Salem Branch, Rolla-Lebanon Sub

Discussion in 'Salem Branch' started by rogerrt477, Feb 17, 2002.

  1. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Thanks Karl for the date on the Lead Line, as I said, I didn't pay too much attention to history back then. Several guys talked about the lead line, 67 thats not nearly as old a line as I had thought.
  2. I would like information on prior names of East End on the S&E-RR's.
    There were two spellings; Rulon & Roulon. Which was correct?
    Web-searches have not found the meaning of those words of Rulon & Roulon;....
    ( One possibility was something like "come and let's talk" ).
    Likely French, but could be Dutch or German.
    Nor found any of the early history's of pioneer small hamlet s.
    Western Iron County was not much in the early years, nor were they important.
    Like Dent County, records were not or lost of earliest founding within those counties.
    Dent Counties first court house was burned loosing most all records of histories,..
    ( burnt by so called Confederates ).

    Any info about Rulon or Roulon?
  3. From web-searches;

    S&E-RR passage from Dillard to Viburnum 1912 was called Iron County Central RR
    ( investors of ICC-RR likely paid for the extension of those ~6 miles, that included
    it's small ridge rail-yard in what is now Viburnum. Also including a short siding to the west
    on the first western ridge just onward from Dillard.
    Next was the northern looping around the to-steepness leaving and returning to what is now
    hwy 49E. Half way through the looping there likely was a siding northward along the slightly
    lowering ridge line (maps show that as the same types of dashed lines). Both sidings could be
    pasting tracts and/or for parking of rail cars during the construction period and later.

    I understand that the S&E had to pay for the lease to be the only user of that 1912 expansion.
    Those investors names I could not find, but there was a formed association; ....
    likely western Iron County property owners and even perhaps Sligo Furnace Company
    executives. On historical plat books it shows just a few family names as owning most
    of the massive tracks of forested lands within western Iron County. Those may of had
    been a part of the association. There were not many other citizens.

    From Viburnum the S&E next expansion south (to what now is Bixby and then eastward
    to East End) could have been delayed and not yet needed as timber was cut along
    the ICC-RR's locations. Info. found said ICC-RR was just on financial papers
    ( had no physicals, no rolling stock s or equipment ).

    The still visible old ROW in Viburnum could have been part of the ICC's small rail-yard
    there on the constant elevation ridge-line, with the trough tracks being along what is
    now hwy 49S. Since in those earlier times, cut & fillings were to hard of labor,
    (& without modern construction methods), were to costly and would have cause delays.
    Also meaning without cut & filling, following south and east (what is now hwy 49S & 49E )
    likely tried to keep a nearly constant elevation. Like many RR construction in early times,
    a so called rocky road would of had been easily constructed directly next to the new tracks
    for the same reasons and not taking out tree stumps farther outward from the new ROW.
    Looking on hwy maps, the hwy 45S&E has the gentile railway types of curves
    and no sharp turns.
    The 1960's construction of the Lead-line was modern straight as possible and
    easy to do modern cuts & fillings. Of course in the 1960's the existing town
    was already along the hwy. 49.
  4. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    "Roulons," en français, translates to "let's roll." I do not know how that might relate to a place name, except maybe the founders got there, had some coffee and resolved to carry on.
  5. --------------------------------
    Thanks for the translation.
    Well may be the guys that were there just sat there and saw others come and go, those not liking it ?
    When a few more decided to stay, they had to name it since it was becoming a hamlet. ??

    Since the ridge area there was so small there was not much space for a small rail yard.
    If more area was needed, perhaps the S&E-RR moved into the hollow there going northward.
    Somewhere they had to load up a string of flat cars, move those around and to turn the locomotive around.
    Even historical topo maps do not show yards and sidings. They even have less details.

