Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible


Rae Augenstein
 

Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 


Chris Ford
 

As much as I'd like to see this area remain our "hidden gem" that remains accessible to historically minded folks like us, we know that hidden gems eventually disappear due to encroaching development, mother nature, lack of funds and lack of initiative. We've been lucky that we've had any kind of access to this area considering all the highway bridge improvements and water main construction that has happened over the past 30 years that our folks have been visiting. I think that getting this area opened will keep it open whereas we would most likely never have had the where-with-all to do something like this. I feel this is probably the best we can hope for to keep this historic right-of-way accessible for years to come.

Thanks, Rae, for keeping us in the loop with "ET&WNC" news!



Chris

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 09:12:14 -0700, "Rae Augenstein" <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
 
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 


Ryan Rice
 

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.


On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 


Jonathan Pleasant
 

Chris, 

I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 




On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.

On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 


Mark Milbourne
 

I too have often thought it would be great to have that section for biking, and that the piers for the old covered deck truss be reused to support a biking bridge.   That would be a significant expense, but decay of the highway bridge might make that the better option.

 

Whatever the case, glad to see this recent action and the possibility to move forward!

 

Here at DRG, while we can never open our section entirely to the public, due to security concerns with campers and guests, we have kicked around the idea that if the Tweetsie Trail can reach this far (put back the little bridge over the Little Doe next!), then if we can restore the upper gorge ROW and our two bridges, we could offer bike shuttle service on special weekends, to RR grade road into Blevins, so the entire stretch to Roan Mountain could be done.

 

Mark

From: ETWNC@groups.io <ETWNC@groups.io> On Behalf Of Ryan Rice via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2021 12:52 PM
To: ETWNC@groups.io
Subject: Re: [ETWNC] Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.

 

On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:

Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 


Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 

wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/



Chris Ford
 

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer@...> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 


Jonathan Pleasant
 

I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?







On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer@...> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 


Chris Ford
 

Good eyes Jonathan! I've been over to that very parking lot before but was looking into the sun, so I never spotted that stonework down there. I never imagined that they would have left some of it when they did the bridgework. Here's what that scene looked like in 1990 while the work was going on....

http://www.cfordart.com/photoalbum/photopages/fullsizepages/1990junefullsize/10fullsize.html

It's a shame they took out that old arch highway bridge at the same time. It had been so convenient for train watching (until 1950 anyway) and was the same construction type as the highway bridge at tunnel 1. You know, there's still another one of those same arch highway bridges that exists on the north side of tunnel 1 just around the bend of the river on the east side of the ridge. Makes a nice little hiking excursion in the winter/spring to see it. The old highway going east from that remaining bridge tied in with the Laurel Fork Railway right-of-way for a short distance...you can still walk that right-of-way over there when the leaves are down. That whole area right there has a lot of history going on...not to mention the BBQ joint that overlooked the river. But that's a whole 'nother story....


Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 22:12:09 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer@...> wrote:
 
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?
 
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer@...> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 


Ryan Rice
 

This may be a dumb question and well known, but what is keeping them from using the old ETWNC ROW for the Tweetsie Trail between Valley Forge and Hampton? Why are they using the old highway ROW?
Is it because of property owners, or is the current 19E where some of the old railroad was?
How close is the old highway ROW to the ETWNC ROW?

On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?







On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 


Ryan Rice
 

I plan to get out there and take photos and drone photos to document that old highway bridge just north of tunnel 1. I've been out on the old bridge years ago. I've been meaning to go back for years. Now I have some added reasoning to do it before they mess with it for the Tweetsie Trail. I actually think a lot of the locals don't even know that old bridge is there. Honestly a lot of locals don't know tunnel 1 is right there beside the 4 lane 19E. You have to really be looking for it to see it. Obviously in the winter it is easier to see.


On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 7:06 PM Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:
Good eyes Jonathan! I've been over to that very parking lot before but was looking into the sun, so I never spotted that stonework down there. I never imagined that they would have left some of it when they did the bridgework. Here's what that scene looked like in 1990 while the work was going on....

http://www.cfordart.com/photoalbum/photopages/fullsizepages/1990junefullsize/10fullsize.html

It's a shame they took out that old arch highway bridge at the same time. It had been so convenient for train watching (until 1950 anyway) and was the same construction type as the highway bridge at tunnel 1. You know, there's still another one of those same arch highway bridges that exists on the north side of tunnel 1 just around the bend of the river on the east side of the ridge. Makes a nice little hiking excursion in the winter/spring to see it. The old highway going east from that remaining bridge tied in with the Laurel Fork Railway right-of-way for a short distance...you can still walk that right-of-way over there when the leaves are down. That whole area right there has a lot of history going on...not to mention the BBQ joint that overlooked the river. But that's a whole 'nother story....


Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 22:12:09 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?Inline image
 
Inline image
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 


Chris Ford
 

When they widened the highway and bridges on new 19E a LOT of the spoils where dumped over on the ET right-of-way, especially at the east end close to the deck bridge. The RR was between the old highway and the new highway and unfortunately was a little downhill from the new highway and was covered in the process. The old highway was lower than the RR and remained basically pristine.

Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 19:15:42 -0400, "Ryan Rice" <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:
 
This may be a dumb question and well known, but what is keeping them from using the old ETWNC ROW for the Tweetsie Trail between Valley Forge and Hampton? Why are they using the old highway ROW?
Is it because of property owners, or is the current 19E where some of the old railroad was?
How close is the old highway ROW to the ETWNC ROW?
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?Inline image
 
Inline image
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 


Jonathan Pleasant
 

There has been some talk among our parks and REC guys about using the old deck bridge abutments for a new pre fab steel bridge. One suggestion was even to look at a suspension bridge but I’m not sure that would go over too well with bikers




On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:34 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

When they widened the highway and bridges on new 19E a LOT of the spoils where dumped over on the ET right-of-way, especially at the east end close to the deck bridge. The RR was between the old highway and the new highway and unfortunately was a little downhill from the new highway and was covered in the process. The old highway was lower than the RR and remained basically pristine.

Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 19:15:42 -0400, "Ryan Rice" <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:
 
This may be a dumb question and well known, but what is keeping them from using the old ETWNC ROW for the Tweetsie Trail between Valley Forge and Hampton? Why are they using the old highway ROW?
Is it because of property owners, or is the current 19E where some of the old railroad was?
How close is the old highway ROW to the ETWNC ROW?
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?Inline image
 
Inline image
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 


Jonathan Pleasant
 

Inline image

Inline image

Inline image

Chris, 

Thought I would share some pics where our department is clearing up the old right of way through valley forge. We’ve found small pieces of coal, an old rotted tie or two, spikes, and lots of cranberry iron ballast. I didn’t realize how high up and narrow this section is! The land is county owned now and I’m going to try and talk to Mayor Woodby about the possibility of this being a short side trail when they open everything up. It’s beautiful




On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:57 PM, Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer@...> wrote:

There has been some talk among our parks and REC guys about using the old deck bridge abutments for a new pre fab steel bridge. One suggestion was even to look at a suspension bridge but I’m not sure that would go over too well with bikers




On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:34 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

When they widened the highway and bridges on new 19E a LOT of the spoils where dumped over on the ET right-of-way, especially at the east end close to the deck bridge. The RR was between the old highway and the new highway and unfortunately was a little downhill from the new highway and was covered in the process. The old highway was lower than the RR and remained basically pristine.

Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 19:15:42 -0400, "Ryan Rice" <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:
 
This may be a dumb question and well known, but what is keeping them from using the old ETWNC ROW for the Tweetsie Trail between Valley Forge and Hampton? Why are they using the old highway ROW?
Is it because of property owners, or is the current 19E where some of the old railroad was?
How close is the old highway ROW to the ETWNC ROW?
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?Inline image
 
Inline image
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 


Chris Ford
 

Thanks for sharing these photos Jonathan! It is indeed pretty up through there. I've been on the old highway ROW through there, but never on the RR ROW.

Truth be known, THIS should be the trail....has there been any talk about that aspect? Hope they can clear the old spoils from the highway and keep the ROW intact even if it's not the main trail.

I also hope that they are historically careful when they get to the old hillside water "tank" east of tunnel 1. I'd like to see that water feature preserved as a learning point when they get that far with it.

Thanks again for sharing photos of a section that most of us have never seen or walked on!




