6th Subdivision - I&L Branch
From the beginning, the predecessor lines that eventually would become the Monon Railroad eyed the coal fields of Indiana. The Monon's initial entry into these coal fields came via leased trackage. September 1902 the CIL signed an agreement with the Indianapolis Southern for trackage rights on ten miles of line from Switz City through Linton to the mining area of Victoria. In combination with the Bedford and Bloomfield Branch, the rights gave the railroad access to mines in Sullivan and Green counties.
In 1899 the seeds of what was to become the Monon's third and best route into the coal fields were planted when officers of the CI&L participated in the creation of the Indianapolis & Louisville Railway Company. The original I&L charter provided for building a 100 mile line from Indianapolis to Switz City. The line would traverse through Marion, Hendricks, Morgan, Putnam, Owen, Clay, Sullivan and Green counties. Early in 1903, real progress was made on the I&L. The line had been surveyed from the Monon mainline south of Cloverdale to Victoria.
In 1905 the final form of the I&L branch was agreed upon by the Monon's board. The line was to start on the mainline between Cloverdale and Quincy, at a site named Wallace Junction, after CI&L Engineer W.A. Wallace. It would extend only to Victoria. To assure that the CI&L had control of the I&L, the Monon took a 99 year lease on the I&L, effective January 1, 1906.
The I&L was turned over to the CI&L officially on October 1, 1907, with the Vicksburg Spur opening later that December. The I&L counted 59.7 route miles with yet another 10.2 in sidings and mine trackage. In 1911 the Monon Coal Company, owned by the railroad, was established to establish a presence in the coal fields. The Lattas Creek spur provided the Monon with a link to the Chicago, Terre Haute and Southeastern (later Milwaukee Road) at Lattas Junction.
Excepts From "Monon, The Hoosier Line" by Gary and Steve Dolzall
Devore, Indiana. Left: Looking south along the I&L branch mainline, circa 1979. Right: Another look at Devore. I believe that this view is also looking south.
M.P. I&L F 6.4 - 6th Subdivision -
Cataract, Indiana. November 1979. Left: Looking south down the Midland Brach right of way. Right: The thriving metropolis of Cataract.
M.P. I&L F 12.9 - 6th Subdivision - JO
Mainline bridge at Jordan, looking north. The shed on the right side is a section shed. This location is near the "Old Cellar Hole" a popular swimming hole, known for skinny dipping.
Jordan, Indiana depot. Exact date unknown. -MRHTS Archive Collection-
Line shed at Jordan. Date unknown. Anyone have a guess at what those cartons contained? -Mahlon Eberhard Collection-
Looking along the right of way at Jordan. The depot pictured above would be to the photographer's left. -MRHTS Archives Collection-
Another look at same building at Jordan. -MRHTS Archive Collection-
Jordan, Indiana. (No this community was not named after Michael Jordan.) Left: Looking north along the mainline. Right: The town. Looks rather typical small town Americana.
M.P. I&L F 15.3 - 6th Subdivision -
I&L Branch mainline looking towards the south.
M.P. I&L F 15.9 - 6th Subdivision -
Hoffman Spur, November 1979. Left: I&L mainline looking to the south. Right: Looking towards the north.
Patricksburg IL 19.1 - 6th Subdivision -
Left: Postcard with images from Patricksburg, circa 1905. Right: Enlargement of the Monon Depot image from the postcard. Both images courtesy of the Indiana State Historical Society.
Patricksburg depot, 1910. The steam locomotive is north of the depot.
Patricksburg, Indiana. Left: November 1979. Looking south along the Monon mainline. Right: Looking towards the north.
Left: Former I&L mainline at Patricksburg. Looking north from the former Main Street (State Road 246) Crossing. Right: Looking to the south from the same location.
State Road 246 turn to the south on the west side of town. The right of way turned east and crossed the road. Left: Looking back towards town from the south crossing. Right: Looking toward the east, railroad south, towards Clay City.
M.P. IL 27.7 (F 27.7) -6th Subdivision- SY
Clay City is a town (population 1025) in Clay County, located in south central Indiana. It began as a railroad town supported by farming, sawmills, mining, brick and flour factories, several schools and a pottery. Before World War I, it appeared that Clay City might even become a college town. At the time, the town had a renowned baseball team, a literary society, many college graduates, numerous inventors, and was considered so progressive it was dubbed "the Athens of the Wabash Valley." Clay City’s slogan is "Mayberry of the Midwest", and is regarded as "the friendliest town in Indiana."
Left: Clay City circa 1910. Main Street. Right: Circa 1967, Main Street. -Courtesy Clay County Indiana Web Site-
Bartlett, Kuhn & Company, 1877
Clay City Flour Mill, date unknown. Note boxcar next to mill. This mill was located on the CCC&STL (later NYC) near downtown Clay City.
The Clay City depot. No date is listed. It appears to be the early 1900's. MRHTS Archives Collection.
Clay City was the only point along the Monon where the Monon was the junior railroad. The standard and custom of the railroad industry was to have the junior line maintain and bear the costs in perpetuity. Here the Monon crossed the Big Four line. The branch served the open pit, also known as strip mines of the region. Pictured is the tower that protected the junction.
Clay City Tower, date unknown. -Mahlon Eberhard Collection-
Left: Clay City Tower, another view. Right: New York Central steam approaches the tower.
Left: Southbound train at State Road 59, 1964. Right: Same train setting off cars on the team track. Locomotives number 51 A & B which was the normal power on the I&L at the time. -Rick Dreistadt photographs-
Box cars on the interchange track. These were designated for grain loading at the elevator. June 1957. The first two Monon box cars are brand spanking new. Never been loaded. -Rick Dreistadt photograph-
Photographer is standing on the Monon tracks looking south. Box cars are on the interchange track for the NYC, June 1957. -Rick Dreistadt photograph-
Clay City Tower. Unknown date.
Clay City Operator Claude Tatum on duty, March 1957 -Rick Dreistadt photograph-
October 1976. Clay City. Looking from the tower (I presume) along the former Monon. Right: Another shot of the Clay City junction tower.
Clay City Tower. Looking west from the cab as they pass the tower, late 1960's, early 1970's.
Clay City 2007
Clay City. Left: Former right of way on the north side of town. Looking southwest from the former crossing at County Road 700S. Right: The former location of the NYC-Monon crossing. You are looking east from Nye Street along the Monon.
Left: Looking to the north along the former NYC mainline through Clay City. Right: Standing on the Monon right of way, looking southwest. Where the building is in the distance, the right of way would curve to left.