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A Day Of Discovery... (3/19/11)


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#1 laming

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 06:32 PM

Hi Troops!

Wow!!! What a WONDERFUL day to spend out in the Ozarks. Temps in the 60's... no rain... some clouds but by afternoon: Sun. If you'll recall, the wife and I had planned to pack up our 4WD Blazer, and head off to see what could be learned about the Pettigrew, AR area, as well as other points of interest.

That we did, leaving this morning, and the cooler packed with lunch goodies and water/soft drinks.

First goal: Head for a rendezvous with the St. Paul Branch at Brashears, AR, then follow it to St. Paul, Dutton, and Pettigrew. This time, I was armed with topo maps, pictures, period town platts (of St. Paul), etc! I was DETERMINED to solve some riddles that have plagued my understanding of the rail locations in this region for some time.

First up: St. Paul. Using the topo w/marker locations that I printed from the USAPhotomaps program, we are confident we found the general location of the depot. There was even some faint remains of roadbed there.

Next was Dutton. Armed with a copy of the ONLY picture of Dutton I have ever seen, it was a slam-dunk deal: Nailed it first thing. Unfortunately, a mobile home sits RIGHT ON the depot location, or I would have snapped a comparison pic that compares then with now. However, for all practical purposes, the setting looks almost exactly like the Dutton picture below.

Pettigrew was just a few miles past Dutton. Sure 'nuf... IF I hadn't brought pictorial references with me, I would'a been out'a luck on finding anything to recognize at Pettigrew. Fortunately, the Ozark Mountains the Good Lord fashioned haven't changed their contours since the late 1890's! Using the picture below, I was able to pretty much match up a good approximation of where the depot was located, including marking the location on the print-out of the USAPhotomaps topo I had with me.

Below you'll see a comparison pic I threw together between "then" and "now". (Note: The "then" Pettigrew pic is actually from the 20's instead of the 1890-1900 range.)

Think I was close???

There was a lot more experienced today, but this is all for now.

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#2 milepost56

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 01:38 PM

Very interesting Andre. Is it safe to assume that the road in the current picture is infact the old right of way?




#3 laming

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 08:09 PM

Hi Kevin!

Actually, the railroad roadbed you see in the "then" pic has apparently been dozed and the area leveled over the 74 years the St. Paul Branch has been gone. I am standing in approximately the same place... but no roadbed. The road you see in the "now" pic would be the same road that's behind the tracks in the "then" pic. The background buildings in the "then" pic front that road.

I have more to share, but out of time for tonight. Later!

#4 S. Weaver

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 02:24 PM

I prefer the Dutton depot to the mobile home, but then I was born 100 years too late! biggrin.gif

#5 Frisco2

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:39 PM

Wow Andre, That's incredible that you were able to find that exact spot. I would like to see more comparison shots like that.

David

#6 laming

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 06:10 PM

Steve:

I would have preferred the Dutton depot too! By the way Steve, you were thought of MANY times that day. Every time I would see something that was definitely said "railroad" from so long ago (like a pronounced roadbed, etc) I would think how much you would have enjoyed the outing and seeing the railroad ghosts of years past.

David:

It was fun doing such detective work! I would love to do some more comparison photos, but as was the case with Dutton, I would have to be on private property. I was going to talk to the elderly gentleman that was outside the trailer puttering about, but by the time I got back from a side trip, he was nowhere to be seen.

All:

I have snapped 3 pics of a topographical map that shows the "eastern" end of the Black Mountain & Eastern. I have annotated the maps with additional info. As can be seen by the topo maps, this was some rugged railroading by any standard. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say it was some of the most rugged standard gauge railroading ever tackled... rivaling that of many narrow gauge lines.

I can't believe J.H. Phipps had the audacity to even attempt building this line!!! (Not only did he attempt it, but actually succeeded in building it!

(Click the image to view full size.)

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#7 laming

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 06:11 PM

(Click the image to view full size.)

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#8 laming

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 06:12 PM

(Click the image to view full size.)

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#9 laming

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 06:15 PM

As can see above, the eastern portion of the Black Mountain & Eastern was quite rugged.

Soon, I'll come back to this thread and add a list of stations and other physical features I have data for.

Wow... this little line has been a passion of mine since about 1976. That's when I discovered its past existence.

Anyway... I'll type more later!!

#10 laming

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 07:42 PM

OH... by the way. Recognize THIS scene???? wink.gif

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#11 Mike the Yank

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:00 AM

Got to be Pettigrew biggrin.gif

#12 laming

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:32 PM

Right you are, Mike!

#13 S. Weaver

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 02:30 PM

Nice Pettigrew shot!

BTW, Andre, one wonders why the BM&E didn't run down the Soda Hollow draw from Summit to the Fane Creek watershed, no? There would have been a drop from Summit, but would it have been as bad as the switchbacks?

#14 laming

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:05 PM

Hi Steve!

I haven't a clue what they were thinking concerning any portion of the BM&E, seriously.

IF you ever get to view/hike the area, you will wonder that too.

As for Soda Hollow: It could be that some of the hollows they would have had to utilize in their winding descent were too severe to allow it?

Concerning the BM&E: As we were exploring the area a few weeks ago, I told Sharon: "I can't believe they had the audacity to build this thing!!"

Good stuff.


H.D. Tripps:

In reference to the location of the Phipps sawmill in Cass: See the third (final) map above...

I've since learned that the Phipps mill was NOT where I indicated on the map. To find it, do this: See where I've typed "Cass Depot Area" on the map?

Okay, the mill was about where the "Ca" of the typed word "Cass" is. I also just learned there are still some foundation piers in the woods on location to be seen. I intend to get back up there this winter (when the leafs are gone) and do some more exploring!