By Tex Carter
We had some request to explore a specific area where the F&P operated near the mines of Pittsville. This was the place where the original spur was built to haul ore from the mines to the junction in Elba, now called Gretna. We will walk down the infamous Hogan’s Hill where the small engine had to take the loaded ore cars up one at a time.
You will see the place the spur joined the main line and climb the grade the spur took to cross under Pittsville road and the deep cut that still remains. If you are lucky you might find some coal that fell off the engine as it slowly climbed then descended the spur to the Barite mines.
The trip starts where the mine branch joined the main line just off Pittsville Rd. It will involve walking about a mile on the grades where the train ran. This should not be a problem for anyone in good physical condition. The total time will be about an hour and a half.
When finished we may drive about three miles to the other end of the spur to an area called New Town. This area has not been explored yet but will be before the trip and determine the ease of walking this part. This is the area where the open pit mines were dug by hand.
A decision on this part should be made in time for the November posting on our “From the Editor” page on the web site.
The trip is set for November 15, Saturday, starting at 10 A.M. The meeting place is near Pittsville about seven miles NW of Gretna. If you plan on going reply to this for details and a map to the meeting place.
Events that Occurred in the Month of October
October 7, 1878: The vote was held to approve the $200,000 bonds to finance the building of the F&P.
October 28, 1887: A fire in a train shed of the F&P destroyed a Handsome passenger coach and a steam engine.
October 29, 1917: A tornado struck the town of Gretna killing a small child and damaging several buildings downtown. The railroad wasn’t affected.