1st Closing of the Kinzua Bridge
Andrew Kinzua Stauffer, son of Charles Stauffer
Attending the observances were 143 persons who boarded the Erie Railroad special train at Bradford and made the 18-mile trip to the spidery structure soon doomed by abandonment.
It was a nostalgic trip for many oldsters among the 860 passengers on the National Railway Historical Society special. The 16-car train, which originated its trip in Meadville, was the last of a long line of excursions, which had been arranged to the historic site in the viaduct’s existence.
Shades of the past, when scores of special trains each year were pulled up the rugged 1.6 percent grade from Bradford to Big Level, were recalled vividly by Andrew Kinzua Stauffer, 75, of Jamestown, who made the trip yesterday,
Mr. Stauffer’s father, Charles P. Stauffer, was the superintendent of construction on the viaduct when it was erected in 1882 and remained at the site as bridge inspector. “Andy”, was born in the shadow of the viaduct, and was water boy on the project when the bridge was modernized in 1900. He drove the “golden” spike in the new structure. Subsequently he served the Erie for 48 years, retiring as general bridge inspector for the railroad in 1948.
Engineer R. J. Harris, 402 south Ave., a veteran of 41 years on the
road, pulled his special train into this city on time at 1:45 p.m. and
took aboard 98 adults and 45 children from the old platform of the non-existent
Erie passenger station. The three-unit Diesel labored its way up the
grade through Lewis Run, Big Shanty, Irish Town and Taintor on a roadbed
cut through the forest.
At every crossing in the woods spectators had gathered to photograph the line’s last passenger train. At the side of the viaducts crowed estimated at almost 2,000 persons gathered along the banks of Kinzua Creek 301 feet below and on the hillsides at either end of the 2,053-foot structure.
Most of the passengers disembarked on the bridge for picture taking
while the train proceeded to the Mt. Jewett yard limits, where the diesels
were cut around for the return trip. The excursionists, numbering many
railway fans who hold membership in the Buffalo Chapter of the Historical
Society, had more than an hour at the viaduct, still second highest
structure of its kind in the United States.
J. G. Ainey, Salamanca, trainmaster of the Allegany and Bradford divisions
of the Erie Railroad, termed the trip “historic.” He said
lease arrangements already have been made with the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad, which will provide Erie freight trackage over its rails from
Lewis Run to Mt. Jewett when the 14 miles of Erie single track between
those communities is abandoned.
“We have no indication, though, just how soon the switchover
will come,” he said. “ Certainly this will be the last passenger
train ever to use these rails.”
Other Erie officials on the trip were Lester R. Edwards, Bradford,
a director; Orlo B. Chapman, Jamestown, division passenger agent; John
F. Long, Cleveland, photographer-reporter of The Erie Railroad Magazine.
The conductor was William O’Brien of Bradford and the fireman
was Walter Painter, Salamanca.
Harold, Beale Jamestown, was in charge for the Buffalo Chapter.
1959: Over 900 Go on Excursion To Famous Kinzua
Bridge By: George Questa
Some 900 Holiday minded area trippers Sunday made what might well be
the last excursion to the famed Erie Railroad Kinzua viaduct.
My name is Robert Stauffer of Milford, Ohio. My grandfather was Andrew
Kinzua Stauffer, and my great, great grandfather was Charles Pugh Stauffer.
I am more knowledgeable about Andrew than Charles.
My grandfather Andrew said he was eleven years old when his father
passed away which would make the year of his death 1896, but I recently
saw a newspaper article that indicated he passed away in MARCH
Charles had a younger brother, Oscar born about 1870 and a sister Elizabeth and I don't know her age. Elizabeth was a resident of Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania where her husband had a general store and was a butcher. Oscar was a resident of Long Island City, New York and passed away approximately in 1957. He had one son and he was a war casualty in WW1.
Charles Pugh Stauffer married Bridget O'Roarke in approximately 1881 or 1882 at a cathedral in Montreal Canada. Bridget was from Cork County, Ireland and spoke several languages and was a Tutor for a wealthy family. The Arch Bishop of Montreal married them. My aunt, Reba Stauffer, Hewitt of Jamestown, New York said she has the marriage certificate, however I have never seen it.
Mr. Charles Pugh Stauffer was an employee of the American Bridge Company and working in Canada. His field of endeavor was an engineer of maintenance and he was working in Canada when he met Bridget O’Roarke and their courtship was approximately 3 months. Mr. Stauffer also worked in Windsor, Canada after his marriage to Bridget. As you probably have heard, Mr. Charles Pugh Stauffer had several children: Maude Stauffer Stanz 1883; Leiah Stauffer Hoop, 1884;Andrew Kinzua Stauffer 1885; Georgina Stauffer Luke, 1890; Charles Stauffer 1889 or 1891. I am not sure but it would be on his grave stone in St. Bernard's cemetery in Bradford. The youngest of the Stauffer children was Margaret Stauffer Olsen 1896.
Charles Pugh Stauffer lived under the Kinzua Bridge in the valley underneath the bridge after he was hired by the Erie Railroad to maintain the bridge. The railroad built the family a house and provided them with food and supplies and staples. I always remember my Grandfather Andrew telling me how the trains would pass over the bridge and throw supplies such as meat, flower and other supplies over the bridge on the hillside and he would run up the hill and pick them up. After all, their house was approximately 3 miles from any store or supply mill, at least that's what was passed on to me by word of mouth.
Partial Biography of Andrew
At the age of ten, Oriel Latney, a native American, chopped off my
Grandfather Andy's right index finger chopping wood for his Mother.
She rushed him to a doctor, I have no idea where, and he sewed it back
on and healed real good. However, it was very crooked and in his senior
years he said he had a little pain from it from time to time. He use
to tell me stories about playing under the bridge when he was little
1883 Kinzua Bridge
1900's Kinzua Reconstruction
2000 Kinzua Bridge