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Carolina, Clinchfield, and Ohio Railway Engineering Department


The Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway was envisioned in the early nineteenth century as a transportation and commercial route from the Ohio Valley to Charleston, South Carolina, but the Appalachian mountain barrier made its completion a formidable task. General John Thomas Wilder organized interested capitalists and formed the Charleston, Cincinnati, and Chicago Railroad Company on September 30, 1886. It was incorporated by the state of Tennessee March 29, 1887. After completing track from Marion to Kingville, North Carolina and from Johnson City to Chestoa, Tennessee, the company suspended operations.

In 1894, Charles Hellier organized the Ohio River and Charleston Railway Company, which George L. Carter and associates purchased in July 1902, reorganizing it as the South and Western Railroad. Under Carter's direction, the railroad extended rapidly. In 1905, John B. Dennis and his associates, James A. Blair and Thomas Ryan, took over operation of the railroad as the Clinchfield. By 1908, when the company became the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway (CC&OR), the rail line stretched from Dante, Virginia to Spartanburg, South Carolina. General offices were in Johnson City, Tennessee. CC&OR then leased in July 1915, Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway of South Carolina (chartered in 1909) and Clinchfield Northern of Kentucky (incorporated in October, 1911). The Black Mountain Railroad was leased in April 1916.

In 1923, CC&OR stockholders approved its 99-year lease to Louisville and Nashville Railroad and Atlantic Coastline, whose officers wanted another outlet from the Virginia and Kentucky coalfields. After an Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) hearing, the lease was authorized, and in 1926, the Clinchfield Railroad was formed from the three companies to operate the leased properties. In 1962, Clinchfield Railroad completed the Spartanburg, South Carolina tunnel, an engineering feat designed by J. M. Salmon, Jr. The tunnel joins Clinchfield with the Atlantic Coastline and the Piedmont and Northern Railroads, completing the originally envisioned rail route from the Ohio Valley over the mountains to the Atlantic seaboard.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Carolina, Clinchfield, and Ohio Railway, Engineering Department Collection

 Collection — other: Box 1
Identifier: AppMs-047
Arrangement The collection is organized into five series: Series 1, Office Records of the Engineering Department, 1908-1967; Series 2, Publications, 1909-1968; Series 3, Correspondence, 1909-1978; Series 4, Speeches, 1962-1964; and Series 5, Minutes of the ICC Hearing on Valuation of the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway, October 28, 1926.
Dates: 1908-1978