MP 119.15 East of Nesquehoning Junction the CNJ mainline was joined by a river and jitney track. Both tracks ran to and from Mauch Chunk. The River Track joined No. 2 track east of Mauch Chunk depot and the Jitney Track ended a short distance beyond the station. The River Track was a secondary westbound route. The Jitney Track enabled locomotives to steam back and forth to the coaling station at Nesquehoning Junction without fouling the main running tracks. - northwest views, Circa 1962 - photographer unknown
Map of Mauch Chunk Locomotive Coaling Station
The Mauch Chunk locomotive coaling station was approximately one mile from the engine terminal. It was approached from the west off the Nesquehoning Valley Branch and consisted of two separate, elevated, timber, gravity trestles. Easternmost trestle No. 1 was 149' in length with a 78' shed over 6 of the structure's 11 frame bents. Trestle No. 2 was 137' in length with a 96' shed over 11 of the structures 14 bents. Both trestles were erected in 1887 and lasted until the demise of steam on the CNJ. In this view trestle No. 1 can be seen on the hillside to the left of the locomotive. - northwest views, Circa 1925 - Central Railroad Company of New Jersey
Mauch Chunk engine terminal and yards were around the bend from the locomotive coaling station. In similar fashion to Coalport, the yard facilities were divided into upper and lower yards. The engine terminal was at the west end of the upper yard and the passenger station at the east end of the lower yard. - eastward view, March 28, 1988 - Robert F. Fischer/Warren C. Gearrick
Map of Mauch Chunk Upper Yard & Engine Terminal
MP 118.50 Left - Turntable No. 3 was at the west end of the upper yard at Mauch Chunk. This 100' turntable had originally been built new in 1919 at Coalport. It had been removed and installed at Mauch Chunk in December 1945. - northeast view, June 23, 1966 - A. W. Kovacs Center - To allow room for the turntable, 15 stalls of the 18 stall engine house at its west end had to be razed. - northeast view, June 23, 1966 - A. W. Kovacs Right - The turntable was the last installation of its type undertaken by the CNJ. Soon dual control diesel power would make turning locomotives redundant. - northeast view, October 16, 1966 - William T. Greenberg, Jr.
Left - The Mauch Chunk engine house embodied somewhat unusual architectural design to fit it between the yard tracks and the base of the mountain. It was - essentially - a long, rectangular, wooden structure built into the mountainside with 18 locomotive service stalls laid diagonal to its walls! In this view of the entire building, the right-of-way of the Tamaqua-Lansford Street Railway can be faintly seen running above the engine house between the roof and easement of Tamaqua-Lansford Street (later US Route 209). - northwest view, Circa 1925- Charles Luffbarry/Peter Turp collection Right - After 1945 the engine house was progressively shortened until all that remained were the easternmost three stalls that were, in their turn, razed during the summer of 1970. - northwest view, October 16, 1966 - William T. Greenberg, Jr. Right - This ancient, wooden, passenger coach appears to have been permanently spotted on the siding alongside the engine house. It had served as a bunk house for decades. - northwest view, October 16, 1966 - William T. Greenberg, Jr.
Left - The engine terminal 100,000-gallon, wooden, water tank was immediately east of the engine house. The metal tower alongside the front of the locomotive holds an elevated sand tank. - northwest view, July 10, 1937 - Robert P. Morris/Jack De Rosset collection. Center - Next in line were oil, tool, and sand houses. - northwest view, October 16, 1966 - William T. Greenberg, Jr. Right - A newer diesel service facility occupied the former site of the original engine terminal 65' Turntable No. 2 (installed 1901 and removed 1945) and locomotive ash pit. The tank car in this scene rests on top of the slightly elevated, ash, loading track that had once been serviced by a fabricated, steel, cinder conveyor. - northwest view, October 16, 1966 - William T. Greenberg, Jr.
