Site hosted by Build your free website today!

The Raleigh & Gaston



The Raleigh & Gaston Railroad was one of the first two railroads in North Carolina. It was projected to run from Raleigh to the town of Gaston on the Roanoke River. It was to run a total of 86 miles. The construction begun in November of 1836.

The railroad reached Littleton in May of 1838. Macon, ten miles west, saw the tracks one month later. Originally, the railroad was to pass through the county's seat, Warrenton. Some citizens would not stand for this. A meeting was called. Soon after, it is said, some Warrenton men chased the railroad surveyors away with loaded turkey rifles. The railroad had to change directions. The track was continued three miles north of Warrenton, in Warren Plains. Forty-six years later, a three mile stretch of track was run from Warrenton to Warren Plains. This created North Carolina's shortest stretch of track.

In July of 1838, the railroad stopped at a little place near the county's western border. The place rested on a ridge between the Tar and Roanoke rivers. The railroad named this site "Little Ridgeway". A depot was created here.

The railroad was completed in April of 1840, three years and five months after it's start. Total cost was $1,343,380.00. This included locomotives and cars.

In 1863, a new depot was constructed in Ridgeway.

One of Ridgeway's own, Dr. William J. Hawkins, was the president of the railroad from 1857 until his retirement in 1875.

The Ridgeway depot, and Ridgeway it's self, played a major part during the Civil War. Confederate training took place near-by. Local residents supplied the troops with fresh vegetables and fruits.

When skilled German farmers moved to the are in the 1880's, Ridgeway began to ship large amounts of fruits and vegetables.

The tasty Ridgeway cantaloupe became very well known at many fine establishments nationwide.

In 1932, 13,000 crates of melons were shipped from the little Ridgeway depot. The shipments continued through the 1940's.

The Ridgeway depot was closed in 1951. It became a storage house for fertilizer until a drastic fire consumed the depot and it's contents in 1953. The flames raged skyward, and boiling fertilizer spread out for a thousand feet. The mother station was gone.