WANT TO GO?
Hinton Rail Road Days
WHEN: Oct. 20-21 and 27-28
INFO:The event is free. To find out how to take the New River Train to Hinton, which arrives each afternoon of the festival, visit newrivertrain.com or call the Hinton VisItors Center at 304-466-5420.
BOOK SIGNING:Perry Mann will sign copies of his book "Mann and Nature" at Otter and Oak in Hinton from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 and on Oct. 27.About 1870, the C&O had built its railroad to Talcott, W.Va. It had followed the Greenbrier River from Ronceverte.
But at Talcott the river ran into Big Bend Mountain and had to make a sharp left turn and follow at the base of the mountain for 15 miles just to get to the other side, which was only a mile or so as the crow flies from the Talcott side. Thus, rather than build 15 miles of railroad along the river around the mountain, the C&O dug the Big Bend Tunnel, which was just a mile and a quarter in length. Helping to cut through the mountain was a steel-driving man named John Henry, who became a legend that is well-known.
In 1893, my grandfather had about 90 acres surveyed on top of Big Bend which he bought from the Rollyson family. He built his house there and raised with my grandmother five children to adulthood. My father was one of them. My mother's father had a few hundred acres of bottomland bordering the river where the railroad would have gone had no tunnel been constructed. My father courted my mother and they married and honeymooned in Washington D.C., having traveled there by the C&O Railway.
My father's prospects in Summers County were not promising. World War I had just ended. There was work in Charleston, so he took his bride and boarded the train at Hinton and left Summers County and never returned except for visits via the C&O and later by auto. He acquired a house on Russell Street and the couple set up housekeeping. Children came. I was first, born March 12, 1921. At the birth with my mother were her mother and my father's sister. They had come to Charleston on the C&O and returned home on the train. When my sister came two years later, my aunt came to help my mother through the birth and she took me with her to the farm by train.