The Little Saw Mill Run Railroad
At the beginning of the 1850s Pittsburgh was on the verge of becoming the “Workshop of the World.” The coal industry, the foundation of the area’s growth, needed to reach coal inland from the rivers. The Little Saw Mill Run Railroad’s three miles of track were not the first to wind between hills and run along and over creeks and streams to carry coal to market. However, to the folks living along its route, in the valleys of the Saw Mill and Little Saw Mill Runs, it was as important as any major trunk line hundreds of miles long.
Conceived by farmers and merchants, the Little Saw Mill Run Railroad was in large part financed and managed by the Harmony Society, a group of German Communist, Capitalist, and Celibate Christians. The life and times of the railroad and the residents of the valleys will be looked at in this talk, which covers approximately one hundred and ten years from the mid 1840s to the mid 1950s.
Operations on the Little Saw Mill Run Railroad’s 3.4 miles of track by its successors, the West Side Belt Railroad, and the Pittsburgh and West Virginia Railway will also be covered.
David Aitken will have copies of his book “The Little Saw Mill Run Railroad” for sale and to autograph.
Please reserve your seat by emailing or calling David Miller at (724) 266-4500, ext. 110.
About the speaker:
David Aitken is a retired Penn Central and Conrail Railroad Yardmaster who worked at many of the yards in the Pittsburgh area, but mainly at the Conway Yards. He is President of Beaver County N.A.M.I. (National Alliance on Mental Illness); an A.A.R.P. team leader in the nine counties of the northwest region where he teaches seniors safe driving practices. He is the past Vice- President of the Beaver -Lawrence Railway Historical Society, an organization dedicated to restoring the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad station at West Pittsburg. He is a member of many local historical societies and enjoys paddling on the Ohio River. He is a researcher and volunteer at Old Economy Village and is reported to have a striking resemblance to Belsnickel (the German helper of St. Nicholas), who can be seen around Christmastime at Old Economy Village. His 40 year interest and research of the Little Saw Mill Run Railroad has resulted in a new book on this Harmonist-owned railroad.