-sixties, you were still able to cross underneath the turnpike via the tunnel. (1) Below, John Bibber has included some photos of the tunnel.

The Interior of the Midway Service Tunnel.  (John Bibber)

Underneath the former entrance to the North Midway Plaza.  You can see the location of the original stairway.  (John Bibber)
 
This appears to be a current meeting facility or break room on the second floor of the South Midway Plaza.  (John Bibber)

Although both plazas - former homes of Esso Gas and Howard Johnson Restaurants - have undergone numerous modernization projects,  when pulling into the South Midway Plaza, the feel of the 1940's Turnpike still exists.  The quaint intimate facility combines history with the convenience and speed necessary for the modern day traveler.  In fact, not much in the outside cosmetics of the two-story South Plaza has changed when this photo of a young Mike Austing and his family was taken in the Summer of 1951.

(Mike Austing)

Site Navigation:
Sources & Links:
  • Historic PA Turnpike Service Plazas ---Interesting Pennsylvania
  • (1) Hoffman, Tom. 'Re: Midway Service Plazas Page Online.' Personal e-mail, July 20, 2002.
  • Mike Austing
  • John Bibber

d

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Sierran Death Highway, Blackrock Road

Back in 2016 I was pursuing dangerousroads.org looking for a interesting paved road akin to Kaiser Pass Road and Mineral King Road both which I had done earlier in the year.  I found what I was looking for in Blackrock Road located in rural eastern Fresno County at the confluence of the Kings River with it's North Fork.


Suffice to say that if I was looking roadways on dangerousroads.org it probably lends suggestion that Blackroad is somewhat on the hazardous side, it is.  Blackrock Road is an approximately 26-27 mile long one-lane road located in Sierra National Forest.  Blackrock Road is partially paved running from the Bailey Bridge at the Kings River north to the Wishon Reservoir roughly following the west bank of the North Fork Kings River.  Every documentation I've seen shows the road is really spelled "Blackrock" as opposed to "Black Rock" like the nearby Pacific Gas & Electricity Reservoir.

My goal on Blackrock Road was simple; I wanted to see al…

Ghost Town Tuesday; Mannfield, FL and the stairway to Hell

Back in 2015 I went searching the Lecanto Sand Hills for the original Citrus County Seat known as Mannfield.  Unlike Centrailia in Hernando County and Fivay in Pasco County I did find something worth seeing.



Mannfield is located in the Lecanto Sand Hill section of Withlacoochee State Forest somewhat east of the intersection of Citrus County Route 491 and Mansfield Road.

Mannfield was named after Austin Mann and founded in Hernando County in 1884 before Citrus County Split away.  In 1887 Citrus County was split from northern Hernando County while Pasco County was spun off to the south.  Mannfield was selected as the new Citrus County seat due to it being near the county geographic center.  Reportedly Mannfield had as many as 250 people when it was the County Seat.  The town included various businesses one might include at the time, even a sawmill which was common for the area.  In 1891 Citrus County voted to move it's seat to Inverness which set the stage for the decline of Mannfi…

Route 66 Wednesdays; The Twin Arrow Trade Post and Padre Canyon

Back in 2015 I revisited some of my favorite derelict haunts along former segments of US Route 66 between Flagstaff and Winslow.  The first stop was east of Winona at the Twin Arrows Trade Post.   The ruins of the Twin Arrow Trade Post is located immediately east of Padre Canyon off of I-40/US 180 exit 219.






The Twin Arrows Trade Post was originally started in the late 1940s as the Canyon Padre Trading Post.  Apparently business at the Canyon Padre Trading Post didn't start taking off until the two 25 foot arrows pictured above were put in and the name was changed to the Twin Arrows Trade Post in 1954.  I'm to understand the name change to Twin Arrows was partially inspired by close proximity to the Navajo Nation in addition to the booming business at the nearby Two Guns Trade Post to the east at Canyon Diablo.  The Twin Arrows Trade Post shuttered for good in the 1990s and has been sitting on the south side of I-40/US 180 ever since.  To the north of I-40/US 180 the Twin Arrow…