Central Division General Comments

Discussion in 'General' started by frederick, May 19, 2001.

  1. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    This portion of a mine map shows the track layout at the Great Western (Pendigrass) Mine at Bonanza. The mine extended underground from the wye at Bonanza almost to the base of Backbone Mountain (where the Frisco tunnel is located). The mine was about half and half in Arkansas and Oklahoma thus the sales pitch Arkansas-Oklahoma Coal.

    Attached Files:

  2. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend over 4 hours discussing the history of Sebastian County, Arkansas with one of the last men remaining who was deeply involved in the coal industry there. Lyndell Biazo is a lifelong, avid history buff and in addition spent most of his life involved in the coal and rail industries there. He operated one of the last, large underground mines. He is a walking fountain of information. We discussed the tunnel at Jenson in some detail and he related what he had been told about its early construction and operation. Some of the following points have been mentioned in earlier discussions here on Frisco.org.

    1. Just like on Boston Mountain at Winslow, the railroad originally crossed the Backbone Mountain using switchbacks. The roadbeds are still there and can be distinguished on satellite images. This was done with several long sections rather than a series of shorter ones. The majority of this took place to the west of the tunnel (Oklahoma side).

    2. I was told that it was widely believed that coal from Hackett was being shipped (in some unspecified amount) over the mountain before the tunnel was even completed. Perhaps this was primarily for the benefit of the construction on the north side?

    3. I was told that it was widely held that convict labor was used for the "grunt" labor at the tunnel construction site. The version that he had heard was that the convicts came from the McAlester area.


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