Chris

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Sat, 1 May 2021 20:35:25 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer@...> wrote:
 
Inline image
 
Inline image
 
Inline image
 
Chris, 
 
Thought I would share some pics where our department is clearing up the old right of way through valley forge. We’ve found small pieces of coal, an old rotted tie or two, spikes, and lots of cranberry iron ballast. I didn’t realize how high up and narrow this section is! The land is county owned now and I’m going to try and talk to Mayor Woodby about the possibility of this being a short side trail when they open everything up. It’s beautiful



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:57 PM, Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer@...> wrote:

There has been some talk among our parks and REC guys about using the old deck bridge abutments for a new pre fab steel bridge. One suggestion was even to look at a suspension bridge but I’m not sure that would go over too well with bikers



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:34 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

 
When they widened the highway and bridges on new 19E a LOT of the spoils where dumped over on the ET right-of-way, especially at the east end close to the deck bridge. The RR was between the old highway and the new highway and unfortunately was a little downhill from the new highway and was covered in the process. The old highway was lower than the RR and remained basically pristine.

Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 19:15:42 -0400, "Ryan Rice" <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:
 
This may be a dumb question and well known, but what is keeping them from using the old ETWNC ROW for the Tweetsie Trail between Valley Forge and Hampton? Why are they using the old highway ROW?
Is it because of property owners, or is the current 19E where some of the old railroad was?
How close is the old highway ROW to the ETWNC ROW?
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?Inline image
 
Inline image
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 


Ryan Rice
 

I went to the old highway bridge and tunnel #1 today. I took photos and drone photos. I'll try to send some once I edit them all.


On Sat, May 1, 2021 at 4:37 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Inline image

Inline image

Inline image

Chris, 

Thought I would share some pics where our department is clearing up the old right of way through valley forge. We’ve found small pieces of coal, an old rotted tie or two, spikes, and lots of cranberry iron ballast. I didn’t realize how high up and narrow this section is! The land is county owned now and I’m going to try and talk to Mayor Woodby about the possibility of this being a short side trail when they open everything up. It’s beautiful




On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:57 PM, Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

There has been some talk among our parks and REC guys about using the old deck bridge abutments for a new pre fab steel bridge. One suggestion was even to look at a suspension bridge but I’m not sure that would go over too well with bikers




On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:34 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

When they widened the highway and bridges on new 19E a LOT of the spoils where dumped over on the ET right-of-way, especially at the east end close to the deck bridge. The RR was between the old highway and the new highway and unfortunately was a little downhill from the new highway and was covered in the process. The old highway was lower than the RR and remained basically pristine.

Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 19:15:42 -0400, "Ryan Rice" <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:
 
This may be a dumb question and well known, but what is keeping them from using the old ETWNC ROW for the Tweetsie Trail between Valley Forge and Hampton? Why are they using the old highway ROW?
Is it because of property owners, or is the current 19E where some of the old railroad was?
How close is the old highway ROW to the ETWNC ROW?
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?Inline image
 
Inline image
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 


Rae Augenstein
 

Is this the railroad right of way or the old highway right of way? 

I've always wanted to explore the old old highway on the other side of the road from the tunnel.

Rae Augenstein
–Johnson City


On Sat, May 1, 2021, 4:37 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:



Chris, 

Thought I would share some pics where our department is clearing up the old right of way through valley forge. We’ve found small pieces of coal, an old rotted tie or two, spikes, and lots of cranberry iron ballast. I didn’t realize how high up and narrow this section is! The land is county owned now and I’m going to try and talk to Mayor Woodby about the possibility of this being a short side trail when they open everything up. It’s beautiful




On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:57 PM, Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

There has been some talk among our parks and REC guys about using the old deck bridge abutments for a new pre fab steel bridge. One suggestion was even to look at a suspension bridge but I’m not sure that would go over too well with bikers




On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:34 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

When they widened the highway and bridges on new 19E a LOT of the spoils where dumped over on the ET right-of-way, especially at the east end close to the deck bridge. The RR was between the old highway and the new highway and unfortunately was a little downhill from the new highway and was covered in the process. The old highway was lower than the RR and remained basically pristine.

Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 19:15:42 -0400, "Ryan Rice" <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:
 
This may be a dumb question and well known, but what is keeping them from using the old ETWNC ROW for the Tweetsie Trail between Valley Forge and Hampton? Why are they using the old highway ROW?
Is it because of property owners, or is the current 19E where some of the old railroad was?
How close is the old highway ROW to the ETWNC ROW?
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?
 
