Bear Meadows switchbacks?

Just where are the darn switchbacks into Bear Meadows? And looking at how rocky and steep Little Flat mountain is, why didn’t they just use the old tramroad route? Hmmm.

One thought on “Bear Meadows switchbacks?”

  1. The question of why they didn’t use the old tramroad can sort of be explained by distilling business history. Consider the following points from Kline:

    *Reitz & Whitmer begin at least as early as 1889 with a wood-railed tramroad.
    *They considered it wasteful to transport unfinished logs all the way to Linden Hall. So, “the firm commissioned George _Lonberger_ to construct and operate a sawmill at Bear Meadows.”
    *First Class A purchased in the early 1890s. Second one purchased in 1894.
    *”The company’s acreage in the Bear Meadows was limited”. Looking to the future, they started to buy up the Logan lands along Laurel Run.
    *Linden Hall Lumber Co. incorporated 1895.
    *The new (Logan) holdings “could not be reached from the old tramroad. The terrain forbid a gravity tram and the Class As were unsuitable account slow speed and long haul.” This was second growth and mainly suitable for mine props.
    *Utilizing their newly acquired resources (capital from Whitmer), “the Linden Hall Lumber Co. constructed a new tramroad and purchased a Class B in 1896.”
    *”Four switchbacks (only three shown on map, which is wrong…text is right), were needed to gain elevation to loop around the end of Tussey Mt. and down grade into Laurel Run. Another four switchbacks (two up and two down) were needed to cross over Little Flat Ridge in the Bear Meadows.”
    *The implication is the original tramroad was abandoned concurrently. Possibly, it was considered unsuitable for a Class B, although the first two Class A’s must have operated over it and the Class B’s were designed to run on wood rails.
    *”Operations now were concentrated in Laurel Run.”
    *”Cutting in Bear Meadows was completed in 1900 and the sawmill was no longer needed there.”
    *”In June of 1900, an intermediate size circular sawmill was built at Linden Hall.”
    *Remaining timber was cut by 1904 and the Linden Hall mill closed in 1905.

    *So, anyway…After they rebuilt the railroad in 1895-96 to focus on Laurel Run, the Bear Meadows mill continued for another 4-5 years. Then, in 1900, when they were done cutting in Bear Meadows they shut it down and built a mill in Linden Hall, which only ran for 5 years. Even though Laurel Run was being logged for mine props and Bear Meadows for saw timber, they evidently still needed a sawmill for Laurel Run timber or the Linden Hall mill wouldn’t have been built. Does this suggest that Laurel Run timber was being switchbacked into the Bear Meadows mill, processed, and then hauled back out the same way to the PRR interchange? Yikes. Food for thought.

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