Town Creek/B147.4

Town Creek/B147.4

The Western Maryland reached Town Creek in 1905, prior to the railroads arrival the C&O Canal passed through Town Creek. The canal had been constructed from Dam #6 at Hancock all the way to Cumberland by 1842. However the canal was not flooded with water and could not be used until completion of the canal's Paw Paw Tunnel. The tunnel took 14 years to complete and was finished and open by 1850. Canal boats then passed Town Creek hauling material to and from Cumberland.

In 1881, Heins and Company (a partnership of the Mertens, Peter Hein, and Thomas J. Sliger) built a sawmill along the canal near Town Creek at the C&O Canal's Darkeys Lock. Town Creek itself was used to float logs from the hills to the company's sawmill. There was great difficulty in the process of transporting the logs by creek. Water level was too low in the summer and fall as logs would get lodged along the banks causing backups. A better way of transporting the logs to the sawmill was needed. On December 11, 1882 the Green Ridge Railroad was incorporated solely for the purpose of hauling logs to the sawmill.

The Green Ridge Railroad was constructed from the Heins and Company sawmill at Darkeys Lock east to the Big Run stream. The GRRR then turned up the narrow hollow following Big Run, Deep Run, to Fifteen Mile Creek ending 13 1/2 miles from the canal near the creek. A branch ran off west 4 miles to another sawmill at Finksburg. The GRRR was constructed as a narrow gauge(36') logging railroad. The railroad operated two locomotives built by the C&P RR near Cumberland at it's Mount Savage Shops. These two locomotives were an 0-4-0 and a 0-6-0.

Eventually the GRRR would cross the Potomac River on a trestle to the B&O Railroad at Okonoko. The GRRR ran from Okonoko, to points at Hill Glen(Darkeys Lock), Alderton, Summit, Orleans Road, Sliders, Heinville, Oakwood, Mertensville (Finksburg), and Town Creek. By 1896 the railroad was a total of 26 miles long and had a passenger car for paying customers. The sawmill at Darkey's Lock was later abandoned as the sawmills were moved closer to the timber at Kinksburg. The Green Ridge Railroad was gone by 1897. some of the original rails remained until being sold for scrap in 1930. The railroad right-of-way is now a hiking trail.

majority of above info from the book "the Land of the Living" by John Mash

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WM land ownership map and track plan. (Thanks to Jim Coshun for photo)

Looking west into the grown up brush on the right-of-way atop the culvert that empties water out of the canal (4/93 - 4/03)

Notice the bridge mile post number and the fallen bridge "WARNING" sign here. (4/26/01)

This photo was taken from the western side of the WM bridge over Town Creek. The bridge spans were setup for double track, but only one track had crossed the bridge. In the summer months trees hide the bridge and make photography difficult. The crossties on this bridge were damaged during the flood of 1985. (4/26/01)

A handcar crosses Town Creek Bridge in 1906.

Down along Town Creek looking up at the Western Maryland bridge crossing the creek. (April 2003)

This is the eastern side of WM's Town Creek bridge looking west towards Oldtown. (4/26/01)

WM's watertank looking east from the bridge. The semaphore would be replaced by a color block signal then removed prior to abandonment. The concrete signal base remains today. (Thanks to Jim Coshun for photo)

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