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=East Broad Top Railroad=


November 7, 2004

Top photo is the bridge over North Spring Branch in Saltillo. The middle pier, according to Coleman was once straight up and down with wooden cribbing filling in the missing space. The bridge was near the Saltillo watertank that was burnt down in recent years. The bottom photo is a poor attempt to photographically convey the steepness of the grade as EBT heads up Poplar Hollow, a gap through Clear Ridge, right outside of town.

Saltillo is the Spanish word meaning forecastle and also the name of a city in Mexico that was captured by Zach Taylor in the Mexican War. This noteworthy event possibly explains how a village in Pennsylvania got a Spanish name. Although in existence before the railroad, Saltillo must have been small as a church in Three Springs established a "mission church" in Saltillo in 1880. Local industries included iron ore mining, limestone and gannister quarrying. The NARCO gannister quarry was the last to operate. A well-managed tannery relocated in Saltillo after the coming of the EBT. Tanning was once a geographically diverse industry located in many small towns near lumbering operations and railroads. Hemlock and oak were primary sources of bark that was ground up to produce tannic acid. Apparently the bark was easier to remove at certain times of the year at the so-called bark peeling season. How this jived with smooth operations of the sawmills is unknown to this writer.

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