RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 16 . . Founders . . Part 4
RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 4 of Chapter 16 . . . Founders. A new part will be posted every Thursday. Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 16 . . . FOUNDERS . . . Part 4
Emma’s wish of no more delays in the timely completion of the Spring Garden Car Works only lasted a few days before another setback. To make matters worse, the accident happened two hours before George and Emma Billmeyer were scheduled to leave on their fifth-wedding-anniversary trip. The June 1st, 1881 issue of the York Daily reported:
Fall From a High Wall
Yesterday morning, Mr. Henry Krause, bricklayer, residing on South Newberry Street, while at work at Billmeyer & Small Co.’s new car shops, fell from the front wall to the pavement below, a distance of over thirty feet. He was inside and was leaning over the wall to examine the work outside, when the bricks gave way and precipitated him as stated, a number of bricks following and striking him, and cutting his head and leg in several places and bruising his arm. In the afternoon Mr. Krause was able to be about again. It is a wonder that he was not instantly killed.
George and Emma visited with Mr. Krause. They decided not to delay their trip after Henry repeatedly assured them he would be okay.
George and Emma returned from a pleasant sea-side trip just in time to see the final bricks laid, to top out the 98-feet high smoke stack. Parts of the new car works, such as the paint and finishing departments were already being used for production work. In the coming weeks, other parts of the Spring Garden Car Works were gradually utilized.
Once at full operation, great pride was taken in the speed at which the new car works was producing railcars. Billmeyer & Small never did have a formal dedication celebration; instead settling for a dinner party, comprised of key individuals involved in getting the new car works built. George Billmeyer and John Small used that occasion to deliver their talks honoring the founders Charles Billmeyer and David E. Small.
David E. Small was keenly interested in the development of the Baltimore & Delta narrow gauge railway. He envisioned this railway as a continuance of the Peach Bottom Railway. Thus creating what he liked to call, “a showcase narrow gauge railway; stretching all the way from their Spring Garden Car Works through southeastern York County and across Maryland; into the important railroading City of Baltimore.”
The Baltimore & Delta Railway Company needed construction freight cars. David E. Small worked out a deal to supply all of them and as a bonus, got an order to build two first class passenger coaches even before the first spike was driven. This was reported in the August 10th, 1881 issue of the Evening Dispatch:
Cars for the Baltimore & Delta
The Billmeyer & Small Company have a contract to build two first class passenger coaches and all the freight cars for the Baltimore & Delta narrow gauge railroad.
David E. Small & George Billmeyer were in attendance when the first rail was laid in place on Falls Road at the Boundary / North Avenue bridge in Baltimore. On August 24th, 1881, the honor of driving the first spike was given to A. Street Waters, the son of railway president William H. Waters.
The joy of finally seeing work commence on the Baltimore & Delta Railway, was tempered a few weeks later. The already established, York to Delta, leg of the “showcase narrow gauge railway” was suddenly in peril. Sheriff Hoopes, of Chester County, seized the Peach Bottom Railway; including all rolling stock and materials belonging to the railway.
Go to Part 5