The 2016 race logo was based on the logo of the Friends Of The Chessie Trail, which in turn was based on the “C” in the logo of the Chessie System and its predecessor the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. These railways operated a spur from Buena Vista to Lexington until 1969 when the railway was fatally damaged by Hurricane Camille. Several years later the property was donated to The Nature Conservancy and became the Chessie Nature Trail.
The running kitty logo pays homage to Chessie the railway kitten. Chessie first appeared in advertising for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in 1933 with the slogan “Sleep like a kitten.” Chessie became wildly popular and as the railway's mascot continued to be featured in advertising until 1971. When the C&O consolidated with two other railways in 1972, the new company was named after the kitten and became the Chessie System. Further mergers in 1986 created CSX, but Chessie the railway kitten remains the company’s mascot.
Before the canal and its towpath came, the river was run by whitewater craft called bateaux, narrow wooden cargo boats like large canoes about 40-45 feet long and 7 feet wide, pointed at both ends and steered by long oars. Rockbridge County sent its iron, wheat, and lumber south and east to Richmond and the world beyond via the bateaux.
Canada geese can now be found year round all along the Maury River. One of their favorite locations is the cattle field just upriver of Zimmerman’s Lock. Large flocks can be seen there most days. They are often found on the trail itself, sometimes exhibiting aggressive territorial behavior and refusing to yield the trail. In the spring, if you look carefully, you may see a goose or two nesting on the top of the lock.
As a result of problematic flooding and the increasing popularity of railroads, the James River and Kanawha Canal Co. sold the property along the North River (now the site of the Chessie Trail) to the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad Co. (later the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Co., now the CSX Railroad). The James River Line and Lexington branch of the railroad was completed in 1881.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Co. abandoned the railroad right of way in August 1969, when Hurricane Camille took out the wooden trestle across the Maury River.
Website created and maintained by Laurel Worth Sheffield. © Friends Of The Chessie Trail