The Highlander: In The Beginning-( A Freelanced Rail Road )
The Highlander community was founded when Robert Darcey ventured to the new world from England in the early 1800's in hopes of a new beginning just as so many others had also been doing. Prior skills surrounding the demanding field in steam soon found Robert a career with a local railway. Over a period of time the country boomed and trades of the skill took Robert Westward.
The demands in logging and mining was at an all time high. After working for the Atkinson Topeka and Santa Fe railway for several years, there would be many days of passing by an area that appeared full of natures riches located in the highlands just above the Mill Valley Station, Robert fought his calling as long as he could. Using all of his life's savings he started what would later become and known as the Highlander Lumber Company.
Robert had spent many months during the following years riding through the Highlands trying to find the perfect place for the construction of the Highlander Lumber company, taking all costs into consideration, access to the timber -( which would later be known as Grizzly Ridge Logging for the family of bears that reside there)- the passageways needed, and the closeness to where the mill would need to be built. It was all falling into place but the railway that would be needed to achieve this would call for a great deal of additional funding.
Robert thought about outsiders for investment funding, but finally coming to grips with his leeriness of outsiders, turned to his brother Thomas, Still in Ireland, but a successful owner of a well established printing company. It took several months to receive answer but Thomas was honored and very excited to come to the new world as well to become partners with his brother Robert on such a project. Thomas brought his life's savings with him while leaving the print shop running for the thoughts of the money it could help assist with till their project became self supporting.
Before it would be called done, there would be twenty miles of track, Three trestles, six bridges, a switchback requiring a turntable at one end, and eight tunnels. There would be the discovery of a vein of coal on the opposite side of the mountain from Grizzly Ridge which would later be known as the Crooked Creek Mine, named after the crooked creek the spur needs to cross to access the mine. The mine would eventually become very productive, Thomas would be the overseer and and later develop the Crooked Creek Mining Community.
While Robert was the founder and developer of the Highlander Lumber Company and Grizzly Ridge Logging, Between the two working together and the developing in the highlands it would bring enough profit to the community that they would welcome the construction of the Friendly Fir Saloon and Hotel, The Geronimo Jones Tourist Station and the unexpected tourism, the Buttwhiskers Ranch -( joking name that stuck when one of the ranch hands ventured behind a rock to take care of business, lost his balance and found himself sitting on a cactus, the rest speaks for itself )- Five other dwellings, The SideWinder Maintenance Shed, The renovation of the Historical Tool shed, Jailhouse, General Store, Bear Beaver Chronicles, and the Bank, For a total of twenty four building structures, Two water towers and the community is still growing or rebuilding. The Rusty Rails Maintenance would be modeled after the Diamond Spring Maintenance -( still to be developed ).
The demands on the Highlander Lumber Company would increase so that a new upgraded band mill would take the place of the old circle saw mill that pioneered the beginning. The Saloon too would receive a total make over made possible from the increased funds from the tourism of the Geronimo Jones Station. A doctors office and of course a church for the fine people of the community. The profits that would come from each the Grizzly Ridge Logging and the Crooked Creek Mine would allow the purchase of new engines for each of these lines there would be the purchase of a two truck heisler for the mine and a eighty ton three truck heisler for the logging. Later a eighty ton three truck shay assigned to the Highlander Lumber Company, and a two truck climax not yet scheduled for assignment.
Throughout the years it took to develop the Highlander Community both Robert and Thomas would marry and each have sons: Gene the son of Thomas and D.K. the son of Robert. Both would proudly walk in the footsteps of their fathers in the caring for and future development of the Highlander. This will now bring us up to and through the turn of the century. We now find ourselves in the 1950's and the present of the Highlander. Now that we have gone through the history of the Highlander Lumber and its community we will return at a later date to meet many more of the wonderful people who make up this simple yet very special community