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 further up the hill, in a process called "slabbing." Detail, Bird's Eye View of Port Henry (1889), courtesy of the Town Historian.
• A passenger station opened in 1872 at the east end
• 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. Touch for map. Marker is at the Iron Center Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 34 Park Place, Port Henry NY 12974, United States of America.
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 (a few steps from this marker); Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Office Building of Witherbee and Sherman Iron Ore Company (within shouting distance of this marker); Witherbee Park and Town Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); LC&M Caboose (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Henry.
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 •
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 103 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 17, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.