Moriah history comes alive in 2011 calendar

PORT HENRY - Imagine a locomotive engine pulling nearly 400 tons of iron ore racing full speed out of control.

It happened Feb. 23, 1905, in Mineville. The engineer and fireman jumped from the train to save themselves, leaving tons of iron hurtling two miles at more than 100 mph toward Port Henry. Two miles later it crashed at "Switchback."

Witnessed claim the entire train went airborne for more than 200 feet before disintegrating into tiny pieces.

"There wasn't a piece left you could recognize, except maybe a wheel," said Jim Davis.

Davis studied the wreck and the history of railroads in the community for the "Historic Moriah 2011 Calendar." The calendar, complete with photos, tells the history of railroads and mining in Moriah.

The calendar, a fundraising project of the Town of Moriah Historical Society, is now on sale at Moriah Pharmacy, Sagan's, Moriah town hall, Port Henry village hall, Sherman Free Library and at the Iron Center, 34 Park Place, Port Henry. People can order calendars by calling 546-3587 or E-mailing moriahhistsoc@aol.com.

The cost is $10 each, plus $1.73 postage, if mailed.

"Jim Davis is one of our trustees of the Town of Moriah Historical Society," explained Joan Daby, historical society president. "Jim and Brian Venne and a couple other men thought it would be a good idea to do a 'all train' calendar. Jim did most of the work for it.

"The calendar is a good one, especially for the train buffs, as it gives a lot of information and photos of the Lake Champlain & Moriah Railroad, our local railroad that was built in 1869 and served our mining operations through 1971," Daby said.

Davis is proud of the calendar.

"It was a fun project," he said. "I live on Pelfershire Road, midway between the Pelfershire and Cheever mines so I'm interested in their histories. The railroad is the thing that made the mines tremendously productive for 100 years."

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