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 


--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 


Lee Bishop
 

Jonathan, any chances of letting one of those spikes go? I'd really love to have one to display in my layout room...
--
Lee Bishop
Stoney Creek branch of the ET&WNC in On30


Jonathan Pleasant
 


Inline image

Inline image

We’ve found not found 3 so far and they are all
Claimed but I’m sure there are more. I’ll keep my eye out




On Saturday, May 1, 2021, 9:45 PM, Lee Bishop <leebishop1944@...> wrote:

Jonathan, any chances of letting one of those spikes go? I'd really love to have one to display in my layout room...
--
Lee Bishop
Stoney Creek branch of the ET&WNC in On30


Chris Ford
 

Rae,

I got the idea that the photos were of the RR ROW. It was the first thing down the hill from present day 19E and the highway was significantly lower than the RR, but maybe Jonathan will clarify that for us.

The abandoned 19E on the north side of present day 19E is actually an interesting spot, however, I believe they used a good bit of the old highway bed as a staging area when they made the original cut for the present 19E and the area largely messed up with spoils. But, if you could follow old 19E around the point of that ridge it is actually still there along with the other abandoned highway bridge and then ties in to the old Laurel Fork ROW as you go east.

There's also an old restaurant/BBQ place on that east side of the ridge that was accessed from present day 19E (there's some old postcards showing the newly opened "new" bridges and you can see the BBQ sign). There's a foundation for the place and a small parking lot and a railing that overlooks the river...the place was really stuck up in there. I think it was called "Hi-Cliff BBQ"...I'm sure locals could tell us more about it. Interesting since it would have been there when the ET was still running. Who can give us more info? I also believe that it was accessed from the abandoned 19E until they put in the new bridges at which time the put in an access from the newly opened present day 19E. Would have been around 1940 as I believe that's when 19E was moved/improved there with the bridges.

I've included a PDF attachment of a newspaper article that includes a couple of interesting photos of the area. The story about the area is very interesting. I'm also including a map of the area from an old Stemwinder that I did back in 1992, before I added the Laurel Fork to it. It's from about 30 years ago so it's not up to my present standards, but it'll give you the locations of what we're talking about.

Enjoy, and I hope this discussion brings on additional discussions!




Chris

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Sat, 1 May 2021 19:26:56 -0400, "Rae Augenstein" <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
 
Is this the railroad right of way or the old highway right of way? 
 
I've always wanted to explore the old old highway on the other side of the road from the tunnel.
 
Rae Augenstein
–Johnson City
 
On Sat, May 1, 2021, 4:37 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chris, 
 
Thought I would share some pics where our department is clearing up the old right of way through valley forge. We’ve found small pieces of coal, an old rotted tie or two, spikes, and lots of cranberry iron ballast. I didn’t realize how high up and narrow this section is! The land is county owned now and I’m going to try and talk to Mayor Woodby about the possibility of this being a short side trail when they open everything up. It’s beautiful



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:57 PM, Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

There has been some talk among our parks and REC guys about using the old deck bridge abutments for a new pre fab steel bridge. One suggestion was even to look at a suspension bridge but I’m not sure that would go over too well with bikers



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:34 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

 
When they widened the highway and bridges on new 19E a LOT of the spoils where dumped over on the ET right-of-way, especially at the east end close to the deck bridge. The RR was between the old highway and the new highway and unfortunately was a little downhill from the new highway and was covered in the process. The old highway was lower than the RR and remained basically pristine.

Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 19:15:42 -0400, "Ryan Rice" <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:
 
This may be a dumb question and well known, but what is keeping them from using the old ETWNC ROW for the Tweetsie Trail between Valley Forge and Hampton? Why are they using the old highway ROW?
Is it because of property owners, or is the current 19E where some of the old railroad was?
How close is the old highway ROW to the ETWNC ROW?
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?
 
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 


--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 


Jonathan Pleasant
 

Rae, 

Chris is correct, the pictures I posted are on the railroad right of way. We had to cut an access road up the hill from the old 19e to gain access because of the fill on the Hampton end. The railroad right of way is only intact for about half the distance between millpond rd and tunnel #1. When they did all the work in 1990 they even re routed our 12” water main up to run alongside the new road from that part.




