TheKVRRwas known as "the short line with a long name," and it's no wonder that local residents cooked up their own nicknames - the "Lofty Vanderbilt," the "Hair Line" or "The Ol' Hook & Eye" - reflecting its character and country mystique. For 47 years (1893-1940) this standard-gauge railroad hauled farmers and their produce between Belleville and Reedsville, a distance of only nine miles. For the last 12 of those years,KVpassenger service extended an additional seven miles from Reedsville to the Pennsylvania Railroad main line at Lewistown Junction via trackage rights on thePRR's Milroy Branch. Much of the railroad's enchantment comes from the fact that it was financed through local stock subscriptions only, and was controlled its entire life by a Belleville physician, Dr. John P. Getter.
Belleville has always been an agricultural center, but during its early years it was also a mining town. About a mile south of town were the Greenwood Ore Banks where very high-quality iron ore was extracted. The ore was washed and then carted over Stone Mountain to Greenwood Furnace where it was smelted into pig iron. The heavy bars were loaded into wagons and sent on a laborious 20-mile journey to Burnham for reprocessing.
When the Pennsylvania Canal Commission was surveying a route for a continuous railway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in 1839, the surveryors planned on running tracks through the center of Kishacoquillas Valley to capture the area's agricultural and mining treasures. But the Pennsylvania Railroad, who evenutally took over the commission's plans, decided it was more feasable to abandon the valley route.
In 1868, a few people of Belleville decided to take matters into their own hands and drew up a nine mile railroad route along the foot of Jack’s Mountain to connect Belleville with theMilfflin & Centre County Railroad in Reedsville. Money was secured for 10% of the road cost and a charter was approved on April 11, 1868. The name of the organization was the "Kishacoquillas Valley Rail Road Company," named after the valley which the railroad would run through.
TheLewistown Gazettequipped, "The West Kishacoquillas Railroad wants stirred up with a long stick." The "long stick" turned out to be the Freedom Iron and Steel Company in Burnham. The superintendent of the plant was Richard Henry Lee III, a director of theKVRR. Freedom’s Greenwood Furnace was represented as well since its manager, John Withers, was also a stockholder. Their interest in the road was obvious - the railroad would ease transporting Greenwood ore from Belleville and iron from Greenwood to their plant in Burnham.
It was reported that if the people along the proposed route could raise $30,000, that Freedom Iron and Steel promised to subscribe the remainder of stock. Within a year the required $30,000 was said to have been subscribed. But during this time Freedom Iron and Steel was experimenting with a new Bessemer process with disasterous results. The steel produced was brittle and it was determined that the local ore was to blame. Unfortunately, this revelation came too late and in January 1870, the creditors seized the plants and foreclosed on the mortgages. With the loss of its main backer, the life of the first Kishacoquillas Valley Rail Road soon ended.
Second Charter Granted
After nearly a quarter of a century, the Kishacoquillas Valley Railroad would resurface again as the vision of Dr. John P. Getter, a local physician in Belleville. On June 14,1892, in Harrisburg, the charter was approved by the Department of State.
The purpose of the railroad was strictly one of convenience. Although the Kishacoquillas Valley was rich in agriculture, lumber and minerals, there was not enough of any of these to interest outside investors. Unlike many neighboring railroads, the KV was to be built by means of local stock subscriptions only. The directors divided the stock into 4,000 shares and sold it to local investors at $25 each.
The directors first tried to solicit large funds from a previous benefactor - the steel plant in Burnham. This attempt failed, but within weeks the directors were able to net a total of $65,000 in subscriptions from local farmers and merchants. It was decided that a narrow-gauge railroad could be economically built for that amount of money. At that time, three-foot-gauge was a popular alternative to the 4-foot-8½-inch "standard" distance between the rails.
In late June of 1892, the directors went over their plans with F.F. Whittekin, a civil engineer from Tionesta, Forest County. Whittekin agreed that the road could be built for $65,000; but claimed that he had built his last narrow-gauge road. He added, "If I did [build theKVas a narrow-gauge] you would curse me all the days of my life." Whittekin then said that for $10,000 more he would build them a standard-gauge railroad. Going "standard" was more than an appealing idea, for it would provide a direct connection with the standard of all railroads - thePRR.
