Mendham & Chester RR

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CarterB
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Mendham & Chester RR

Post by CarterB » Tue May 20, 2008 9:33 am

An 1872 map of Morris County, shows the existence of the Mendham and Chester RR running from a connection with the "Montclair RR" (NY&GL) in Montclair through Morristown (crossing the M&E) continuing SW then dog-legging NW up to Mendham. Much of this appears to have become the Morristown & Erie? Question is, did the M&C actually exist and go from Mendham to Montclair at one time?
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!

henry6

A DEFINITE DREAM

Post by henry6 » Tue May 20, 2008 9:37 am

A definite dream. I will check both my Morristown and Erie and my Rockaway Valley books later but I believe this was an idea of extending M&E westward and maybe even at the time the Morris and Essex commuters were revolting and looking for an alternate railroad to the City.

CarterB
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Post by CarterB » Tue May 20, 2008 9:55 am

Henry, I think this predates the Morristown & Erie by several decades.

I've looked at later (1880s) maps of Morris County and nothing shows, only this reference showing as an 'existing' railroad in 1872. Googling Mendham & Chester comes up with nothing either.
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!

cjvrr
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Post by cjvrr » Tue May 20, 2008 7:03 pm

Carter,

It did not exist.

The only railroad to reach Mendham was the Rockaway Valley Railroad but that wasn't until around 1890. It was gone by the first world war and it never did make it to a connection in Morristown. It connected to the Jersey Central on the south end. Main reason for construction was to ship peaches.

Chester may have been in their sites due to the existence of iron mining started there around 1866. The early 1870s were a boom time for Chester but the iron market softened and didn't pick up again until the 1880s.
CV the Civil E

henry6

THE ANSWERS ARE.........

Post by henry6 » Tue May 20, 2008 7:37 pm

The answers are in Taber's Morristown and Erie book: chapter 3, Paper Railroads and Paper Mills. His map on page 6 shows the Mendham and Chester as having been chartered from Caldwell to Morristown north of the M&E then to Mendham on the same plane as the Rockaway Valley but south of the Morristown and Mendham (chartered 1860, changed in1869 to connect with any road, not built). The M&C was mentioned in 1869, 70, and 71 newspaper accounts, purchased land in 1872 but was never built when connections east of Caldwell could not be built. There is a lot more to the stories in the book but that is the gist.

CarterB
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Location: Bergen County, New Jersey

Post by CarterB » Wed May 21, 2008 8:18 am

Thanks to all for your excellent info. I guess in those days, even the "hint" of a railroad being proposed, got it 'on the map'.
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!

pdman
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Post by pdman » Thu May 22, 2008 4:15 pm

A Mendham to Chester rail line would have a heck of a set of grades. Both towns are atop of good size New Jersey hills. For a short ten miles or so (from long recollection) it would mean going down from Mendham, across a short valley then up another long hill.

Then, too, the question would be, "What would such a railroad be trying to reach?" Chester wasn't mining town, timber area...just farming.
"Passing points, New Jersey Cut-off Eastward freight trains, being handled by two engines, when clearing at Blairstown and Greendell, may hold main track and put first class or other trains through sidings."

DL&W ETT, No. 84. Nov. 8, 1942

henry6

ALL OF THEM...

Post by henry6 » Thu May 22, 2008 4:58 pm

All of them, the Morris and Essex, the Passaic and Delaware, the NYS&W, the CNJ, and whatever else was or papered in Trenton, wanted to move coal from PA to NY City. The LV even purchased the Morris Canal and had an interest in the P&D to reach that end.

cjvrr
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Post by cjvrr » Fri May 23, 2008 9:18 am

But later on Chester would by a destination point for branch lines from both the CNJ and the DL&W to reach the iron mines located there at the time.

Hard to tell now but some of the mining went on just a few feet off Main Street right in the center of the present day borough.

Mendham never had any industry to speak of other than farming. Now the only crop being grown is BIG houses.

Chris
pdman wrote:A Mendham to Chester rail line would have a heck of a set of grades. Both towns are atop of good size New Jersey hills. For a short ten miles or so (from long recollection) it would mean going down from Mendham, across a short valley then up another long hill.

