by Jay Osman
Special thanks to the State Library of Pennsylvania for photographs used with this article.
From 1892 to 1914, the Pennsylvania Fish Commission ( now the Fish and Boat Commission) operated a railcar called the "Susquehanna" to distribute fish statewide. Its contribution during those crucial early years is a key factor in the Commission's present-day success. A lesser-known fact is that the "Susquehanna" also played a vital roll in the Commission's participation in one of the premier events of the last century and the beginning of this century: The Chicago World's Fair of 1893, named "The Columbian Exposition," and the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, named "The Louisiana Purchase Exposition."
The "Susquehanna," with its specially designed interior, was considered a modern marvel, so much so that the Commission's planners of the 1904 fair originally wanted the car to be part of its overall exhibit. But the railcar proved to be too valuable in keeping the exhibit's live fish display replenished with a fresh supply of fish and other necessary supplies. From the mounted specimens of fish and reptiles to the photographic "transparencies" by William H. Rau, and of course, the live fish displays, the Commission's exhibits at both fairs were smashing successes.
Join us now in a nostalgic look back, when the Pennsylvania Fish Commission was visited by the world.
November/December 1998 PA Angler & Boater
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