The directors returned home a sad party, for they thought that they had raised all the money that could be raised. But they decided to take one last swing at it. Within 10 days, only $5,000 was raised, and a total sum of $70,650 was reported. Whittekin met with the group, and after inspecting the topography, told them that the road could be built for that amount, but that it would be mighty crooked.
On Monday morning, July 18, 1892, Whittekin started running the preliminary surveys out of Reedsville. Meanwhile the directors began securing the right-of-way - most of which was "given" to theKVfor a dollar.
Before the final survey was finished, the route was shown to a number of contractors. After several weeks of negotiation, the contract for construction was awarded to Edgar A. Tennis of Thompsontown, Juniata County, whose bid was somewhat less than $30,000. This bid included grading, furnishing ties, building three bridges and laying rails to be provided by the railroad. He started construction on Monday, October 24, 1892, hoping to finish it within three months.
Regular Train Service Begins
The KV Railroad finally became a reality in June of 1893. Due to an extremely bad winter the rails reached their destination in Belleville, not in the predicted three, but after eight months of construction. Although regular passenger service could not start until the first coach arrived, the line was kept busy hauling loads of freight, such as cattle and bark. The first shipment reported was a carload of lumber from Israel Kauffman's sawmill to Reedsville in early April, before the road was even finished.
A quaint little wooden combine coach (combine No.1) arrived in Belleville, from the Mont Alto Railroad. At one end it had slat seats for 40 passengers and at the other, space for mail and express. The road was now ready for passenger operation. On Monday, June 26, 1893, regular service commenced, ending the stagecoach era. Usually, the train made three round-trips daily; but for the first seven months of operation only morning and evening trains were run. Wyes (turning tracks) at both ends of the road were staked out during the preliminary surveys but, to conserve money, were not built. Since the train had no way of turning around, it ran in reverse from Belleville, stopping along the way at Union Mills, Gibboney Station, Kishacoquillas, Taylor Station, Hooley Station, and the KV Junction. At that point the track connected with the M&CC Branch of the PRR. The train backed out onto the Pennsy track and moved forward across Kishacoquillas Creek and into Reedsville, a distance of .30 mile (0.48 kilometers). The KV rented trackage rights, and use of the PRR station there, for sixty dollars a month. On its return trip, the train backed away from Reedsville station past the junction switch, then ran forward up the valley.
First KV Picnic
One thing that everyone did agree upon was that they should have a day to celebrate their new railroad with a grand picnic. They picked a date late in August so stockholders who were farmers could come after harvest. Company officials then began to look for a suitable site along the line for a park in which to hold the celebration. They didn't have to look far. A beautiful spot was located two miles out of Belleville on a 15-acre plot of natural timberland, from which a picturesque view of the valley, railroad bridge and creek could be seen. Situated on the property of A.F. Gibboney's farm, and only three city blocks west of his woolen mill, the site became known as Gibboney Park.
The big celebration was held on Wednesday, August 30, 1893, and was a rather simple affair, consisting of a business meeting followed by speeches and a basket picnic. Nevertheless, between 1,500 and 2,000 of the valley folk attended, traveling on the KV combine and two large coaches and an observation car rented from the PRR. The attendance would double in later years as the KV Picnic became increasingly popular and people became less afraid of riding the crowded cars on the new road.
All in all, the first KV Picnic was a success and became an annual celebration for the next 23 years, a celebration which (it was said) could be compared only to Christmas Day.
The first few KV Picnics were largely local affairs, but by booking more entertainment and popular speakers, they began to attract people from every point of the compass: Milroy, Stone Valley, Huntingdon, Mount Union, McVeytown, Lewistown, Mifflin, and as far east as Middleburg. Usual attendance was 4,000-6,000 people, with the largest crowd recorded as 10,000 strong in 1899.
