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Silver City, Pinos Altos and Mogollon's proposed extension to Mogollon
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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 05:50 am
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elminero67
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Thought Woody might like this: This is a modified version of a newspaper article I wrote but did not submit:

 



What Could Have Been…the 2’ Silver City, Pinos Altos & Mogollon Railroad’s (unbuilt) Mogollon branch


                The American West is covered with proposed railroads that never came to fruition, few mining towns lack at least one“paper railroad.” While they never became reality, from an engineering and railroading perspective, it certainly is fun to entertain the thought of what could have been. My favorite “what if” is the proposed 60 mile long narrow gauge extension of the two-foot Silver City, Pinos Altos and Mogollon.  Had this 60 mile long line been constructed, it would have made the SC, PA & M one of the longest 2’ narrow gauge railroads in the U.S, and was equipped with a fleet of Shay locomotives including arguably the largest two-foot locomotive to see service in the United States. As the gold and silver mines of Mogollon produced millions of dollars before shutting down prior to WWII, it also would have probably lengthened the short lifespan of the SC, PA & M. Unfortunately, the market crash in the fall of 1907 dashed these dreams before they could leave the paper stage.  The proposed route from Silver City to Mogollon would have travelled over relatively easy rolling high desert hills for most of the journey with the exception of the last few miles where it would be forced to climb directly up the steep Mogollon Mountains via Silver Creek Canyon. A few weeks back I had the opportunity to hike this stretch of the proposed route to see if it were practical-or possible.

                My first warning sign was when I asked a local about access into the canyon, and was told “you don’t want to go up there.” Sage advice ignored, I headed out for what appeared on the map to be a three or four mile hike. Eight hours later, canteen empty and buttocks full of prickly pear thorns, I made it back to my truck with tail firmly between legs: There may be a reason this railroad was not built…







Figure 1 Entrance to Silver Creek Canyon, the canyon the proposed 2’SC PA &M was to be built in . The narrow gauge from Silver City to this point would have required relatively moderate grading and engineering difficulties. At this point the elevation is around 3000’.  On the left is an old mining pack trail that quickly petered out.






Figure 2 Remains of one of the mines at the head of Silver Creek






Figure 3 Silver Creek Canyon quickly began to "box up" As the spring runoff was high I had to climb up out of the canyon to continue upstream. At this point the SC, PA &M would have had to pass at the bottom of this 1000' deep canyon. Mountains with snow in Background are over 10,000’.



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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 05:54 am
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elminero67
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Part II

 



Figure 4 Remains of ore bin that would have been directly on the narrow gauge, just below Mogollon





Figure 5 Remains of the town of Mogollon, looking down on Mogollon from Little Fanny Tramway. The railroad yards would have had to have competed for space with downtown Mogollon, which once had houses perched in every available space in the narrow valleyhad a population of up to 5000. Mogollon is at an Elevation of approx 6000’






Figure 6 Headframe of Little Fanny Mine. The Mogollon tramway, a one mile long industrial narrow gauge ran behind this structure. Until the late 1980’s the mill of the Little Fanny sprawled on this hillside until the owners were forced to tear it down because of liability issues. This was one of the largest and most productive mines in the district.


As it was, the Mogollon extension was never built, but it would have been an interesting engineering challenge to not only bring the narrow gauge rails up Silver Creek, but to somehow squeeze a switchyard and station in the town of Mogollon. It may not have been practical, however as the SC PA & M somehow would have had to loop or switchback nearly 3000’ in elevation in a few short miles to reach Mogollon itself. Many of the mines were over 1000’ above the town. Because of the remote location and rough topography, Mogollon would become one of the more productive mining districts to never enjoy the benefit of rail service, even from the “Toy Railroad’ as locals referred to the two-foot SC, PA & M.  Instead, Mogollon was forced to rely on burros and wagons until 1912 when White, Jeffrey and FWD trucks began to replace the freight wagons and Buick cars the stagecoaches.

Last edited on Sat May 8th, 2010 05:55 am by elminero67



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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 06:46 am
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teetrix
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I made it back to my truck with tail firmly between legs:
No reason for that, those are great pics and an interesting trip through the past. Well done!

