In 1881, Heins and Company (a partnership of the Mertens, Peter Hein, and Thomas J. Sliger) built a sawmill along the canal near Town Creek at the C&O Canal's Darkeys Lock. Town Creek itself was used to float logs from the hills to the company's sawmill. There was great difficulty in the process of transporting the logs by creek. Water level was too low in the summer and fall as logs would get lodged along the banks causing backups. A better way of transporting the logs to the sawmill was needed. On December 11, 1882 the Green Ridge Railroad was incorporated solely for the purpose of hauling logs to the sawmill.
The Green Ridge Railroad was constructed from the Heins and Company sawmill at Darkeys Lock east to the Big Run stream. The GRRR then turned up the narrow hollow following Big Run, Deep Run, to Fifteen Mile Creek ending 13 1/2 miles from the canal near the creek. A branch ran off west 4 miles to another sawmill at Finksburg. The GRRR was constructed as a narrow gauge(36') logging railroad. The railroad operated two locomotives built by the C&P RR near Cumberland at it's Mount Savage Shops. These two locomotives were an 0-4-0 and a 0-6-0.
Eventually the GRRR would cross the Potomac River on a trestle to the B&O Railroad at Okonoko. The GRRR ran from Okonoko, to points at Hill Glen(Darkeys Lock), Alderton, Summit, Orleans Road, Sliders, Heinville, Oakwood, Mertensville (Finksburg), and Town Creek. By 1896 the railroad was a total of 26 miles long and had a passenger car for paying customers. The sawmill at Darkey's Lock was later abandoned as the sawmills were moved closer to the timber at Kinksburg. The Green Ridge Railroad was gone by 1897. some of the original rails remained until being sold for scrap in 1930. The railroad right-of-way is now a hiking trail.
View Larger Map