Saturday, August 30, 2008

Babcock Trestle on Tellico

14. That's how many concrete pillars there are to the Babcock RR Trestle on Tellico Lake. To see this historical site stay on Hwy 129 just past the Harrison Branch boat ramp. Look to your right and you will see it. By canoe or kayak put in at the boat ramp and paddle up stream about a 1/2 mile. Can't miss it. The train came down to the Little T and was held above the water by these 14 pillars. The following story tells you just how important and profitable logging was at the turn of the century. In 1905 the Babcock Lumber and Boom Company of Davis, West Virginia began a new venture in Monroe County. They partnered with the Tellico River Lumber Company to bring out timber from areas such as Jeffries Hell in the upper Tellico area. In 1907 Babcock formed the Babcock Lumber and Land Company in Alcoa because they knew that Maryville would be the closet town to handle the mass of lumber coming out of the mountains. By 1916 Babcock purchased 350 acres of land in Alcoa (at East Edison and North Wright Road...where the city of Alcoa is building their new Operations Center). In fact their website says that the Alcoa lumber mill was the most modern in the world and lumber workers came from all over the world to see it. During the same time they built a railroad system to connect the lumber yard in Alcoa to the work site in Tellico. So, in 1918 the "siding" was completed thus the rail bridge over the Little Tennessee River was in use. By 1934 their work was completed and the project and facilities were sold to another lumber company.
Just upstream from the trestle, and a few yards above the Tallassee boat ramp, are two interesting items. One, is this cart that seems to be hanging from a cable and steel supports. Next to it is the photo below of the apparent gauging station. I do not know any history regarding these two structures but I hope someone can tell me.
Phillip and I paddled right up to the flood gates of the Chilhowee Dam.

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