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Newfound Creek Trestle

Photos 

South Elevation In Oblique Perspective, Looking E

Photo taken by Jet Lowe for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #294575

Map 

Description 

Trestle BH49226 is listed Newfound Creek trestle but historically from earliest records of L&N in early 1900ís, it always has been identified according to L&N records and Trestle Builder JL Mitchell's grandson Joseph Mitchell and greatgrandson Andy Rowell as the CAIN CREEK BRANCH LINE TRESTLE #10 to serve newly opened Mineral Springs mine.

However over the decades, it is most often referred to as the Cane Creek Trestle, although according to L&N RR station charts it is technically Cain Creek. It is also commonly called Brookside Trestle, Mt Olive Trestle, or trestle near Crocker Junction and in recent years the NEWFOUND CREEK TRESTLE and even the New Found Creek Trestle.This trestle was completed May 1,1904 after 1 year site prep in 1902 and 1 year trestle building.It was one of 35 trestles on this branch which included 17 trestles over 60 feet and 5 over 80 feet. But Trestle #10 was the highest of them all. JL Mitchell was credited as trestle builder of the Highest Wooden Trestle in the United States in 1904 when its height above the creek reached 115ft. It spanned 672ft in L&N records of 1971 but earlier records do list 720 ft. length with a gentle curve on the western end.Contractors of the line/roadwork included W.H.Moore & Bros.of Georgia and Dunn & Lallande Bros of Birmingham,Al. (See Atlantic Constitution May 1,1904 and Age-Herald Oct 21,1903) and The Engineering Record Vol.50,No.4,p.110-111).

For decades it served its purpose carrying Locomotives and cars loaded with coal from this coal rich area to nearby coke ovens.In WWII it was used for carrying dynamite from DuPont powder factory in Brookside.In 1957 the trestle did undergo a rebuild.No accidents or deaths were ever recorded except for 1 goat that fell off trestle.

In 1997 CSX no longer needed the track and had the rails removed and was converted to a gravel deck. The right of way was rail-banked in 2002 to allow time for extensive impact and cost studies to re-use and become part of a Jefferson County biking/hiking trail system as well as reduce liability for railroad and the County.It was to become one of the highpoints of the Greenway Project.In 2011,in the Mid South Flyer newsletter of the Railway and Historical Society Inc of May 2011 and July 2011 can be found more detailed information on the branch line's final active days in James Sims two-part article "A Farewell to the Cane Creek Branch".

After meeting in 2002, HAER sent Jet Lowe to document giant trestle with high resolution photographic survey prior to becoming an Historic Landmark. These are available from the Library of Congress archives http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/item/al1317/.

The land with right of way is near Brookside but actually in Mt Olive township; this ROW Crosses through property and is still listed as a right of way through parcel known as 1100 Downs Rd .The Mt Olive property parcel identification is 14-00-07-3-000-002.001 according to Jefferson County Property assessor records owned by Theron C and Sheila A Spruell since 2005. Adjacent property is owned by Drummond Co. Inc. and parcel is called 1150 Downs Rd. Bing maps shows a great aerial movable image of the trestle pre-fire in its Bird's Eye view at http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=pm8tkz7rrkv1&lvl=18.69&dir=... .

On May 23, 2006 it burned to the ground.Immediately after the fire there was a report that "authorities probe a suspicious fire". Some minor aged children said it caught fire when they were shooting fireworks.

It was in a difficult area to reach with adequate water by volunteer fire departments so it could not be saved once the fire started the old creosote timbers burned fast and completely. The State Fire Marshall was not asked to do an investigation and none was done. All that remains are the stone abutments, some heavy gauge bolts,nuts,washers, Drift pins,spikes, nails and burnt pieces of timber.

As of 2014, negotiations are still underway with CSX and others but now handling negotiations is Fresh Water Land Trust to acquire the site. There are hopes some structure will be re-built to remember what once stood there for 102 years.

Facts 

Overview
Lost Timber stringer bridge over Newfound Creek on formerly L&N Railroad
Location
Mt. Olive, Jefferson County, Alabama
Status
Destroyed by fire
History
Built 1904; Burned on May 23, 2006
Builders
- Dunn & Lallande Bros. of Birmingham, Alabama (Road Contractors)
- Joshua Lafayette Mitchell of Loganville, Georgia (Trestle Builder)
- W.H.Moore & Bros. of Georgia (Line Contractors)
Railroads
- Birmingham Mineral Railroad (BMAL)
- Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N; LN)
Design
Timber stringer Frame Trestle
Dimensions
Total length: 672.0 ft.
Also called
Brookside Trestle
Crocker Junction Trestle
L&N Cain Creek Trestle #10
Mt Olive trestle,
Approximate latitude, longitude
+33.65880, -86.89874   (decimal degrees)
33°39'32" N, 86°53'55" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/509388/3724330 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Brookside
Land survey
Mt Olive Alabama
Elevation
115 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 49226 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 30, 2014: New photo from Robert Lindberg
  • December 4, 2014: New photos from Robert Lindberg
  • November 7, 2014: New photos from Robert Lindberg
  • September 18, 2014: Updated by Robert Lindberg: add Joseph Mitchell as additonal source and delete two words
  • September 17, 2014: Updated by Robert Lindberg: minor typos /edits
  • September 16, 2014: Updated by Robert Lindberg: Emphasize original historic L&N identification and minor typos
  • July 28, 2011: Added by Ben Tate

Sources 

  • Ben Tate - benji5221 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • HAER AL-202 - Birmingham Mineral Railroad Viaduct, Spanning King Creek, Birmingham, Jefferson County, AL

Comments 

Newfound Creek Trestle
Posted June 18, 2017, by James Edward Daugherty (doddy404 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have pictures of the last train to cross this structure, it was a CSX engine with a bright future paint scheme pulling a long line of cars, I am trying to find info on exact date and what the engine name and # was, as well as the engineer at the time.

Newfound Creek Trestle
Posted July 3, 2015, by Jim Mathews (Ymmijswehtam [at] Yahoo [dot] com)

Dear; I agree with David

The men that raised that structure & their family members (six generations in some cases) take much pride in working with their hands to help bring jobs to our communities. You guys sound like it's no big deal that projects like this & the old terminal station in Birmingham have fallen in the name of, what some call, progress.

Newfound Creek Trestle
Posted September 30, 2014, by Terry_h (tphenson [at] bellsouth [dot] net)

I agree with David. Also, too much construction in the local area to be delayed by an old bridge.

Newfound Creek Trestle
Posted September 16, 2014, by david yates (david_y [at] bellsouth [dot] net)

The fire looks suspicious and abandoned railroad bridges have been torched in the past rather than be converted into bike trails.

Brookside Train Trestle
Posted July 28, 2011, by Ben Tate

This bridge still shows up on Bing's bird's eye view