The usual picnic-day schedule, in the beginning, had the KV train departing from the park to Belleville and Reedsville every two hours. Around the turn of the century, as the event became more popular, the train departed about every hour. Even so, with so many people and so few cars, delays were inevitable.
Although services did improve on the KV, it continued to be short of passenger cars. In later years, flatcars and even gondola cars would be used to help transport the picnic-goers. The railroad always tried to make the trip most agreeable for its passengers, and put a canopy made of evergreen branches over the gondola cars, which was said to have formed an ideal lovers' bower.
The KV staff was always quick to make improvements at the park as rapidly as the finances of the railroad company would permit, which added greatly to its attractiveness and comfort. Paths were cleared, dance pavilions and a band-stand were constructed, water from springs above the park was piped down to the central part of the grounds and a fountain was built. Electric lights were strung for those dancing in the pavilions at night.
One of the most popular attractions was the merry-go-round which made its debut around 1902. It was steam-powered and had a music box attached to it. E. Bruce Alexander, a Belleville attorney as well as treasurer of the KV and manager of Gibboney Park, became the chief engineer, "lifting little tots up on the backs of lions and dromedaries and escorting the young ladies to seats in the chair cars with his usual grace of manner."
In 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and entered World War I. At that time the directors of the KV decided not to hold another picnic until they could celebrate the Day of Peace. However, when that day arrived, a year later, there was no celebration at Gibboney Park. Dr. Getter explained that many things had changed during that time, and that it seemed the younger generation preferred driving their cars all over the mountains, holding smaller parties (sometimes not numbering more than two in a party). Even the last KV Picnic, which was held on August 24,1916, was said to be no record breaker, since the automobile had become so fashionable.
In 1907, steam was still king, but there was stiff competition from clean, efficient electric power. Railways were popping up all across the Keystone State and for years rumors were circulating that even the PRR would convert to electric traction between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Locally, a new road, known as the Juniata Valley Electric Street Railway, was just being completed in Huntingdon (Huntingdon County) between the PRR depot there and Juniata College, a distance of less than two miles.
Before the railway was even set up and running, a survey was begun for a grandiose expansion through Kishacoquillas Valley to Reedsville to hook up with the thriving Lewistown & Reedsville Electric Railway. On November 27, 1906, this extension was chartered as the Big Valley Street Railway Co., a subsidiary of the JVESR. The BVSR charter indicated, the line would run eastward out of Juniata Valley, following the public highway through Kishacoquillas Valley and serving the villages of Airy Dale, Allensville, Belleville to Reedsville - a distance of 27 miles.
Naturally, subscriptions to such an overextended trolley line were hard to collect and the promoters began looking for shortcuts to conserve money. Several KV stockholders, notably Samuel Watts, who at that time was still on the board of directors, proposed that the trolley promoters buy them out, and take over the KV as part of the new railway. R.W. Jacobs, president of the JVESR and all subsidiaries, agreed with the idea. He reasoned that electrifying the KV would be a simple matter of bonding the rails and constructing parallel trolley poles with overhead wire, thus saving his company the expense of building nine miles of track.
Through some of his agents, Jacobs quietly began purchasing KV stock from KV stockholders. When 1,335 shares were obtained, Jacobs dispatched his attorney and field representative to the president and the general manager of the KV to have proper transfer of the stock made to him. KV officials flatly refused, and Jacobs retaliated by instituting mandamus proceedings in Mifflin County Court to compel them to issue new certificates in his favor.
In answer to the mandamus proceedings, KV officials filed a sworn statement denying that the stock had been offered to them for transfer or that they had been asked to issue new certificates. However, once in court the KV backed down.
On June 13, 1908, the transfer of stock was made to Jacobs, along with another director of the Juniata Valley Railway, F.B. Isenberg, became a member of the KV board of directors. Although Jacobs was the single largest stockholder, a majority of directors, notably Whittekin, Getter and Hayes opposed the take over and retained controlling interest. Jacobs bided his time, waiting for the railway construction to reach Belleville. By then he hoped to persuade the three to vote pro-trolley.
