Near Jim Thorpe in Carbon County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
"Built in 1850, the (inclined) planes were 1,200 feet long and 430 feet high. As a loaded car descended on one plane. it would draw an empty car up the other plane."
John Koehler, Railroad Historian, Weatherly
You are standing on the site of a once busy railroad intersection. Three railroads, the Hazleton, the Penn Haven and White Haven, and the Beaver Meadow, converged here at Penn Haven.
Tons of anthracite coal was brought down out of the surrounding mountains and transferred to boats on the Lehigh Canal. The boats were sent down river to factories and cities.
To move coal cars up and down the mountains that surround you, these railroads needed special technology. Cables attached to steam engines pulled the cars up the slopes of the inclined planes. The original hemp rope cables often broke, occasionally causing spectacular wrecks. Eventually, wire rope replaced hemp, saving equipment from destruction and crew members from injury and even death.
Only a few foundations of this important junction remain, reminders of the crowded railroad station and bustling little town that existed here.
Erected by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Delaware & Lehigh National
Location. 40° 56.7′ N, 75° 44.797′ W. Marker is near Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, in Carbon County. Marker can be reached from Lehigh Gorge Trail 2.2 miles west of Main Street when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker and subject railroad intersection are accessible only by foot or bicycle, located on the Lehigh Gorge Recreational Trail, about 6 miles north of the Glen Onoko Falls trailhead. Above directions are for the trailhead, which is accessible by vehicle from the town of Jim Thorpe. Marker is in this post office area: Jim Thorpe PA 18229, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lehigh Gorge State Park (approx. 1˝ miles away); Weatherly War Memorial (approx. 4.2 miles away); Weatherly Civil War Memorial (approx. 4.2 miles away); Molly Maguire Executions (approx. 5.6 miles away); The Soldiers and Sailors Monument (approx. 5.6 miles away); The Self Made Man (approx. 5.6 miles away); Carbon County (approx. 5.6 miles away); Packer Mansion (approx. 5.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jim Thorpe.
Also see . . .
1. Carbon's Most Desolate Place: Penn Haven Junction.
The first incline was built in 1850 to try to overcome the continual rockslides and floods of the steep ravine leading from Weatherly to the gorge. The plane was 1,200 feet long and rose over 450-feet (Submitted on March 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company.
The early growth of Pennsylvania's railroads was closely intertwined with the mining of anthracite coal. In the early 1800s, Pennsylvania coal mine operators faced a daunting challenge: how to carry tons of heavy black coal from their mines to the canals and rivers below, upon which it could be transported to market. Gravity railroads were the initial solution, connecting the sources of coal to the Lehigh Canal, Delaware and Hudson Canal, and other man-made waterways that floated the vital fuel to Philadelphia, New York, and other industrial centers. In 1827, Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company constructed a gravity railroad between Summit Hill and Mauch Chunk. (Submitted on March 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.
Following the local discovery of anthracite coal in 1791, the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company laid out the site and there built the first industrial railroad in the United States (1828), a gravity switchback line that hauled coal to the Lehigh Canal. Asa Packer, a coal baron, founded the Lehigh Valley Railroad to replace the canal in 1855. Mining has given way to tourism as the borough’s economic mainstay. Flagstaff Mountain Park and Glen Onoko Falls are nearby scenic spots. (Submitted on March 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Notable Places • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 7, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 48 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.