Preston Railroad- Crellin Maryland

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Main page- No.18 & 19 Art Huneke No.19 Stan Mailer No.18
Don Hensley No.17 Bud Laws No. 16 Preston RR 1901 Map

Arthur J. Huneke Photograph- August 1956
Art recalls the scene: "We arrived in Crellin Tuesday morning August 7, 1956. Engine 18 was dead, number 19 was in the enginehouse hot. When the crew arrived we learned this:
Normally the train ran Mon., Wed. and Fri. and the engineer and fireman repaired and maintained the locos on Tues. and Thurs. But on Monday the 6th a driving wheel spring had broken and the front of the 19 dropped, breaking off the pilot. They limped back to Crellin and on Tuesday had to replace the spring using large jacks to raise the engine. We witnessed this then photographed them going to Banner Mine light to pick up eight loaded hopper cars. We shot the train enroute and saw them stop just before reaching the B&O at Hutton. They had to "double" the hill, taking four cars at a time which we photographed.
They told us or we read that they once had a Shay, tried a C&O 0-6-0 which did not work out and bought the 18 and 19 from the West Virginia Northern. I was quite amazed at the operation and the locos.
Best regards,
Art Huneke"

See more photos of Art's trip to the Preston RR- Use "Back" to return here

Stan Mailer Photograph- December 21, 1957
Engine 18 and train just west of Hutton at the interchange with the B&O. Print-Dave Cathell collection.

See more photos of Stan Mailer's trip to the Preston- Use "Back" to return here

The New Home of Preston Railroad Baldwin Locomotives- Use "Back" to return

Preston Railroad No. 18


Preston Railroad No. 19

Both 18 and 19 were built by Baldwin (1904 and 1906) and were previously owned by West Virginia Northern, Kingwood, WV. Purchased by the Preston railroad in 1951, these two engines provided service from coal mines at Turner-Doughlas West Virginia to the B&O interchange at Hutton Switch Maryland.

Preston Railroad lettering on tender, West Virginia Northern can be read underneath.

Photographed October, 1999, Madley PA. These locomotives have found a new home in West Virginia!

Lumber Mills

Preston Lumber and Coal Co. mill-Capacity 60,000 feet per 24 hours.

Located at the junction of the Yough and Snowy Creek, the first major mill operated by Preston Lumber and Coal Company dated from the 1891 to 1902 when destroyed by fire. Fire protection measures are the emphasis of the above Sanborn insurance map. A water tank with 6,000 gallon capacity fed hydrants in the mill and in the lumber yard, although the yard's hydrants were not equipped with hoses and were fed by above ground pipes which would have been useless in cold weather. Average stock in the yard was listed as 2 million board feet fed by 4 elevated tramways from the sorting platform. The company promised to keep the lumber stacks at least 200 feet from the mill. The boiler room was well separated from the mill structure as were the blacksmith shop and locomotive house. Refuse was hauled by conveyor across the river and burned behind a 12 foot high stone wall. Although the mill was lighted by oil lanterns, 2 night watchmen were employed who made hourly rounds recorded on an Imhauer clock. The Yough was dammed which backed water up on three sides of the mill. All of these measures came to naught when the mill burned, an all too common event with lumber mills.

Owners were from the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania including Roland Crellin for whom the town was named, and three men from Oakland. Most of the logs were obtained from logging railroad operations on the Laurel Run watershed on the backside of Shaffer Mountain and from logs floated on the Yough from its source near Silver Lake, West Virgina(see photos below)

Kendall Lumber Co. mill-Capacity 100,000 feet per 24 hours.

