Showing posts from February, 2024

The Newcastle & Frenchtown Railroad

The New Castle and Frenchtown Turnpike and Railroad Company (NC&F) was a pioneer in the history of American railroads. It was opened in 1831, making it the first railroad in Delaware and one of the first in the US. It ran for about 16 miles from New Castle, Delaware, on the Delaware River, to Old Frenchtown Wharf , Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay.  It was intended to provide a faster and cheaper alternative to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, which opened in 1829 and connected the same two bodies of water. However, the NC&F faced competition from other railroads and canals in the region, and eventually became obsolete and abandoned. ( Right of Way ) Some sources, myself included at times, have labeled this as the first railroad abandonment in the United States, being abandoned in 1859. However, it is not even the first right of way to be abandoned in the State of Delaware, as that distinction belongs to the Dulaney Railroad . One could argue that this was the first common c

The Pleasant Prairie Power Plant Redevelopment

The Pleasant Prairie Power Plant was a coal-fired power station that operated from 1976 to 2018 in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, owned by We Energies. Located at 8000 95th St in Pleasant Prairie, the plant was capable of producing 1,190 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 900,000 homes. However, the plant also emitted millions of tons of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants, contributing to climate change and health problems. Michael Sears photo, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel In 2018, We Energies decided to shut down the facility and switch to cleaner sources of energy, such as natural gas and renewable energy. The closure was part of a larger trend of coal plant retirements across the country, driven by environmental regulations, market forces, and public demand.  What initially sparked my interest in the area was the now-abandoned railroad tracks that served the plant. View of the site and side tracks on our Abandoned Railroads

The Iroquois Theatre Fire: A Forgotten Tragedy That Changed Fire Safety Forever

On December 30, 1903, Chicago witnessed one of the worst disasters in its history, and the deadliest theatre fire in the United States. Chicago's early history is unfortunately rife with fire incidents, and this would occur just over three decades following the Great Chicago Fire. The theater was located at 26 W Randolph St in Chicago, on the site where the James M. Nederlander Theatre now exists today. The Iroquois Theatre, a lavish and modern venue that opened just a month before, was packed with more than 1,700 people, mostly women and children, who came to see a matinee performance of the musical comedy Mr. Bluebeard.  Little did they know that a spark from a stage light would ignite a fire that would engulf the theatre in minutes, trapping and killing over 600 people in a horrific scene of panic, chaos, and carnage. The Iroquois Theater before the fire. (Unknown photographer) The Iroquois Theatre was built on the site of the former Hooley’s Theatre , which itself was destroy

The Murphy Triangle: A Historic Railroad Hub in Atlanta

If you are interested in the history of railroads and industry in Atlanta, you might want to visit the Murphy Triangle . This area, located southwest of downtown Atlanta, is a historically significant railroad center, where two major railroads, the Southern Railway and the Beltline, intersected. Out of this intersection grew a substantial center of industry, ranging from lumber and metal to oil and wire. The Murphy Triangle also served as a major node for the State Farmers Market , a 1941 complex of 10 long, low sheds with gable roofs, where farmers and vendors sold their produce and goods, the Hanson Motor Works, and the Nabisco factory. A shed at the old Atlanta Farmers' Market provided shelter to farmers' crops. (Patrickbatl photo, Wikipedia Commons) As part of the Atlanta Beltline project, the Murphy Triangle is being converted from an industrial area into a 20 acre destination known as Murphy Crossing. According to the Beltline  site, "Murphy Crossing is a key 20+ ac