ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-29-2008, 09:26 PM   #1
dlrides OP
1:1.618
 
dlrides's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Newton NC
Oddometer: 5,215
Appalachian History On 2 Wheels - Cranberry Iron Mine and ET & WNC Railroad

Ever wonder where iron came from in the 1800's ?

Well, a significant amount came from the largest iron ore mine in the US, the Cranberry Iron Works, of course. Located in Cranberry NC.

A large mineral belt traverses through the Appalachian Mountains, and was utilized as the primary source of metals and minerals for the nation. In a place called Laurel Bloomery, iron ore was discovered and mined as early as 1792, but the motherload was in Cranberry. The vein was discovered in 1780, and commercial production began in 1820. During the Civil War much of the iron ore was used in the manufacturing of cannons and hardware for the confederacy.

The Cranberry's size was monumental in it's day. Developing complete communities and a railroad, provided many jobs for the mountains of NC and TN.

Several websites document the mine and it's orgins, so if you are interested in further details, do some searches. The verbage could ramble for pages if I typed the complete history.

As always, a lonely historical marker is the only visible indication that something is hiding in the surrounding it ! After a month of researching, a few phone calls, and information from locals, off I go !

I wanted to wait on this report until my "partner in historical crime" came up from AL. DeBandi (AL) and Mo Boot (MO) hit the road, and combined this with another ride that had been planned for months.

The marker that started it all




DeBandi and Mo Boot rode in 35 degree temps / 40 mph winds to get there !



The mine, hiding in the hills




100 years ago






Want a job ?




The directions I had to the mines were, "Go to the picnic shelter accross from the church, and follow the little dirt road"

Since only one church was built in Cranberry, no problem !




Off to the mine !




The ore was pulled by mules in the early days through this gap.





The size of this mine was totally unexpected ! One of the entrances is close to 60 ft tall. I will show some pics of DeBandi and Mo Boot for size comparison.






Deep inside near an air shaft







Locals seem to ride ATV's in the mine, so a 950 should work !




Ore vein markings








Several relics exist in the mine, but I found this very interesting. Some type of water channel, or underground spring. Good thing we had a flashlight, broken leg waiting to happen !






Down the hill from the mine are the remnants of the tipple and support buildings.







The last photo depicts the old railroad bed which ran under the loading tipple. The ET & WNC Railroad was specifically built to service this mine. The next section will cover the ride down the railroad, which is amazing ! Wait till you see the ride down the tracks, old tunnels, bridges, mudpits, etc.
__________________
"The BSC was strong in that one, had to get out !"
dlrides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 04:26 AM   #2
rascalman
GhostRider
 
rascalman's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: T-town
Oddometer: 304
__________________
Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I've had a good life all the way.
rascalman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 04:56 AM   #3
DeBandi
Exploring Alabama
 
DeBandi's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Blount Springs, AL
Oddometer: 3,098
The Mine

Man that was a great place.

So much history.







Thanks for taking me.

Way better than going to the the mall and eating a taco.
__________________
Explore / Dream / Discover

DeBandi


Visit ExploringAlabama.net

State Oval Decals Available
DeBandi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 05:00 AM   #4
fullmonte
Reformed Kneedragger
 
fullmonte's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Oddometer: 4,929
Cool pix and history lesson. Hungry for more.
__________________
"If you are looking for the typical ride to a restaurant, eat tacos, hold the middle finger over the food, stop and take a picture of a gravel road type ride, you probably won't be interested." - dlrides

"A guy I know was the lead researcher for the University of Utah federally funded study of cellphone and texting use while driving. He found that your twice as dangerous as a drunk while using your cell phone and I think it was up to six times worse if the driver was texting."-dakardad
fullmonte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 05:21 AM   #5
1stiski
Ride that nasty thing
 
1stiski's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Elizabethville, PA
Oddometer: 1,592
pretty neat history lesson, keep em coming !
__________________
"04" 950 Adventure S 36,000+ miles
2003 Harley XL883 converted to CAFE (2013-14)
"Grim Brother" #1
1stiski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 05:38 AM   #6
mark1305
Old Enough To Know Better
 
mark1305's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Merritt Island, FL
Oddometer: 5,908
Great stuff!

You guys are GOOD!..... Multi mission rides for history.
__________________
Mark J
Merritt Island, FL

When a person asks you for advice, they don't want advice. They want corroboration.
mark1305 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 06:10 AM   #7
dlrides OP
1:1.618
 
dlrides's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Newton NC
Oddometer: 5,215
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeBandi

Way better than going to the the mall and eating a taco.


__________________
"The BSC was strong in that one, had to get out !"
dlrides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 06:15 AM   #8
GB
Mod Squad
 
GB's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, ON
Oddometer: 55,317
Looks good! Thanks for the history tour..
__________________
ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
GB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 07:02 AM   #9
mel brooks
Dirt Chick
 
mel brooks's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Western NC
Oddometer: 1,699
Keep it coming Don!

Love the reports from you and DeBandi, always good stuff.


