Track Gang

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3/10/2006

Big Four Depot
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I'm not allowed to drive the train
The whistle I can not blow,
I'm not the one who designates
How far the train shall go

I'm not allowed to blow off steam
Or even ring the bell But
Let the damn thing jump the track
And see who catches hell !!

Unknown
(Conductor on the Wabash?)


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Webmaster:
Roger Hensley



  Railroads of Madison County
Wolfe's Memories

Lapel and Other Memories

From: "Neil H. Wolfe"
Subject: Note of Appreciation

Feb.20,2006,

Dear Mr. Hensley,
I have developed an interest in model railroading which has been years in the evolvement and before getting too involved I felt that it might be a wiser decision to acquaint myself with some facts regarding the real prototypic railroad and a good starting point would be look at some railroad history. So, top I did a search on the subject,"Big Four" Railroads. My grandfather worked at the Big Four Depot in Anderson during the first decade of the 20th Century. As a little boy I've listened to a lot of his stories concerning those days and have heard the term,"Big Four" used countless time, but never took the time to learn what it stood for.

When I did the search for Big Four on the computer up came the prompt, "Railroads of Madison County". I gulped in air at the prospect of what I encountered from that point forward. Here I am 1500 miles way and viewing brilliant work that has existed right under my very nose!

You mention Trevor Whetsel. Good God, he's one of my friends. I knew and loved his dad and mom, Guy and Blanche Whetsel. They ran the bowling alley in Lapel during the War and when I was in grade school. My folks used to give a quarter, dime, and a nickel (40 cents) as my lunch money and I would go to the bowling alley to eat. Well that would buy a hot dog, bowl of chili, a coke, and a small bag of Chesty potato chips - talk about a feast for the gods! I attended schools with Trevor's younger siblings.

Did you know that Trevor was on the LHS Baskeball team in 1940 when they went to the state finals?

Trevor has (2) sisters, Jackie and Patty. Jackie who is 6 years my senior is married to Jack Howell and they are the parents of Jimmy Jack Howell the LHS basketball coach whose team won the state championship his year. They all attend the Ford Street United Methodist Church in Lapel.

When I a little kid eating my lunch at the bowling alley, Dr. Pepper was giving out little souvenir hats fashioned in the likeness of a military flight hat worn by the Army Air Corp then. It was a little something to serve as a public relations gimmick to instill patriotism for the war effort for WW2 then in progress. Well, Guy told me that if I would sing, "Pistol Packin' Mama, he would give me one of those hats. I did and he did!!

I still have that hat to this day.

Then mention is made of Ike Duffey. My dad worked for him at the packing house and also for Hughes-Curry who had the business before Ike Duffey.

Back to Trevor, I was curious if you had met his son, Tom. He has or at least was involved in collecting Model A and Model T Fords.

Now with all that having been said and without further ado I would like to thank you for your efforts at gathering and maintaining all the historical data regarding railroading at you web site. It is one of the finest I've ever seen. It is truly awesome and I'm grateful for the pictures which I have saved on my computer for future posterity. Yes and I also want to express my gratitude for leaarning that Big Four alludes to Cleveland Cincinnati Chicago and St Louis Railway!!

Do you have any photos of employees who might have worked at the Big Four Depot from 1900 through 1910? My Grandfather's boss was a man by the name of E. Flabban.

Again, my appreciation for your magnificent effort in the cause for railroading in Madison County. May God Bless.

Sincerely,
Neil H. Wolfe


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This page is written, maintained and hosted by: Roger P. Hensley, madisonrails@railfan.net