The Old Neighborhood Sawmill And Log Carts

My great grandfather worked as a narrow-gauge engineer on the logging lines around the Asheville/Brevard/Cashiers area in WNC in the late 1800's to about the 1930's. They actually lived in a cabin (now a reproduction) in the "Pink Beds" which is now part of Pisgah National Forest. Visit the "Cradle of Forestry" if you'd like to see the cabin.

My grandfather taught me how to pick out the old RR beds where these lines used to run while he taught me to trout fish. If you see an unusually level and straight line of ground compared to the surrounding topography, that's likely part of the old RR bed. Usually near streams as that was the easiest and cheapest place to build, but you can also find some old rock blasting points if you know what to look for.

Many of the current Forest Service roads and trails in WNC run on the ghosts of the old logging RR tracks, particularly in the more inaccessible/hard to grade areas.
 
Thread starter #42

Redbow

Senior Member
Saginaw was a Hercules Stump Co. Town ...buildings , schools, bar (the Green Lantern) ith convenient brotheln... Town stores .... Hercules "pulled " fat w/o is lighter wood ....place in train bond for Brunswick ...made dynamite out of it ... Fights and killing pretty regular ...call the sheriff and drag them out by the highway #32 type .deal ....Great Uncle plugged several there as he was owner...

Chatterton I known little about ...a store, church ...couple joints ... Mainly just train stop...
I used to see many gondola car loads of lighter wood stumps in a southbound freight train headed for the Hercules Stump Co. Another load of dynamite coming down...
 
I used to see many gondola car loads of lighter wood stumps in a southbound freight train headed for the Hercules Stump Co. Another load of dynamite coming down...
Even in the not so far past ...Hercules loaded stump(bulldozer pushed) and Tenex (from Florida) ...both loaded at Saginaw and a side track in Nicholls ....some headed to Brunwick and a plant in Florida....

The guys that pushed our farm ....is still pushing lighter stumps .... hauling on trucks ... Still see a few on the train every so often ...

They even invented something to inject into a growing pine that would turn it into lighter in five /six years ....
 
Thread starter #44

Redbow

Senior Member
Many of the lighter wood stumps I saw in the trains came from around the Wilmington NC area. For years lots of land was cleared in that area huge tracts of timber cut down and the stumps removed. I remember gondola trucks hauling the stumps to the rail yard where they were loaded onto the trains. I have heard the Hercules Powder Company in Georgia shut down some years ago, not sure though... Brunswick I think they were located in..
 
My great grandfather worked as a narrow-gauge engineer on the logging lines around the Asheville/Brevard/Cashiers area in WNC in the late 1800's to about the 1930's. They actually lived in a cabin (now a reproduction) in the "Pink Beds" which is now part of Pisgah National Forest. Visit the "Cradle of Forestry" if you'd like to see the cabin.

My grandfather taught me how to pick out the old RR beds where these lines used to run while he taught me to trout fish. If you see an unusually level and straight line of ground compared to the surrounding topography, that's likely part of the old RR bed. Usually near streams as that was the easiest and cheapest place to build, but you can also find some old rock blasting points if you know what to look for.

Many of the current Forest Service roads and trails in WNC run on the ghosts of the old logging RR tracks, particularly in the more inaccessible/hard to grade areas.
I've been in the Pisgah a few times in my life but never made it to the Cradle of Forestry museum. I know the history of Vanderbilt hiring forest managers and the the school. I'm going have to go next time I'm up that way. Says they have a 1914 Climax logging locomotive on display.

That road from Brevard past the Sliding Rock up to the Parkway is one of the most beautiful areas in the mountains. We spent the night in the Pisgah Inn and ate in the restaurant years ago.

Read that there is only 17 of these Climax locomotives known to exist.
 
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The Heisler type locomotives (as well as the Shay and the Climax) were primary used by logging railroads because they were simple, provided excellent traction (all axle were powered and the gear ratio of their transmission was low) and could run without derailing on bad tracks and tight curves (owing to their trucks, much more tolerant toward bad tracks than the coupled drives of a conventional rod steam engine). On the other hand, their top speed was very low (only about 6-12 mph) because of the way their transmission mechanism was designed and of the small diameter of their drives, but it wasn't much of a problem for a logging railroad.
 
Thread starter #47

Redbow

Senior Member
If possible it sure would be fun to ride that ole steamer for a few miles. Listening to her chug and then feeling the pulling power of the low gear ratio while ringing the bell and blowing the whistle would be of great enjoyment for me..
 
