Andrews Geyser at 100 Years
In the 1880’s, the Southern Railway completed the first track over the Blue Ridge and into Asheville. In commemoration of that historic engineering event, the rail company built a gravity fed geyser in the center of the “loops” that carried the steam trains through the steepest part of the climb. In 1912, the entire piping system was rebuilt, and the geyser was moved further up the hill and away from Mill Creek. It was rededicated as the Andrews Geyser, named for the head of the Southern Railway who made the route possible. It greeted the passengers as they entered and exited “The Loops”, and became the popular subject of penny postcards.
The water came from a pond 600 feet up Round Knob Mountain, and the pressure from that distance was an impressive 120 psi. The nozzle in the center of a special walled pool was only 1/2 inch in diameter, allowing the stream of water to reach over 60 feet.
In 1977, the geyser was once again refurbished and continues operation when the water upstream is sufficent to power the nozzle. Next weekend, Andrews Geyser will commemorate its 100th anniversary. The following pics were made on September 18th with a late afternoon sun.
Today, freight trains climb and descend the incredible railway many times a day, but the passenger travel that made Andrews Geyser so popular has disappeared. Only the occasional “Autumn Colors” special Amtrak train still navigates the famous “Loops”, but even that event is happening less and less regularly.