In 1909 the BVSR and other subsidiaries of the JVESR merged into one company called the Huntingdon, Lewistown and Juniata Valley Traction Co. The following year work began on grading the roadbed into Kishacoquillas Valley and in a short time had completed several miles.
But problems plagued the railway from the very start. First, Jacobs was unable to persuade the Huntingdon town council to pass ordinances favorable to approve the trolley extensions; Big Valley farmers obtained court injunctions restraining the trolley from entering their land; and the workmen were on the verge of a strike for higher wages. The coup de grace came in June, when the contractor absconded with the monthly payroll, forcing the workers to walk off the site. No more work was done on the railway. Jacobs went bankrupt in 1914, and a year later the remains of his HL&JVT Co. fell into the hands of the Huntingdon Bank. His little two-mile railway in Huntingdon continued to operate for another 13 years, but his dream of penetrating Kishacoquillas Valley would never be realized.
First Dividend Issued
After 24 long years, the KV stockholders had yet to see any return from their investment. That is, until the evening of June 9, 1917, when the directors gathered at the Belleville station for their monthly meeting. Getter, general manager of the road, gave the annual report on its financial condition. The outlook was indeed promising, for upon a motion by W.B. Maclay, the company's secretary, the board immediately authorized payment of a 3 percent dividend. This became the first of 12 dividends, ranging from 2 to 4 percent, which the company issued within a period of 14 years remembered fondly as the KV's "Boom Times."
Though dividends were small management was optimistic. Passenger and freight receipts were on the rise. Belleville had grown in population and industry, and although the KV was responsible for this growth, it, in itself, would never attain financial success. Transportation costs continued to plague the road and, despite the company's permanent improvement policy, heavy right-of-way maintenance expenses were frequently incurred, though it was reported that few finer stretches of railway could have been found anywhere.
Tornado Hits Belleville
The dividend streak was broken for the first time in 1925. The purchase of a new engine, immediately followed by a 2 percent dividend, had caused a loss the previous year. This, combined with the expense of rebuilding part of its Belleville facilities, made it a nonpaying year for the KV - for 1925 was also the year a tornado struck Kishacoquillas Valley.
The twister hit on Sunday, April 19. It is said to have looked like a great black ball rolling across the valley, and although short-lived, it cut a path 200 yards wide over the east end of town and passed right through the KV yard. The engine shed was blown over, burying engine No.3 and engine No.4. It was reported that No.4 was able to move under its own power, carrying part of the wreckage with it, but that No.3 wouldn't budge until the remainder of the building was taken away. Of course, a new building was needed, but apparently the directors couldn't make up their minds where to put it, as it was more than three months and several meetings later that they finally decided to build the new engine shed directly across the street from the old one. Getter donated his stable for wood which was used to construct the new shed.
Damage to surrounding industries was also severe. The office and scale building of coal and feed dealer R.K. Yoder, was "mashed to the ground." A frame storeroom of Hertzler & Zook's Machine Co. toppled over, one side of a steel and frame building blew in and three carloads of machinery were destroyed.
The industry hurt the most by the tornado was the Belleville Flour Mills. The large 100 by 40 foot (30.5 by 12.2 meters) mill was blown completely over, shorting out the electrical wires and starting a fire. Belleville - and two fire companies from Lewistown were called to fight the blaze. The building was destroyed, but the firemen's efforts did not go unrewarded. Walter Foltz, owner of the mill, treated them all to supper at the local Piper's Restaurant after the fire was extinguished. Although the storm was severe, no lives were lost.
KV Takes Over M&CC Passenger Service
As 1926 rolled around, the automobile was taking a big bite out of passenger revenues for many railroads. One hit especially hard was the Mifflin & Centre County Railroad (AKA PRR's Milroy Branch), which ran from the PRR main line in Lewistown up through Reedsville and on into Milroy. It not only had the automobile and buses to contend with but the trolley as well. The M&CC's passenger traffic had thinned out so dramatically that, in the summer of 1927, PRR applied to the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission to completely withdraw all passenger service between Lewistown and Milroy.
