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Picture of the day - September 1, 2006

The Watauga Trestle On The Virginia Creeper Trail

The Watauga Trestle on the Virginia Creeper Trail.
Click photo to enlarge

The Virginia Creeper Trail in southwestern Virginia was a trail long before the Virginia-Carolina Railroad Company even laid the first rail on its route from Abingdon to the North Carolina line. In fact, it was a trail long before the first Europeans even set foot on the North American continent! By the time they arrived in the area, the local Indians had already used the scenic trail for hundreds of years, and later Daniel Boone and his men used it on a storied trek through the region.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the decision was made to build a railroad along the ancient route to haul the area's abundant timber and iron ore after it was harvested. Progress on the new railroad was slow and tedious because the numerous cuts and fills around the steep hillsides and "hollers" had to be dug by hand. To make the project even more difficult, dozens of trestles (bridges) had to be built in order for the the locomotive and its heavy cargo to cross the numerous rivers, creeks and ravines that lay in the path of the railroad - and they all had to be built using manual labor!

Those wooden trestles are marvelous feats of engineering, some of which span hundreds of feet in length and rise high above the ground below. Today's picture features one of the most recognized trestles on the trail: the long, scenic trestle located in the Watauga community just south of Abingdon.

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