Map search for Zalma Branch

Discussion in 'St Louis Subdivision' started by Jim James, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Sorry, this is in the wrong section.My first post. I'm modeling the old Zalma branch(started at Brownwood, MO and was only about 8 miles long) circa 1920's and I'm trying to find a map that would show the only two sidings on the branch. There was one at Greenbrier and one at Zalma. I have a fairly good idea but I want to be as accurate as possible. Information is very tough to obtain on this branch line and I only have a few photos for reference. Zalma was known for its' cross tie production so it was fairly busy until the very late 20's. I believe it was abandoned in about 1934. I've canoed the Castor river and photographed the remaining railroad bridge pilings and hiked the cut west of Greenbrier but physical remains are vanishing too quickly. I'm building a sectional shelf railroad of the branch and I've completed several Westerfield fright car kits and modified a Bachmann 4-4-0 to replicate a train in a photo taken at Greenbrier. Humble beginnings.Thanks in advance for any help or leads.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2007
  2. billyboy_1

    billyboy_1 Member

    Sure would like to see the photos of the bridge pilings and anything else you have shot. Post them if you will. Thanks, Craig
  3. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Jim -
    Good to see another River Division modeler! Growing up in Chaffee, we had kin outside of Zalma from whom we'd buy a side of beef every year, and would pick it up at the Zalma Meat Locker.

    At any rate, it sounds like a great model. The Univ. of Missouri Library - alas - does not have any digitized Sanborn Maps for Zalma. It seems that they have just about every small town on microfiche, however. If I can get my lazy bones into there some weekend or on lunch break I can try to make some notes.

    I also have an uncle who works maintenance for the Little River Drainage District. I don't know if their office down at the H&H Building on Broadway would have maps of the area (if so I'm guessing it would be a rather broad view and not down to individual sidings).

    Another close option might be the Regional History Archives at Kent Library in Cape. They provided me with a lot of Cape info in the early 90s. The Center For Regional History and their director, Dr. Frank Nickell, might have some helpful information.

    I hope some of this might help. Can't wait to see plans or photos of the modeled Zalma Branch!
  4. You may have already searched this groups forums for "Zalma", "Brownwood", et al. Someone has posted a station list/mileage chart and a photo of the Brownwood depot:

    Also check out some of the system timetables posted in the Timetables folder of the Operations section. Brownwood and Zalma are in the very last section of the 1913 system passenger timetable that Timothy Cannon has posted.

    I'd also take a look at Official Guides from the period while the branch was operating. I have a reprint of a 1926 Official Guide that shows a schedule for the daily passenger train. I can send a scan if you're interested.

    For route location in relation to the local geography and towns, try If you search for Zalma, Mo., and zoom in far enough, both the topo map and the aerial photos show the route of the abandoned rail line, although there's no detail regarding siding and spur arrangements.

    For more intensive research, I'd suggest contacting the special collections department of Missouri State University at Springfield. They recently received a donation of many of the company documents at one time held by the now-defunct Frisco Museum. Last time I visited they were still trying to organize this collection of documents, but archivist Anne Baker was been very helpful in response to my queries. We were able to find some binders of track maintenance charts and paperwork relating to the ICC valuation inventory for the particular part of the Frisco I was researching at the time. May you be so fortunate!

    If you're particularly interested in the crosstie industry, you may want to get a copy of this DVD from the Missouri Department of Conservation:

    It has three short historical documentaries. The first is about the lumber mill at Grandin, which was on the Current River RR/Frisco. The second depicts the crosstie industry of the 1920s "from tree to track". Although the Frisco is not featured, it does include footage of hand-hewing of crossties, small sawmills operating deep in the woods, river drives of untreated ties to RR loading points, manual loading procedures for untreated ties, and the T.J.Moss tie treatment plant in St. Louis. The latter segment also includes footage of the plant's narrow-gauge plant railway.

    Bradley A. Scott

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