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Logging Railroads of the Blue Ridge & Smoky Mtns Vol 2: Tallulah Falls, Anna Ruby Falls...
Thomas Fetters
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2011-05-29 16:43:51
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Untitled Document

Logging RRs of the Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains

Vol. 2: Tallulah Falls, Anna Ruby Falls, and Jeffrey’s Hell

By Thomas Fetters.

Cloth with dust jacket, 8.5x11, 248 glossy pages, 240 photos, 46 maps, 36 locomotive rosters, appendix, errata for Vol 1, index. 2011.

"Following the trip to Southwestern Virginia, Northwestern North Carolina and Northeastern Tennessee in Volume 1 of Logging Railroads of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, Volume 2 visits Northern Georgia, South-central Tennessee, and Southwestern North Carolina. This more isolated tri-state area lacked the rail lines that supported the development of the NC-VA-TN area, and as a consequence was far more dependent on logging railroads to reach the more remote areas of the Blue Ridge and the southern slopes of the cloud scraping Smoky Mountains. While one or two short lines, supported by the fledgling Southern Railway, seemed likely to form a new through-route between Georgia and Knoxville, the dream of through trains in the region never came to fruition, with the exception of the L&N’s Marietta, Georgia to Knoxville, Tennessee “Hook & Eye” mainline on the western edge.

"The fledgling electric power industry found two of the rivers, Tallulah River Gorge and the Little Tennessee River canyon, perfectly suited to building great hydroelectric dams at a time when only Niagara Falls had been harnessed. The electrical engineers pioneered in the establishment of two great power systems to bring electricity across the Piedmont hills to Atlanta and north across the Smokies to the great Alcoa aluminum reduction plant near Knoxville.

"Similarly, mining was robust in the area with gold, copper, and pyrites drawing investors into areas near Dahlonega in Georgia and Copper Hill in Tennessee. A private mine railroad near Dahlonega and the great private rail system at Copper Hill were built to move the ore and refined concentrate. Only waste piles remain today to point out the locations of the strip mines and hydraulic mines.

"But it was timber, the green gold of the forests that drew the most attention of the great lumber companies of the North. A logging railroad could be built into most of the remote areas and could bring the timber back to adjacent sawmills. The cut lumber could then be passed on to the common carrier short lines to gain access to the markets. The timber companies mostly used standard gauge, but resorted to forty-two inch and three-foot gauge trackage to gain access to the more rugged territory. Inclines and switchbacks were often used to crest the high peaks to reach the best timber, often on peaks more than a mile high.

"Logging Railroads of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, Vol. 2 takes a look at the economic nexus around the tri-state junction of Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina that offered jobs when there were few to be had, and helped to convert the area from hand-to-mouth poverty in some sections to a means to afford a more conventional lifestyle."