Lake Champlain & Moriah Railroad: The "Elsie and Em"
The Civil War's monstrous appetite for iron - for horse shoes, artillery, cannon balls, rifles, and armor plate - exposed the greatest obstacle to iron production in Moriah: getting ore from the mines to the lake shore. Even 100 teams of horses hauling wagons down the Plank Road could not keep up with the demand from iron furnaces in Troy, New York and as far away as western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
As soon as the war was over and capital could be raised, work began on the Lake Champlain and Moriah Railroad. The route climbed 1309 feet in elevation over 7.5 miles, one of the steepest grades in the country. Three switch-backs (known as "Ys") were required to clear the incline. The rail line dropped the cost of transporting ore to 32 cents per ton and fueled a production boom that would last a century.
[Photo captions, from left to right, read]
• Two steam locomotives flank a train of eleven "Jimmy" cars climbing the railroad embankment above Port Henry. Dual engines helped the train negotiate "Y's," where the train would pull into a dead end track, passing over a switch. When the switch was thrown, the train could proceed
• A passenger station opened in 1872 at the east end of the railroad bridge that crossed lower Broad Street. Passengers could leave Port Henry at 10. The return train left Mineville at 11AM. Afternoon service was also available. Tickets cost 25 cents. Town of Moriah Historical Society collection.
• Engine shops, completed in 1873, serviced the Baldwin steam locomotives. Town of Moriah Historical Society collection.
• Sanborn Insurance Company Map courtesy of Essex County Historical Society.
Erected by Lakes to Locks Passage.
Location. 44° 2.602′ N, 73° 27.476′ W. Marker is in Port Henry, New York, in Essex County. Marker is on Park Place (New York State Route 9N/22) east of Main Street (New York State Route 9N/22), on the left when traveling east. Marker is at the Iron Center Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 34 Park Place, Port Henry NY 12974, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Realizing a Dream: the Rolling Stock Display (here, next to this marker); A Busy Iron Port (here, next to this marker); Industrial Shoreline (here, next to this marker); The 1929 Lake Champlain Bridge
Also see . . .
1. Lake Champlain & Moriah Railroad. (Submitted on October 17, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Iron Center Museum, Port Henry NY. (Submitted on October 17, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Lakes to Locks Passage. (Submitted on October 17, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Railroads & Streetcars •
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Credits. This page was last revised on October 17, 2017. This page originally submitted on October 17, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 164 times since then and 41 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 17, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.