TN ARCHIVES/DONALD R. SERFASS Walking tours take visitors through the 55-block Tamaqua National Historic District in this image of several years ago. On Saturday and Sunday, 50 to 100 members of a Harrisburg walking club will visit the town for similar day-long walking tours.
A Harrisburg area walking club will come to Tamaqua this weekend, spending time in the community on both Saturday and Sunday.
Anywhere from 50 to 100 members of the Susquehanna Rovers Volksmarch Club will arrive in town before 8 a.m. each day for a five-hour visit, beginning at Tamaqua's Philadelphia and Reading Railroad train station.
The event has been in the planning stages for several months.
The group has mapped out two 5K and 10K walks, or "trails," through the community and will bring their membership to Schuylkill County to take in the sights of the 55-block Tamaqua National Historic District.
"They will have tables setup at the north end of the train station both days with T-shirts, souvenirs and information," said Dale Freudenberger, president, Tamaqua Historical Society. "They have several different length walking routes planned out around town. Participants can take their pick when they arrive. Each tour goes by various historic sites in town and tells them a little bit about each site."
Freudenberger said the historical society was not involved in the itinerary. The group itself determined all of the details.
In fact, the group created a brochure to promote the walk. A copy of the brochure and other details can be found at its website, where it states: "Tamaqua is situated in the coal region section of the Appalachian Mountains. This was one a vital economic activity in Tamaqua, but declined in the 20th century. Until the late 1960s it was a hub of railroad activity.
"At one time eight tracks passed by the passenger station. The collapse of the anthracite coal industry in the early 1960s the Penn Central merger and Hurricane Diane all led to the railroad's demise. This train station was built in 1874. After the decline of the train use, the station fell into disrepair. In 1994, a group called "Tamaqua SOS" for "Save Our Station" put together a program to raise money to restore the station to its former glory. The building is now very elegant and a sight to behold."
The Susquehanna Rovers are a group of outdoor enthusiasts in central Pennsylvania and surrounding areas who share a love of fresh air and an interest in walking. Members range in age from babies in backpacks to folks in their 80s, and come from all walks of life.
The Rovers are part of a worldwide network of similar clubs, all of whom host and take part in volkssporting events. "Volkssport" means people's sport. There are four main sports - walking, biking, swimming and cross country skiing. Walks, or volksmarches, are the most popular type of event, according to the club.
The Tamaqua walks are sanctioned by the Susquehanna Rovers Volksmarch Club of the American Volksport Association. Participants earn credits toward acquisition of achievement awards.