Foxfire Today Foxfire Today 3rd Edition - Page 5

People forget that the railroad ran right on the southern rim of the Tallulah Gorge. You could look out the window and look straight down. All this means is that the railroad truly began as a tourist railroad, believe it or not, and it operated basically like that until the Great Fire of 1921. Then, they started constructing more track and started to move north near Clayton. They reached Clayton in 1904, reaching the rail bed that the Blue Ridge Railroad built 35 years earlier. They continued building and reached Franklin (North Caro- I thought this lina) in 1907, and they operated off and on to Franklin project would be a great thing to do until 1961, when the railroad was abandoned. because not too many people around here talk about the TF anymore. People kind of forget about it, ‘cause The railroad was kind of interesting and the fact is that it’s been gone for about 55 years. It’s great that people they used a lot of different motive power, which is ba- at your age are interested in the railroad, because even sically different locomotives and different cars. The though I am only 19 years old, I’m only one person. engines started out small, pretty, and ornate. This last- The fact that we have other people that would be inter- ed until the Great Fire of 1921, which as mentioned earlier, destroyed many of the great hotels in the area. ested in it would only help grow the fame of it. A big change came when the Tallulah Dam was built by The Tallulah Falls Railway was a railway-interesting Georgia Power.It blocked the falls, due to the dam be- railroad. People like to refer to it as the TF, but the ing built right on top of the falls. The interesting story Tallulah Falls Railway started originally as the Blue- about the falls was, wherever you would go in town, Ridge Atlantic Railroad. They started chartering out you could hear the roar of the 1000-foot waterfall. Af- right before the Civil War, but due to the Civil War ter they built the dam, the tourists stopped coming and a couple of recessions, they could never really due to a lack of interest. After the Great Fire, the TF’s focus shifted a little bit, but they used steam make headway. After that, they really looked at this and locomotives up until said, “O.K., we should approach this at a little bit of a different angle.” By the time the railroad had realized this, roadbed construction had already reached Rabun County. No rails were ever laid for the Blue Ridge At- lantic. Actual construction of the Tallulah Falls Railway be- gan in 1871, reaching Tallulah Falls on June 22, 1882. There were big hotels located in Tallulah Falls. It was basically the “Grand Canyon of the East” or the “Ni- agara Falls of the South.” Tourists would come from all over the world for the next 40 years to see the great Tallulah Falls waterfall. 5