Happy National Train Day!
The National Park Service has a new Junior Ranger booklet, the Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer. It was released just in time for National Train Day, May 9.
National Train Day is celebrated on the Saturday closest to May 10, the day which commemorates the Golden Spike Ceremony held on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Summit.
#NationalTrainDay #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque
The booklet provides kids of all ages with fun activities to do with friends and family. It covers a wide range of topics from history, to the cultures of the people involved, to the tools used to build a railroad - most of the work was done by hand!
There is also a section about the Native Americans, for whom the coming of the railroad speeded up the loss of their homelands.
If you are an adult, you should read through the booklet too, you might be surprised about the breadth of the material covered.
You can view and download the Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer here: https://www.nps.gov/articles/junior-ranger-railroad-explorer.htm
And if unable to come to a Park, you can become a Junior Ranger on-line. This NPS page will tell you how: https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/becoming-junior-ranger-online
Though Paterson started as a cotton town, the town needed skilled carpenters and metal workers to build and repair machines for the cotton trade. One of these carpenters was Thomas Rogers who partnered with Morris Ketchum and Jasper Grosvenor to found a machine shop in 1831 - they planned to spin cotton on the second floor. Soon after founding they received an order to build 100 sets of wheel and axles for the South Carolina Railroad. By 1837 they had built their first locomotive. It took 16 months to build the Sandusky, since they had to create the tools and gauges needed to do the work properly. In 1838 they built seven locomotives and they increased their production each year until in 1854 they built 103 locomotives.
Oh - they never did spin cotton on their second floor.
Roger’s shop was an incubator of talent, with his shop foreman, William Swinburne, leaving to found Swinburne, Smith and Company in 1845. John Cooke also worked at the Rogers mill and he founded his own locomotive manufacturing firm, Danforth, Cooke & Company with Charles Danforth who also had found employment briefly with Rogers.
In November 1868 Rogers delivered 5 identical coal-burning 4-4-0 steam locomotives (assigned Nos. 116 -120) to the Union Pacific Railroad, which were subsequently placed into freight service in western Wyoming and Utah.
Union Pacific No. 119 would gain fame on May 10, 1869 when it took part in the "Golden Spike" ceremony at Promontory, Utah to celebrate the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
Along with locomotive manufacturing, Paterson became a major iron town as well, relying on ore from NJ’s highlands, delivered via the Morris Canal. Paterson Iron works produced everything from rolled iron sheets to structural iron work for bridges.
The National Park Service has a number of sites dedicated to railroads or which interpret railroads. One of them is Steamtown NHS in Scranton, which has restored the old DL&W roundhouse: https://www.nps.gov/stea/index.htm
Another is Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS in Pennsylvania: https://www.nps.gov/alpo/index.htm
And of course the Golden Spike National Historical Park in Utah: https://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm
Oh - and we interpret railroads too!
The first two pictures show the new Jr Ranger Railroad Explorer.
The rest are about Rogers and cover its history in pictures.
The first is the Sandusky. The picture shows the engine and below it Roger’s revolutionary wheels that were counterweighted to balance the weight of the driveshafts.
Then we have Rogers circa 1860. Note the mix of wooden and brownstone buildings. Also the locomotive in the middle of Spruce Street. The wooden building on the left has the old name “Rogers Ketcham and Grosvenor.”
Next is a 6 wheel switcher engine used to move rail cars in a rail yard. It was built in 1863.
Then we have Rogers at its peak in the 1880s. It was still a major player in the industry.
Last, we have a locomotive being transported from Rogers to the Erie Tracks. This shows the difficulties faced by Rogers. Things were much harder for him that for his peers. And he could not expand in Paterson.