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Helm, Robert A.



Robert A. Helm lives in Jonesborough, Tenn., and is a doctor in Greeneville, Tenn. He has had an interest in and done research on the historical development of the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway (Clinchfield) for a number of years. This research culminated in the publication of his book The Clinchfield Railroad in the Coal Fields (Lynchburg, Va.: TLC Publishing, Inc., 2004).

The Clinchfield railroad connected the coal fields of southwest Virginia and eastern Kentucky to reach the Atlantic ports of the North and South Carolina coasts and helped open southern Appalachia to economic development. George L. Carter began development of the line in 1902 as the South & Western Railway. After securing the support of outside investors, the line was reincorporated in 1908 as the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway. In 1909, the route was completed connecting Dante, Va., with Spartanburg, S. C., with Johnson City, Tenn., serving as company headquarters. The final portion of the railroad from Dante to Elkhorn City, Ky., was completed in 1915. This then provided transportation access from the Ohio River to the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to the rail line, Clinchfield controlled and operated extensive mining operations in southwest Virginia. In 1924, the railroad property was leased to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. In 1983, the Clinchfield merged into the CSX Corporation.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Robert A. Helm Collection

Identifier: AppMs-0612
Scope and Contents The Robert A. Helm Collection consists of papers documenting railroad and coal operations, primarily those of the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway, in Southwest Virginia in the mid to late 20th century. The papers were collected by Robert A. Helm over a number of years while researching his book The Clinchfield Railroad in the Coal Fields. Most of the company records were originally maintained at Clinchfield offices at Dante and St. Paul, Va. The collection includes company...
Dates: 1946 - 1986