Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012
SCRANTON, Pa. – Railfest 2012 at Steamtown National Historic Site, downtown Scranton, is an annual celebration of railroading past, present and future that is held on the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. This year, the event takes place on September 1 and 2, with an opening ceremony on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. The park announced today that Mr. Al Boscov, Chairman of Boscov’s Department Stores, has been named Grand Marshal for Railfest 2012!
Mr. Boscov is a successful merchant, showman, and benefactor of numerous community organizations, as well as a long-time supporter and partner with Steamtown NHS. Mr. Boscov began his merchandising career in 1954 when he returned from serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and joined his father, Solomon, and brother-in-law Edwin Lakin, in the operation of their small neighborhood dry goods store which they would renovate and enlarge. In 1962, the Boscov’s expansion program began with the opening of Boscov’s West, a contemporary, full-service, full-scale department store in suburban Reading, Pa. Before long, the department store expansion program moved beyond Berks County, and now consists of 40 major department stores reaching across 5 states in the Mid Atlantic region of the country, including the beautiful, multi-story Boscov’s anchor store at the Mall at Steamtown, located along Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton. The Mall and Steamtown NHS are connected by the Mall’s boardwalk-style bridge, fashioned to represent the former railroad yard coaling trestle, and built upon the original concrete supports. The Mall walkway bridge is accessible during regular Park operating hours and, while providing access to the Mall stores and Food Court, also provides a great overlook for the Steamtown NHS rail yards.
Mr. Boscov is also well-known for his community-focused philanthropic enterprises; in addition to building the Mall at Steamtown, he also restored the former Oppenheim’s and Samter’s Department Stores in downtown Scranton into first-class office space. In neighboring downtown Wilkes-Barre, Mr. Boscov was responsible for purchasing the former Comerford/Paramount movie theater, and spearheading a $3 million fund drive to convert the building into the stunning, 1,800 –seat Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Public Square. In his home area, Mr. Boscov founded and serves as Chairman of “Our City Reading” which was responsible for developing the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, a community art and cultural resource center located in downtown Reading.
Mr. Boscov attended the Drexel Institute of Technology, and holds honorary degrees awarded by Albright College, Reading, Pa., King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and Kutztown University. He has received many prestigious awards including the Pennsylvania Society’s Gold Medal and B’nai Brith’s Americanism Award, and has been recognized by numerous business organizations, including the “Retailer of the Year” awards from both the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers’ Association and the Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association, “Business Leader of the Year” from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, and “Master Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young, Nasdaq, and USA Today.
Mr. Boscov is a devoted family man who, according to his staff, “refuses to take himself seriously.” He and his wife, Eunice, are the proud parents of three daughters and grandparents of five grandchildren. As Railfest 2012 Grand Marshal, Mr. Boscov will join with Steamtown Superintendent Kip Hagen in welcoming visitors to this year’s celebration of railroading in Scranton.
Located in downtown Scranton, Pa., Steamtown NHS is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. From I-81 follow exit 185 (Central Scranton Expressway); then, follow the brown and white signs to the main entrance at Lackawanna and Cliff Avenues (GPS: N 41.41, W 75.67). Additional general park information is available by phoning (570) 340-5200 during regular business hours, or by visiting the Park website at www.nps.gov/stea anytime!