Located on Front and Perry Street in Marietta, PA, the Railroad House building was bought by the then partner of Davide Leas, Marlon, and together they opened it in September of 1976.
“And he just loved the building. It was all about the building. And then the business came about later, as a way of how to get this building to pay for itself.” – David Leas Oral History
First opened as a coffee shop and restaurant, the bar part of the establishment did not start to draw patrons until 1979/1980. Once started, the bar was in the basement, the restaurant was on the first floor, and hotel rooms were on the second and third floors.
“And, we struggled with the bar, I mean, we had the restaurant there, but the bar was a real struggle with the beginning and that—it just happened.” - David Leas Oral History
Located about a half and hour away from Harrisburg, York, and Lancaster, the Railroad House Bar became the place to be for the LGBTQ+ community, especially in the small town of Marietta. It was known for its stainless-steel dance floor and for getting quite hot during the summer months.
“It was hot in the summertime because their air-conditioning was so inadequate…you’re on the underbelly of the building, so, all the pipes are sweating and dripping and everyone complained how hot it was and how crowded it was, but all that did was encourage the young guys to take their shirts off, which only encouraged people to complain how hot it was, but they wouldn’t leave, you know what I mean…”
– David Leas Oral History
Leas left the business in 1985, but the Railroad House is still running as a restaurant and hotel under new management today.