I can't believe how tall that entrance is, just amazing that it's still accessible.
__________________
KLX 351 Super Moto, 292cc Super Sherpa

“Everytime I start thinkin’ the world is all bad, then I start seeing some people out having a good time on motorcycles and it makes me take another look.”
Steve McQueen, On Any Sunday
mel brooks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 07:06 AM   #10
dlrides OP
1:1.618
 
dlrides's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Newton NC
Oddometer: 5,215
Quote:
Originally Posted by mel brooks
just amazing that it's still accessible.
Well..................that depends on definition, but the gate was open !

__________________
"The BSC was strong in that one, had to get out !"
dlrides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 05:46 PM   #11
DeBandi
Exploring Alabama
 
DeBandi's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Blount Springs, AL
Oddometer: 3,098
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlrides
The ET & WNC Railroad was specifically built to service this mine. The next section will cover the ride down the railroad, which is amazing ! Wait till you see the ride down the tracks, old tunnels, bridges, mudpits, etc.

Weeeeelllllll, we're all waiting.
__________________
Explore / Dream / Discover

DeBandi


Visit ExploringAlabama.net

State Oval Decals Available
DeBandi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 07:00 PM   #12
dlrides OP
1:1.618
 
dlrides's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Newton NC
Oddometer: 5,215
Very few structures remain of the Cranberry Mine era, only the Cranberry Church and the mine superintendent house. The hotel, company store, depot, and support buildings are all gone. I did not find the house on the first trip, but was successful on the return trip.

The superintendent supposedly resided upstairs in the house, while the lower level was used to entertain mine guests and dignitaries. This house will be gone before long too.




To access the mine shafts, and parts of the RR via motorcycle, I would not reccommend a "big" bike unless you have some riding skills. A 650 D/S type bike would be better, especially when wet.
__________________
"The BSC was strong in that one, had to get out !"

dlrides screwed with this post 10-30-2008 at 08:17 PM
dlrides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 08:13 PM   #13
dlrides OP
1:1.618
 
dlrides's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Newton NC
Oddometer: 5,215
On to the ET & WNC Railroad !

The ET & WNC Railroad was commissioned in 1866, and completed in 1882. Originally the RR ran from Johnson City TN to Cranberry NC, and in 1919 service was extended to Boone NC. During the first years the railroad construction was abandoned, but in 1873, Ario Pardee and his associates purchased the mine and the RR. Construction began again in 1879. The RR was constructed as a narrow guage system (36")to assist with construction the the rough terrain. I will illustrate this in photo later in the report.

The ET & WNC acquired an affectionate relationship with the locals. During the depression the RR allowed locals to ride for free, and engineers would take lists from locals of needed goods. The RR was given the name "The railroad with a heart". Even the tickets were punched with a heart shaped punch.

There is a modern connection to the ET & WNC Railroad. I'm sure many of you have heard of the Tweetsie Railroad Amusement Park in Boone NC, well the "Tweetsie" part has some history. The whistles on the ET & WNC engines had a unique high pitched sound, and the locals also named the RR "Tweetsie". Today engine #12 of the ET & WNC pulls passengers around the park.

Back in time






Cranberry Depot





To make the complete trek along the RR , you have to travel past the mine on a small paved road, cross a guys garden, and then a creek ! ATV's travel the path, and I was told by a local "not to worry about it", so I didn't !

dlrides to Debandi and MO Boot, "Just follow me !"

DeBandi and MO Boot to dlrides, " "








Travel down the old RR is really moving. It felt as though you were on the train 100 years ago, smelling the smoke, and feeling the steam !








When you travel past the mine tipple, you can clearly see the iron ore an coal cinders.




This can be travelled for a couple of miles, then you pop out in a yard, but the street is only 50 feet away ! I would not reccommend this on a "big" bike, especially when wet. Some areas are....................... challenging. I am guilty of never getting pics of such areas, it's just part of the ride for me.

Riders that stop at every mudhole, throw their bike down, stand on it like Captain Morgan, and snap a pic, does not impress me.

Now you are back in Cranberry, and have to ride hwy 19 into TN to the other remain section. Over the years hwy 19 expansions have destroyed the old RR. The next section is spectacular, with abnandoned tunnels, collapsing bridges to walk accross, a roaring river, and three riders dumb enough to walk accross them !



More tomorrow !
__________________
"The BSC was strong in that one, had to get out !"

dlrides screwed with this post 10-31-2008 at 06:10 AM
dlrides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2008, 08:43 PM   #14
olebiker
Old buzzard bait
 
olebiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Kingston ON Canada
Oddometer: 3,359
Great RR I love old rail trails. I like your "Riders that stop at every mudhole, throw their bike down, stand on it like Captain Morgan, and snap a pic, does not impress me."

I suspect that the odd one actually falls over!
olebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 02:23 AM   #15
achesley
Old Motorcyclist
 
achesley's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Jennings, Louisiana
Oddometer: 3,359
Thanks for the history lesson. Love the old forgotten history of the US.
__________________

A '00 KLR 650 37,000 miles, A '07 1250S 75,000 actual, A '03 5.3L Chevy Truck 75,000 + '43 style dude , Simper Fi ;-)
achesley is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 12:23 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014