Greensburg, PA (GNB)
Known for its fanciful clock tower, the Greensburg depot is a bustling commercial center in the middle of the town's lively cultural district.
Harrison Avenue and Seton Hill Drive Greensburg, PA 15601
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 13,552
- Facility Ownership: StoneKim Properties, LLC
- Parking Lot Ownership: StoneKim Properties, LLC
- Platform Ownership: Norfolk Southern Corporation
- Track Ownership: Norfolk Southern Corporation
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The Greensburg depot opened in 1910 along the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) main line running from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. In 2012, the building was renamed the PNC Station at Greensburg to mark a $300,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to the Westmoreland Cultural Trust, which owned the depot from 1993 to 2015. The award was made in support of the Trust’s mission to encourage cultural and economic development in this region of western Pennsylvania.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977, the depot was designed for the PRR by William H. Cookman, who built several other stations and railroad buildings throughout the state. Since undergoing a complete rehabilitation in the late 1990s, the station has housed various business tenants; a brick-floored space between the passenger and baggage depots has been neatly enclosed with glass walls and a roof with skylights to provide a small amount of seating for passengers. The platforms are elevated, at the level of the station’s eaves, and lie behind the station building; they are reached via an underpass, stairs and elevators. On the platforms, glass enclosures provide shelter under the canopies and at the stair openings.
For a small town depot, the Greensburg facility is rather ornate. It is constructed of red brick laid in a Flemish bond pattern with stone trim and quoins on the building’s corners, its overall architecture being in the Jacobean Revival style. The roofs, originally of slate, are now covered in asphalt shingle with a molded brick exterior chimney on one end, the overhanging eaves supported by brackets. The former passenger depot has symmetrically-paired Jacobean-styled dormers with windows and elaborate gables with scrollwork pediments; its roof ends are gabled. The building has a number of paired one-over-one windows set around the ground floor, all with stone exterior casements.
A tall square brick clock tower with large stone quoins is located beside the passageway between the passenger and baggage sections on the south side of the station. This large tower is topped by a copper ogee dome with finial. Ornamented parapets with center cartouches and corner finials surround the dome. Below the parapet, the tower is divided into three sections by decorative stone shelf belt courses. In the short top course, decorative carved stone squares are set in the center of the brick walls. In the middle section, the four clocks, surrounded by carved stone, have been returned to the tower (they had been removed at some point and replaced by the PRR insignia). The lowest section has four rectangular windows topped with stone carvings, with a stone shelf around each window. The centrally-located street entrance is covered with a three-arch port-cochere with an elaborately gabled projecting front and a glass-fronted vestibule flush with the station walls that now affords additional shelter when entering the building.
The former baggage building has a hipped roof with small, curved dormers and a larger central curved gable with the same centered, carved stone square seen on the clock tower.
Although Westmoreland County had been occupied by settlers of European descent since the mid-18th century, present-day Greensburg was not laid out until the burning of nearby Hannah’s Town in 1789 during a raid by Guyasuta-led Seneca Indians and British rangers in one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War. The county government was relocated and reestablished in December 1785, in what was first called Newtown, located along a wagon trail that stretched from Philadelphia to Fort Pitt (which became Pittsburgh). It was formally incorporated as a borough and renamed Greensburg, for Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, in 1799.
The town and the station’s prosperity both owe much to the Pennsylvania Railroad. As early as 1836, the town made public its desire to have a railroad, but it wasn’t until 1849 that the railroad grading around Greensburg began. The first train came through Greensburg on November 29, 1852, stopping at a temporary structure. The town’s first permanent station, a one-story brick structure, was built in 1860. However, passenger trains found the grade to the Gropevile anticline difficult and sometimes had to back out of the station to get a start up it. To overcome this, the level of the track was raised between 1909 and 1910, necessitating tearing out a tunnel at Main Street. The present bridges over the tracks at Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue date from this period.
Greensburg is located about thirty miles from Pittsburgh, on the western side of the Allegheny mountains, and the area is one of rich bituminous coal fields which fed the area’s coal and coke works in the 19th century. The town was an important stop on the PRR main line as the downtown flourished, becoming a major mercantile center for the region in the early 20th century, with four major department stores and dozens of independent and national retailers.
Seton Hill College, which sits to the northwest of the station, founded in 1883 as the Saint Joseph Academy for Girls, and chartered as a four-year women’s institution in 1918. Two years later, Greensburg incorporated as a city, and by the 1950s, nearby areas had developed as suburbs. Greensburg prospered as a cultural center with the opening of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in 1959 and the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in 1963.
But, with the opening of nearby suburban malls, the downtown declined as a shopping destination, and the last large department store, Troutman’s, closed in 1985. On the railroad, the PRR made the ill-fated merger with the New York Central in the late 1960s with its subsequent organization into Conrail, and the station, along with many other former PRR properties, was sold off. When Amtrak began in 1971, passenger service returned to Greensburg, although the trains serving the station have evolved through the National Limited, theBroadway Limited, the short-lived Three Rivers, and the Pennsylvanian, which began running in 1980.
The station’s restoration has paralleled the renaissance of the downtown district. In 1976, Amtrak acquired the station from Conrail. The facility was eventually, in 1993, conveyed to the Westmoreland Trust (now Westmoreland Cultural Trust), a non-profit corporation that had organized the year before with the aim of developing a viable historic, cultural and entertainment district in Greensburg. Using a $1.6 million federal Transportation Enhancement grant (including local matching funds) and other monies, the Trust completed a $3 million restoration of the station in 1998. As with all old buildings, renovations are ongoing.
Today, the station’s five tenants include professional offices. A new restaurant, the Supper Club at the Greensburg Station, opened in June of 2010, utilizing a loft and the former main waiting room. One of the Greensburg Cultural District’s bigger projects, the restaurant continues a trend whereby the station remains the hub of the district, and it often coordinates with the Palace Theatre (also restored) and the Seton Hill Performing Arts Center to provide attractive entertainment packages.
The unstaffed Greensburg station, which does not provide ticketing or baggage services, is served by two daily trains. The Pennsylvanian is financed primarily through funds made available by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
- 10 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 5 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Elevator Accessible
- Wheelchair Lift