The Hanover Branch Railroad – part 5
Cannonball reader Bob Resig sent in a series of photographs tracing Elijah V. White‘s route from what later became Valley Junction in southern York County, Pennsylvania, to Hanover Junction. This historic trace was once the Hanover Branch Railroad’s right of way, and President Abraham Lincoln rode through here twice before and after his Gettysburg Address.
Bob’s photo shows the old roadbed as it bends through the Civil War-era Miller farm. Some of White’s Comanches may have followed the tracks northeasterly to a nearby bridge, while others took what is today’s Park Road south down to Sinsheim road before turning toward Jefferson.
Let’s retrace the historic route of the HBRR, nestled in scenery little changed from when Honest Abe rode these rails. I have intermixed Bob Resig’s photos with some aerial photos from Yahoo.com, as these satellite photographs still show much of the original trace of the Hanover Branch Railroad.
Google satellite imagery shows the old trace of the Hanover Branch Railroad (beside the tips of the yellow arrows) as it curves away from Valley Junction and heads toward Jefferson Station.
The old roadbed is clearly visible cut into the hillside on the old Miller farm. In June 1863, the farmer was apparently hiding his horses, because he filed no border claim after the war for lost property. A few months later, in November 1863, Abe Lincoln rode up this hillside en route to Gettysburg.
After climbing the hill and turning northeasterly, the HBRR passed through some very fertile, hilly farm country. Vestiges of the old line may still be seen. Remember, this is all private property, and Bob had special permission to take these photos. Cannonball readers are asked to respect the property owners’ rights if you try to retrace Lige White and Abe Lincoln’s route.
Note the right side of the photo, where the old roadbed of the HBRR juts out into the fields owned by a member of the Rebert family. Bob Rebert is leading the fight to preserve these historic embankments on his farm.
Reader Bob Resig’s photo shows the end of the embankment seen in the above satellite photo.
Cannonball blogger Scott Mingus took the above photo in December 2008 of the middle of the remaining embankment. Photo taken looking northeast from Krafts Mill Road.
The final aerial shot. I took my picture from the road above where the middle yellow arrow is in the satellite view.
We have now arrived at Jefferson Station, a refueling and refreshment stop along the old HBRR. In 1863, Jefferson resident Jacob Rebert owned a country store and post office here, and local farmers would ship their freight from the Codorus region to markets in Baltimore, York, and elsewhere from the platform that used to exist. Now, the site of the old depot is an agricultural supply store.
In the next installment in this series, we will view the old Hanover Branch Railroad’s line north of Jefferson (Codorus Post Office in 1863), a route that led White’s troopers to Hanover Junction, where William SIckles and the recruits of the 20th Pennsylvania Militia were nervously awaiting the arrival of the Rebel raiders.
Previous posts in this series:
The Hanover Branch Railroad – part 1 of a series
The Hanover Branch Railroad – part 2
The Hanover Branch Railroad – part 3
The Hanover Branch Railroad – part 4