Saluda Train Tales

Terry Ruscin takes train buffs around the bend of a foothills town’s fascinating local culture.

Terry Ruscin covers a lot of rugged ground in his book A History of Transportation in Western North Carolina, published last fall by The History Press in Charleston (see more here: http://www.boldlife.com/road-less-traveled/). Exploring everything from drovers’ bridle paths to early air travel, he shows how settlers conquered a seemingly impenetrable mountain terrain. This week is strictly for train buffs, though: Ruscin will appear at the Historic Depot in Saluda to discuss the town’s rich railroad history in his program “The Rails & Ties That Bound Our Foothills & Mountains.” The Saluda Grade that runs through the town’s Main Street still bears the distinction of being the steepest-gauge mainline railroad grade in America. Nevertheless, Ruscin will focus on the personalities — railroad execs, innkeepers, and townsfolk — that enlivened the town’s heyday. “Like all boys, I am fascinated with railroading history,” he remarked to Bold Life this week. “But I am also even more fascinated with genealogy and the historical ghosts of our past. In keeping with that, this program includes biographical sketches and portraits of the region’s more colorful characters.”

Saluda Historic Depot (32 Main St.). Friday, April 21, 7pm. Free. 828-674-5958. savesaludadepot@gmail.com.

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