Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Facebook for research?

My primary way to research the southeastern end of the W&LE and the towns served is using the internet to dig up old photos and info. Sometimes I feel like a prospector sitting at the edge of stream panning for gold dust. Well the other day I hit pay dirt and found a large nugget of photos that had been under my nose all this time. Where?


Facebook is not the first place I'd think to find old railroad photos, it's for finding "friends" right? Facebook is more than just people, it's also for companies, organizations (such as the wonderful Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society), and events, but also communities. Some of these community pages just love to share old photos and postcards of their town.

About a year ago in a focused Google search I stumbled across a link that took me to the Facebook community page for Maynard, Ohio a tiny town in Belmont County. Maynard is a town on the former Adena Branch on the W&LE and therefore of special interest to me. Like every Facebook page there's a spot for submitted photos and they had a couple interesting postcard scans and some very interesting area coal mine maps. The coal mine maps tracked the network of rooms and passageways as they removed the coal, and also sometimes the rail and building arrangements on the surface. Having never seen anything like it before, I moved on to other websites searching for coal mine maps served by the W&LE (that's a whole other topic). I apparently then quickly forgot about searching  for other community's Facebook pages that the Wheeling ran through...

Luckily a year later (I really don't get on Facebook much), I thought to check if any new photos had been added to Maynard's page and then it finally hit me. Let's LOOK AT OTHER towns...

Adena, Ohio had some neat stuff but nothing I hadn't seen before.

Dillonvale, Ohio's Facebook page, where the W&LE's Pine Valley Yard ran through the town, was a jackpot of old photos, postcard scans from the town and even some surrounding communities! There were hillside views of the station and freight house with the old coal mine across the river, views of the roundhouse and coal tower, and an album of photos taken of the yard before the new W&LE ripped everything out. Also there's a great view of the Robey (or Roby) Mine just south of Adena on the Adena Branch, along with the old Dillonvale Co-op warehouse loading dock and the brick Dillonvale passenger station wrapping up construction among other notables.

NOTE: I just noticed Dillonvale's Facebook page is set up as a person, not as a community. So you must be a Facebook member to access it unlike other parts of their website.

If you lived in the area or just like railroads and history it's really worth logging into Facebook and checking out all the photos.

For those of you can't or won't do Facebook, I'll share a couple of the postcard scans. Almost all are watermarked from the Terence M Lengyel collection, so there's the credit where it's due.

Robey Mine Adena, OH W&LE Adena Branch, Terence M Lengyel collection
This is the first time I've seen this mine spelled as Robey. All the papers and maps I have show it called the Roby Mine in Robyville south of Adena.

W&LE Dillonvale Station under construction 1908-09? Terence M Lengyel collection

W&LE Pine Valley Roundhouse and Coal Dock Dillonvale, OH 1911? Terence M Lengyel collection

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