Then, too, the question would be, "What would such a railroad be trying to reach?" Chester wasn't mining town, timber area...just farming.
CV the Civil E

henry6

THE IMPORTANCE

Post by henry6 » Fri May 23, 2008 9:49 am

The importance of the Mendham area, especially, were orchards of pears, peaches, and apples...mainstay of the Rockaway Valley RR in fact. And off hand, I am not sure of what the extended plans were for either the CNJ or the DL&W branches in and out of town...CNJ's branch could be speculated to want to go east to Morristown, et. al., and the DL&W headed south perhaps to Gladstone. Or Trenton.

CarterB
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Post by CarterB » Fri May 23, 2008 9:58 am

Who knows what the Mendham & Chester had in mind.
At that time, at least on the 1872 map, the Chester RR (DL&W) showed to the mines around Mine Hill and Ferremonte, and built to Chester with a proposed branch headed north towards "Bartleysville" Hibernia and Mt. Hope Mines rr's shown existing. And even a 'tram' from Mt. Hope mines to Rockaway? Appears that in 1872, mapmakers were "wild" for railroads!!
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!

CJPat
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Post by CJPat » Fri May 23, 2008 10:34 am

CarterB wrote:Appears that in 1872, mapmakers were "wild" for railroads!!
Remember, between 1860 (with the advent of the Civil War) and 1920 was the huge boom years for Railroads. They were one of THE key industries to be in. Because they could move large quantities of people and materials inland at unheard of speeds of 35-60 mph, whew!, and later upwards of 100 mph and better by 1920, the Railroads put towns on the map! You were nothing but a sleepy little hollow if you did not have a railroad, but your town or village was a SOMEBODY if it did. You bet the mapmakers were fawning over what and where the Railroads went next.

cjvrr
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Post by cjvrr » Fri May 23, 2008 2:32 pm

CarterB,

I may be wrong but it has been my understanding that the tram from the Mt. Hope mines to Rockaway was real!

I will have to check the Taber book.

CarterB wrote:Who knows what the Mendham & Chester had in mind.
At that time, at least on the 1872 map, the Chester RR (DL&W) showed to the mines around Mine Hill and Ferremonte, and built to Chester with a proposed branch headed north towards "Bartleysville" Hibernia and Mt. Hope Mines rr's shown existing. And even a 'tram' from Mt. Hope mines to Rockaway? Appears that in 1872, mapmakers were "wild" for railroads!!
CV the Civil E

cjvrr
Posts: 1361
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Morris County, NJ

Re: THE IMPORTANCE

Post by cjvrr » Fri May 23, 2008 2:37 pm

Henry very ture, those products were the mainstay of the RVRR, but they were another railroad that never made any money hauling the product they were built for.

Lowenthal wrote another fine book specifically about the Chester Iron industry for the local historical society. I just finished reading it again. If I remember correctly Chester's population grew during the iron rush 1870-1890, but collapsed once it was over. They didn't surpass that population number again until the 1960's!

henry6 wrote:The importance of the Mendham area, especially, were orchards of pears, peaches, and apples...mainstay of the Rockaway Valley RR in fact. And off hand, I am not sure of what the extended plans were for either the CNJ or the DL&W branches in and out of town...CNJ's branch could be speculated to want to go east to Morristown, et. al., and the DL&W headed south perhaps to Gladstone. Or Trenton.
CV the Civil E

pdman
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Location: Arizona

Post by pdman » Fri May 23, 2008 4:25 pm

Thanks for the info, guys. Great stuff.

In the past 20 years I've had the opportunity to travel a lot outside the U.S. What I've noticed is how towns in the U.S. were often named for towns in Europe, but that they often had similar geographiesl, landscapes, and more.

Chester, NJ sits on a hill with surrounding cedar trees, relatively low level farming productivity, soil conditions, etc. The cedar trees love acid soil which is the opposite of what good farming needs. That geography looks almost the same as a town in the U.K. also named Chester. It is about twenty miles southeast of Liverpool. Same look to the land, some similar trees, etc.
"Passing points, New Jersey Cut-off Eastward freight trains, being handled by two engines, when clearing at Blairstown and Greendell, may hold main track and put first class or other trains through sidings."

DL&W ETT, No. 84. Nov. 8, 1942

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