When the directors caught wind of this, they met with several local PRR officials to discuss the possibility of the KV replacing PRR's passenger service between Reedsville and Lewistown. The Pennsy was very responsive to this offer, for this made it possible for the Commission to approve the withdrawal application. A mutual agreement was soon reached.
Milroy was completely cut off in the deal. Neither railroad could afford the time or expense of running a 13-mile round trip from Reedsville station in hopes of finding a few passengers standing on the Milroy platform. Buses had already reached that town and would take over the mail and express as well. The Pennsy freight train, however, continued to visit Milroy on a less regular basis, since its traffic from the Naginey quarries was still a good paying proposition.
On Friday, January 20,1928, the KV took over where Pennsy had left off, expanding its service the additional 6.5 miles between Reedsville and the PRR main line at Lewistown Junction, making a total run of 16.1 miles from Belleville, three times a day.
Passengers were not the only commodity that the KV picked up between Reedsville and Lewistown; mail, paper consignments, express and baggage were also on its list. The latter included through shipment of milk, which was a booming business along the branch. It had been a big factor in covering the Pennsy's expenses for so long, and would help the KV as well. Since milk spoils quickly, daily service was essential, and it was only practical that KV be authorized to carry it. Although the contract called for KV to supply its own passenger equipment, PRR agreed to furnish refrigerated cars needed for this service.
The KV paid the PRR a trackage-rights fee of 25 cents per train-mile; but this, combined with equipment maintenance and operation, was the only cost to the KV while on the Milroy Branch. Because Pennsy was still using the line for freight service, it continued to maintain its tracks and roadway. As an added bonus, PRR employees loaded and unloaded KV trains at M&CC stations at no additional charge.
To cut costs even more, Getter sought and received permission for the train to fuel up each day at the PRR coal wharf at Lewistown Junction. The KV paid market price for the coal, but its engine crew was relieved of shoveling the coal in by hand, which had to be done when fueling in Belleville.
First Run Of The Saturday Night Special
Prosperity for the KV ended soon after 1930. Receipts for the next two years took a dramatic nose-dive as area businesses became paralyzed by the depression, and the cheap, convenient automobile began to siphon off what little business the KV had.
Management tried several tactics to lure the public to travel by train. After reducing passenger fares in 1932, the railroad began experimenting running a special passenger train from Belleville into Lewistown on Saturday evenings, soon to be called "The Saturday Night Special." This run became a great success, and in 1934 two old passenger coaches were bought from the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad to be used specifically on this train. These became coach No.6 and coach No.7 on the KV roster. They were painted green with red window trim, had a polished varnish interior with red plush seats, huge mirrors which covered the ends, old coal oil lamps hanging from the ceiling, and other ornate decorations. Although modernized to the extent of having vestibules and electric lights, they retained the glory of the crack blue ribbon trains in the pre-steel car days of the 1890's.
The movie train left Belleville at 6 p.m., and an hour down the tracks arrived in Lewistown, letting off people who wanted to catch Roy Rogers on the silver screen or go shopping. Those who returned to the cars early, before the assigned 10 o'clock departure time, would sing, dance, and munch on candy and peanuts. It was said that many wanted to skip the movies altogether and just stay in the cars to "cut up."
KV Hosts NRHS Excursion
Dr. Getter enjoyed handing out passes to railfans interested in the KV. One of these was Robert G. Lewis, a PRR employee from Philadelphia. After a couple of rides across the scenic road, Lewis, a member of the National Railway Historical Society, got the doctor interested in hosting his club for a tour. The two organized what would become the KV's only railfan excursion trip.
Sunday, August 1,1937, was the day of the big excursion. At 7:05 that morning 80 club members boarded a westbound train from Philadelphia. For the trip, Pennsy generously provided the railfans with their own observation car. Around 12:30 the train arrived at Lewistown Junction, where the KV train was waiting. The fans climbed aboard, distributing themselves all over the pilot, in-side the engine cab, in the vestibules and even on top of the coaches - everywhere they could indulge in the railroad "feel." The interiors of the coaches were reported by The Sentinel to be practically vacant, since "a real bonafide member would rather sit on a lump of coal in the tender any old time than ride on a plush seat."