Many of the lighter wood stumps I saw in the trains came from around the Wilmington NC area. For years lots of land was cleared in that area huge tracts of timber cut down and the stumps removed. I remember gondola trucks hauling the stumps to the rail yard where they were loaded onto the trains. I have heard the Hercules Powder Company in Georgia shut down some years ago, not sure though... Brunswick I think they were located in..
I read that they sold their Resins Division which included the Brunswick facility. Hercules said they reason they sold it was they were having trouble finding stumps. The railroads might have played into it as well.

In the early 70's they had a place in Douglas, Ga. They had a lot of trucks and heavy equipment. I had a friend who worked for them. I can remember long trains of nothing but stumps coming through Douglas on the rails headed to Brunswick.

I recently read that they used dynamite before pushing them up.
 
I also remember a lot of Pulpwood Trucks in South Georgia. These trucks always looked terrible. I think the state classified them as farm equipment and therefore didn't have to pass any safety inspections.
 

specialk

Senior Member
there use to be a train that ran from downtown and circle stone mountain and would serve a dinner.....wife and i rode it a few times on special occasions....they didn't have a liquor license but you could take brown bag....we took wine....i remember going for valentines day and maybe an anniversary.....
 
there use to be a train that ran from downtown and circle stone mountain and would serve a dinner.....wife and i rode it a few times on special occasions....they didn't have a liquor license but you could take brown bag....we took wine....i remember going for valentines day and maybe an anniversary.....
When I was a kid around 1970, my family took the train. They might have had a dinner train as well. On this one though some wild Indians rode up on us, boarded, and attacked us. One passenger got scalped even. It was a lot of fun.
 
Check out this Crusher Crawler making way for the Rodman Reservoir in Florida. I'm not sure why they didn't harvest the timber. They said when they flooded the lake, all that timber floated to the top. I think they thought it would have stayed on the bottom.

 
Thread starter #54

Redbow

Senior Member
Nice pictures Artfuldodger, yeah those old pulpwood trucks looked as if they needed a little attention. I have seen a few like them down in SC when living there that looked a lot like them. Yeah you could hear explosions around the Wilmington NC area when land was being cleared many years ago. Blowing those stumps or loosening them up so they could be hauled out of there. Most of the trains coming off the Wilmington subdivision had gondola's full of stumps. I guess that business dried up over the years for the railroads and the Hercules company. The old rail yard at Florence SC where I used to work at any time during the stump removal days had many of the gons waiting to be shipped to Brunswick. I used to read the placards on the old gondola's they read Hercules Power Company as the destination for them.
 
Thread starter #55

Redbow

Senior Member
That crawler crusher was some machine looked like a big tank.. South Carolina's lake Marion the upper lake of the Santee Cooper project was never cleared when it was built. Reason stated they did not have the manpower to do so as WW2 was on then. So as I was told by folks who I assume knew the trees were cut then cabled down so they stayed on the bottom when the lake was flooded. Not all the trees were cut on Lake Marion, there were flooded forests out there I have fished that lake many times I loved the Santee Cooper lakes and still miss them.. I used to live close to a man who helped cut and log the area where the Santee Cooper lakes were built. He always talked about how big a project building those lakes really was and very dangerous to boot..
 

j_seph

Senior Member
My dad has told me stories as kids they would go over to the one his dad, my grandpa worked at. Was something about a cable or/and maybe a chain they would ride as kids. Seems maybe something that would drag the shavings out possibly.
 
That crawler crusher was some machine looked like a big tank.. South Carolina's lake Marion the upper lake of the Santee Cooper project was never cleared when it was built. Reason stated they did not have the manpower to do so as WW2 was on then. So as I was told by folks who I assume knew the trees were cut then cabled down so they stayed on the bottom when the lake was flooded. Not all the trees were cut on Lake Marion, there were flooded forests out there I have fished that lake many times I loved the Santee Cooper lakes and still miss them.. I used to live close to a man who helped cut and log the area where the Santee Cooper lakes were built. He always talked about how big a project building those lakes really was and very dangerous to boot..
I'm assuming you've made a few trips across the old 301 bridge or trestle over Lake Marion. I've only made one trip over it on I-95/301 in 1975. I was stationed in Charleston and we used to fish Lake Moultrie at Moncks Corner.
People used to come all the way from South Georgia to fish Santee Cooper.
 
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