Left - This overall view of Mauch Chunk upper yard was taken from the overhead State Route No. 903 highway bridge between Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk. Although this bridge was built by the State of Pennsylvania in 1951, its Pier No. 1 and the westerly abutment of the old bridge were maintained by the CNJ since they acted as a retaining wall. (The old bridge had been referred to as the Kittle Bridge, a reference that had its name rooted in an early 1800s LC&N subdivision across the river at East Mauch Chunk - a locale that at the time had been called The Kettle because of its layout.) The tall stone retaining wall midway up the mountain slope once supported the right-of-way of the Tamaqua-Lansford Street Railway. - northward view, October 16, 1966 - William T. Greenberg, Jr. Left Center - This turn-of-the-century postcard view taken from Flagstaff Point reveals to what extent the upper yard changed over the years. - northward view, Circa 1900 - Raymond E. Holland Collection Center - During the years between the Gay Nineties and the Roaring Twenties postcard views of prominent scenes in America became very fashionable. Every imaginable subject was recorded. This, fortunately, made much of history that would have, otherwise, been lost available to all - including future generations. This annotated (by authors) postcard scene of the engine terminal graphically depicts the layout of terminal structures and facilities. - westward view, Circa 1900 - Raymond E. Holland Collection Right Center - DU Tower was mid-yard, slightly east of the engine house, across several tracks from the water tank. Although DU Tower looked a bit like an interlocker, it was the Mauch Chunk Yard Office. - northwest view, Circa 1910 - photographer unknown Right - East Mauch Chunk and the LV were across the river from the engine terminal. In the lower right corner of this photograph the westerly end of the Mauch Chunk car repair shop building and the remains of Packer Dam/Lehigh Coal & Navigation Lock No. 1 can be seen in the river. - northeast view, Circa 1948, Robert Guthlein collection
Left - The CNJ mainline, yards, engine terminal, and passenger station at Mauch Chunk were situated at the base of Pisgah Mountain along the west bank of the Lehigh River. In this view taken from the East Mauch Chunk side of the State Route No. 903 highway bridge, the east end of the upper yard merges into the west end of the lower yard (in the vicinity of the signal bridge). The vehicles traveling along the mountainside are on US Route No. 209, formerly Tamaqua-Lansford Street. - northeast view, September 17, 1961 - William T. Greenberg, Jr. Center Left - Essentially the same scene as the preceding view, but from a different perspective and era. In this view the CNJ car repair shops are still extant. - northeast view, Circa 1927 - Lud Larzelere Center Right - CNJ MP 118.00 was near the dividing point between the upper and lower yards at Mauch Chunk. The bridge in the background is the State Route No. 903 river crossing. - westward view, October 16, 1966 - William T. Greenberg, Jr. Right - CNJ No. 890 split a switch a few yards west of MP 118.00 entering the upper yard and ended up on the ground. - northeast view, Circa 1950 - John J. Bowman, Jr.
The Switchback Railroad at Mauch Chunk
The Mauch Chunk, Summit Hill & Switchback Railroad. (Click here for map, photographs, and history.)
It is fairly obvious why early promoters of tourism to Mauch Chunk tourism had dubbed it The Switzerland of America. Mauch Chunk (from the Indian name Machk Tschunk meaning Mountain of Bears) is nestled deep in the valley of the Lehigh River on a grand curve that promotes the illusion of an Alpine mountain village. In whatever direction a visitor looks, their gaze is greeted by the magnificence of towering mountains. - northwest view, Circa 1890 - photographer unknown Left - The lower yard at Mauch Chunk curved around the base of Pisgah Mountain out of view of the upper yard. Right - This aerial-like photograph was taken from Flagstaff on South Mountain, the highest precipice in the Mauch Chunk area. - northwest view, Circa 1962 - photographer unknown
The towering majesty of the scenery surrounding Mauch Chunk had been a favorite subject for early 20th Century postcards. Both of these views date to a few years after the turn-of-the-century and were produced in Germany (drawn or a colorized black & white photograph and printed). The importer/distributor was Rosin & Co. of Philadelphia and New York. The left view is of the town of Mauch Chunk looking toward the Pisgah Plane of the Mauch Chunk, Summit Hill & Switchback Railroad and the right, Bear Mountain. The postal cancellation imprint on the back of this card was made on August 18, 1908. The inspiration for this postcard had been rooted in a panoramic photograph (1896) by preeminent LV photographer, William H. Rau.
