Despite Landowners’ Holdout, Gainesville Midland Secured Land for Athens Extension
By Todd DeFeo
ATHENS, Ga. – Once the Gainesville Midland assumed control of the Gainesville, Jefferson and Southern Railroad in 1904, it set about converting the line to standard gauge and extending the line to Athens.
In 1904, the railroad extended from Gainesville, Ga., to Social Circle, Ga., and Jefferson, Ga. By September 1905, nearly all the land needed for the railroad’s right-of-way was secured.
However, “three or four” landowners were “holding out against the representatives of the committee and they are simply blocking the way of the committee in its work to secure the right of way,” the Weekly Banner newspaper reported.
“The road is an important road for Athens,” the newspaper said. “It ought to be finished and in operation by the opening of the next cotton season. That would mean a large sum of money to this city and it is an advantage that should not be overlooked.”
The newspaper continued by urging the people of Athens to “rally to the committee in the effort to close up this matter of right of way,” adding that “it is squarely up to the people of Athens to provide this right of way.”
The right of way was apparently secured. By November, work on the line was “progressing rapidly and everything will be in shape shortly to begin the work of grading,” the Weekly Banner reported on Nov. 10, 1905.
“There is no longer any doubt about the building of the Athens and Jefferson Railroad,” the paper noted. “The work is actually under way, and the men who are behind the movement will carry ti to completion.”
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