• The Wapwalopen (sic) Railroad

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by 2nd trick op
Around 1855, the DuPont Company established aa water-powered powder mill on Big Wapwallopen Creek in the valley of the Susquehanna River's North Branch, on the east bank, and about five miles north of Berwick and Nescopeck. Blasting powder for the anthracite mines of the Wyoming Valley, about 15 miles to the north, rather than munitions, was the principal product. The widely-distributed F W Beers atlas of 1873 shows a rail line from the river to the mill, but no connection, as the Pennsylvania Railroad's Wilkes-Barre Branch wasn't extended northward from Catawissa to Wilkes-Barre until 1880.

http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/rich/w ... en/History" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. htm

A centennial history(1999) of American Car and Foundry, which maintained a large plant in Berwick for many years, shows a proto of a presumably-wooden boxcar for the Wapwalopen(sic) Railroad. but no mention is made of possible interchange arrangements. DL&W forerunner Lackawanna and Bloomsburg laid rails along the river's west bank as early as 1856, but how (or if) those shipments found their way across the river to Hicks' Ferry and the L&B or possibly, the parallel Pennsylvania Canal - less fire/explosive risk - isn't clear (Carfloat technology had been used as early as the Civil War, on the Potomac and under the tutelage of General Herman Haupt).

The mill closed in 1914, but the relatively-isolated site remains a popular, but unsupervised swimming spot, known locally as the Power Hole, overlooked by the remains of a substantial girder bridge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jiz03pag68" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So maybe, a little deeper inquiry beyond the usual local sources can turn up some more specifics.
  by 2nd trick op
A little research during a post turns up something!

https://www.scribd.com/document/1189724 ... tNx3RF9Uos" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by CarterB
Anyone have the exact location or map of where the old railroad bridge is over the creek at "Powder hole"?
Was that part of the Powder works railroad?
  by talltim
Is this the location of Powder Hole? https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Big ... -76.135208" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This 1864 map shows many more building around the creek but does not show any railroad https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3823l.la0 ... 65,0.039,0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by talltim on Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by talltim
This 1873 map shows a railroad going right to the river, but not the works end of it http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/ ... nsylvania/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Also note that while the the main map shows the main railroad line, the detail doesn't!
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by talltim on Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by CarterB
Look at the very upper right corner of the map I posted above. Shows the DuPont RR not connecting to anything. Must have been barged from there on the river of canal.
  by 2nd trick op
F(rederick) W. Beers (1839-1933) was a prolific mapmaker, specializing in local atlases issued on a county-by-county basis. The largest portion of his work originated between 1870 and 1895, and often (undoubtedly for sales efforts) includes reference to local merchants and tradesmen and, in some cases, property lines. The maps shown in Mr. talltim's post, and in my own, are taken from the Beers Luzerne County Atlas of 1873

http://www.historicmapworks.com/Search/ ... ers+%26+Co" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

The boundary line between the townships of Nescopeck and Hollenback follows Big Wapwallopen Creek, but only for about a mile. So it would apppear that much of the DuPont complex was in Hollenback Township.

The SCRIBD article, by local historian Roger Gilbert, and linked in the second post of this thread, provides much greater detail; Page 2 shows an approach to the trestle, and the boxcar shown on Page 8 appears to be a duplicate of that in the ACF history referenced in the original post -- though it likely was built by Berwick-based Jackson and Woodin, a forerunner of ACF.

it also appearss thatdue to the dangers of fire and explosion, and the fact that outbound lading moved mostly downhill, that power for the rail operations might have been provoded by a combination of gravity, horseflesh, and possibly a stationary engine or two. (it would be interesting to determine if such an arrangement could be implemented into the mill's safety-oriented, water-powered technology.)

There appears to be no evidence that the loaded cars were ferried across the Susquehanna intact, so the shipping process could have involved possibly two additional transloads, rail to ferry,and from there back to rail or canal boat. as well as the original loading at the mill.

Since the mill's closure a century ago, he "Powder Hole" has gained a considerable reputation, as evidenced on its own Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Powder-H ... 4115308818" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by talltim
CarterB wrote:Look at the very upper right corner of the map I posted above. Shows the DuPont RR not connecting to anything. Must have been barged from there on the river of canal.
Interestingly your map shows the line in the west side of the creek, whereas mine shows it on the east.