Showing posts from October, 2018

The Zombie Railways: Rail Lines That Are Coming Back to Life

The Herald News, "Fall River Rail Line Being Reclaimed After 60 Years of Inactivity".  Jack Foley, Photographer. Like any piece of infrastructure, or facility, a railroad line has a finite time of existence. A line is built, and functions as long as it is properly maintained and there is traffic on the line. Once that ends, it is either left in a dormant state , or the rails are dug up and sold for scrap. Dead railroad lines continue to stay dead, generally speaking, and their remnants sometimes make for some interesting discoveries decades later . As I've learned over the course of my abandoned railroad research , the abandoned railroad network is even more vast than our current network. Streetcar tracks discovered during a construction project in Elgin, IL.  Image: City of Elgin. As railroad lines were consolidated, and continue to be consolidated, especially since the beginning of the 1970's, the scenario described reflects the vast majority of the lives

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was a small, family owned park that was located in Mercer County, WV. Despite being closed in the 1960's, it remains frozen in time, unable to shake its dark reputation. Image:  Visit Mercer County Before discussing the park though, it is important to discuss the history of the land. The history of this place plays out almost like a Stephen King novel. In 1783, the area was the sight of a bloody turf war with American Indians after a European father attempted to settle the land. The Natives killed three of his children, leading him to murder several Native Americans. Historical Marker on the Land . Image: Lost Amusement Parks Once the fighting stopped however, the next hundred plus years would be relatively quiet for the area, and in the 1920’s, businessman Conley T. Snidow purchased the farm and developed the area into an amusement park. A swing set, swimming pond and Ferris wheel were the first attractions. Nothing unsettling here. ( NY Daily News )

The St. James Forest Preserve (And the Historic Road and Railroad That Ran Through It)

CB&Q 14351, on display. St James Farm  is a 200 acre preserved farm that has been owned by the DuPage County Forest Preserve since 2007, located on the northeast corner of IL-56 (Butterfield Rd) and Winfield Rd.  Sign facing IL-56. According to the Forest Preserve, the property was acquired by Marion McCormick in 1920, nephew of McCormick Place namesake Cyrus McCormick. Interestingly, another McCormick, Robert, owned the nearby Cantigny Park . Marion passed the property to his son Brooks, who bequeathed the property to the Forest Preserve upon his death in 2007. I had been meaning to visit this place for sometime, and on a day that I simply felt like going for a walk, as opposed to tracing, photographing, and researching abandoned railroad lines, I decided to visit this place, not knowing a thing about it.  Wanting a nice, solitary walk, I did get that from this place, and you will too. About a quarter way through the trail that loops around the land, I took