An hour later, they reached their destination and sat down to a plain country meal at the Belleville Community Hall. Dr. Getter, the president of the KV at that time, gave a small speech of welcome, and the Gibboney sisters, Jane and Betty, sang several selections, two of which, "Casey Jones" and "We are Working on the Railroad," were said to have "brought down the house."
On the return trip, the society took the opportunity to tour the northern extension of the Pennsy's Milroy Branch, but aboard the KV train. This was the only recorded instance in which the proud KV traveled to Milroy. Its purpose was to show the railfans the Bethlehem quarries in Naginey, a trip they thoroughly enjoyed.
Although the train saved switching time by turning on the wye at Milroy, it was still running about a half-hour late. The Pennsy express was to leave Lewistown at 5:04 p.m. and would not wait. The fans' schedule was met by the KV, with credit due to engineer Bruce Harshbarger. He pulled open the throttle and is said to have made record time back to Lewistown.
Afternoon Train Replaced by "Studemotive"
Naturally, the midday round trip became the least used of the three daily trains. In 1935, to cut costs, it was decided to eliminate this noon trip but only between Reedsville and Belleville. A schedule was worked out whereby the train still left Belleville for Lewistown around noon, but on its return went only to Reedsville. Mail, express and passengers, if any, then would make connections to Belleville on the railroad's automobile. Dr. Getter's Cadillac was used for this purpose. The train then headed back to Lewistown and returned to Belleville at day's end. Since the road into Belleville went only through the center of the valley, the automobile missed all of the railroad stations along the mountain. This schedule conflicted with restrictions of the state Public Service Commission, in the requirements of handling mail and passengers under prevailing local conditions, and in a few months the KV reinstated its afternoon train.
In 1938, in a last-ditch effort to conserve money, the railroad replaced the midday train between Reedsville and Belleville with an automobile; but this time the car was altered to run on KV rails. Roy Warner was called upon to rig up a 1926 Studebaker that the KV purchased for $50. Flanged wheels and an axle from an old unused railcar were used in the front and the rear wheels were cast at Hertzler & Zook's. The automobile first was used as a track inspection car, but it proved to be so successful that in a very short time it was put into daily service, meeting the KV train in Reedsville and returning to Belleville with passengers.
This vehicle was affectionately called the "Studemotive," and a separate baggage cart was built for it to haul additional express and mail. The Belleville station agent, Ellwood Harmon, was the designated driver of the car to Reedsville, and he always had to check that the cart was securely hitched in back. Once it was not, and it wasn't until the Studebaker arrived back in Belleville that the agent or his passengers realized the cart was missing. The agent had to drive all the way back to Reedsville before he found it sitting near the KV junction.
Last Scheduled Run
Dr. Getter, the General Manager and President of the KV, blamed the demise of his railroad on a number of things: Too many government regulations, excess taxes and, most of all, what he labeled "unfair competition" of the automobile, since it operated on roads built by state and federal taxes contributed, in part, by railroads. The directors could only foresee their debts rising, and on the fateful day of December 30, 1938, they decided to quit railroading. However, trains continued to run for about a year, until the road could be sold.
At that time the railroad's value, with its permanent improvements and modern equipment, was thought to be at least $200,000; but the scrap price was set at only $25,000. This included track, rolling stock, locomotives and real estate.
Several people tried to buy the railroad with the intentions of operating it rather than see it fall in the hands of a scrap dealer. One was Robert Lewis, who organized the National Railway Historical Society excursion. He worked out a deal for a loan with the federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation and began raising pledges. But Getter advised him, as a friend, not to buy the railroad, and never took the young 20-something Lewis too seriously.
While Lewis was collecting his subscriptions, the Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington Railroad, in Vermont, made an offer to buy the KV for $26,500 cash, with a $500 down payment. It possibly had the same interest as Lewis - to try to make the "Hook & Eye" run at a profit. The directors were getting rather anxious to sell, and during a special session on September 28,1939, they decided to sell the company to the HT&W.
