Wheeler & Dusenbury / Hickory Valley Railroad
Forest County and Warren County, PA Logging History
Endeavor, PA, Forest County, 1887 - 1938
Lima-built 2-6-0 #5 at Endeavor, PA about 1935. Note the bandsaw blades from the mill.
Between 1887 and 1938, railroads built and owned by the Wheeler & Dusenbury Co., Endeavor PA, formed one of the largest logging rail networks in Northwest Pennsylvania. A logging railroad network sprawled over Warren and Forest Counties fed two large band mills at Endeavor, PA, hosted rod and geared steam locomotives, and for a time, even connected the Collins Pine empire to the outside world as the Hickory Valley Railroad. The railroad featured an entry in the Official Railway Guide, a formal timetable, and the only rail bridge across the Allegheny River between Oil City and Warren to connect the empire to the Pennsylvania Railroad at West Hickory.
W&D's policies of widespread selective tract cutting resulted in the logging railroads being active until the 1930's, supplying the Mayburg Chemical Company with chemical wood on second-growth tracts, and contributing to the survival of the Sheffield & Tionesta Railroad until WWII. W&D's legacy can also be seen at Hearts Content, PA, where a tract of virgin timber was saved and is a public recreation area today. Even in 1906, W&D was known for saving virgin tracts of timber.
If you know where to look (and this site will help!), much remains today. W&D sawed the last log in 1934, closed the railroad in 1938, razed the big sawmills, and sold the site the the Endeavor Lumber Company in 1941. A new, smaller, mill on the same site has grown and expanded over the years, making Endeavor one of the longest-lasting lumber mill sites in the United States. The mill site retains many original features, such as the office, shops, boiler house, and log pond. Endeavor remains a "classic" mill town today.
Learn more about it:
Maps! Walt Casler's W&D/HVRR map showing all W&D logging lines.
New! Links to historical Maptech online maps showing where the railroad was.
Sawmills! Wheeler had two big mills at Endeavor.
Timetable! Hickory Valley Railroad 1896 Timetable
Scenes along the Hickory Creek Valley More photos from the past including the West Hickory Bridge (removed 2007)
Aerial Views! Historic West Hickory and Endeavor, seen from smokestacks, hilltops and even - an airplane.
What Remains Today Modern-era photos of the W&D legacy
Relive the Era!
Cass Scenic Railroad, Cass, WV Like Endeavor, Cass, WV was a sawmill town. But the logging trains never left. It has an amazing resemblance to Endeavor, PA.
Hearts Content Wilderness Area - Allegheny National Forest One tract of virgin timber was preserved by the Wheelers and donated to the United States.. It is now the only remaining virgin timber stand of its kind in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum The Commonwealth's official museum of lumber history in Pennsylvania at Galeton, PA, including the only surviving Barnhart loader.
Comments? Questions? More information? mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
This page is dedicated to my father, Russell J. Gustafson, bookkeeper for Wheeler & Dusenbury 1928-1940, and President of the Endeavor Lumber Company 1941-1966.
Site last updated 7-16-2010