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Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

Picturing the Past 71: Riding the railroad

Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010, at 11:03 AM

Where was this? The landscape looks so familiar. From the looks of a vehicle in the extreme lower left it appears this photo was made in the 1940s or early 1950s. (Photo submitted by Allen Arnold)
Here's what is starting out as a mystery shot. Where was this undated photo, the first of several contributed by Allen Arnold, taken? I've got a feeling this is one of those places I'll recognize once someone recognizes the location. Could this be somewhere around Wartrace, and the line to the right the one which, still today, branches toward Shelbyville?

The next two photos are also Allen's:


From July 1944, here's an N.C. and St. L. train at the Wartrace depot, looking west with the Walking Horse Hotel (what was it named then?) in the background.


And a close look at what is apparently part of the depot itself, also from July 1944. These buildings are gone now. Were both part of the depot?

The eastern side of Bedford County has a rich railroading history. We'd welcome any old photos of the Bell Buckle or Normandy railroad depots andor storefronts as well.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader submissions are welcome.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Thanks David for three more great pictures from the past. I am like you in that the landscape looks familiar but I can not place it exactly. However, it does look like the Wartrace countryside where the spur line forks off toward Shelbyville.

I took my first train ride of my life from Wartrace to Norfolk/New Port News, Virginia in 1944 when my Dad was stationed there before shipping out to the Pacific in WWII.

In the bottom picture it sure does look a lot like the man on the left would be H.I. (affectionately known to his friends and co-workers as Hog Eye) Bomar. Compare it to his picture on page 63 of the Sesquicentenniel Historical Edition dated October 7, 1969 and published by the Shelbyville Times-Gazette.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 12:22 PM

David: Bell Buckle and Wartrace both had two depots--one was for passengers and one was the freight depot. I don't know about Normandy and Haley.

Regarding the original name of the Walking Horse Hotel, somewhere in the back of my mind I'm thinking it was the Overall Hotel. I know I've got that information, so I'll confirm that when I get home tonight.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 2:11 PM

The big man is H.I. Bomar (Horace Ira Bomar). He was my Great Grandfather and was a conductor for the railroad for years and the other Bomar brothers also worked for the RR. All of these pictures I sent to David were scanned from the tons of photos that my Grandparents had (Wade and Ira Arnold)from Wartrace.

I am so grateful that I have these to cherish and share.

Allen (Trey) Arnold

-- Posted by SirJim on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 2:26 PM

SirJim, you may remember the details. It seems to me that at that time the spur line to Shelbyville operated with a five man crew. I know that H.I. Bomar was the conductor. Buzz Roberts was the Engineer. Morris Brown and A.C. Throneberry were Brakemen and Flagmen. If I am not mistaken, Dorsey Kimbro was the Fireman about that time. In today's world with the advent of the computer, trains only have two man crews, A Conductor, and an Engineer.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 2:39 PM

Leeii that is correct. I have a picture of four of them in front of the train that derailed in 1950. It lists H.I. Bomar, Maurice Brown, Cliff Throneberry and B. Roberts. It also states Dorsey Kimbro "had a broken leg and was taken to the hospital. David also has this photo along with others of that accident. I don't really remember the stories that I was told when I was little but I "think" it derailed where Railroad Road parallels the tracks. Correct me if I am wrong.

-- Posted by SirJim on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 2:55 PM

The photo you sent, SirJim, shows the derailment next to Railroad Road. I'll be posting the derailment photos within the next few weeks.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 3:14 PM

The engine on the train that derailed was called "old teton" don't know why which i believe is the steam engine in the picture. For some reason I think the hotel was known as the Floyd Caruthers Hotel.The building on the left is the one for freight on the right is the passenger waiting room / ticket office. My grandfather was the ticket agent there for many years. I could ride the train from Shelbyville to Wartrace in the Caboose for free.

-- Posted by eyeavol on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 4:48 PM

Sorry for posting this here but-

The Mr. Arnold that called my home inquiring about some other information...the machine cut you off before I could get your number.

If you would shoot me an email at arnold303@bellsouth.net.



-- Posted by SirJim on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 4:52 PM

It is interesting to note that in the Picturing The Past 26:World War II in Wartrace, in the second picture down the Water Tank at the Depot in Wartrace can be seen. It was from this tank that water was added to the Steam Engine.

It also reminds me of the water tank in Petticoat Junction where the girls took their bath.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 5:07 PM

Such great and interesting history! Thanks for sharing these pictures, and stories!

-- Posted by Mary on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 8:18 PM

My paternal grandparents lived out E. Lane (at 501, I think; anyway, just past Park Place), and the tracks were across the street. We could hear Old Teton starting from the depot on the run to Wartrace. It would go CHUFF, and there would be a pause of about two seconds. CHUFF, a pause of a second or so. CHUFF, maybe less than a second. CHUFF... CHUFF, and so on, spaced more closely with each CHUFF. It was moving right along, CHUFF chuff chuff chuff CHUFF chuff chuff chuff, by the time it passed the old Shelbyville Harness Company; and it passed us almost up to full speed (which was maybe 45 mph, but that seemed pretty fast, if one was standing right across E. Lane from it -- and was eight or nine years old).

-- Posted by razyn on Wed, Jul 28, 2010, at 9:21 AM

razyn, those are good memories. I think that I still have a quarter that was run over by Old Teton as it passed by our house at 611 East Lane just across from Ewing Dickerson's house.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jul 28, 2010, at 9:42 AM

In the T-G sesquicentennial history (1969) there's a clear photo on Old Teton on p. 62, with the engine number 360. The one in this thread has the number 365. Normally, the number stayed with an engine forever, so I think they are different. But certainly very, very similar. There may be some differences in the roofline of the cab, some gadget is in front of the smokestack on 360 (only), and I can't see the bell on 365. This may call for the services of an actual NC&StL railroad buff, which I am not.