However, it is believed that, deep down, Getter never intended to have the railroad operate under new management. People heard the doctor say, "I saw the railroad come in, and I will see it go out!" Whatever the reason, negotiations with the HT&W fell through, and the KV submitted petitions for abandonment to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the ICC - which were approved - and began to make arrangements to sell the road to Rochester Iron & Metal Co., NY, for scrap.
Robert Lewis made a last attempt to gain control of the KV through the help of a scrap dealer, Murray Salzberg. A check for $29,000 was handed to Lewis, from Salzberg, to give to Getter. This was done with the understanding that if the doctor accepted the check, Salzberg would install Lewis as the railroad's manager and give it a chance to become profitable. But Getter was skeptical. He refused Salzberg's check, claiming that he had already shaken hands with the Rochester company, and accepted a $2,000 down payment. So ended KV's chance for a longer life.
On Thursday evening, February 15,1940, the last scheduled train rolled across the tracks of the Kishacoquillas Valley Railroad. The steam was shut down and the whistle tied open. It sounded a long mournful death cry, proclaiming to the valley that the railroad's useful life was finally at an end.
Afterward, the Belleville Chamber of Commerce held a tribute meeting in the community hall to commemorate the old KV and the people who played a part in its 47-year history. The highlight of the evening came when Getter, the only survivor of the group of men who organized the company, read his history of the line. A mixed quartet sang "Auld Lang Syne" with the audience joining in the last chorus, thus closing the tribute of the KV.
KV Sold for Scrap
The KV's fate was sealed on March 15,1940, when an agreement between the management and the Rochester Iron & Metal Co. was signed. Since the company was going to scrap the road it had no use for the real estate, so the final price agreed upon was only $22,000.
A group of men began to tear up the tracks in the first week of April. Some 15 or 20 local men were hired to do the work supervised by five employees of the scrap company. It was predicted that the men would have three or four weeks of work dismantling the railroad. The work began in Belleville, where the rails were pulled up and loaded on flatcars, then hauled to Reedsville over the remaining trackage. Engine No.6 was used for the work train, and it was reported that its puffing noise and whistle were welcome sounds to the ears of Belleville residents.
[The above history was authored by Jerry Hartzler, author of "The Ol' Hook & Eye" and was on his web site at kvrr.net. The site disappeared without warning and it has been rumored that the author passed away. Portions of the site were retrieved from the "Internet Time Machine" and were incorporated in the above overview. There is no intent to infringe on the author's work, but it seems to otherwise be a lost work. His book is highly recommended.]
The author will happily accept donations to this site -- images (jpg or gif), documents (pdf), etc. -- or loan of originals for scanning. Full credit will be given to the donor.
This site will only link to professional web sites dedicated to the subject matter, with an appropriate domain name. We will not link to "hosted sites" (like personal sites on ISP's) as they tend to be "here today and gone tomorrow". We would encourage any such site operator to contribute their content to this effort with full attribution.
Jerry Britton's KVRR Photo Gallery.
Hartzler, John G., The Ol' Hook & Eye, A History of the Kishacoquillas Valley Railroad. Self-published. ISBN 978-0-9620642-1-0.
