Last time, we talked about Interlocking Towers and their role in controlling traffic along the right of way. Today, I thought I'd take a look at a unique type of tower, the one on stilts. There were several in the area but this one in Grafton, Ohio, seemed to be typical of the style and has been restored to reflect the glory it once had. Most all other "old" towers are gone.
Another of these stilted towers stood at Marion, Ohio, where there were three intersection lines within about 100 feet of each other. In this case, the higher tower may well have been needed for better visibility in the rather urban setting. Many other towers were located outside of major metropolitan areas and one didn't need to be as high to get better visibility. The Marion Tower has bee preserved & restored and there are some really nice displays there in the station complex. Check them out here on youtube...
No one seems to know why the towers were built on stilts. There are a few that are pretty tall and it may have been a safety issue having a tower that tall simply on wooden walls. Or some railroad accountant may have figured that such towers were a little cheaper to build than the traditional wooden ones; no one seems to know. What we do know is that the design didn't always catch as several were later encased in wood on the bottom. This no doubt protected the mechanism and the pipes (yes many of them had "facilities") from the weather.
It was a discussion of this type of Interlocking Tower that got my friends involved in one of our email roundtable discussions and it also prompted me to have a hand at trying to build one. But that's for next time.