Walland and the Tannery
It was at Walland, where the Little River finally broke out of the mountains, that the Little River Railroad began, in more ways than one. It was here in 1900 that John W. Fisher decided to build a tannery, and it was he who convinced W. B. Townsend and his Pennsylvania associates to come to the Smokies. Fisher needed tanbark, and Townsend needed timber, as the Pennsylvania holdings were logged out.
The Knoxville and Augusta Railway had built from Knoxville south to Maryville, but was disinclined to build east to Fisher's new site at Walland. Fisher and his backers built the branchline themselves, and later sold it to the K&A (which subsequently went to the Southern Railway).
Walland thus became the terminus of the Little River Railroad, which proceeded 8 miles to Townsend, and another 3 miles to the Forks. This, technically, was the full extent of the Little River Railroad, which as a common carrier had the right of eminent domain, and responsibility to the ICC. Beyond the Forks, the rails were property of the Little River Lumber Company, and known as the East Prong Railroad for the 15 miles to Elkmont.
The tannery was completed in June, 1902, operating until 1931 when it burned down, and consuming as many as 250 carloads of tanbark a year. The tannery was built across the river, and a covered bridge was built to cross it. A depot was constructed in the crotch of the spur, was has survived and has been moved to Townsend to house the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company museum.
Tanbark Car at Walland Depot Passenger Train at Depot View Railroad, River, Tannery
Tannery, Bridge and Turntable View Bridge, Tannery, Walland Tannery Looking West
Covered Bridge, Walland Boys with Peaveys, Bridge Covered Bridge, Trestle Approach
Covered Bridge Construction Tannery Spur Before Depot Flood Waters at Bridge
Photo Album Pages:
Baldwins Shays Railcars Log Trains Passenger Trains Train Wrecks
Skidders Loaders Sawmill Tannery Construction Little River Scenes