On Sept. 11, 1897, at a
public auction held in Frederick, Maryland, the
Emmitsburg Railroad was
sold. The question on
everyone’s mind was what did the future hold for this
little seven-mile railroad? The Emmitsburg Railroad was
purchased for the sum of $29,500 by a syndicate
representing the bondholders. Plans were immediately
formulated to reorganize. The first board of directors
under the reorganization included James A. Elder,
William 0. Blair, Vincent Sebold, William A. Himes, Dr.
I. B. Brauner and James H. Nusseor.
Records of a meeting
dated July 20, 1890 showed the following officers of the
Emmitsburg Railroad: James Elder, President; William A.
Himes, Vice President; Dr. J. B. Brawner, Secretary;
William 0. Blair, Treasurer; and Vincent Sebold,
Counsel. James Elder lived but a short time following
the reorganization and at the annual election of
officers Nov. 3, 1898, William A. Himes a resident of
New Oxford, in nearby Pennsylvania, became president of
the road. Vincent Sebold, who was to guide the railroad
many years, was elected general manager.
Under the new
management and from earnings of it railroad, the entire
line was progressively rebuilt. Wooden bridges were
replaced with new iron structures. Light rail was
replaced with 60-pound steel rail and new ballast was
laid, dressing tip the roadbed.
But this wasn’t all!
New motive power was purchased and the rolling stock was
depots were completely
rebuilt. To better serve the customers of the Emmitsburg
railroad, a new grain elevator and coal chutes were
constructed at the south end of the community. Without
question, things were really looking tip for this little
railroad. All employees, from the top office down, were
dedicated to their jobs and took great pride in their
work. In addition to all the improvements mentioned
above, the railroad was proud to announce that it was
now in a position to begin playing a small dividend of 2
percent to its stockholders. Yes, the future of the
railroad looked very bright indeed.
The Charter of
Emmitsburg Railroad was amended in 1906 by the Maryland
State Legislature, which enabled the railroad to extend
its line in any direction it wished. This amendment also
gave railroad officials authority to buy, lease or even
consolidate with any other company it so desired. To top
it off, authority was granted to operate by steam or
When these requests
were made to the Maryland State Legislature, the
officers and directors of the Emmitsburg Railroad were
seriously considering a proposal to extend the line from
Rocky Ridge to the community of Woodsboro. The reason
for wanting to extend the line into Woodsboro was to
give them the opportunity to make connections with the
Pennsylvania Railroad. At one time serious thought was
given to what might happen as the result of the
Washington, Frederick and Gettysburg Railroad which was
being built at the time with plans to come through
Thurmont on its way to Gettysburg. Many feared that in
time this line might want to consider taking over the
Emmitsburg Railroad and make it a part of the proposed
route to Gettysburg.
Things were beginning
to happen. It was about this same time period that the
Western Union Telegraph Company appeared on the scene.
Western Union signed an agreement with Emmitsburg
Railroad and almost immediately began to string its
wires along the right of way between Emmitsburg and
Rocky Ridge. Minutes of the December 14, 1908, meeting
show that the Christmas spirit prevailed with the
railroad, when a motion was made and passed to give each
regular employee two tons of coal for Christmas. Each
daily worker was to receive one ton of coal.
Word was being
circulated around Emmitsburg during that Christmas
season that the community was planning a big Homecoming
Celebration, scheduled for sometime in July of 1909, and
the Emmitsburg Railroad was to play an important part in
Part -> 1,
Hawkins' Stations of the Emmitsburg Railroad
Other articles by George Wireman
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