Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

Bruce enjoys trains!
From the model trail that ran circles around the Christmas tree at his childhood home
to train rides to Grandma's house.

Bruce has enjoyed trains for a long time.
This time he took me along for a train ride

as we took a rail trip back into the history
of the Hocking River Valley in southeastern Ohio.

Nelsonville, Ohio, has the home depot for the scenic and historical train ride.

Here we bought our tickets and waited for the train to arrive.
Then we heard it coming: saw the headlight, heard the whistle
and felt the ground shake under the weight of its

shiny blue engine,

four passenger cars, both open air and enclosed seating,

and, of course, the little red caboose.
"All Aboard!" called out the conductor,
and about 100 men, women and children
-- including us --
climbed up the high steps and into the train.

We chose to sit in one of the enclosed cars
since the seats there were padded!
Our car was just in front of the caboose.

And we were off,

across the Hocking River,

past wildflowers, forests, and cultivated fields.
We arrived in Haydenville a few miles outside of Nelsonville.
This tiny, sleepy village, we learned, had been the site of a flourishing ceramic brick-making industry in the latter half of the 1800s.  It was a company-town built by by the owner of the factory.

Each employee was provided a home, all built exactly alike, of the product manufactured by the factory, ceramic blocks.

Of the homes that have been preserved, one has a unique shape.

The United Methodist Church of the village, also built by the factory owner, displays every type of brick the factory ever produced.

That ceramic block-making industry was sold out in the early 1900s, and has been replaced by a factory manufacturing wooden pallets

presumably from local logs.

Then, back under Highway 33 we went,

past a large sand and gravel dredging operation,

and we too quickly sped by Lock 19 of the Hocking Channel of the Ohio and Erie Canal.

The ruins of a large, old brick making plant welcomed us back to Nelsonville.

A short trip through the Hocking College campus brought us to Robin's Crossing,
a reconstructed pioneer-era village,

which includes a barn, houses,

and a blacksmith shop.

Then it was back to the station to disembark.  Our train trip was over.

At many places, the train tracks had run alongside the bike trail

which we had enjoyed just a few days before.

We haven't yet decided which way we prefer to travel!