Our own little Stonehenge
By Reno Bailey
On this Web site we’ve had an ongoing discussion about the old railroad trestle that crossed the Second Broad River into west Henrietta, just north and west of the present day Jacquard plant. Most had forgotten that such a trestle existed until we found an old photo (“Old Trestle,” Photo of the Month, May 2005) made during its construction, probably around 1914.
Then another photo surfaced (at left and “Trestle Ruins,” Photo of the Month, September 2005) showing the trestle after having been wrecked by a flood, surely the famous one of September 1916.
Many have suspected that remains of the old trestle could still be found. One day we met Johnny Lowery who lives along the river in that area, who told us that, indeed, there were remains to be seen. Then, in December 2006, Philip White made his way from the highway down to the river and took a look, and snapped this revealing photo.
In both photographs, the rock wall on the right is the abutment built into a hill on the east side of the river. The pier to its left in the new photo is missing in the 1916 photo. It had been washed away, causing the trestle deck to collapse. What we can surmise is, the flood wasn’t the end of the trestle; it was not dismantled as a consequence of being damaged. In fact, it was repaired; the washed-away pier was rebuilt. But how long after that was the trestle kept in use?
Surely Raleigh Haynes spent much time overseeing the building of the trestle, but he may never have seen this rebuilt pier, for he became ill that fall and died about four months after the devastating flood.
Now, 90 years later, we know a little bit more about Cliffside’s proud history.
Here are more photos Phillip shot that day:
An abbreviated version of this article appeared in the Cliffside Historical Society newsletter for Jan-Feb 2007.