Mortimer & Edgemont, NC

     In 1902, the C&N-W purchased a controlling interest in the Caldwell & Northern, a narrow gauge logging railroad that ran from Lenoir to Colletsville, NC. The railroad standard gauged the C&N and endeavored to push it through the Wilson Creek gorge, with the ultimate goal of expanding all the way to Butler, TN. This lofty goal was never achieved, and construction through the gorge was agonizingly slow and difficult. To the left is a construction train being pushed to the mouth of the gorge by an old ex-Richmond & Danville locomotive. Many trestles, such as the large one at Adako, below, were needed.

     The railroad stopped at Mortimer and Edgemont, NC, site of the large timber mill for the W.M. Ritter Lumber Company. For nearly 10 miles, a third rail was laid on the railroad's standard gauge mainline in order to accommodate the narrow gauge logging trains. Flumes, above left, one as long as eight miles, were also used to transport lumber to the railroad.

Mortimer was the mill town, and the end of the railroad, Edgemont, was the playground. Complete with a hotel, church, and school, Edgemont was truly a paradise nestled in the heart of the mountains. Note the third rail on the tracks in this early photo of Edgemont (right). The depot still exists to this day.

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