Sunday, August 20, 2017

Adena Water Tank Mystery Solved

Recently the JJ Young Flickr page has been updated with a ton of new W&LE and NKP photos, definitely check them out when you have a moment. One of these new photos helped me solve a mystery of what kind of steel water tank was at Adena.

One of the problems with trying to recreate the past is simply the passage of time. Structures can change as they are remodeled, added on to or vanish when they are torn down. The Adena area did not seem to be well photographed in the past, probably due to it being in a more remote area of southeastern Ohio. Luckily the release of a few hundred W&LE/NKP JJ Young photographs has greatly improved the "visibility" into the past in that area of Ohio. Nothing remains of the steel tank today but I was hopeful some photographic evidence was out there.

The earliest photos of the Adena water tank show it being located inside the east end of the wye tracks. Below is a photo from the CSU W&LE Collection showing the water tank just inside the east wye switch next to the start of the Adena Branch on 10-19-1925. This tank was replaced in 1946 with a 195,000 gallon steel tank according to a 1954 Physical Data booklet on, and was put in a new location by the south end of the wye.

Adena Water Tower, replaced 1946 with 195k gal. steel tank, Adena, OH 10-19-25 CSU W&LE Collection
The new steel tank was a bit of a mystery, I knew where it was located (just south of the south wye switch) and how big it was (195,000 gal) but not what kind of steel tank it was. When the Wheeling started upgrading to steel water tanks after World War II they used a few different shapes. Most seemed to be either elevated on stilts or full silo-like tanks. Below is a picture of the 50,000 gal. steel tower type tank at Jewett, Ohio.

925 an ex-Clover Leaf engine next to the 50k gal. water tank at Jewett, OH, JJ Young photo
Here's a photo below of a 195,000 gal. silo type tank at Pine Valley Yard in Dillonvale, OH.

969 H-5 class near the 195,000 gal water tank at Pine Valley Yard in Dillonvale, OH.
I always assumed the new Adena steel water tank was probably like the Pine Valley tank since they both had a capacity of 195,000 gallons, but I know what can happen when you assume things. At Vermillion, OH on the NKP there is a rather larger 100,000 water tank which was elevated like the Jewett tank (it's actually is a dead ringer for the Tichy Water Tank), so I couldn't be too sure what the Adena tank looked like without some photographic proof.

While browsing the new JJ Young Photos on yesterday, one picture showed a NKP 2-6-6-2 coming off the Adena Branch at Adena. Knowing this angle was a bit more southward than other similar shots I was hopeful that the water tank would appear. Sure enough there it was at the far left side of the photo.

An NKP 2-6-6-2 rounds the wye coming off the Adena Branch at Adena. At the far left can be seen the new steel water tank installed in 1946. JJ Young Jr photo
Here it is with an arrow pointing out the tank.

Water tank at Adena, OH. JJ Young Jr photo
Just what I suspected, a match to the Pine Valley water tank. The long white stripe of the water level line and a light coat of snow on the domed top help give it's shape away. The feather of smoke from a heater in the water treatment building just to the right is a neat surprise. I planned on using a Rix Products silo model for my Pine Valley tank and it now looks like I have one more to buy!


  1. What a "treasure-trove" of information Chris! This will definitely influence your modeling in a positive way. Thank you for sharing these with the rest of us. Take care.

    1. Thank Jim, I think I love the research aspect to this hobby the most. Especially when you finally get payoffs to long standing questions.