Exploring Hidden Ruins at Raystown Lake

Sunken railroad bridge at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.

Hidden around and beneath the surface of Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County are abandoned ruins of roads, bridges, and structures of historical significance, just waiting to be rediscovered!

The crumbling remains of the Brumbaugh homestead at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
The crumbling remains of the Brumbaugh homestead at Raystown Lake.

When Raystown Lake (the largest lake entirely within Pennsylvania) was completed in 1973, many structures were completely swallowed up by its waters, which run as deep as 200 feet in some places.

Lake Raystown in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania.
Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

Other nearby structures, while not covered by water, were abandoned and are slowly being reabsorbed by the vegetation surrounding the lakeshore.

Abandoned Garner Road at Raystown Lake near Brumbaugh Crossing.
Abandoned Garner Road at Raystown Lake near Brumbaugh Crossing.

But as winter approaches, the vegetation dies back and the waters of Raystown Lake are drawn down, allowing for a glimpse at some of these hidden ruins not normally visible the rest of the year.

The Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain railroad bridge visible at the drawn-down Raystown Lake.
The Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain railroad bridge temporarily visible at the drawn-down Raystown Lake.

Several of these remarkable and historic structures are located near Marklesburg, and they are the subject of this article.


How to Find the Hidden Ruins at Raystown Lake Near Marklesburg

The parking area for exploring the hidden ruins around Raystown Lake described here is located at the gated end of Weller Road, at GPS coordinates 40.39390, -78.14169.

Map to the hidden ruins around and beneath Raystown Lake.
Map to the hidden ruins around and beneath Raystown Lake near Marklesburg.

Just a few yards beyond the parking area/gate, you’ll find the first ruins I’ll discuss here – the Brumbaugh homestead ruins.

Burned-out interior of Brumbaugh homestead near Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
Burned-out interior of Brumbaugh homestead.

The Brumbaugh Homestead at Raystown Lake

Originally constructed in 1804, the Brumbaugh homestead was home to seven generations of the same family, including Martin Brumbaugh, who would become Governor of Pennsylvania from 1915-1919.

Ruins of the Brumbaugh homestead on the shore of Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
Ruins of the Brumbaugh homestead on the shore of Raystown Lake.

Over the years, additions were made to the original stone structure, as pictured in this public domain image below.

Historic photo of the Brumbaugh homestead near Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County PA.
Historic photo of the Brumbaugh homestead near Raystown Lake (public domain image).

The Brumbaugh homestead eventually became part of the Raystown Lake property, and the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Exterior of the abandoned Brumbaugh homestead at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania.
Exterior of the abandoned Brumbaugh homestead.

Unfortunately, a series of subsequent fires and decades of neglect have left the historic structure just a shell of its former self.

Fireplaces inside the abandoned Brumbaugh homestead at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County PA.
Fireplaces inside the abandoned Brumbaugh homestead.

The Sunken Railroad Bridge at Raystown Lake

The Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad once connected Huntingdon to Bedford, running straight through what later would become Raystown Lake.

Location of submerged Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain railroad bridge at Raystown Lake.
Location of submerged Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain railroad bridge at Raystown Lake.

The railroad operated for 100 years, from 1853-1953.

Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad stock certificate.
Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad stock certificate.

When Raystown Lake was completed, several stretches of the former railroad were swallowed up by water, including a stretch near the Brumbaugh homestead.

The normally-submerged Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain railroad on the edge of drawn-down Raystown Lake.
The normally-submerged Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain railroad on the edge of drawn-down Raystown Lake.

Now when the lake is drawn down for the winter, the hidden ruins of the rail line and its associated bridge become visible once again.

An abandoned Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad bridge that is normally submerged beneath Raystown Lake.
An abandoned Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad bridge that is normally submerged beneath Raystown Lake.

Brumbaugh Crossing and the Abandoned Garner Road

A few yards north of the old railroad bridge, you can walk across the drawn-down lake bed at an area known historically as Brumbaugh Crossing.

Brumbaugh Crossing at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County PA.
Brumbaugh Crossing at Raystown Lake.

Follow this land bridge to the opposite shore and you’ll intersect with Garner Road, an abandoned paved road that now plunges into Raystown Lake.

The normally-submerged Garner Road at Raystown Lake.
The normally-submerged Garner Road at Raystown Lake.

Valley View Cemetery

While not abandoned, Valley View Cemetery overlooking the old Brumbaugh homestead and Raystown Lake is significant in that it is the final resting place of former Pennsylvania Governor Martin Brumbaugh.

