Sep 15 2010

The Train Trestle’s Story

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Where others might see only rusty train tracks atop old asbestos-soaked wood and iron spikes, I see history. And a whole lot more.

This train trestle was once active, carrying copper from Arizona’s mines to the smelters. After a gargantuan reclamation effort by the mine (completed in 2007), the operation was closed and the tailings contoured to match the natural hillsides. Only the tracks remain. Click to enlarge.

This train trestle, located just beyond the border of our property and used for the once-active copper mining in the area, was part of the charm that drew us to the place we now call home. My hubby, a train buff, loves the architecture of the “train bridge,” and I’m always fascinated by the spectacular effect of pink and coral sunsets as they peek out from the structure.

I’m not sure the first time I realized that I was jogging under a piece of Arizona history each morning. As I looked overhead, I saw the once-bustling train trestle in its former glory, the cars gliding along the tracks, ghosts of the past.

Just as quickly, I realized that this structure is still very much alive, as it moans and creaks while the early morning sun warms its stiff joints from the night’s cooler temperatures.

For Writers: You don’t have to be writing a historical novel to take advantage of the great lessons history can provide for your fiction. A general understanding of the time period’s history helps make your fiction believable.

It can also reveal interesting plot turns and twists for your story that you might not have considered. Take the 30 minutes to do a Google search of your story’s time period, looking at current events, pop culture, world events and local news stories. Or spend a little extra time interviewing locals, reviewing history books and visiting museums. The additional effort will pay off with a three-dimensional, believable tale. And you might just learn something along the way.


3 Responses to “The Train Trestle’s Story”

  • avatar Jessica McCann Says:

    Excellent post. I always hated history class in school, but only because it was about memorizing dates and names of people I knew very little about. Who would have thought I’d end up writing historical fiction? Somewhere along the line, I learned what you so eloquently and succinctly wrote here – “history” becomes a whole lot more, a living thing, if you take a moment or two to dig a little deeper and find the hidden stories. It’s a part of all life, and a part of all fiction.

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Jessica,
    Oh my gosh can I relate to hating history in HS. Was just lamenting to hubby that teachers did not even attempt to draw parallels between history and current life/real people (my classes, too, consisted of overhead transparencies and droning lectures. History is SO MUCH MORE!) I’m glad I’ve finally developed my own appreciation. And I’m so glad people like you are writing historical fiction and are continuing to foster that interest.

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  • avatar PiterR Says:

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    Best Regards
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