The second mill was built in 1903 with a band saw and circular mill. The mill, land and railroad was bought by the Kendalls in 1906 who continued to be in active ownership to the end of the lumber mill operation in 1925. Shaffer estimates that over 600 million board feet was cut by Preston and Kendall operations. Besides expanding the capacity of the mill, Kendalls added electric lighting, first to the mill and offices and eventually to the whole town. While the mill was in operation, a steam-powered dynamo supplied the electricity. Shaffer reports that for a period of time, possibly after the mill ceased operations, electric power for the houses was generated by a water-powered turbine at the dam. This was sure to have produced erratic power at best. Other Kendall improvements included a steam kiln, a major expansion of the company stores system and help in building a two story school in Crellin.
At peak operations, it is estimated that 60 miles of railroad were in operation at one time, a lot of rail and ties for a logging railroad. Kline estimates that over 100 miles of railroad were operated over the life span of the mills. This particular logging railroad cannot be appreciated unless one travels its rugged topography in Preston and Tucker Counties, WV (see profile below). It is reported that the largest tree ever recorded in West Virginia was cut in Tucker County and sawed at Crellin. Famous visitors to the railroad included Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. All of this was started by the location of a small up and down water-powered sawmill by local settlers at a place then called Sunshine. With the thick hemlock forest along the streams, Sunshine was a rare commodity and therefore noteworthy. According to the Glade Star, the name came from the Sunshine Council of the United American Mechanics Whatever the source, the name Sunshine has even less cache than the somewhat awkward Crellin. One wonders if if anyone considered a more pictureque name such as Snowy Creek?

Crellin Today - Use "Back" to return

Coal Mines

During the time the lumber mills operated, coal mines were opened by the lumber company to fuel the railroad and for domestic use (the mill's boilers were fueled by sawdust and other lumber refuse). Soon outsiders opened more mines to take advantage of the rail transportation to the B&O at Hutton. With the cessation of the lumber mill in the 1920's, the Banner Mine became the main revenue source for the railroad. The Kendall's were the major shareholders of the coal company which also included Charles Ream, Stanley Ashby and Lester Yutzy. Around Crellin, coal was mined under the name of Stanley Coal Company. The same owners operated mines near Kingwood WV under the name of KRAY Coal Company; the name being the first initial of the last names of the owners. Stanley Coal operated around Crellin until 1960. Again, the actions of a few entrepreneurs provided meaningful employement for several generations of Crellin natives. Very little coal has been mined since in the scant Upper Yough field.(1)

In the photo above, Number 19 is in revenue service at one of the Crellin area mines- circa 1950's. More information about the exact location, crew and photographer is requested. Conjecture is that the location is the Banner Mine at Turner Douglas, West Virginia. The crew member hosing off No. 19 is Harold Lantz, the engineer as confirmed by his son, Andrew. According to Kline, direct service to the mine ended in 1956, coal was trucked to a reload tipple in Crellin after that date. Photographer and owner of negative is unknown. Print from Dave Cathell collection

In the top photo, No. 18 backs hoppers into what looks to be a mine location. Note the cab curtain and tender headlight, one assumes that the locomotive went in reverse about half the time due to the lack of wyes or turntables. In the bottom photo, No. 18 has stopped along the railroad for the crew to talk to some men with a motor car. Both photos were taken in winter or early spring as evidenced by the lack of leaves and the traces of snow. Dave Cathell collection.

The Route

See a turn of the century map of the Maryland portion of the Preston RR- Use "Back" to return here

The Preston Railroad extended 42 miles (not counting logging spurs)at one time from Crellin to Cheat River around St. George, WV. Shown here is the right of way at Underwood, a few miles south of Crellin. The tracks were elevated to stay above the Youghiogheny flood plain. The mountain in the background is Shaffer Mountain. The first logging line out of Crellin went over the back side of this mountain to near Aurora, WV. Besides logging, some rudimentary freight and passenger business was handled on the Preston Railroad, probably in the caboose. The Yough in the lower photo was used to float logs to the mill in early operations, shown here at Underwood.

Railroad Profile

The above chart has estimated distances (and a low quality scan to save space), but is an attempt to show the incredible profile of the 40-some mile Preston Railroad. Opposite of the usual situation, the logs were hauled uphill to Crellin from the deep Cheat River basin. The mountaintop character of the railroad also meant a lot of snow and cold weather to deal with from October to May. The major lumber operations at Crellin spanned the period from 1892 to 1925, a comparatively long life. The first rail line is shown by the dashed line that went up Laurel Run towards Aurora, West Virginia. At the same time, logs were being cut and floated down the Yough from its source near Breedlove West Virgina-site of the major splashdam now called Silver Lake. After cutting progressed away from the river, it made sense to build a rail line along the gentle grades of the upper Yough. At this time, the Preston Railroad was incorporated, but not chartered. Charters were obtained in 1906, the year that the Kendall's took control. Apparently the timber rights in the Horseshoe Run valley had been obtained by this time and the Preston's route was set, as industry observers were questioning whether the Preston would form a bridge route between the West Virginia Central and Pittsburg Railroad at Parsons West Virginia and the B&O at Hutton Switch. When the area along the Yough was logged, the railroad crossed over the divide to the Cheat River drainage and major logging commenced, complete with Shays, log loaders and huge timber. White Ridge, shown on this profile is an example of the vertical height the logging railroad climbed out of the Horseshoe Run valley up every available creek. All of this logging activity was in the immediate vicinity of the major lumber mill competitors of Parsons and Davis, West Virginia leading to the conclusion that the Crellin operators had tied up timber rights early on. In a diary of a tourist fisherman in the 1880's, it was reported that land in this area could be had by simply producing a survey, having the deed recorded at the St. George courthouse and paying the taxes.

Some Preston Railroad/Crellin Miscellany

-The fine interchange yard with the B&O was actually the original B&O mainline. A 1911 improvement project built a new, higher fill from Hutton Switch to west of Corinth, leaving the old mainline for use as overflow yard and a much larger interchange with the Preston RR.
-About 10 years ago, the Preston Railroad right of way (whatever that would be) was for sale.
-According to Jim Ashby, Crellin residents would haul wagonloads of ashes for domestic use right after midnight on Sunday. Sunday was the only day the sawmill was not operating, but residents would not break the Sabbath. Jim adds "the mill burnt the slabs, etc during the week and then the residents got the ashes to spread on the fields as fertilizer".
-After coal mining ceased and the town was sold to the residents, the dam on the Yough was dynamited. Residents felt this was done in an arbitrary manner. Chestnut logs that had sank many decades earlier were salvaged and sawed into quality lumber.
- One can still find evidence of the boom chain in the river.
-Crellin has three churches and no bars.
-The company store no longer operates as a store, but can be visited as the location of Tom Henline's frequent estate auctions.

$1.00 Scrip-Kendall Lumber Co.
Dave Cathell collection

KENDALL, Samuel Austin, a Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Greenville Township, Somerset County, Pa., November 1, 1859; attended the public schools and was a student for some time at Valparaiso, Ind., and at Mount Union College, Alliance, Ohio; taught school from 1876 to 1890 and served five years as superintendent of the public schools of Jefferson, Iowa; returned to Somerset County, Pa., in 1890 and engaged in the lumber business and the mining of coal; vice president of the Kendall Lumber Co. of Pittsburgh and president of the Preston Railroad Co.; member of the State house of representatives 1899-1903; elected as a Republican to the Sixty-sixth and to the six succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1919, until his death; had been unsuccessful for reelection in 1932 to the Seventy-third Congress; died in the House Office Building, Washington, D.C., January 8, 1933; interment in Hochstetler Cemetery, Greenville Township, Somerset County, Pa.
From Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
CHARLES WALTER REAM, 56, prominent in business and fraternal circles in this county, died about 8:30 o'clock Monday evening at his home in Crellin, following an extended illness of several years. For the past several months MR REAM was confined to bed during which period he suffered several heart attacks which weakened him and was the ultimate result of his demise. MR REAM was born in Mt Lake Park on September 13, 1882, a son of RICHARD and the late CATHERINE WEISS REAM. For a number of years he was engaged in the lumber business, being associated as superintendent for the Kendall Lumber Company whose operations years ago, and later became engaged in developing and mining coal properties near Crellin and in W.VA. He was well known throughout Maryland and W.VA in coal mining circles and at the time of his death he was a member of the Bituminous Coal Commission of W.VA district No. 3 first vice president of the Preston County Mining Institute and president of the Stanley Coal Company, which he actively directed until stricken a few months ago. MR REAM was married twice, first to MISS IDA M LEE who died in 1925 and to MISS ROSALIE CLICK, principal of the Oakland Elementary School, who survives as also do four children by his first marriage, HAROLD, ERVAL and ALVIN, all of Crellin and MRS HARVEY MUSSARD, of Oakland. In addition, he is survived by his father, RICHARD REAM, of Mt Lake Park and GEORGE of Indiana, PA MRS ALBERT BIGGS, Mt Lake Park, MRS FRANK GORTNER of Mason ILL. Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the Union Church in Crellin with the REV ROY SHAFFER, Clarksburg W.VA., officiating, assisted by the REV E.A. CRITES, pastor of the United Brethren Church of which faith he was a member since early childhood. Interment will be in the Oakland cemetery with the Knights of Pythias Lodge in charge. Active pallbearers will be business associates and honorary members of the Oakland Rotary Club, DOUGLAS GORMAN, JOHN J RUTLEDGE, WALTER N KIRKMAN, DR W.W. WILLIAMS, DR W.A.GRACIE, DR A.H.HAWKINS, DR JOHN E LEGGE, P.J.CROGAN, JUDGE A.G.HUGHES and directors of the Garrett National Bank. Ag