Martin Brumbaugh's gravesite at the Valley View Cemetery near Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
Martin Brumbaugh’s gravesite at the Valley View Cemetery near Raystown Lake.

You can drive up to the cemetery by following the road between these two columns.

Valley View Cemetery gates next to Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
Valley View Cemetery gates next to Raystown Lake.

The Governor’s gravesite is easy to find as it is located at the base of the only flagpole in the cemetery.

Martin Brumbaugh Memorial at Valley View Cemetery near Raystown Lake.
Martin Brumbaugh Memorial at Valley View Cemetery near Raystown Lake.

On your way out, take note of the PA historical marker honoring Governor Brumbaugh, at the intersection of Route 26 and Weller Road.

Martin Brumbaugh historical marker along Route 26 near Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County pa.
Martin Brumbaugh historical marker along Route 26 near Raystown Lake.

Nearby Attractions

4 Magnificent Scenic Overlooks at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County is your guide to some of the best vistas overlooking the waters of Raystown Lake.

Observation area at Hawn's Overlook above Raystown Lake.
Hawn’s Overlook at Raystown Lake.

Trough Creek State Park in Huntingdon County is home to a variety of attractions, including the spectacular Rainbow Falls.

Rusty Glessner at Rainbow Falls in Trough Creek State Park
The author at Rainbow Falls in Trough Creek State Park

The East Broad Top Railroad offers scenic train rides, shop tours, and visits to the “roundhouse” where their fleet of six historic steam engines live.

The East Broad Top Railroad in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.
The East Broad Top Railroad in Huntingdon County.

26 Abandoned Places in PA You Can Legally Explore is your guide to some the more interesting abandoned places in Pennsylvania I have explored in recent years.

Sideling Hill Tunnel on the Abandoned PA Turnpike in September 2020.
Sideling Hill Tunnel on the Abandoned PA Turnpike in September 2020.

12 Must-See Attractions in Huntingdon County is your guide to even more great adventures close to Raystown Lake.

Sunrise at Whipple Dam State Park.
Sunrise at Whipple Dam State Park in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Grandmother Anna Taylor and Edward Taylor inherited, lived in and due to old age and no family interest , sold the family farm on the Lower Juniata back in the 1960s not knowing the purchaser planned on reselling to the Army Engineers. I always wondered if it was underwater or torn down. Very old farm house resided in the early 1900s. You drove through Aitch, across the bridge turned left up Terrace Mountain on the one lane dirt road with dugouts to back into to avoid on coming traffic, a road that dropped straight down into the river. The old road eventually dipped down to the farm on the Juniata at the river’s shallowest point. As kids we could actually walk across the shallow river to visit the summer cottage people, shallow enough that depending on age we were head and shoulders above the river. If you are ever back hiking there and come across a clapboard sided wreck of a 3 story farmhouse do post it. House was a 5 minute walk down to the river. The barn had burned down, there were some outbuildings and a wonderful stone spring house. All the years later it is still my favorite memory of childhood, a photo still sits on my desk. Lucky you to spend time in that area. Grandmothers cousin was a farmer Fink, not the bridge builder, but from the same background. Mr T’s family were the T for Taylor in Aitch. All history, and I am the last of the family to remember this wonderful farm. Thanks for your coverage of the region. And for another co-incidence? On my mother’s side her sister Dorothy married a Bill Glessner and I have cousins Bill and Jerry Glessner, one in Ellensburg and one in Pa.. With a shared family name I thought I would add this comment. Karen

    • Thanks for sharing your memories of the area, and as far as your Glessner relatives, if they are in the Somerset County area then it is possible they are related to me.

    • Actually the T in Aitch is for Tom Enyeart. Many would like to think their families name was used but the people it was named for were residents of the town at the time, not people in area of the town. A lot of Hess’s from the area think the H is for Hess but it was Haffley who was the towns Tin smith. I grew up in Aitch and your directions are a little confusing. Turning left up over Terrace Mountain would be in Trough Creek Park and took you up over the mountain by the current campgrounds, no farms up there and The road down over the mountain brought out at the East side of Finks Bridge. To get to the campgrounds from Aitch you crossed 2 Bridges, Shells and then a bridge over Trough Creek. Below Aitch there was a road to the left that crossed a bridge over James Creek that took you up over Piney Ridge ( Upper Corners Road ). Just before reaching the crossroads by the Anderson cemetery there was a road that turned to the right that went down to the river. The area there was called Upper Corners. At the crossroads at the cemetery you turned right down to the old Finks bridge were family friends had farms ( Fishers ). All of the structures were torn down with the exception of 2 buildings located at were the old dam stood.

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