The R.A.I.L. Project

bbennett's picture
Friday, September 25, 2020 - 21:29

What is the R.A.I.L. project? R.A.I.L. stands for The Railroad and Incarcerated Laborer Memorial Project. The aim of this organization is to build a memorial to honor the many convicts who built the railroad, which connected the mountain counties of North Carolina with the rest of the state. Those convicts worked under a multitude of conditions, were poorly suppled, and many died during construction. In addition to honoring those who built the rail lines, there is hope that this project with shine a light on a part of North Carolina’s railroad history that has been largely untold. On October 17, 2021 the first step of this project was completed with the unveiling of the memorial at Andrew's Geyser in Old Fort. However, new efforts are underway to help find the burial sties of those who died on the rail line. If you want to help with the project, please visit their website:

Photo Credits: Slide Show Image: E. E. Brown Photography Collection. Special Collections, D.H. Ramsey Library, University of North Carolina at Asheville.

"Stripes but no Stars, Asheville, N.C." in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill.