Bluffton, South Carolinagreenspun.com : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread
What railroad, if any ever served the Bluffton, South Carolina area? Bluffton is just north of Savannah.
-- Dick Kearns (email@example.com), August 24, 2003
The ACL branch you are referring to is the ACL's Yonges Is. branch that ran from mainline at Ravenel to the depot/wharf at Yonges Island. Three spurs (Hollywood, Blitches, and Toogoodoo) branched off of the branchline. Trackage totaled @ 24 miles. There were approximately 33 produce sheds (ACL and private) located along the branch/spur network. The railroad had a wharf/depot at Yonges Is. to handle the transfer of produce from boats/barges coming from the outlying sea islands.
The branch and spurs were constructed to handle produce (primarily potatoes and cabbage). The Meggetts/Yonges Is. area was once called the cabbage capital of the world. Potatoes were shipped to the northeast, new england, and the midwest. Cabbage in the form of young plants/cabbage heads were shipped out to all parts of the country for replanting/consumption. To give an idea of the volume of produce generated, railroad telegraphs indicate that the branch generated approximately 2100 cars of potatoes over a three week period in June 1940 potato rush. Newspaper reports from the 20s indicate 6000+ carloads of produce per season were commonplace at that time.
During the height of the produce rush "Meggett switchers" constantly shuttled cuts of empty reefers from Bennett Yard in Chaleston to the branch for loading. Once loaded Copperheads would move cuts of cars back to the mainline for pickup. Due to the grade out coming out of Mellechamp Creek at Ravenel, the loaded cut of cars usually required a second Copperhead helper shoving on the rear. This way more info than you asked for but hope it helps.
-- Buddy Hill (palmettoLTD@hotmail.com), October 14, 2003.
Looking at this part of coastal S.C., another question comes to mind. A map shows a one-time ACL branch going south about 4 miles from Ravenel on the ACL main to Meggett(s). (Junction w/SAL) At this point, the branch separates into 3 'prongs'...left prong to Goshen...middle to Yonges I. and right prong to Gannon. All 3 localities appear to be on water connected to the Atlantic Ocean. Why were these 3 'prongs' built....to haul produce?...rail/marine commerce?
-- Greg Hodges (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 13, 2003.
Tom, in response to your question about Southern's Bluffton Branch, I grew up in teh area and have doe a lot of research there and have never heard, or seen evidence of, a Southern brach to Bluffton. You're right that SR did extend all the way to Hardeeville (SR used trackage rights on ACL to get into Sav'h before they purchase CofGA), but I've never heard anything about a branch into the marshes there. Unless it was for lumber, or something other merchandise that disappeared in the 20s or 30s, I can't imagine why they'd build a spur into the piney woods.
Have you checked Fetters "Logging RRs or South Carolina" or with the SR HS?
John Golden O'Fallon, IL
-- John Golden (Golden1014@yahoo.com), October 13, 2003.
Dick, Good to know Pritchard still stands. Believe there is part of a shed standing at Lobeco though if I recall correctly, it has been covered with metal siding. No depot/shed remains at Dale though the right of way is used as a road. A portion of the deck plate girder bridge over the Wimbee(?) River still stands and is used as a fishing pier. If you look at one of the concrete piers on the downstream side you can see where one of the B&B gang carved his initials into the cement back in 1936. Wiggins - tool shed still stands. Barrelville SC - produce shed still stands. Remains of the barrel factory and water tank footings are located approximately 0.5- 1 mile south. Meggetts - nothing remains. Stono SC - several produce sheds and section masters house. Produce shed at Wappoo Rd/Hwy 17 intersection. Hope this helps for your next trip.
-- Buddy Hill (palmettoLTD@hotmail.com), October 13, 2003.
On 10/11/03, I drove north on US17 from Savannah. I passed SC170 and went over an overpass over an abandoned RR right of way. I went back to SC170 and went east. I went over another abandoned RR right of way. Just before that overpass was the old Pritchardville SAL depot. It still stands but has a mattress in the waiting room. All the windows are gone. Pritchardville no longer exist but two years ago, Bluffton annexed all that area into their township. I believe the old SAC EC right of way runs through what is now called Sun City. I could not find Jasper. I did find the right of way in Lobeco and the bridge over the marshland or Husna Creek. I might have passed through Dale but decided not to stop and ask. Time ran out before I could find Meggett.
-- Dick Kearns (email@example.com), October 12, 2003.
Dick - Can you tell us WHY you are asking this quesion? I say this because early this year, while researching Southern Ry stations in South Carolina, I came across a mention of a SR "Bluffton Branch", in SC, that was listed as being FIVE MILES long. The only Bluffton I could find was the one north of Savannah, which is about 15 miles from Hardeeville, the closest station on the SR. Since no junction station was listed, I couldn't relate the SR "branch" to the rest of the SR system. I came to believe that the SR's Bluffton was probably in the NW part of the State, and that the town's name was changed, either by the post office or the SR. But, I still don't know exactly where the "other Bluffton" was. Would probably require a search at the State Library, something I'm no loger able to do.
-- Tom Underwood (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 25, 2003.
To my knowledge, none of the major southeastern railroads had trackage into Bluffton SC. The closest railroad station was Pritchard SC on the SAL's EC line located some miles to the west of Bluffton. The ACL's mainline was located to the west of the EC line- Hardeeville SC being the closest station on that line. The C&WC's line into Beaufort-Port Royal was located several miles to the north.
The SAL Pritchard depot was still standing as of 1999 but was in horrible shape - severely rotted, full of bats, and leaning to the north - wouldn't be suprised if it has collapsed by now. Not aware of any existing ACL/C&WC stations at the two locations referenced above. Hope this helps.
-- buddy hill (palmettoLTD@hotmail.com), August 25, 2003.