On Saturday, May 1, 2021, 10:23 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Rae,

I got the idea that the photos were of the RR ROW. It was the first thing down the hill from present day 19E and the highway was significantly lower than the RR, but maybe Jonathan will clarify that for us.

The abandoned 19E on the north side of present day 19E is actually an interesting spot, however, I believe they used a good bit of the old highway bed as a staging area when they made the original cut for the present 19E and the area largely messed up with spoils. But, if you could follow old 19E around the point of that ridge it is actually still there along with the other abandoned highway bridge and then ties in to the old Laurel Fork ROW as you go east.

There's also an old restaurant/BBQ place on that east side of the ridge that was accessed from present day 19E (there's some old postcards showing the newly opened "new" bridges and you can see the BBQ sign). There's a foundation for the place and a small parking lot and a railing that overlooks the river...the place was really stuck up in there. I think it was called "Hi-Cliff BBQ"...I'm sure locals could tell us more about it. Interesting since it would have been there when the ET was still running. Who can give us more info? I also believe that it was accessed from the abandoned 19E until they put in the new bridges at which time the put in an access from the newly opened present day 19E. Would have been around 1940 as I believe that's when 19E was moved/improved there with the bridges.

I've included a PDF attachment of a newspaper article that includes a couple of interesting photos of the area. The story about the area is very interesting. I'm also including a map of the area from an old Stemwinder that I did back in 1992, before I added the Laurel Fork to it. It's from about 30 years ago so it's not up to my present standards, but it'll give you the locations of what we're talking about.

Enjoy, and I hope this discussion brings on additional discussions!




Chris

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Sat, 1 May 2021 19:26:56 -0400, "Rae Augenstein" <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
 
Is this the railroad right of way or the old highway right of way? 
 
I've always wanted to explore the old old highway on the other side of the road from the tunnel.
 
Rae Augenstein
–Johnson City
 
On Sat, May 1, 2021, 4:37 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chris, 
 
Thought I would share some pics where our department is clearing up the old right of way through valley forge. We’ve found small pieces of coal, an old rotted tie or two, spikes, and lots of cranberry iron ballast. I didn’t realize how high up and narrow this section is! The land is county owned now and I’m going to try and talk to Mayor Woodby about the possibility of this being a short side trail when they open everything up. It’s beautiful



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:57 PM, Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

There has been some talk among our parks and REC guys about using the old deck bridge abutments for a new pre fab steel bridge. One suggestion was even to look at a suspension bridge but I’m not sure that would go over too well with bikers



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:34 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

 
When they widened the highway and bridges on new 19E a LOT of the spoils where dumped over on the ET right-of-way, especially at the east end close to the deck bridge. The RR was between the old highway and the new highway and unfortunately was a little downhill from the new highway and was covered in the process. The old highway was lower than the RR and remained basically pristine.

Chris
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 19:15:42 -0400, "Ryan Rice" <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:
 
This may be a dumb question and well known, but what is keeping them from using the old ETWNC ROW for the Tweetsie Trail between Valley Forge and Hampton? Why are they using the old highway ROW?
Is it because of property owners, or is the current 19E where some of the old railroad was?
How close is the old highway ROW to the ETWNC ROW?
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I love it when my job overlaps with my Railroad obsession lol. By the way, when we cleared out  the brush at the other valley forge bridge near the church I got a big surprise. Did you know some of the stonework from the et abutments actually survived the early 90s road widening?Inline image
 
Inline image
 




 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:31 PM, Chris Ford <chris@...> wrote:

Good to know that the old water main from Hampton to Elizabethton will help in the renewal of the ET right-of-way. Maybe the trail will build a new "deck" bridge across the river using the old abutments. Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

Thanks for this Jonathan!


Chri

 
------------------------
Chris Ford
President - ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society
www.etwncrrhs.org
chris@...
901-497-0809
------------------------
www.cfordart.com

On Thu, 22 Apr 2021 17:22:06 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Pleasant via groups.io" <sigmunddragonslayer=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
 
Chris, 
 
I wanted to tell you guys about an interesting note coinciding with this project. I work with the City water department now and as part of a line relocation further down the River we are going to be cleaning and exposing the ET right of way from the abandoned highway bridge down to where mill pond road comes off 19E. The 4 lane widening project destroyed part of the row on the Hampton end but we will be digging it back out and clearing the rest to gain access to the original 12” water main. The trail is going to use the old Highway row but once we’re done a hiker could access some of the railroad grade above the road, which I imagine has been largely inaccessible since the abandonment in 1950. 



