Brandy M. Watts Martin, a native of Central Pennsylvania, has been studying the Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad (and Stony Valley / Saint Anthony's Wilderness) since 1997, when she was in third grade. Local history has always been an interest of hers, having studied other topics such as the Blue-Eyed Six, Samuel Strause Lumber Company and Mount Lebanon Cemetery's Memorial Chapel, among others. These all took a backseat to "the unique and wondrous history of Stony Valley" in her mind. In eighth grade, her continued love of local history assisted in her receiving the "Woodmen of the World" award for knowledge of American History.
She started hiking in Stony Valley even before she could walk; her parents mostly sticking to the Stony Valley Rail-Trail so not to get lost in the wilderness. In third grade, Brandy’s interest was made clear, when her parents detoured from the normal path and took her to the former resort town of Cold Spring. There she became amazed by the idea that a hotel once sat in such a desolate valley. After searching for two years, she found a picture of the hotel, and in the meantime became interested in all of the other ruins in Cold Spring. By fifth grade, she was studying all of Cold Spring Township. By sixth grade, she started to study the entire Stony Valley from High Bridge to Ellendale. By eighth grade, Brandy was studying the whole railroad from Dauphin to Auburn, and in her senior year of high school she added the four-mile Rockville extension to her studies as well.
In September 2004, Brandy gave her first presentation about the railroad at the Dauphin-Middle Paxton Historical Society in Dauphin, PA, becoming their youngest presenter at age fifteen. She continues to give presentations and lead historical hikes for different organizations. She also volunteers her time as an interpretive guide for the Cold Spring Preservation Project.
While in college, Brandy continued her love of history, being fortunate enough to intern at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA, work as a seasonal at the Cornwall Iron Furnace, Cornwall, PA, and after graduation at the Historic Ephrata Cloister, Ephrata, PA. Brandy graduated in May 2012 from Penn State Harrisburg with a B.H. in American Studies, with a class focus on Museum Studies and Public Heritage.
She presently lives with her husband Seth in Central Pennsylvania, and devotes her time to studying the Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad.
StonyValley.com was created and is maintained by Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad Historian, Brandy M. Watts Martin. Copyright 2013.