Monday, September 26, 2011
Artist Thomas Moran in 1864 created this landscape of the Juniata Valley in the vicinity of Mill Creek, PA, looking east. The Juniata River is to the right. Mapleton, PA is behind the rocky ridge. The gap in the distance beyond Mapleton is Jack's mountain. The mountain to the right is the northernmost point of Sidling Hill. In the painting now part of the National Gallery, the railroad is not shown.
Here is a woodcut done by Thomas Moran published in the 1875, "Pennsylvania Railroad: Its Origin, Construction, Condition and Connections," by William B. Sipes. Note in the lower left corner the Moran monogram of a capital M over a capital T. Here, the Pennsylvania Railroad right of way now owned by the Norfolk Southern Company is clearly shown. The line is today on the same right of way. The landscape is set in the vicinity of Mill Creek, PA looking east and downstream of the Juniata River looking towards Mapleton, PA.
The landscape at Mill Creek from Thomas Moran's sketchbook circa 1870.
From the 1875 "Pennsylvania Railroad" by Sipes, a woodcut view from Mapleton, PA looks east toward the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal crossing the Juniata River from the south bank to the north bank. This view is near milepost 193.5.
Photograph circa 1870 of the aqueduct carrying the Pennsylvania Canal from the Juniata River's south bank to its north bank below Mapleton, PA. This is the entrance to Jack's Narrows of the Juniata River as the river flows through a gap in Jack's Mountain.
Looking east within Jack's Narrows below Mapleton, PA two canal boats are being prepared to be lowered in a lock. Circa 1860.
Looking upstream and west towards Mapleton, PA, from within Jack's Narrows of the Juniata River Valley circa 1860. The curve to the left then as now is 1.5 degrees tightening to 2.3 degrees changing to a 2.6 degree cure right in the distance. The passenger speed today is limited to 60 mph on the right of way built in the 1850's. The proposed realignment permitting a speed of 80 mph would cut through the mountain to the left. This was near today's milepost 192.5.
A recent photograph looking east near milepost 192.5. This photograph was posted on http://michaelfroio.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/jacks-narrows/. Photographer Froio captured some of the essence of being within Jack's Narrows. The access road to the left shows where two of the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline tracks once existed. The four track mainline was given the name, "broadway." When the "broadway" existed two tracks were designated for passenger service and two tracks were designated for freight service. The tracks were signalled in one direction only. In the 1950's when passenger service peaked and then declined, 50 east - west daily passenger trains operated past this point between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Today the two remaining tracks have bi-directional signalling.
From the New York Public Digital Library: http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/. This is a stereoview circa 1870 by photographer W. T. Purviance entitled, "Jacks Narrows." The perspective appears to be a few hundred feet west of the the perspective by photographer Froio. Looking east into Jacks Narrows.