Tracing the Swamp Rabbit Railroad in River Falls

Swamp Rabbit remnants in Cleveland
For some time now, I've been sporadically researching and documenting the path of the Swamp Rabbit Railroad from Greenville to Cleveland to River Falls, all in Greenville County, South Carolina. The result of this research is Abandoned Railroad: Greenville and Northern Railway (Swamp Rabbit), a map drawn with Google Maps Engine Lite. Recently, I came upon two plats recorded at Greenville County Register of Deeds that resulted in a revision of the path around River Falls.

The path from Greenville to Travelers Rest was abandoned in 2005 to become the Swamp Rabbit Trail and is easily traced. The path from Travelers Rest to Cleveland was abandoned in the 1960s and is traceable from historic maps and from a satellite map view such as Google's or Bing's. This part I investigated in Tracing the Swamp Rabbit.

The path north from Cleveland to River Falls was abandoned much earlier (later than 1920 but before 1940) and is much harder to trace due to the length of time passed. This part I investigated in Tracing the Swamp Rabbit, part 2 and briefly in Boxing Day Adventures.

For the location of the northern terminus, I relied on a 1961 USGS map of the Cleveland quadrangle showing an old path from Devils Fork Road to Gap Creek Road. I assumed it was the old railroad bed.
This path ends at Gap Creek Road just south of where Gap Creek empties into the Middle Saluda River. I found a plat based a survey performed in 1918 showing a different terminus location and also a wye for the train to turn around. This map shows the railroad ends between River Falls Road and the Middle Saluda.
While this plat is missing a bend in the river (shown in the 1961 map above) around the wye, it's still a valuable piece of information.

Plat book Y, page 116, also surveyed in 1918 but not recorded until 1951, shows the railroad path from Cleveland north to River Falls. Excellent! Below I've snipped the part from Devils Fork Road to present Jones Gap Road.
This survey also shows the line ending between current River Falls and the west bank of the Middle Saluda.

With these two plats, I've been able to improve my map in an area I had to make some educated guesses. I'm pleased most of my guesses were correct, and happy to correct where I was wrong.

I also found a plat from 1961 showing a closer look at railroad path just south of River Falls.
The location of the trestle shown in this snippet doesn't quite match location shown in the snippet from 1918. Google Earth shows what appears to be stone ruins at the very location marked in the 1961 plat. I also make out what looks like some kind of path headed to the northeast away from that structure. Hmmm...
While the 1961 survey offers more detail, I decided to stick with the more general 1918 survey in this area because it's from the same era as the railroad.

I've documented my sources on my Google Drive account. Photos of railroad remnants from my previous adventures are on Flickr in sets Tracing the Swamp Rabbit, part 1, Tracing the Swamp Rabbit, part 2, and Tracing the Swamp Rabbit - Dec 2013.

And my newly revised map:

Update 5/21/2016: I found a another River Falls plat in this PDF showing the location of the railroad and depot in River Falls. I overlaid that plat over River Falls in Google Earth (as best as I could) and produced this:

Comments

  1. Just FYI I shared a link to this site over at http://www.abandonedrails.com/Greenville_to_River_Falls

    ReplyDelete
  2. i need vintage photos of the old swamp rabbit train and of the old tourist attraction at Echo Valley.
    Let me know if you have those pics of have access to them so I can do post cards/magnets to sell of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have any, but I do see one relevant postcard for sale on ebay you could buy and then scan.

      Delete

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