June 2006

M.P. D 7.6 - 7th Subdivision - PL

One could say Paoli gave birth to the entire state of Indiana. That is because in 1805 the initial pivot point was established just south of town to survey all the boundaries in Indiana. The first settlement of Orange County happened in Paoli’s Southeast Township. In 1807 John Hollowell settled on the Patoka River near the present-day community of Valeene. It was another four years before any other significant settlements moved across the county.

Just as Indiana became a state, Paoli got its name. In 1816 it was derived from Pasquale Paoli Ash, the 12-year-old son of North Carolina’s governor at the time, and shortly thereafter chosen as the seat of justice for the county. With its strong religious ties, in 1833-34 the people of Paoli were the first to petition the county board to stop issuing liquor licenses. The courthouse square is the heart of downtown Paoli and boasts the largest shopping district in the county. With newly renovated brick-lined sidewalks, attractive period lighting and park benches, the downtown has been placed on the national register for historic places.

-Courtesy Orange County, Indiana Website-


The original curved wooden trestle over Lost River north of Paoli. Date unknown. We do know that this picture was taken before 1904.





The French Lick Branch had one tremendous structure, the Paoli Trestle. The original structure was a curved 1600 foot wooden trestle over Lost River just north of town. In 1904 it was replaced with a steel structure as part of a line relocation. Left: Wooden heavyweights cross the trestle, pulled by a 4-6-0 in 1916. Right: 1947 inspection train crossing the trestle with Business Car # 90 on the end.


Chronicled as a passenger only line, the French Lick branch did provide a source of freight tonage as evidenced by this Monon freight crossing the trestle, date unknown.





Left: Looking south across the Paoli Trestle. From this angle it does not look that long. Right: November 1979. Looking along the old French Lick Branch right of way at Paolic Industries.


Left: The Paoli Trestle, circa 1970. Great shot of the trestle. Right: Part of the old mainline through Paoli, circa 2003. This part of the old right of way was behind what used to be the Cornwell Company. The cars in the picture are parked on the former mainline. The water tower pictured still displays the Cornwell name.

Odd motive power lash up at Paoli, circa 1963. By the time this photo was taken the Fairbanks-Morse H-15-44 #45 had been re-engined with an EMD power plant. Here it is pictured with BL2 #31 working the line in Paoli.






Left and Right: Paoli Depot, October 1970. This view is looking at the depot from US 50. Right: October 1976. Another view of the Paoli depot.


Left: Still another view of the depot, circa 1969. Right: 1976 and the depot is looking really bad.


For more on Paoli, including images of the 1887 and 1904 right of ways and

trestle abutments, visit Bygone Places Along The Monon.


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