John Speller's Web Pages Laclede-Christy Clay Mines Railroad

John Speller's Web Pages

Laclede-Christy Clay Mines Railroad Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled
I had already been living in the neighborhood for nearly twenty years before I discovered that there used to be a 30 in. gauge industrial railroad a mere three or four blocks from my house. The Christy Clay Works, later the Laclede-Christy Clay Works, a subsidiary of Laclede Gas, used to occupy the land north of Kingshighway between Chippewa Street and Nottingham Avenue in St. Louis. There were a number of clay mines in the Southampton neighborhood between Kingshighway and Hampton Avenue, and these were served by a 30 in. gauge industrial railroad that ran across Kingshighway at Bancroft and thence from Lawn Avenue to Sulphur Avenue behind the houses on the south side of Chippewa. Macklind Avenue had then not yet been built, and Wherry Avenue was a creek which fed into the River Des Pere and was subsequently piped underground (see map).

The line operated between 1907 and 1950. The little train of clay wagons that frequently held up traffic on Kingshighway was known as "The Dinky." One of the locomotives, an 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotive, "Laclede-Christy No. 2," was built by the Davenport Locomotive Works in 1907. This locomotive has 7" x 12" cylinders, with outside Stephenson valve gear, 24" drivers, weighs 9 tons and could pull 21 tons up a five percent incline. It was last used in around 1950 and was donated by the Laclede Gas Company to the St. Louis Museum of Transportation in 1952, where it is happily preserved.
Train of empty clay wagons on the Christy Clay Mines Railroad at an unknown date. Image courtesy of the Museum of Transportation
Map showing the location of the Laclede-Christy Clay Mines Railroad in the Southampton neighborhood of St. Louis
Offices of the Christy Clay Works, built 1902, at 4705 Ridgewood Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63116, now the Bevo 2001 Center. Photograph by Lydia Agnew Speller, 15 March 2012
"Dinky" train of loaded clay wagons behind an 0-4-0 saddle tank at an unknown date. Image courtesy of the Museum of Transportation
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