Once again highlighting the antics of our very proud Railroad Rooster, we follow up on last week’s article about the building of the Chatham County railroad with this one celebrating the arrival of the first passenger train in Pittsboro. It paints a beautiful picture of the community coming together to welcome the first great steam engine, and also gives us a small glimpse of transportation before the time of the railroad.
December 23, 1886:
THE FIRST TRAIN!!
ALL ABOARD FOR RALEIGH!!
It affords us the greatest pleasure to announce that on last Monday night the first passenger train on the Pittsboro railroad arrived at this place! Yes, at last our old town has a railroad upon which passenger and freight trains are daily running, and we are in close connection with the rest of the world. Of course so important an event as the arrival of the first passenger train created quite a sensation in our town, and everybody was on the tiptoe of excitement. The train was due here at a quarter past seven o’clock, and a large crowd of our citizens, white and black, old and young, assembled at the depot lot to see it arrive. It was an eager, happy throng, and when the whistle of the locomotive blew long and sharp, announcing the approach of the train, every one’s pulse beat faster, and away in the distance their straining eyes saw the headlight of the locomotive piercing the surrounding darkness. In a few moments the train came rushing up, and as it stopped a long and loud shout when up from the crowd, and there was a general hurrahing and rejoicing. And well might they hurrah and rejoice! Never before have our citizens had such cause for rejoicing. The dream of years had been at last fulfilled, and our long deferred hopes finally realized. Some of the public spirited ladies had made wreaths of evergreens, with which they festooned and decorated the train, and the young folks expressed their joy by having a pleasant dance at the Turner Hotel.
The first train to leave here started at 7 o’clock Tuesday morning, and we enjoyed the pleasure of riding on it to Raleigh, and as we rapidly glided along, seated in a comfortable coach, we could scarcely realize that we were traveling between Pittsboro and Moncure. It was a most peculiar as well as pleasant sensation. Year after year we had travelled the county road between Pittsboro and Moncure at all hours of the day and night, in all kinds of weather and in all styles of vehicles. We had travelled it on foot, on horseback, in wagons, hacks, carriages and buggies. We had been nearly blistered by the summer’s sun and almost frozen by the winter’s cold. But all that is now past, never to return! And so, on last Tuesday morning as we sat in a warm and comfortable coach speeding along, we could not refrain from recalling some of our past journeys to Moncure and comparing them with this.
Up next: Railroad Rooster, the epic conclusion – which just happens to be a big party in his honor. Tune in next week: same rooster time, same rooster channel. We hope to see you then.