Friday, January 18, 2013

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #110

The April 1896 Cadet announced “Fall in for Natural Bridge! A Gala Day! Let everybody go. Students and friends in the city.  The Lexington and Eastern Railroad can’t be excelled for scenery.  All who went last year, know that the trip was far superior to expectation; since then, the Railroad Co. have spent thousands of dollars, and now have the best place in the country for picnic parties and pleasure seeker. Go! 

Ad from the 1896 Cadet
 Tickets for the road trip and admission to the grounds $1, for sale by A.S Reese and R.F. Sever, at college, and J.W. Moore of the city.  Train leaves C. & O. Depot at 7:30 a.m., May 2, and returns from Natural Bridge at 4:40 p.m.” 

Early 20th century student trip
 The Lexington & Eastern Railway Company was initially incorporated as the Kentucky Union Railway Company in 1872. The railroad's primary goal was to reach coal and timber resources in southeastern Kentucky. The original line was constructed in 1886 from Kentucky Union Junction (now L and E Junction) in Clark County to Clay City in Powell County. This line was extended west to Lexington in 1890, then east to Jackson in 1891 for a total of 92 miles. 

On October 16, 1894, the Kentucky Union Railway was reorganized as the Lexington and Eastern Railway Company. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company purchased the L&E in November 1910 and extended the line approximately 100 miles from Dumont (near Jackson) to McRoberts at the head waters of the North Fork of the Kentucky River.

Early 20th century student trip
 In addition to trips for leisure, faculty utilized the resources and hands on training opportunities available at the Natural Bridge for field exercises in geology, botany, and entomology.

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