History of The Station Dinner
(Click Images for larger pictures)
The history of The Railroad, as we most commonly
know it, began on the South Carolina Railroad in 1830. A small
locomotive, The Best Friend, began the first regularly scheduled service
in the United States. Less than a year later, it’s boiler exploded, and
service was discontinued until a new locomotive, The West Point, was
From that meager beginning in rural South Carolina
the railroad, more than anything else, allowed this country to move into
a the great unsettled West by providing dependable transportation for
people and freight.
In 1859, George Mortimer Pullman converted a wooden
day coach into the first sleeping car, complete with linen closets,
washrooms, and upper berths. Today, this car with its wood burning stove
for heat. And its bumpy ride would look very crude, but in that day it
was the first glimpse at elegant travel.
1890, The Pullman Palace Car Company had a virtual monopoly on the
sleeping car business in the United States. The Company built, staffed,
and operated cars similar to the One at The Station Dinner theatre on
all major railroads. During this time, travel by rail was both elegant
and exciting. Unfortunately, this period of leisurely travel on
beautiful trains ended with the coming of high-speed air travel in the
In 1967 a group of Erie Businessmen decided to build
a restaurant, which would recapture the spirit of this bygone era. After
two years of planning and a year-and-a-half of construction, the result
was the Station Restaurant. Rich Victorian furnishings, elegant table
settings, hearty food, and a Pullman Sleeping Car have been coordinated
to recreate a busy small town railroad station of the 1890’s.
Pullman Company built the sleeping car, named the St. Helier, in 1922.
The car operated out of the Chicago General Service Pool until its
retirement in 1968. During its restoration in 1970, all original seats,
windows, light fixtures, mirrors, brass fittings, and call buttons were
refurbished and retained, while the general décor was changed to reflect
the turn of the century.
In 2003, The Station Restaurant was the converted
into a Dinner Theatre by Paul and Rae Jean Urbanowicz. The main dining
room was expanded and remodeled to provide tiered seating. A stage was
built, and lighting and sound system installed to provide the best
possible sound and atmosphere for our patrons. In it’s entirety, The
Station Dinner Theatre represents a nostalgic step backward into an era
of charm and beauty that has long since disappeared.
The Station Dinner Theatre operates year-round and
is the home of the original “A
Canterbury Feast”, the longest running medieval dinner theatre in the
United States. Along with it’s many original themed musical comedies,
the Station Season also includes a variety of comedies, farces and
musical reviews combined with Chef Bob Stewart’s delicious cuisine add
up to the region’s most unique and entertaining dining experience.