    The history says that the Sligo Furnace Company built a store there. And the small building
    just west on 32 was a school after it was renamed to East End. So something was in the hollow
    to the north. Although being narrow, the hollow continues northward more
    as the elevation drops slightly there is more space to inhabit.
    I guess it makes some sense that the S&E would not like to transport all those lumberjacks every day from & to Sligo. Have those live there near the east end of line.
    I still do not understand how they got water. Should not be any
    shallow water table there, until modern drilling equipment became available.
    The road was constructed as hwy. 32 in ~ 1929 (the year when the S&E stopped operating).
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023 at 8:54 AM
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  6. jdstotler

    jdstotler Member

    Here’s an article from The Salem Post in 1937, discussing the history of the Salem Branch and some of its spurs. Very good read!

    Attached Files:

  7. Hello JD Stotler,

    Someone said you were surfing around on and was
    happy that you called us Rock Stars. You have started posting
    some great stuff about the Salem Branch.
    JD, you are our newest SALEM-BRANCH-ROCK-STAR.
    You are what we been looking for a long time !
    Keep nailing it !

    Here is our St.Louis, Salem & Little Rock Team

    - Pat Moreland from Wesco is the first SALEM-BRANCH-ROCK-STAR.
    He is a MODOT railway inspector & the upper MERAMEC-RIVER-RAT. We are
    hoping that Pat can document all the train wrecks on Salem Branch.

    - Jesse Henry and Robert Thomas are our LEAD-LINE-ROCK-STARS.

    - Jesse Henry is from near MP 167.6 Stoutland, first called the Switch in 1870.
    He is from MP 163.8 Garnsey, a ghost rail yard; likely started when the line came
    through. It is the widest spot along there. A spot to have a water tank, ties and
    costruction equipment. Built by the South Pacific Railroad of Missouri.
    The SP of Mo existed 1868 to 1873. (1873 is another story).
    Back on the tracks; Jesse is the Chairman of the Board
    at MP 163.8 & Garnsey.
    He collects real Frisco signals. Jesse Henry

    - Robert does everything. He has 1000 Lead Line pictures.
    He knows every mile post and the date each was constructed. rjthomas909.

    - Ken Wulfert is our DILLARD-DEPOT-&-DILLARD's-MILL-ROCK-STAR.
    He knows every type of Frisco railcar and locomotive. Ken collects all types
    of Missouri
    Chiggars. Hates them! meteor910

    - I specialize in about 25% of the Furnace Company's history, 3 of 7 Sligo & Eastern
    locomotives. Those 3 were Shay s. I researched much of the Sligo & Eastern Railroad
    and their 3 Shays. Never to know about the other 4. I hope I know about every foot of
    the S & E's main line. Their wyes, rail yards, spurs and passing tracks are in my dreams.

    JD, we are glad to have you !

    Charlie Petit. mountaincreekar
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023 at 8:00 AM
    qaprr and Ozarktraveler like this.
  8. jdstotler

    jdstotler Member

    Wow, Charlie, thank you!

    I am a board member for Missouri Preservation, and have worked in interpretation in our state’s beautiful parks since I was 16. I have a deep love for history, and my parents raised me on this stuff! My mom has a hand-drawn map of the some of the Salem branches that she traced when I was still a toddler.

    I’m compiling my research into my Google MyMaps file (which I will link below). This winter, my dad and I have been securing permission from property owners to physically walk as much of the Salem Branch as possible. We have already covered many fantastic miles, with more lined up to go.

    The information on this website has given me such a boost in my search for information. You guys are rock stars! I plan to continue posting information as I learn, so maybe someone like me will come along as learn from it in 15 years, just as I’ve been doing with all the posts on here back to when I was two years old!

    If anyone has questions regarding the Salem Branch that would best be answered by someone getting eyes on it, I am more than happy to do so. I currently live in Salem, as does my family. Happy to learn together!

    My Google MyMaps, with information and pictures from these forums as well as other sources:,-91.40595545000001&z=9&mibextid=Zxz2cZ
  9. jdstotler

    jdstotler Member

    Adventures on the Salem Branch and its various tributaries continued on this beautiful Sunday. We hiked many miles of old railroad bed, and explored several iron banks along the way.