"The Preston Railroad", George A. Fizer, Oakland, Maryland, The Glade Star, Volume 3, June, September and December,1968.(Apparently Kline used this historian's narrative in his book).
"History of Crellin, Maryland, Story of a Double Boom Town", Robert C. Shaffer, Oakland, MD ( a Crellin native), self published by the author, 1976.
"Garrett County 125th Anniversary Photo Album", Garrett County Historical Society, McClain Printing Co, Parson WV, 1997.
"The Preston Railroad, A Longtime B&O Shipper", Wade H. Rice, The Sentinel, Volume 22 Number 4, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society, , Fourth Quarter 2000.

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Coal in Maryland occurs in five elongate structural basins or snyclines, in Garrett and Western Allegany Counties of Maryland. These basins are The Georges Creek Basin, named for the stream that flows southwestward through the basin to the North Branch of the Potomac River; The Upper Potomac Basin along the North Branch of the Potomac River; The Casselman Basin, named for the Casselman River which flows northward through the basin into Pennsylvania; The Lower Youghiogheney and Upper Youghiogheny Basins, named for the Youghiogheney River which flows northward toward Pennsylvania.

The Georges Creek Basinlies between Big Savage Mountain on the west and Dans Mountain on the east and is about 21 miles long by five miles wide. The northern boundary is the Pennsylvania being called the Wellersburg Basin. The Savage River forms the boundary line between the Georges Creek Basin and the Upper Potomac Basin which lies to the south along the same synclinal trend. The Allegany Garrett County boundary passes diagonally across the basin, with about three fourths of the basin lying in Allegany County. Most of the post coal mining production in Maryland took place in this basin.

The Upper Potomac Basin is 30 miles long, averages three miles in width and extends in a northeast direction from the southern tip of Garrett County to the Savage River. The basin is transacted between Maryland and West Virginia by the North Branch of the Potomac River. The coal strata remaining in this basin represents a thinner geologic section than exists in the Georges Creek Basin but contains the largest contiguous reserve of coal in Maryland.

The Lower Youghiogheny Basin lies in the extreme northwest corner of Garrett County and extends across the Pennsylvania Maryland West Virginia state lines northward into Pennsylvania and westward into West Virginia. Sang Run geographically separates the basin from the adjacent Upper Youghiogheny Basin. The basin in Maryland is triangular in shape and is approximately twelve miles long by a maximum of six miles wide. Mining activity in this basin has been minimal in the past, but is increasing

The Upper Youghiogheny Basin is located along the western side of Garrett County and lies immediately south of the Lower Youghiogheny Basin. Sang Run forms the northern geographic boundary where a structural saddle separates the two basins. The West Virginia Maryland state line forms the western border of the Upper Youghiogheny Basin in Maryland and separates it from the Mt. Carmel Basin in West Virginia. The basin is approximately ten miles long by five miles wide. It contains the thinnest sequence of coal measures in Maryland. To date mining activity has been minimal.

The Casselman Basin lies in central Garrett County and is the southern end of the Somerset or Berlin Basin of Pennsylvania. The basin is 18 miles long by about five miles wide and extends from Deep Creek Lake at Cherry Creek northeast to the State line. The most important coal seams in this basin from the standpoint of known recoverable reserves and quality are: Lower Bakerstown, Upper Feeport, and Upper Kittanning.

COAL RESERVES BY TONS The Georges Creek Basin contains the most recoverable reserves in the State, 354.1 million tons or 41%. The Potomac Basin contains 223.5 million tons or 26%, The Casselman Basin contains 116 million tons or 13.6, the Lower Youghiogheny Basin contains 107 million tons or 12.4%, and the Upper Youghiogheny Basin contains 54.3 million tons or 6.9% of the recoverable coal reserves.