Gadsden County High Point Trip Report
Date: January 28, 2000
Andy Martin's book lists two areas for possible HPs of Gadsden County, FL.
One of these has an elevation of 310+ and the second is a very small 320+ area
on the north side of some railroad tracks about 5 miles east-southeast of Chattahoochee.
The latter is listed as being manmade.
The railroad in question is the Appalachicola Northern, with offices in Port St. Joe, FL.
I have spoken with Mr. Wayne Parrish, Vice-President of the railroad, who has been with
them since 1964. I have also spoken with a Mr. Billy Howell, an amateur railroad history
buff who has a room in his house devoted to Appalachicola Northern memorabilia and whose
father went to work for the railroad in 1912 at the age of 12.
The line in question was built in the early 1900s. Coming east out of Chattahoochee,
it begins a long climb of more than 100 feet at a more than 1% grade about a mile east of
the hill in question. (This is a lot of climb and a lot of grade for Florida.
Both men mentioned that, in the old days of steam locomotives, freight trains used to have
to be split in half at the bottom of this climb. Half the freight would be hauled to the
top of the hill and put on a siding, then the locomotive would go back down the hill for
the other half.)
While there are apparently no maps or plans from the building of the line, both men assured
me that the hill was entirely a natural feature and was not built up by the railroad in
any manner. Given the long incline to the west, the excavated material was probably
used to build up the embankment where it was needed further down the slope.
The cut was made so that the climb wouldn't be any steeper than it was.
Author: Fred Lobdell