    Today we explored:
    •St. Louis, Salem, and Little Rock Railroad
    •Dent-Phelps Railroad
    •Plank Bank Railroad
    •Smith Bank Railroad
    •Sligo & Eastern Railroad
    •Salem & Southeastern Railroad

    I have lots of new information to share, and I will do so over the next few days. We already have secured permission with several more property owners to do even more exploring over the next month.

    There is one thing I can’t wait to share, and it’s this:


    My goal is to find a spike for each branch and spur of the Salem Branch. It may have taken a few hours of hiking through thick cedar trees, but today I took my first spike home to add to the collection. This spike was found on this Plank Bank Branch, which was a 5 1/2 mile branch from the main Salem line. The switch was located at Howes Station, later known as Gano. The railroad was removed in the late 1800s, but the switch remained as a siding until the 1960s. The spike will be tagged with a plastic tag, and hopefully more will soon join the collection.

    While on our adventure, we got to explore the actual Plank Iron Bank, and the ruins of the company town that sprouted up around it. It was a MASSIVE iron mine. It was cool to see where the earth had been moved to make loading the train easier. From the iron bank, we followed the railroad bed several miles into the woods. This was the first of several adventures today, and I couldn’t wait to share my find!
  10. jdstotler

    jdstotler Member

    Okay folks, I’ve spent the last few hours updating my Google Maps project. After doing some hiking and researching the last few months, I made some changes on the map.

    The new additions:
    *each title is color-coded with the line’s color in the map*

    -Plank Bank Spur- I’ve gotten the opportunity to hike a large chunk of the Plank Bank Spur. There are obvious remnants of the railroad bed cutting through the hills of northern Dent County. The railroad actually backed up to the rim of Plank Iron Bank, a very large iron mine. We got to explore the mine and the remains of the town of Plank Bank. I added the line to the map because I am now confident of its route.

    -Stephens-Woodside Spur- I did not believe this line existed for the first several months of research. I had heard of it, but could not find any documentation that it existed. A fellow historian was able to provide documentation of its route south of Salem, and I went to see it myself and it’s certainly there. The railroad bed is undeniable across the field. Stephens-Woodside Iron Mine was at the terminus of this railroad bed. I added the line to the map, because you can’t deny physical evidence.

    -Salem Interchange- This one has been fun to research. In 1907, Salem had a dead-end railroad for 34 years. There had been multiple promises of the through railroad to Little Rock, AR being built, but promises were always broken. The iron industry in the area was dying, so Salem lost a lot of their income. In 1907, promises began being made from 2 different directions. The Salem, Winona, & Southern Railroad once again promised to bring Salemites to Little Rock, AR. Their lumber line was proposed to be extended along the upper Current River to Cedar Grove, and then head north towards Salem. South of Salem, the railroad would utilize the bed for the former Jamison Branch Railroad, where it would connect to the Salem Branch from the south. This promise was backed by capital from the booming lumber industry at the time, and seemed promising to Salemites. At the same time, another lumber railroad, the Missouri Southern Railroad, ran a massive campaign to push the railroad through to Salem within a year. For months, newspapers were abuzz with the promises of the Frisco to connect the railroad to Salem from the southeast. The railroad hired 120 teams, and started pushing the railroad east. The town of Salem was thrilled at the opportunity to become a railroad hub for 2 new railroads. The Missouri Southern Railroad was proposed to traverse 7 1/2 miles of the old Salem & Southeastern Railroad bed that had been abandoned 20 years prior. The new railroad would run south of Salem, and continue towards Houston, Mo. This posed an issue to Salem, as their depot was much further north than where the new railroad would run through town. They didn’t want to have a separate depot for the new railroad, but they didn’t want to be passed up by passenger and freight service. Men from Salem came up with a solution, and gathered volunteers. Together, they built an interchange that would send the Missouri Southern north to the depot, and then turn the train around at the existing roundhouse north of town. Then, train comes back through the depot, loads freight/passengers, and exits town south, where the same interchange sends the railroad southwest to Houston, Mo. But there’s more. The middle prong of this interchange is the old Jamison Branch Railroad, which is going to be utilized for the Salem, Winona, & Southern Railroad that was rapidly approaching from the south. This railroad will finally provide the through connection to the south promised to Salem for the last 34 years. This interchange was strategically built to cross both of these new routes while ensuring everyone has no choice but to go through the depot (there was not an option to go straight on the Missouri Southern, meaning no train could bypass Salem), and Salem doesn’t get left out of service. So the volunteers built the large interchange, and built a new railroad bed from a point on the old Salem & Southeastern in preparation for the new railroad. They even built a few hundred yards of new railroad bed southwest towards Houston, so the railroad could continue onward. Unfortunately for Salem, promises are broken. Neither railroad make it close to Salem, and the interchange is never used. It is visible in historic aerials until the late 1950s, when the area was developed for housing and the interchange was lost to history. (One of those houses being my dad’s childhood home.) The Missouri Southern Railroad terminated at Bunker, Missouri, and the Salem, Winona, & Southern Railroad stops abruptly in a field near the cave at Round Spring in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. A few narrow gauge trams made it further upriver, but the main line was abandoned in the field. Some locals in Salem still blame broken railroad promises for Salem’s inability to prosper.