The CNJ's passenger station at Mauch Chunk was near the east end of the lower yard. In this scene Mauch Chunk is on the right, the LV mainline at the base of Bear Mountain on the left, and Flagstaff Park on top of the taller of the two distant mountain peaks. East of Mauch Chunk the CNJ mainline swung sharply eastward into a deep canyon aptly named The Narrows. - southwest view, Circa 1940, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission
In its heyday during the 19th century Mauch Chunk had been home to several families of great wealth who had made their fortunes from Pennsylvania's anthracite. Much the same as the proverbial birds of similar feather, they had flocked to downtown Broad Street in an neighbor that had once been known as Millionaires Row. A few of Mauch Chunk's wealthiest, however, chose the distinction of living apart from the flock. In this portrait view of CNJ No. 1085, the palatial mansion of Asa Packer looms in the distance - a reminder to townspeople of the period that although all were equal under law - some had been more equal. - westward view, October 23, 1966 - A. W. Kovacs
A recently out-shopped CNJ No. 810 simmers at Mauch Chunk passenger depot on mid-summer week day (Thursday) awaiting the conductor's signal to proceed. Although it is difficult to determine what train this is, based on the consist of RDG coaches, a reasonable guess would be a rail enthusiasts special. In 1944 the CNJ modernized its image by changing from a staid, RDG inspired, Railroad Roman style C.R.R. of N.J. decoration on equipment to a highly consumer oriented Futura Bold (an avant-garde style of lettering) Jersey Central Lines, which also substituted a Miss Liberty bust medallion for the old New Jersey Central ball herald. The new logo was symbolic of the railroad's presence on New York Harbor and soon garnered the nickname Statue of Liberty Lines in press and hearts. The switch from New Jersey Central to Jersey Central Lines was intended to present the CNJ as a system of associated lines (the newly formed Central Railroad of Pennsylvania - transformed from the old Lehigh & Susquehanna Division - and the original corporate Central Railroad Company of New Jersey).
Map of CNJ Lower Yard & Station Area
MP 117.86 Left - The CNJ passenger station at Mauch Chunk dated back to 1888. It was constructed a short time after the 1887 birth of the town's final namesake, the great native American athlete and Olympian - Jim Thorpe. - northwest view, Circa 1962 - photographer unknown Right - The upstairs floor of the Mauch Chunk freight house was used by train crews as a bunk house and locker room. Although the building looks a bit shoddy in this early 1960s view, it was still in-service. - southwest view, September 17, 1961 - William T. Greenberg, Jr.
Between 1875 and 1941 the citizens of Mauch Chunk enjoyed their own locally brewed beer from across the river on North Street. The East Mauch Chunk brewery was started in 1875 by Kuebler & Glanz Brewery of Easton, PA. After several years of brewing the brewery was sold in 1879 to P. & P. Schweibinz, also of Easton. The new management lasted until 1882 when the Schweibinzes took a P. away from the company to become Pius Schweibinz. Pius lasted until 1913 when the Ortlieb Brewing Company of Philadelphia moved it. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the Prohibition Act, put the East Mauch Chunk brewery out of business until the act was repealed under the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. The Sterling Brewing Co., Inc., of Evansville, IN, reopened the plant in 1933 and brewed their beer for a couple of years when in 1935 John and Monroe Frey purchased the facilities and reopened it as the Mauch Chunk Brewing Co. They brewed beer in East Mauch Chunk until 1941 after which the brewery closed forever.
In this view looking back toward Susquehanna Street at the east end of Mauch Chunk, the photographer is standing on a flat of land that was once occupied by the storage tanks and offices of the Mauch Chunk Gas Company. Once out of city limits Susquehanna Street became the Lehighton Road (now Mauch Chunk Street - US Route 209). - northwest view, Circa 1960 - Thomas A. Bavolar
Beyond the first bend of the river east of Mauch Chunk - the CNJ, LV, canal segment of the Lehigh navigation, and highway entered a confined area known as The Narrows, a deep river gorge between Mauch Chunk and Packerton Junction. - northwest view, Circa 1947 - Robert Guthlein collection
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