-- Posted by razyn on Wed, Jul 28, 2010, at 10:36 AM

razyn, I am not a railroad buff either, but in the picture with 365 on the engine it is headed toward Nashville. Old Teton (360) was always headed in the opposite direction and there was not a roundhouse in the area to change the direction of the engine. It pulled to Shelbyville and backed to Wartrace.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jul 28, 2010, at 11:27 AM

To muddle the picture a bit more...I have a friend who is very knowledgeable about Middle Tennessee railroads. He told me that the #365 locomotive was a 1900 Baldwin 2-8-0 (c/n 18311)--whatever that means. And that if was originally numbered 165, then renumbered 365 in 1915. He said this engine was listed as retired and scrapped in August, 1948, which doesn't coincide with the 1950 derailment of Old Teton. Futhermore, in a recent T-G column by Tim and Helen Marsh, they had a historical blurb saying that Old Teton's number was 221.

The saga continues.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Wed, Jul 28, 2010, at 11:40 AM

This looks like the track in Wartrace where it branches off to Shelbyville, but I don't think it is. In the picture, the track on the left (the one that would be heading to Haley) is making a curve to the right. Actually, the track from Wartrace to Haley makes a slight bend to the left as it leaves Wartrace.

-- Posted by idbd on Wed, Jul 28, 2010, at 11:47 AM

One day Jimmy Hammond and I decided to see who could hang on to the Caboose the longest as the train left the Depot...Man, those gravel didn't feel good when we got off...Then there was the Sunday night Glenn Moore and put my 1950 Ford Convertible on the tracks to the Rubber Mill at Atkinson Street...We were doing fine until a car's headlights blinded me and we fell into the ties going through a cut.....The cops came by and said we should have let some air out of the tires...We would jack the car up and push it over until I finally drove it out on some "borrowed" boards around 12:30 AM.....

-- Posted by FlaDon on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 9:25 AM

LOL! Good memories FlaDon. Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 1:10 PM

In the picture at the top of this blog it looks like this engine is a 2-6-0, unless there is another set of drive wheels behind that wagon on the dock. The 2 means 2 small wheels at the front, the6 means 6 big drive wheels and the 0 means no more wheels behind the drive wheels. When my dad went to the stock yard my brother and I would watch the engine work the cars near the tracks at Derry Street. Good memories

-- Posted by Cal t on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 7:44 PM

Maybe Old Teton was originally numbered 221, and at some point (probably in 1915, like #365) it was renumbered 360. Anyway, #360 was another Baldwin 2-8-0 -- very much like #365 illustrated here, but not the same engine.

leeiii, I think the old G.H. Hulan (Sr.) home is at 601 E. Lane (not 501, as I guessed before). So you must have lived a few houses closer to Wartrace. I don't know where Dickerson lived -- we were across from a large Pickle residence.

My dad had an expression for speeders, "going like a bat out of Wartrace!" (Being a preacher, he tended not to use strong language.)

-- Posted by razyn on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 10:25 AM

razyn, I think that you are right about the Hulan house being 601 instead of 501. I can not remember another street intersecting East Lane between the Hulan house and my Grandmother's house. The Pickle house was where L.C. Fritzsche lived in later years, and is known today as Fritzsche Trailer Park. On that side of the street going toward Wartrace the next house past Pickle was John E. Gant. Then there was another house, and the next house after that was Ewing Dickerson. The next house was Albert Hart who my Grandmother married (effectively changing her adress from 611 East Lane to 612 East Lane) in the mid-40s, and the last house on that side before the Tullahoma Highway was Curt Sims.

Do you remember during the war years a gasoline tanker trailer turning over on the railroad tracks and burning at the Tullahoma Highway/East Lane Street intersection?

As for the Old Teton numbering dilema, after the steam engine was retired from that line it was replaced by a diesel engine and I do not know what the number of it was. That diesel engine was kind of a conundrum for me because I never could tell if it was supposed to be coming or going. Several people still referred to it as Old Teton for a while. Those days were a gravy train for the fireman because he no longer had to stoke the boiler.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 12:34 PM

I have a picture of the Wartrace- Shelbyville train (Teton) from the early 50's with the #365 engine. I have lived in Wartrace most of my 70+ years and can remember lots of activity around the depot. I talked to school and often had to wait for a train to clear the crossing before I could cross the tracks. It was a good excuse for being late for school. My Grandfather was a Railway Mail Clerk and worked the mail on the train between Nashville and Atlanta for many years. My Father, Uncle and several relatives also worked for the Railway Mail Service and at one time there were as many as 15 family members involved. David: I have several pictures of trains around Wartrace that I will send along when I find them.

-- Posted by Farmer Bill on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 9:53 AM

Can anyone remember whether or not there was passenger service between Wartrace and Bell Buckle in the 30s, 40s, or 50s era.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Sep 8, 2010, at 1:02 PM

I love looking at these old pictures and reading about the past, I was born in Wartrace and love walking up town and setting watching people get on and off the train, my brother Dorris Tenpenny left by train going off to the Navy, one of the saddest days our family faced ,the sound of the train driving off and the sounds of one coming in.

My Mother would cry every time those train would blow the whistle, night or day.

Thank you

-- Posted by libbywh@gmail.com on Tue, Sep 14, 2010, at 11:31 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.