The Tarheel Press           
If Rails Could Talk- Volume V
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              Highlights include:
- Protected Spiral-bound Cover

- Landscape orientation for superb photo

- Nearly 200 B/W, color photos & maps

- 236 pp printed on 100-lb glossy stock

- Detailed rosters of all presented

- The culmination of decades of research
           by Ron Sullivan, assisted by logging
           railroad historian Gerald

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    Volume 5 of “If Rails Could Talk….Ravensford and Smokemont” is the fifth of a planned eight volume series about the railroad logging along the Blue Ridge and adjoining Smoky Mountains. At 236 pages, 38 of which are in color, volume 5 is the largest book thus far in the series. Smokemont, originally planned as volume 6 of the series, was combined with Ravensford, volume 5. The book begins with the story of the 33,000 acre Ravensford timberland, the Appalachian Railway, and their owner, the Parsons Pulp & Lumber Company from West Virginia. Based out of Smokemont NC, Champion Fibre’s nearly 93,000 acres adjoined the Ravensford timberland. Champion Fibre built a fascinating network of standard and narrow gauge railroads to harvest their timber, beginning with their Ocona Lufty Railroad.

      The book contains many photographs, some appearing in print for the first time.  It also contains beautifully colored topographical maps of all of the railroad grades, those built and those that were planned but never built. Readers will find the trackage of the Appalachian Railway, The Ocona Lufty Railroad, Parsons Pulp & Lumber’s logging railroad, and Champion Fibre’s logging railroad that ran to the tops of the Great Smokies.

     Ron Sullivan and his wife Marilyn hiked most of the abandoned railroad grades out of Ravensford and Smokemont. Co-author Gerald Ledford joined them on many of the hikes as well. Ron mapped all of the grades using a GPS device and drew most of the maps included in the book. The book contains sections of historical maps long buried in archives that most readers will appreciate.

     Co-authors Gerald Ledford and Ron Sullivan spent many hours in courthouses and archives researching both areas. Gerald Ledford had previously interviewed a few of the veterans of both logging operations several decades ago. He also had 2 great uncles who worked in the sawmill at Ravensford. Ledford was the source for many of the photographs.

     Also featured are the stories of the court battles between Champion Fibre and Ravensford Lumber with the park commissions of Tennessee and North Carolina over the value of their combined 125,000 acres of land. It is common knowledge that these lands eventually became part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, many readers may be unfamiliar with the stories included in the book of the difficult and at times contentious process to arrive at a settlement.

     This book contains locomotive roster information for all of the companies. These rosters were carefully researched and prepared by Thomas Lawson, one of the most knowledgeable persons in the field.

     The book is spiral bound so that readers can fully appreciate the maps and the photos. It is printed on 80 pound gloss paper and features a clear cover with a plastic composition backing.

     Students and fans of early day railroad logging along Southern Railway’s Murphy Branch in western North Carolina and the Great Smokies will want to add this volume to their libraries.