Author Topic: Some Answers About Evansville  (Read 847 times)

Ralph

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Some Answers About Evansville
« on: November 24, 2019, 09:23:11 PM »
Since at least April of 2005 some of us on this board have been discussing and wondering about the interurban between Evansville and Princeton in such threads as http://indianarailroads.org/board/index.php?topic=83 . This line opened in December of 1903 via one route and September of 1907 moved to a different route from Evansville to Darmstadt. I lived for several years close to the original route and saw many remnants of that alignment. I even walked as much of it as I could while in high school. From the Evansville city limits to Darmstadt and on to Princeton the old right-of-way was pretty obvious and from Pigeon Creek to Darmstadt the second route was also obvious. No one seemed to be certain how the first route ran from Pigeon Creek to the current city limits.

In early October I decided to travel south and check several items off a list of things I had been wanting to do - visit Spring Mill State Park, go to Evansville's Fall Festival, inspect the farmland my family owns along the Ohio River AND try to figure out the exact first route of the Evansville and Princeton Traction Railroad.

In the rain on a Friday I visited the farm and then went to Pigeon Creek to photograph an item I had seen 15 years ago or more when I didn't have my camera along. I had a very old photo of this remnant and had used it in Larry's List. And list member Curt had talked about it in http://indianarailroads.org/board/index.php?topic=2587 . It's the pier holding the far end of the bridge in the first photo. The second photo shows that pier as I walked up to it from the south. It still stands among all those trees in a bend in Pigeon Creek. It is about 20 feet tall.

When I was here many years ago I never looked beyond the south side of the pier but this time I saw the abutment on the north side of the creek which is shown in the third photo. It is on the edge of the Evansville Country Club golf course. After photographing the abutment I turned and took a picture of the north side of the pier which is picture four.

Now that I'd gotten these photos and very wet from the rain it was time to move on to research.


« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 10:02:51 PM by Ralph »

Union Depot

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Re: Some Answers About Evansville
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2019, 09:41:15 PM »
Here are a couple of items I've had over the years from the EP&TCO:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/82856031@N04/17629040691/
(Conductor Hat Badge #21)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/82856031@N04/17602636856/
("One Hour and 25 Minute" advertisement showing last departure at 11:30 P.M.)

Ralph, excellent information to post and start a thread on an almost forgotten line!
Union Depot - Historic Railroad Images of Vincennes and Surrounding Areas: https://www.flickr.com/photos/82856031@N04/

blue2golf

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Re: Some Answers About Evansville
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2019, 09:01:57 PM »
Great pics!  A friend and I scouted out those remnants last month.  For some reason, my pics won't upload but they are basically the same as what you have here.
No train expert here fellas, just your average history buff...

Ralph

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Re: Some Answers About Evansville
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2019, 10:17:48 PM »
Somehow on October 11 in the rain I packed in a lot of activitiy. In addition to getting the photos shown previously I went to Rahm, a location at which many photos are taken of the Henderson bridge and which is close to the farm my family owns. On the way back into the city had a quick look at Howell yard where nothing was happening. Had lunch out by USI at a restaurant which, like all the others nearby, had no water due to a main break. Went to a farm market owned by a grade school and Sunday school classmate who I hadn't seen
in about 50 years. Ran by the house I had lived in which is where I got interested in the Evansville & Princeton Traction Railroad.

Part of my reason for going to Evansville was to find a marker that sat beside Stringtown Road and paid tribute to the second alignment of the E&P. Since the Evansville Museum has a transportation center with actual trains in the yard I hoped the director there might have some idea where that marker went when the levee was built in the area. Couldn't get in to see him but since that day I've emailed and learned that he does not have an answer nor does the Vanderburgh County historian, That search goes on.

Since I was close to the Central library I thought I'd see if they had any old maps that would show the ORIGINAL route of the E&P across Pigeon Creek to the west and then up to Highland on the way to Darmstadt. One librarian was kind enough to open their Indiana Room and look for maps from the early 1900's. She found a very old map but it was still post 1908 when the E&P relocated. This map (a portion shown below) shows the line turning east to run beside the Evansville & Terre Haute Railroad. Interesting thing is there was no US41 at the time. If you look where the E&P makes its turn to the east near Olmstead Avenue the interurban crossed the "Princeton State Road," now Stringtown Road.

Curses, foiled again.