    -Alternative Sligo Route- This is a controversial one. I’ve been spending time in the area looking around Sligo in person, and I truly believe there were 2 separate railroad routes into the furnace complex. The commonly accepted route, the northern route, is undeniable. It is still intact with many clay culverts in good shape. The route is truly impressive to see in person. Now, for me to make an argument. From Hwy 19, there is a clear second railroad crossing. The western side of this crossing is utilized by a driveway (with a deep cut at the beginning, not common of a driveway), and the eastern side is a clear and well built bed descending the hill. The slope is steep, but the physical evidence is undeniable. This route is also visible coming down the hill into the furnace complex from the gravel road in Sligo, though it is grown up. Because of the physical evidence, I am including both routes on my map. When I’ve found evidence disproving this route, I will remove it.

    -Benton Creek Spur- The Benton Creek ‘wye’ has been a topic of discussion on the forum before. I gained a lot of information from that discussion, and it has led me to the conclusion that this railroad is undeniable. From the newspaper clippings mentioning the ‘Benton Creek Switch’, to the LiDAR evidence in the forum, I think it’s safe to say that there was a railroad here. I’ve added it to the map.

    -Smith Bank Spur- This one has thrown me for a loop. I have seen very, very little mention of it, but just enough mention of it to know it’s real. You know the feeling? That, and the fact that the railroad’s crossing on Hwy 68 is very clear, led me to include it on the map. There is enough physical evidence of this railroad to feel certain that it existed. I just wish I could find more documentation of it!

    -Salem & Southeastern- The Salem & Southeastern is my family’s favorite. My mom has been researching it since the early 2000s. This winter, we got the opportunity to walk a large portion of the old R.O.W. and I wish I could explain its beauty properly. We were fortunate enough to get to explore the railroad’s crossing at Dry Valley Creek, where we were shocked to find a gap of almost 600’ between the beds on each side of the valley. That means a 600’ long and 50’ tall wooden trestle would have carried thousands of tons of iron ore across this beautiful valley. How I wish there was a picture. We have now confidently tracked this route from end-to-end, and are certain it is correct. It’s on the map!