|KVRR LOCOMOTIVE ROSTER|
|1||4-4-0||1892-1901||Named "Belleville". Build in 1869 by the Northern Central Railway (No.122). Sold in 1888 to A.H.King, and engine dealer. Subsequently sold to E.H.Wilson & Co. of Philadelphia, who in turn sold it to the KV for $3,000. Scrapped sometime after 1901.|
|2||4-4-0||1898-1920||Said to have been from the Boston & Maine RR. Bought for $1,300 and sold for scrap in 1924.|
|3||4-4-0||1900-1935||KV's first new engine, bought from the Baldwin Locomotive Works (c/n 18256) for $8,750. Scrapped in 1935.|
|5||4-4-0||1920-1924||Built by Altoona Shops (c/n 1024) as PRR No.1015 in 1886. Sold to Bellefonte Central RR (No.5) in 1902, then to KV for $4,700. Constantly broke down and sold for scrap after four years.|
|4||2-6-0||1924-1932||A second hand locomotive bought in Atlanta, Ga., for $7,400 to replace No.5. Reported to have been from the Southern Pacific Railroad. Scrapped in 1932.|
|6||4-6-0||1928-1940||Bought new from Baldwin (c/n 60613) for $23,500. Front marker lamps from No.1033 were added in 1932, and an extra generator was installed in 1934 to light ex-B&LE coaches. After abandonment it was sold to South Georgia RR.|
|1033||4-4-0||1930-1940||Built by Altoona Shops (c/n 1409) in 1905 as PRR D16b No.1033. Later it was stored at Hollidaysburg, Pa., where it was bought by the KV for $4,000. After abandonment it was thought to have been sold to another railroad.|
|2082||4-4-0||1936-1940||Built by Altoona Shops (c/n 1239) in 1904 as PRR D16b No.2082. In 1916 it was superheated and reclassified D16sb. It was operating in New Jersey when the KV bought it for $3,000. It was scrapped after abandonment.|
|KVRR RAILCAR ROSTER|
|1||1908-?||KV paid $375 for this "small dimensioned" open motorized handcar primarily used for maintenance.|
|2||1911-1918||This railcar was a new "Canopy Top" from Fairbanks-Morse & Co. of Chicago, purchased for $923.22. It supplemented train service and ran on Sundays to pick up newspapers and passengers from Reedsville.|
|3||1928-1940||The KV paid Roy Warner and his son Jimmie $326.36 for building a maintenance and track inspection car from an old Ford truck.|
|4||1938-1940||Known as the "Studemotive", this Studebaker car was equipped with flanged wheels, and used to replace the daily midday train to Belleville.|
|KVRR ROLLING STOCK ROSTER|
|101||Flat||1893-1940?||A new "first class" flatcar purchased from the Middletown Car Co. for $305. 40,000 lb. capacity. 33' length.|
|1||Combine||1893-1920||Secondhand car bought from Mont Alto RR for $950. After retirement it was built into the side of the old engine house and used for storage. It disappeared after the 1925 tornado. Open vestibules; seating for 40.|
|2||Combine/Coach||1895-1932||KV paid $1,100 for this secondhand combine, from E.H.Wilson & Co. of Philadelphia. In 1912, it was rebuilt into a full passenger coach. It was retired in 1932 and used for storage behind the engine house until abandonment. Open vestibules; seating for 40. As coach, seating for 60.|
|102||Flat||1898-1909?||The KV's second flatcar was also purchased new ($300) from the Middletown Car Co. It or No.102 disappeared from the roster in 1909. Possibly this one, since it was damaged in at least one accident. 40,000 lb. capacity.|
|--||Derrick||1903-1910||The DIA shows a derrick being on the KV roster. This was most likely an old push cart or flatcar with a simple crane attached.|
|3||Combine||1908-1940||New combine built for $6,285 by Harlan & Hollingsworth Co. of Wilmington, Del. Open vestibules; believed to seat 56. 65' length.|
|103||Flat||1908-1940||Bought, used, from Wm. Kennedy for $100. 50,000 lb. capacity.|
|5||Baggage||1928-1940||An ex-Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore (PRR) car, bought for $400. It was labeled No.5 when passenger coach No.4 was purchased later that year. Class BD without platforms. 30,000 lb. capacity.|
|4||Coach||1928-1940||A full passenger coach, possibly 1898 vintage, purchased from the PRR for $700. Currently part of a house on Valley Street, Belleville. Class PK, closed vestibules, seating for 64.|
|6||Coach||1934-1940||In 1906, Hicks Car Works built coaches Nos.133 and 139 for the Bessemer & Lake Erie RR. They were sold to the KV for $850. After abandonment, this car (B&LE No.139), No.3 and No.5 were used as cabins in Lumber City and Reedsville. Closed vestibules; seating for 74.|
|7||Coach||1934-1940||Second B&LE coach (No.139). This car was cut up and used in a house built in the engine house in 1940. Closed vestibules; seating for 74.|
None known; though acquired locomotives and rolling stock may be adapted.