 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 12:52 PM, Ryan Rice <whiteonrice04@...> wrote:

I'm very excited about this and have dreamed about them extending the trail through tunnel #1.
 
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM Rae Augenstein <GetGlowing@...> wrote:
Whelp. Looks like access to the old ROW will become easier, but they are going to (rightfully) block access to the old highway bridge across Doe River until they can come up with a replacement. 
If you have enjoyed walking the old bridge and exploring the tunnel, now's the time to do it before it's improved. 

From WJHL in Johnson City: 
 

Land donation makes key Tweetsie Trail extension possible

 
wjhl.com/news/local/land-donation-makes-key-tweetsie-trail-extension-possible/
 

New section links Valley Forge to Hampton through rugged section of Doe River

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A long-desired corridor that could link Valley Forge to Hampton via the Tweetsie Trail just got a lot closer to reality.

Carter County commissioners approved a 28-acre donation of property along an old highway grade and the former East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railway Monday.

Offered by Management Properties Inc., the section starts at the end of Mill Pond Road in Valley Forge and ends at the terminus of Railroad Street in Hampton.

It traverses an extremely rugged section of land where a steep ridge forces the river into a horseshoe bend and includes an old highway bridge and a former railroad tunnel through the ridge.

 
 

“It’s a piece of the puzzle to make it an economic driver of what we’re looking for for an outdoor recreation destination,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents a Hampton district, agreed.

“The trick is to capture it while it’s available — especially at no cost,” Hill said.

Hill said the section is one of several that, if developed and fully linked, will give cyclists a safe route all the way from Johnson City to Roan Mountain — and someday, possibly beyond.

“The more of these blanks we fill in the more of a viable attractor and differentiator the trail becomes,” Hill said.

Woodby said the county will work closely with the City of Elizabethton and its Parks and Recreation Department as the first legs of the project occur.

Those will include improving the old highway between Mill Pond Road and the dilapidated bridge, which will be chained off and signs placed — in essence, barriers that would keep “a reasonable person” from using the bridge. That’s a key to limiting liability as funds are sought to improve the bridge decking or possibly place a new pedestrian/bike only span over the river.

 

The county will also work to improve the section on the Hampton side of the bridge, from Railroad Street to through the tunnel. On the Valley Forge side of the tunnel there is a short downhill trek from the Tweetsie right of way to the old highway at the end of the bridge.

“It is a hidden gem,” Woodby said of the entire stretch. “I walked it with my little boy. We walked from the Mill Pond end on the Valley Forge end. Unbelievable.”

Management Properties contacted longtime Tweetsie volunteer Ken Gough and let him know it was willing to let go of the property at no charge to the county.

Both Woodby and Hill said they believe the project can attract grant funding to repair the bridge.

“There are a lot of grant opportunities to do that and especially now since the pandemic’s happened people want to be outdoors,” Woodby said.

“I think Governor Lee is offering a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation, so Carter County’s gonna jump on that,” she said.

Hill said pre-engineering was done more than two decades ago to restore the bridge decking so it could handle foot and bike traffic. And he said the historic element of the former railroad and what he called a “point of historical interest” at Green Bridge Landing Park in Hampton should open the door for multiple grant opportunities.

“If you have a point of interest on one end and access and availability on the other end, it opens us up to apply for these multimodal (transportation) grants that are available,” he said.

Green Bridge Landing Park is on the opposite side (Hampton side) of U.S. Highway 19-E from Railroad Street. A continuation of the trail would take cyclists across the Rittertown Road bridge, along the highway for a bit and then cross.

From there, Green Bridge Landing Park offers access to the river, at that point on the other side of the highway, the Hampton Watershed mountain bike trail system and potentially the railroad grade again.

A couple miles still remain between the current Elizabethton terminus of the Tweetsie at Hatcher Lane and the end of Mill Pond Road. A small portion of that would likely involve getting onto the shoulder of 19-E as well.

Hill said he considered the donation a “visionary thing” that creates a great legacy to Carter County.

Woodby concurred.

“It was donated to us without any type of stipulations, there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve still got to do some paperwork and get the deed signed but … we’re super excited about it.”

 

--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 


--
Rae Augenstein 
Johnson City