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Rarest Photos Yet! 3/26/11

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#1 laming


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Posted 26 March 2011 - 06:21 PM

I want to share with you what I just received today.

These have to be some of the rarest photos in my collection to date. What you're seeing is the final year or so (1928) of the Black Mountain & Eastern/Combs Cass & Eastern line that I've researched off/on since '76. These are the ONLY pics of the rails of the BM&E/CC&E in Cass that are known to exist.

Maybe not a big deal to you... but to me this is a REEEEALLY big deal.

First, a brief description of what you're seeing:

Pic 1:

A scene illustrating the rails near the (one of more?) Phipps Lumber sawmill. Note the "different" power being used? Yup, in the last year or so, the BM&E/CC&E used these rail trucks to cart the lumber up the worst of the grades to be trans-loaded onto rail cars once up on top of Black Mountain.

Can you DIG that bridge over the creek RIGHT NEXT to an old surviving false front store??? Also did you noticed the cribbing over the creek. (Fane Creek, I think.)

Pic 2:

Another view of the Phipps Lumber sawmill. This may have been only one of the sawmills in the area. Not for sure.

These rare pictures answer a few questions, but also raises some more questions. For example:

Obviously, the rails DID reach the flat valley at (lower) Cass... but HOW did they get there? The switchbacks? The extension that MAY have been built?

There was at least one business nearby (i.e. the false front store)... but how much more of the business section of (lower) Cass was in such close proximity to the sawmill?


Either way... this is really some interesting stuff for this TOC19 idiot.

Any observations or comments as to what you "see" in these pics would definitely be appreciated!

Attached Files

#2 hminky



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Posted 27 March 2011 - 07:20 AM

Love old railroad pictures! Love TOC19!


#3 TheGrindre



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Posted 27 March 2011 - 01:01 PM

I'm not familiar with this area but do know a little bit about logging.
The false front store seems to have you up in arms. Fact is, if this was some sort of a central point on the line or a water hole or something then there would be at least your basic stores for supplies.
It could very easily have housed a 100 people or so. If the spot was wide and the water was clear, a small community could take hold.

That's what I read in the pix, anyway, and my knowledge about backwoods short line RRs, especially logging.

Have fun!

#4 milepost56



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Posted 27 March 2011 - 05:26 PM

I don't think thats a false store front, it looks like you could spot a coach next to that platform wink.gif

#5 tenore



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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:34 PM

That's pretty cool. I grew up in Fort Smith and have spent a little time at Cass. Do you know where the mill was in relation to the Mulberry?
I live in NLR, AR now, and my wife's father has shown me lots of old logging railroad beds over in the Ouachita National Forest.
H.D. Tripp

#6 laming


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Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:31 PM

Hi All! REPLIES!!! Oh boy!...


You and I are on the same page there, for sure!


No doubt there was more to the street scene than the appetizer in the picture. Makes sense.


I think there was indeed a small depot at Cass, but not in this location? I will have to go back and read through my notes and resources again.


This mill was by Fane Creek. If you can recall the Cass area: Go out the dirt road that takes you over the low water bridge over Fane Creek. Before you get to the low water bridge, there will be a cemetery on the hillside on your left (west), the mill was across from that, between the road and Fane Creek. Does this help?

And speaking of the plethora of logging railroads in the Ouachita's: There were some REALLY neat railroads (logging and common carrier) that ran in the Ouachita's. The Ouachita's had FAR more shortline railroads than the Ozarks... but the mountains weren't as dramatic. Still great stuff, though. One of my favorite TOC19 Ouachita railroads was the Hot Springs Railroad. Originally 3' narrow gauge, converted to std gauge in 1893. Colorful history, and having been in the area several times, it ran through some wonderful country.

All for now!

#7 atsf37l


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Posted 03 April 2011 - 11:46 PM

Now that'ssome hardscrabble railroadin'!