The Mount Airy and Eastern Railroad
Page Eight: From The Crossroads To The Dan River
The Mount Airy and Eastern Railroad continued up Clark's Creek past where Anthony Terry found the buried rails and crossed the continental divide leaving the waters of the Ararat River into the watershed of the Dan River. It followed first Fall Creek across the land of Darryl and Sandra Clement, Greg Radford to Jerry Love's property where the creek enters the Dan River and the railroad followed the river into Kibler Valley. Above map shows the railroad path from Clark's Creek and down Fall Creek.
Looking from the headwaters of Clark's Creek towards the Crossroads where the Squirrel's Spur Road, Unity Church Road and Ararat Highway meet. It is believed a siding was in this area of the railroad on the right beyond the power pole in this photo, which leads to a story...
That's Our Story And We Are Sticking To It
During the course of following the railroad we heard many stories and many versions of the same story. One involved several of the Clement boys discovering several railroad cars along the siding near the Crossroads loaded with lumber. Being boys they managed to figure out how to release the brake and begin to travel down hill towards Clark's Creek until they realized either they were going to fast or did not know how to stop the engineless train they had started. Regardless, the boys jumped, the cars jumped and the lumber suffered worse for wear leaving quite a mess for the railroad to clean up and quite a story for the boys to tell later in life. So, that's there story and we are sticking to it. Below left looking towards the headwaters of Clark's Creek. The siding would have been on the right of this photo.
Reverend Bob Childress "The Man Who Moved A Mountain"
One of the many people who lived along the route of "The Dinky" was Revered Robert Childress "The Man Who Moved A Mountain." The local tradition has the future Presbyterian Minister working in his Blacksmith Shop, which was located in the pasture shown in the photo above right. Years later after he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior and began to preach Childress invited the children's choir from Clark's Creek Progressive Baptist Church to sing at Mayberry Presbyterian Church on top of the mountain. Did he hear them singing while working in his shop at the foot of Squirrel's Spur. I don't know, but I know it was a courageous action in a time
Click Here To Learn More About Bob Childress
There are signs along the path of the railroad that show how far we have come as a people. Below is the school near Clark's Creek Church that was for African-American children when segregation was the law of the land. One of the students who studied here was Fred Brim, who became Principal of Blue Ridge Elementary School, where he was not allowed to attend.
The railroad continued across the land of Romey and Barbara Bowman Clement. A special thank you to them both for sharing their knowledge and photos about the railroad. Below left is Bobby and Romey. Below left is their neighbor Jimmy Rorrer, the famous ABC officer, after a good day of squirrel hunting.
Photos Courtesy of Barbara Bowman Clement
Above the railroad continued from the Crossroads to the right of the present day road in the tree line behind the home shown above left. One of the largest washed out trestles is located on the property of Darryl and Sandra Clement shown below.
The railroad makes a sweeping turn after crossing the trestle and follows Fall Creek, a tributary of the Dan River to the confluence with the river.
One person of note along the path of "The Dinky" was Andy Griffith shown above with his parents Carl and Geneva Nunn Griffith. The Nunn Family operated a sawmill on Fall Creek and Andy's mother came from this part of Patrick County. Many of his family live and are buried in the Kibler Valley area. Photo Courtesy of the Mount Airy Museum.
The railroad continued down Fall Creek where one enters the Dan River near the present day site of the waterfalls above and the Love Family Cabin shown below. The railroad turned behind the cabin and continued on towards the Dan River. Of all the places we walked during our trek to follow the railroad this was my favorite. I really enjoyed all the silence surrounding all the noise of nature along with the water was. Special thanks to Jim and Jerry Love and their families for allowing across their property and all the information they shared with us from stories about bears and murders to the route the train took.
The railroad bed still exists along Fall Creek and to the right of the entrance road into the Love Cabin just inside the tree line and slightly elevated shown on the left above. Right, we believe the railroad crossed the Dan River near this spot to Meadowfield where the railroad took several turns over the years to confuse us and everyone who talked about it.
Continue on the Dinky Railroad Up The Dan River To Kibler Valley
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