[N&W] Re: Dry Gulch Junction

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon May 31 15:37:42 EDT 2004

Was the park you referenced on old US 52???  I rode on a shay in that area 
of the country in 1975, but have never been able to repeat that thrill as 
the park went "belly up".


Bill Smith
I have some photos of the shay and the heisler from when I was a boy.  The 
park closed because of one particularly bad summer of rain that kept 
business away for almost the entire tourist season.  That and the opening 
of the interstate highway took all of the drive-by traffic away from the 
park.  Several years after it was closed and all the equipment sold off, I 
went to the place to relive some old memories.  Turns out that the same 
fellow who owned the place also owned the Big Walker Lookout tower.  I 
spoke with his mother who was there operating the ticket stand for the 
tower.  He had sold off the equipment but was holding the property as a tax 
loss write-off.  She told me who bought the shay and the heisler and I have 
it written down somewhere.  She also gave me some of the blueprints that 
had been drawn up for plans to extend the railroad ride, and a second 
town/village at the upper end of the line.  I still have these in my 

I never knew about the rod engine in Wytheville.  Do you have any pictures 
of it or any information about it?  I would love to know more.

Dr. J. Brent Greer
A quick Google search found these.  Hope they help.

Here is a link to the Shay survivors list.

Here is a link to the Heisler.

The place is now called Virginia City.

Howard D. Adkins, II

There are plenty of details about Shay No. 19 in various issues of THE LOG
TRAIN, the publication of the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical
Association (www.msrlha.org), particularly Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer 1992.  Here
are some abreviated details:

Built by Lima in 1905 (c/n 1568, std. gauge, Class 65-3 [65 tons - 3
trucks]) for Tioga Lumber Company (their No. 2), Tioga (Nicholas County),
WV, which became the Birch Valley Lumber Co. in 1915.  In 1925 the Shay
became the property of The Sutton Co. in Hookersville (Nicholas County), WV.
Around 1927 it was purchased by the Cherry River Boom & Lumber Co., Richwood
(Nicholas County), WV.  Reported to have been the property of Ely-Thomas
Lumber Company at some time, it next became Elk River Coal & Lumber No. 19
at Swandale (Clay County), WV) in early 1957, and operated there under
successive owners W. M. Ritter Lumber Co. and Georgia-Pacific, where it was
reportedly the last Shay in daily log train service in the country.

In 1964 it was purchased by Stuart Kime of Wytheville for his Dry Gulch &
Tombstone, which opened in 1967.  The Shay operated until the 1972 tourist
season when it was replaced with a 2-6-2 rod engine.  When the 2-6-2 was
sold in 1977, the Shay was placed back into service until it developed a
crack in the throat sheet during the 1978 season, at which time it was
replaced by the 42-2 Heisler.  The railroad operated until 1979.

The Shay and the Heisler were next purchased by Luray Caverns in Virginia,
but plans to operate the locomotives there fell through, so the locomotives
were sold to Robert Most, a Florida shipyard owner.  They were stored on the
Tampa waterfront until the Shay was sold to American House, a non-profit
organization in Lima, Ohio, the Shay's birthplace.  The Shay arrived at the
Lima Trade Center (former Lima Locomotive Works) on May 7, 1992, where it
was stored in the central erecting shop to await restoration for a static

This is all of the information in THE LOG TRAIN issues that I have on the
locomotives in question.  Reference to www.shaylocomotives.com, however,
revealed that c/n 1568 is on display in Veterans Park, Harrod, OH, 12 miles
east of Lima.  There is an accompanying picture that shows it to be in
fairly decent shape under a shed roof.

Gordon Hamilton

My previous message overlooked your speculation that these locomotives might
have moved over the N&W to and/or from Wytheville and the Dry Gulch &
Tombstone.  The same sources cited in my previous message state that Shay
No. 19 was transported to the DG&T by means of a Diamond T Redball tractor
and 25 foot lowboy that barely made the trip over three mountains with its
heavy load.  Don't know how the Shay got to Florida, but the Shay and spare
parts were moved from Florida to Lima using three tractor trailers.
Pictures in the Summer 1992 issue of THE LOG TRAIN show the Shay sans trucks
being unloading from one low-boy at Lima.

Gordon Hamilton

 > As a child, my family would take me to the Dry Gulch Junction theme park
 > located near Whytheville, Virginia, I remember riding behind shay #19, but
 > there was also a hiesler on property as well as a rod engine that set on
 > the siding at Wytheville that was never transported to the park. Does
 > anyone have info on the history of these locomotives as well as their
 > disposition. the park closed in the 70's and I am sure that these
 > locomotives are still in existance, and probally traveled via-N & W to
 > their new destinations. Thanks
 > GP35
 > Gary Price at gpprice_nsc at yahoo.com

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