    -Lead Line vs S&E- This one may also be controversial. On this site, it is commonly said that the Lead Line adopted the former Sligo & Eastern Railroad from Viburnum to Bixby. I disagree. Historic aerials maps show no R.O.W. where the Lead Line is located today. However, the aerials do show some shortened curves along Hwy 49. This leads me to believe that Hwy 49 utilized the old Sligo & Eastern railroad from Viburnum to Bixby, the same as it did from Dillard to Viburnum. I do not believe that any part of the Lead Line was built on the Sligo & Eastern Railroad bed, aside from the point that they cross in Viburnum. From Dillard, to Bixby, to East End, the railroad bed is utilized by Hwy 49 and Hwy 32. This is evident in some of the curves that both highways shortened, where there is still remnant of the railroad bed. As always, I am open to being wrong! I just think the evidence suggests that the Lead Line did not utilize any part of the Sligo & Eastern Railroad bed. So, that’s how I added them to the map.

    Those are the important additions to the map! I am constantly researching and hiking through the woods on the chase, so the information will be updated as I learn more. Hope you guys enjoy, thanks for reading all that!

    Here is the link to my Google Map:
    mountaincreekar and Rob R like this.

  11. Great map Pensive. Thanks! It tells a lot about Salem Branch. It helps to date things. It has all the branches except Iron mine SW of Salem; & the Riverside Mine SSE [about 7 mles] from Salem.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023 at 8:40 AM
  12. Note 2) is wrong. In this area, 1912 costruction was done by following near constant elevations Vilburum to Bixby. Routes on ridgelines from Bixby to East End. They did not have abilities to
    do construction by Cuts and Fills. Nor the money to pay for such and nor the time if they could. The Lead-Line built by the Frisco in the very late 1960s in this area used cut and fill methods, as straight when possible for higher speeds and not interfering with highways.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023 at 8:37 AM
  13. mountaincreekar here
    From several references; Part of Plank Iron Bank had underground mining.
    Did you see any of it? If not, perhaps rising pit water may have covered that?
  14. jdstotler

    jdstotler Member

    There was still evidence of shafts at Plank Bank. They’ve unfortunately been filled with trash over the years.
    mountaincreekar likes this.
  15. A funny thing, a little sooner in France they were building a castle like fort, also on mountain top at a key intersection and named it Roulon.
    I can't see how that relates to Roulon [later East End], one never knows.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023 at 3:40 PM
  17. Note 2) Sligo owners [1880-1881]was not Edward Goltra. Goltra did purchase the Sligo Furnace in 1998.

    From the Missouri Historical Society library
    The Sligo Furnace Company was formed to exploity iron deposits in Crawford, Dent and Phelps counties, first noted by surveyor E. B. Sankey along the line of the St. Louis, Salem and Little Rock Railway. Sankey invited A. L. Crawford of New Castle, Pennsylvania, H. A. Crawford of St. Louis, Missouri; A. J. Crawford of Terre Haute, Indiana; J. P. Crawford of Missouri; and David Carson, former superintendent of the Maramec Iron Works in Phelps County, Missouri, to inspect the area’s prospects. within As a result, the Crawfords and Carson determined to build a furnace along Crooked Creek in Dent County, a site reach of the St. Louis, Salem & Little Rock Railway and close to plentiful deposits of iron ore, limestone for flux, and timber for charcoal-making. Consequently, the Crawfords and Carson incorporated the Sligo Furnace Company (a Missouri corporation) named after the Sligo forges near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania), capitalized at $30,000. H. A. Crawford of St. Louis was the major shareholder, with 150 shares; his brothers and David Carson held 120 shares. After the purchase of land in January 1880 for a furnace site, the company was recapitalized at $100,000. David Carson supervised construction and operation of the plant until his death. The company’s physical plant t
  18. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Supporter

    I have information on some accidents and mishaps. The most notable are the 1911 derailment on the Sligo branch that killed the conductor, and the 1930 head-on between the gas-electric and the double-header freight at Cook Station.

    Almost all of my research has been done through the Missouri Historical Newspaper Research Project, and I think there is more out there that I haven’t discovered yet. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned, and even though it’s available to the public, I would rather be contacted privately about them. Some of the details are a little sensitive and very tragic, even though they happened such a long time ago.

    My email is


    Pat Moreland
    Wesco, Missouri
    jdstotler likes this.

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