There are a handful of abandoned places worth a drive halfway across the country. The Old Overholt Distillery was one of the.
The Old Overholt Distillery is breath taking to behold and maybe even more so when you come upon it unknowingly like I did during a trip in 2013.
One of the joys of having children, is watching them discover and get into things you didn’t as a child. For both my sons one of those things was trains. This prompted us to take an Amtrak train on a trip from Chicago to D.C. (known as the Capitol Limited for my train buff friends).
As a lover of the old parts of America, this trip out east took us past farms, and country towns. Through old factory districts and past the ruins of the railroads glory days of steam. It was an amazing way to peak into the past and see the parts of towns hidden from the view of everyday life. These tracks took you into the past, because unlike the parts of most towns frequented by cars & trucks, no local authorities are demanding these areas be cleaned up and modernized. There’s no new strip malls to entice the train passengers to get off at the next stop. It’s gritty limestone retention walls, old wooden train depots now used as storage sheds for landscaping companies. Along with big brick warehouses with rotted-out wooden platforms next to a track that doesn’t connect to the main line. You can almost see the workers packing old box cars, but you don’t see that from the street.
One of the benefits of traveling by train is, unless you’re really in a hurry, being delayed isn’t that big of a deal, because well, you’re on a train. During one of the delays we had on the trip to D.C. we were practically stopped next to these hulking ruins of a factory of some sort in rural Pennsylvania. While we didn’t slow down long enough for me to get my camera, I made a note of where this place was and on my next journey out east I took a detour from Northern New York to go see it. Turns out that factory was the A. Overholt Distillery in Broad Ford, Pennsylvania.
The A. Overholt Distillery in Broad Ford was one of at least two distilleries from the brand of rye whiskey known as Old Overholt. The brand, still being made today by the Beam-Suntory company, is said to be America’s oldest continuously maintained brand whiskey. Partially due to being able to stay in business during prohibition by making rye whiskey for “medical purposes”, however not nearly at the rate it was when alcohol was legal.
Vacated sometime in the 1960s the property now sits in ruins, especially after several fires. The land looks to be owned partially by the CSX rail company and a local auto shop. A video of the interior from 2011 shows a place that most should not venture into.
Beside being the possible oldest brand of Whiskey in America, Old Overholt had some famous fans of the spirt. It was the brand wild associated with the wild west of America and Doc Holliday, Ulysses S. Grant, and J.F.K. were all said to partake in the drinking it.
The link below will take you to a blog that included a look inside the buildings.