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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Let's Go to the Blue Ridge Mountains

The pioneering South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company, Southern's earliest predecessor line and one of the first railroads in the United States, was chartered in December 1827 and ran the nation's first regularly scheduled steam-powered passenger train – the wood-burning Best Friend of Charleston – over a six-mile section out of Charleston, South Carolina, on December 25, 1830. Next week I will blog about a post card in my collection that is a picture of a replica of the Best Friend of Charleston. This post card is a picture of a train (no. 11) on its way from here to there on the Southern Railway. The Southern Railway was a US class 1 railroad. It was the product of nearly 150 predecessor lines that were combined, reorganized and recombined beginning in the 1830s, formally becoming the Southern Railway in 1894.
It was placed under control of the Norfolk Southern Corporation, along with the Norfolk and Western Railway (N&W), in 1982, and was renamed Norfolk Southern Railway in 1990. This train on the post card is passing through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, starting at its southernmost portion in Georgia, then ending northward in Pennsylvania.

I am thinking that it is passing through the state of North Carolina. I base this on the information below that I found on the internet:

Items summarized here:
• "The Warm Springs, Madison County, Western North Carolina," by Howerton, W.H. and Klein, M.C.
• "Asheville--the Ideal Autumn and Winter Resort City," by Southern Railway (U.S.). Passenger Traffic Department
• "Autumn and Winter in the Land of the Sky," by Southern Railway (U.S.). Passenger Traffic Department
Dated from approximately 1880 to 1915, the documents summarized here advertise the beauty and appeal of western North Carolina, which has historically supported a significant tourism industry. Scholar Richard D. Starnes notes that North Carolina, like other Southern states, "offered the scenic landscapes and moderate climate Gilded Age visitors demanded, and entrepreneurs emerged to provide these tourists with accommodations, entertainment, and good southern hospitality". Tourism in western North Carolina flourished in the early nineteenth century, writes scholar Karl A. Campbell in his review of Richard D. Starnes's Creating the Land of the Sky: Tourism and Society in Western North Carolina. Before the Civil War, "the Asheville area already had a reputation as a travel destination," but it was after the War that the area's "healing springs and reputation for a healthy climate, combined with new railroad construction" helped tourism in western North Carolina truly blossom.
The post card is from the White Border Era (1915 - 1930). It was printed by Curt Otto Teich's company for the publisher Southern Post Card Company of Asheville, North Carolina. This would also back up the thought above about the picture being from North Carolina. Here is a close-up of the logo for the publisher:
The publisher has a different post card number (B-266) than the printer. Knowing the printer's number (A-37902) we can know the year that our post card was printed.
There is a chart of the numbers the company used and what year they were printed. The list tells us that numbers A-32236 to A-45599 were printed in 1913. This is just before the beginning of the White Border Era. Curt Teich was quite the innovator so this makes sense to me.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.