Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Cassville & Western Railroad

The Cassville and Western Railroad connected Cassville, MO with Exeter, MO along a five mile right of way. First proposed in January 1896, the line quickly secured financing, and construction along the short route was complete in June of that year. This gave Cassville a connection to the Frisco system at Exeter, connecting it to the rest of the US Railroad Network.

Fields' Photo Archives via Barry County Museum.
The line was imperative to Cassville's success, as roads to the town were impassable during the winter, and during inclement weather. By 1919, the line was nonetheless facing bankruptcy. After reorganization as the Cassville & Exeter Railroad, its fortunes changed dramatically.

Fields' Photo Archives via Barry County Museum

It was billed as the shortest independent standard-gauge railroad, although there were quite a few examples of shorter short lines, such as the Illinois Midland Railway. Newspapers across the US, and Ripley's "Believe it or Not" publicized the line, and its one-man operator. It thus remained profitable for its remaining decades.

Right of Way via our Abandoned & Out-of-Service Railroad Lines Map
The line would continue to run independently until 1956, when it was abandoned. Today, only scarchitecture in Cassville and the tree line of the right of way to Exeter are the only visual cues that remain of the line's existence.

For more information on this line, check out Seven Short-lines Their Lives and Times on Amazon.

Thanks as always for reading!

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Partially-Built Ocean Shore Railroad (San Francisco to Santa Cruz, CA)

The Ocean Shore Railroad was planned to connect San Francisco with Santa Cruz, CA, with construction beginning in 1905 at both ends of the route.

Image and History

Just one year later, the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 occurred, and caused major damage to the route, and forced the line to become two separate projects; San Francisco-Tunitas Creek, and Santa Cruz to Swanton.

Within San Francisco, the right of way was electrified, and portions of the route are still in service as part of the BART System. Outside of San Francisco, the right of way ran along the Pacific Ocean, paralleling the modern-day CA-1 (Pacific Coast Hwy).

The Swanton line found partial use by a logging company, but by 1920, the San Francisco-Tunitas Creek line was abandoned, outside of portions of the route that were incorporated into Rapid Transit lines. Both the inability to connect San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and increased competition from automobiles and roads were contributing factors in the line's abandonment.

Between Davenport and Santa Cruz, the line is still in service, having been passed down to Union Pacific Railroad.

Right of Way via Abandoned & Out-of-Service Railroad lines map.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Chicago, IL

Originally named Grand Blvd, and later S Park Avenue (or S Park Way), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Chicago, IL became the first street named after the civil-rights leader, following his assassination in 1968.

Image: Wendell Huston, DNAInfo
Today there are over 700 streets named in his honor. Not every name change has been without controversy, however, as Kansas City, Missouri attempted to rename a historic street name, The Paseo, after MLK Jr., to which voters overwhelmingly objected.