Michael

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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 02:48 pm
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Herb Kephart
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A superb write up and wonderful pictures! What a great area! I'm afraid that if I was there the first thing that I would want to do would be go poking around in a mine--an extremely dumb idea, I know. I have to wonder what the payback (if there would ever be one) would be IF financing had been available. One of the richest mining areas VS one on the most impossible topographic sites. Now I see why Woodie is in love with the place.

A hearty THANK YOU, Duane, for posting this. I'm sure that you took more photos than the ones here. How about sharing them also?

Herb:old dude:



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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 03:22 pm
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W C Greene
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Duane-an excellent "what if". Twenty years ago when I was in Mogollon, it was apparent that a railroad would have been very difficult if not impossible to build there. There were "plans" for the "Mogollon Motor Railway" which would have been a standard gauge-McKeen car operation but like most plans for the area, it never got off paper also. Just imagine a 70 foot McKeen car arriving in Mogollon to carry passengers and freight to Silver City-what were they thinking?

Getting to Mogollon is another matter also. You hiked in and got to "commune" with nature, my buddy Steve Beck & I have been there by driving on that truly funky "paved" road. We likened that road to something Rod Serling would have included in a "Twilight Zone" story with William Shatner as a hapless traveler.

Mogollon seems to be smaller (from your photo) than I remember, perhaps some of the old buildings have crumbled away. Right across the border in AZ, the town of Clifton could have gone the way of Mogollon if it weren't for the large Phelps Dodge mine operation. Of course, it could be due to the remoteness and inaccessability of Mogollon that doomed it to ghost town status. Whatever, someday I will visit the old town again and maybe listen to more tales from the Bloated Goat.

                                      Woodie



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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 05:13 pm
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bobbyb
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Duane - Great little story. Makes for a great what if.

Woodie --- Here is a link I found that might hold some interest for you. Has some pictures from different time periods, even has some old black and white when it looked as if the town was a little more populated.

http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/nm/mogollon.html

Bobby :mex:



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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 06:38 pm
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W C Greene
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Thanks Bobby, I have that link in my favorites. I have an old book "Mogollon Diary" which I found in a cool book store out in Benson, AZ. (Singing Wind book store) and "Tales from the Bloated Goat" which Herbie found & sent to me. The scenery around Mogollon and Clifton, AZ is much the same since they are just 40 to 50 miles apart. Not far from Mogollon are the Gila Cliff Dwellings and other such neatness. Great area to visit...and retire!

                               Woodie



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 Posted: Fri May 28th, 2010 05:17 am
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elminero67
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Speaking of Mogollon, found just what Woodie needs!:

http://albuquerque.craigslist.org/atq/1759289946.html

 

or if that linkee no workee:

 

 

Wild West Antique Bar Back~Mogollon, NM Ghost Town Bar~ - $5 (NM)

Date: 2010-05-25, 2:35PM MDT
Reply to: sale-heafe-1759289946@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]




 



Beautiful Antique Bar Back dates to 1800s from an old wild west bar in Mogollon, New Mexico.
Purchased at auction several years back with hopes to use in my bar.
Sad to see it go, but must sell it!
has been stripped and is ready to restore.
Rumored to have been featured in photographs with Pancho Villa, and Billy the Kid.
This was told to me when I purchased the bar.
Also has a 14 foot center frame for a mirror in the middle of these two end pieces.(no mirror)


$1700 or Best Offer (OBO)
Serious Inquiries only....
email for more pics and any questions.



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 Posted: Fri May 28th, 2010 02:40 pm
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W C Greene
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Duane-that bar is really, REALLY cool! I just wish I had a place for that (and the dinero to buy it!).  If I ever get to "finishing" the Bloated Goat #2 with interior, I aim to try to replicate that bar...and maybe old Pancho also..

         Thanks for all that...              Woodie



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 Posted: Fri May 28th, 2010 02:54 pm
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Herb Kephart
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Hey Woodrow-


If cash is the problem, I can come up with $5--$6 if you can wait 'till my Sociable Insecurity check comes in.

'Course I 'sepct free booze for all the help-----


Hic! Herbie   :old dude:



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