Ralph

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Re: Some Answers About Evansville
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2020, 04:28:35 PM »
On the Facebook page for Indiana Interurban Railroad Memories one member of this group and another fellow have been discussing the bridge pier and abutment at Pigeon Creek. That reminded me that I never finished my story about my October trip to Evansville. This is what I posted over there.
For this discussion we will be traveling north on the original alignment of the Evansville & Princeton Traction Railroad. Some things to keep in mind:1 when the line was built the southern boundary of the Evansville Country Club was slightly north of the bridge over the creek:2 today's two roads closest to and northwest of the bridge were not there.
After crossing Pigeon Creek on the two concrete remnants in my photos the line crossed the southwest corner of the country club's property to the point where Mockingbird Lane and Baker Avenue meet today. Here the line turned due north on a section line. The traction line ran north toward Buena Vista Road turning west in a quarter circle that I would estimate had a radius of 700 feet ending on the north edge of Buena Vista. I came up with that number based on today's distance from Baker Avenue to the point where Buena Vista widens for no apparent reason. If someone has a more accurate and verifiable number please let me know. (While attending the original North High School the bus I rode took that stretch of Buena Vista twice every day. Always wondered why the street was wider there.)
The E & P ran along the north side of Buena Vista to First Avenue where it took a sharp turn to the north ending on the west side of First Avenue. A code line ran along the west side of First Avenue even into at least the late 60's. I can not remember where those lines ran as they went south.
The traction line ran north beside (or in?) First Avenue to a point between today's Stoneridge Road and Rueger Drive where it turned to the north-northwest to climb the hill to Kratzville Road. (The code line did not follow the tracks from here but continued along First Avenue to a point across from Highland School where the code line took off almost northwest. It was at a point at about 38.04N and -87.58W that the code line and the track met again.) On the north side of Kratzville just east of Laubscher (Mill) Road was a shallow cut for the track. I lived about 700 feet WSW of that point. Almost immediately after moving there in '58 I asked my father the purpose for the cut and he told me it had been for the interurban.
North of Kratzville the right-of-way is hard to make out. From walking it in the 60's I remember that it followed the curve along the hill on which Laubscher Road runs until it reached a point on the range line between today's April Drive and Breezy Creek Drive. The rails then followed this range line all the way to Darmstadt.
In October of 2019 I went into the Evansville Civic Center complex looking for the map that provided all the details listed above. At the surveyor's office I entered and turned left to the counter behind which a man was typing on a computer. When he stopped I asked if they had a map from the period of short time between the original construction of the E & P and the building of the second route beside the E&TH - a period of just over 3 years. He told me to turn right where - hanging on the wall - was exactly what I sought.
When Dad bought the place on Kratzville Road where we had lived we were told that a part of the lake on the property had once been a quarry. The 1904 "Street Railway Journal" stated that, when built, the road was "dirt ballasted, but the company has closed a contract for stone ballast with a concern having a quarry on the line of the road, and in consequence of this contract has installed a thoroughly modern stone crushing plant." The quarry on our place was the only quarry I could picture along the interurban line and for almost 20 years had wondered if ours was it.
The map at the surveyor's office not only showed the long sought route that we have been discussing but also a spur from the interurban line just north of Kratzville Road to about where our house was. I'm including the segment of that map from Pigeon Creek to Laubscher Road.
Posted below,
1 The map segment mentioned above
2 Google's image of Baker Avenue at Mockingbird Lane looking south. Country Club on the left. I had never been on this road until October or I would have known it was on fill. Streets rarely are. Railroads often.
3 The cut on the north side of Kratzville where the interurban crossed. I suspect this was the location of a station called "Highland." Capture from a video shot in the rain in October.
4 At Kratzville looking the other way - back toward First Avenue.
5 On Laubscher Road looking toward the location of the main line to Princeton. I believe this is where the quarry spur crossed.
6 Looking the other way from Laubscher toward the place where I lived beyond the yellow house and the quarry location down in the valley.

Ralph

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Re: Some Answers About Evansville
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2020, 05:06:27 PM »
Within the last couple of months I have found another map that shows this interurban route within Vanderburgh County. It can be found by going to https://evvc-evvc.opendata.arcgis.com/ . Scroll to the bottom and click on "Open App" under "Bicentennial Map." The app requires Flash Player which some browsers block since Flash Player goes away at the end of this year so you may have to open FP separately. Once you are looking at this map make sure that in the Map Layers box Steetcar Features is checked. Then use the slider at the bottom to go to 1904. You should then see this image as included below. The purple line running up the middle of the county is the E&P's original route. Step the slider over to 1906 and you will see the relocation. Slide it to 1934 and see the line disappear.

On the image below I added a green circle around what I believe to be an error in this map. In the 1990's someone built a large lake at that point just south of where the E&P line crossed Darmstadt Road, shown on the topo map as Owensville Road. I suspect the creator of this map thought that the interurban must have gone around the lake. Old topo maps show cut and fill here beside a smaller lake creating a nice, straight and level right-of-way through here. If I can get back to the Vanderburgh County Surveyor's office I'll check his map mentioned in the previous thread. I also need to find out who published it originally.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2020, 05:56:25 PM by Ralph »

blue2golf

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Re: Some Answers About Evansville
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2020, 09:20:48 PM »
Excellent research and pictures Ralph.
No train expert here fellas, just your average history buff...