Pictures of Charleston Rail

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a book about railroads in Charleston with lots of great photographs would be priceless, right? Well with a little help from the folks here in town, and maybe a few spread further away, that is what I am hoping for.

Charleston South Carolina Arcadia PublishingI am working with Arcadia Publishing, coincidentally located here in Charleston, to produce a book for their Images of Rail series. This is not going to be a dry history, but a look into how the railroads and streetcar lines in Charleston really fit in with local life and helped to shape that life. To that end, I am looking for old photographs that might be used in “Charleston Rail”.

Do you have a photograph of a great uncle waving from the streetcar on which he was a conductor? Do you have a snapshot of the old Seaboard Air Line Railway station at Grove and Rutledge? Maybe you even have a few pictures of relatives coming in to town at Union Station that burned in the forties. Anything like this would be of interest.

The importance of family collections cannot be overemphasized. Vintage photographs become increasingly fragile and by scanning and reproducing them in a book, they become available for all to see. While postcards are great, and well loved, what I am looking for here are actual photographs. They have to be out there somewhere – in trunks, in photo albums, or hanging on the wall.

So please, if you have anything you think might be of interest, just let me know. I would love to talk with you. Shoot me an email, give me a call or jump me in the street. If you choose the latter, please be gentle.

And if you are interested in the book, stay tuned and I will let you know when it comes out. If you subscribe to this site, you will be one of the first to know.

National Train Show and NMRA Convention 2013

The National Train Show 2013 will be in Atlanta, Georgia next weekend, July 17 to 19. This is the annual train show which goes along with the NMRA, National Model Railroad Association, convention each year.

National Train ShowThere will be over 35,000 feet of modular train layouts operating plus lots of railroad collectibles, model dealers, clubs, etc… Check out this flyer for more information.

I will be there from Wednesday to Thursday, and will be helping out at the Atlantic Coast Line / Seaboard Air Line Historical Society booth on Saturday some. The ACL & SAL HS will be in booths 142-143.

If you are there, please find me and say “Hi!”, or let me know where you will be and I will find you. And, of course, I should be posting lots of pictures.

Oh, my wife Nancy is going too, but expect to find her by the hotel pool, at the local area thrift and antique shopping spots, and generally trying not to be too associated with all the geeky train folk. I appreciate her coming along on this and putting up with all the train talk.

The Collector – Exercise #19

First off I would like to apologize to all who read my blog as soon as it comes out. I have discovered that the quickest and easiest way to proofread anything I have written is to just hit the “publish” button. Same probably works with email. As soon as you make the work public you will begin to notice all the small spelling errors, incorrect word choices, and mixtures of tense. I try to go back and correct these as quickly as possible, but those of you who get immediate notice of the posting or are Johnny-on-the-spot and read it as soon as I post it online will get to see all my gory and glorifying errors. Really quite shameful. Especially for an English major. We all know that spellcheckers and other such grammar tools cannot find all little errors. It takes time, it takes reflection on what you wrote, and  it takes rereading with a keen eye and ear. None of that seems to happen until I hit the publish button.

Catherine CollageWell, enough of that apologizing and self flagellation. Today’s exercise, number nineteen of thirty-one, is something that is near and dear to my heart, something that drives those who live with me nuts, for today I am asked to describe, “what do you collect?” That is both a dangerous and a broad subject.  We can start with the fact that I am a collector of all things involving around British cars. Not just the cars themselves you understand, but books about the cars, emblems from the cars, models of the cars, publicity posters, videos of the cars and car races, well I think you get the idea. Basically if I run across almost anything that has to do with old British cars I will collect it and try to find some spot for it in my home or office. The more esoteric the better.

If that’s not enough on the large side, I am also a train and trolley collector. Unfortunately I have no actual prototype real-size trains or trolleys (not that I haven’t tried), so I have to make up for that by collecting the same tonnage in model trains. Next week in fact I will be at the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) convention in Atlanta for four days. My wife is going with me, and boy is she thrilled. And as is inevitable with a collection like this, not only do I collect the model trains and track and scenery and buildings that all go together to create a scene, I also collect the aforementioned books, movies, posters, belt buckles, and anything else you can think of that has to do railroading. Continue reading “The Collector – Exercise #19”

Early Memories – Exercise #13

Memories, “like the corners of my mind.” Or in my case more like the dusty things that get stuffed under the bed and you find years later and wonder what they heck it are. Our exercise for today, lucky number 13, is “your earliest memory.” That goes along long way back. It makes me wish I done this exercise when I was younger when I may have remembered more.

New Orleans Streetcar from AbitaThe funny thing about memories though is that the further away from the actual events we get, the harder it is to tell if the memory is fact or just something we made up. Or something in between. This doesn’t make it any less true, but it does mean it doesn’t necessarily match any one else’s recollection of the event. In fact sometimes I have memories of dreams that on later inspection I can’t ascertain if they ever really happened at all.

What I would assume is my earliest memory is of walking down a short stretch of road with a teddy bear in my arm while pulling a wagon. We were living in the West Ashley area of Charleston, where I have spent most of my life, but we were moving from a house my parents were renting to one they bought. A move of just a few street numbers – only leapfrogging one house. I must have been about 4 or 5 at the time. Now, did this actually take place? Do I only remember it because my parents told me about it, and I combined it with visions of that street that I had later? No idea. Doesn’t matter. It happened in some way and is firmly anchored in my head. It exists.

Continue reading “Early Memories – Exercise #13”

The Amtrak History Train at Ansonborough Field in downtown Charleston.

2011 was the 40th anniversary of Amtrak, and so they are taking a museum train around to various points all over the service area. It has been on the West Coast and many East Coast venues and only has a few stops left.  Well this weekend it is in Charleston. Kind of odd to see what looks like a passenger train in downtown Charleston – there hasn’t been passenger service here since since the Columbus Street station burned down in the 1940s.
Amtrak 40th Anniversary History Train

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