RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 5
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 5 of Chapter 18 . . . David. 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 18 . . . DAVID . . . Part 5
The formal opening of the entire line of the Maryland Central Railroad from Baltimore to Delta was celebrated in Delta on Thursday January 17th, 1884, with about 3000 people in attendance. The January 25th, 1884, issue of The Delta Herald reported on the elaborate formal opening of the Maryland Central Railroad and its connection with the York & Peach Bottom Railway:
FORMAL OPENING OF THE M.C.R.R.
Large Excursion from Baltimore and a great outpouring of people from the surrounding neighborhood—Feasting, sleighing and Speech-making.
[Continued from Chapter 18, Part 4:]
From early morning till noon the various highways leading to Delta were thronged with conveyances, from the country jumper made of white oak saplings and dry-goods boxes and drawn by mules, to the handsome cutter drawn by spirited and speeded horses, conveying the sturdy farmers and their families to witness and participate in the celebration of an event that is destined to prove so fruitful and beneficial to the growth and prosperity of Delta and surrounding neighborhood.
About half-past one o’clock a train of twelve passenger coaches drawn by two 35-ton engines arrived from Baltimore with the excursion party, who were welcomed by fully 2000 people who had congregated at the railroad near H. R. Lloyd’s from all sections of York and Harford counties. A committee met them and Rev. T. M. Crawford introduced Col. Webster, collector of the port of Baltimore, who made a neat little speech in behalf of the Baltimoreans, in which he thanked them for their kindly reception, and said he could bespeak as warm a welcome should the Delta folks ever come to that city.
A way, he said, had been opened up to the great city of Baltimore, the natural outlet of the products of Delta, and her people wish to send them there. Not a foot of barren or sferile land could be seen from Delta to Baltimore; there is none that cannot be made rich. Not a more attractive road goes out of Baltimore. The country is as healthy as any on the face of the earth, and has a people that cannot be surpassed in honesty and kindness. The traffic of the road is going to be great.
The visitors, headed by a city band, were then escorted to the dining room prepared in the basement of the M. P. church, where a sumptuous dinner was served them. After the M.C.R.R. officials had dined a large pound cake was presented to President Waters and General Manager S. G. Boyd, by the ladies of this vicinity, the presentation address being made by Rev. T. M. Crawford. It was a large, beautifully iced cake with raised icing letters “M.C.R.R.”, and “B.D.”, on its top. After dinner the use of about one hundred sleighs of about as many styles were offered the visitors and a large number of them enjoyed a ride through town and a visit to the wonderful slate quarries near this place.
Shortly after 3 o’clock a public meeting was organized in Masonic Hall, with Mr. John S. McIlvaine as chairman. Mr. Chas. E. Fendall, of Towson, was the first speaker. He said the town was to be congratulated upon the completion of the railroad as Delta was now linked with the great metropolis of the South, the city of Baltimore. Nathan Grafton, of Forest Hill was the next speaker. After saying that it ought to be a gala day for the people of Delta, he reviewed the record of the present directory of the road, in which he praised the members for their perseverance and achievements, notwithstanding the opposition of several disaffected stockholders. William Silverwood, of the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association of Old Town, followed with a short address, in which he said it was the duty of the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore to grant the Maryland Central an entrance into the heart of the city. Until this was done the road was really incomplete. S. G. Boyd, superintendent of the Maryland Central, said $155,000 was raised by subscription shortly before the work of constructing the road was begun. First mortgage bonds were then issued for $600,000, finding ready purchasers. Second mortgage bonds were issued for $300,000. Every dollar of the large amount, he said, was spent on the road. There was no New York railroad magnate business about spending the money and fixing the stock. Besides the lands purchased, and rights of way secured with the money, 2000 tons of rails, 1,000,000 feet of lumber, and the necessary rolling stock were purchased, and when the interest notes fell due last May, the directors to show their belief in the ultimate success of the road, hypothecated the coupons and paid the interest themselves instead pf throwing them on the market. In concluding he said no evidence can be brought to show that one dollar of the company’s money has been misappropriated.
Among the visitors from Baltimore were Councilmen Moran, Hanway, Hull, Maloney, Streett, Bankard and Hoffman, Sheriff Airey, Collector Webster, Postmaster Adreon, Edward Potts of the B. & O. R.R., and Dr. Brooks, of the Sun. E. M. Allen, Maryland State Senator, H. C. Longnecker, Towsontown Union; Col. S. H. Hyde, Baltimore Co.; F. W. Baker, AEgis, and J. M. Streett, Harford Democrat, Belair; A. Vosbury, President Havre de Grace bank, and W. S. McCombs, Republican, Havre de Grace.
The excursionists left Delta at 4:30 o’clock and arrived safely in Baltimore at 9 o’clock.
A special train was run over the Y. & P.B. R.W. arriving here at about 12 o’clock, conveying E. G. Smyser, treasurer of the road, Dr. Wm. C. Smith, of the Board, Frank G. Metzgar, Secretary, George Billmeyer, Danl. Rupp, Enos Fry, George Motter, Henry J. Gressly, and Hiram Young of the Evening Dispatch, who were met at this place by Mr. Charles E. McConkey, President of the Y. & P.B. R.W.
The utmost good will and harmony prevailed during the entire day, and with one exception, that of an aged lady from Baltimore who fell near the church and broke her wrist, no serious accidents occurred.
Mr. E. G. Smyser, of York, was knocked down by a sleigh, but fortunately escaped uninjured.
The whole affair was a grand success, and while it is impossible for us to enumerate the parties who are deserving of praise and credit, it is no more than justice to say especial commendation is due Rev. T. M. Crawford, Dr. W. H. Kilgore, chairman, E. Arnold, secretary, the different committees, and last, but no wise least, the ladies who so actively and faithfully labored and contributed so much to the success of the celebration.
The newspaper article was posted on the bulletin boards in all Billmeyer & Small works. It was placed under a poster with the saying often used by David E. Small: “A showcase narrow gauge railway was formally opened January 17th, 1884; stretching all the way from our Spring Garden Car Works through southeastern York County and across Maryland; into the important railroading City of Baltimore. A majority of the cars on the combined railways were built by YOU.”
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