The year is 1917. Everybody in Spotsylania County has a brother,relative or friend fighting in Europe. All of America has mobilized its resources to fight and win the Great World War.
Gleaming in the afternoon sun, a year-old rail line runs on top of this railroad bed. To your right and left, the tracks stretch through the fields and woodlots of neighboring farms.
Suddenly, the ground begins to tremble. A black steam engine rumbles into view, pulling a line of railroad cars filled with brassy yellow and dark brown ore.
This track is part of the 17½ mile spur line owned by the Virginia Lead and Zinc Company. Beginning at the Holladay Mine five miles to the north, it transports ore to the Allah Cooper Mine 7½ miles down the track. There, lead and zinc are extracted from the ore and transported the remaining ten miles to Mineral, Virginia. It's then shipped on the C&O Railroad to factoring up north.
The factories are most likely using the lead to make bullets and the zinc for shell cartridges to support the war effort in Europe.