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  Good Morning Kossacks and Welcome to Morning Open Thread (MOT)

We're known as the MOTley Crew and you can find us here every morning at 6:30 Eastern.  Feel free to volunteer to take a day - permanently or just once in awhile.  With the auto-publish feature you can set it and forget it. Sometimes the diarist du jour shows up much later, that's the beauty of Open Thread...it carries on without you! Just let us know in the comments.  You can click on the Morning Open Thread "heart" if you'd like us to show up in your stream every day.

Doing one of these diaries is a good way to get your feet wet if you have been hesitant about writing a diary. You can write as much or as little as you want. The audience here is always supportive.

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Two weeks ago I wrote about Historic Flagler College in Saint Augustine, Florida which was built in 1888 by Henry Flagler whose development of railways along the east coast of Florida spurred rapid development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries which became the Gilded Age in Florida.

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When I wrote that piece I thought it would be interesting to tell the story of Flagler's final link in The Florida East Coast Railway, or the first Over-Sea Railroad train and it's sad demise from the great hurricane of 1935.  What I did not realize at the time, was that January 12, 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the day that Henry Flagler made his inaugural trip to Key West via a 128-mile extension, with about 19 miles over water, of the Florida East Coast Railway.

In 1879 the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railroad was incorporated in Florida to push a line southward through the state.  In 1898 National Geographic Magazine published "Across the Gulf by Rail to Key West" giving an accurate forecast of future developments and concluded by saying that a railroad built to Key West would some day be "one of man's greatest achievements."  

Florida's east coast was already being transformed by Henry M. Flagler at this time.  He and Julia B. Tuttle had already joined hands to bring the City of Miami into existence and the first train reached that city on April 16,1896.  

Construction of the overseas railway finally began in 1904 with a right-of-way through the Everglades and the swamps and jungles and shark-infested waters over the 128 mile route from Homestead to Key West. The end of the project came in 1916 when the last of the majestic concrete viaducts was completed to form the permanent structure-a structure which today carries the Overseas Highway across the Keys-a structure which has stood firm and unshaken against the onslaughts of wind and sea for nearly half a century.

The Seven-Mile Bridge is the longest and most well known portion of the structure.  It consists of 335 80 foot and 60 foot deck plate girder spans of steel, resting on concrete piers, a concrete viaduct one-and-three-quarters mile in length, consisting of 210 53-foot arches, and a drawbridge 253 feet in length. Altogether, the bridge contains 546 concrete foundation piers-far exceeding the number in any other bridge in the world. Each of the piers in the main structure rests on bedrock as much, in some places, as twenty-eight feet below the water line.

Henry Flagler rode in his private rail car on the inaugural trip to Key West in 1912.  He was 82 years old, blind and in frail health. He died 18 months later.

Here is a four minute video detailing the workforce used to build this railway.  These men were housed in Pigeon Key and there was a great loss of life in this project.  

I added this 1:45 video that briefly tells much the same story,but offers some excellent images not used in the previous video.

Key Wet Hurricane of 1935

In 1935, the Florida East Coast railway offered a special Labor Day holiday excursion to Key West.  Round trip tickets sold for $2.50 and many took advantage of the offer. The train departed for Key West on September 1, 1935

On September 2nd, tragedy struck. The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 was the first ever Category Five Hurricane on record to hit the United States. The results were horrific in loss of life and total loss of the railroad.

In a rescue effort, a 10-car evacuation train, was sent down from Homestead, but washed off the track by the storm surge and high winds on Upper Matecumbe Key. Only the locomotive remained upright on the rails, and had to be barged back to Miami several months later. The National Weather Service estimated 408 deaths from the hurricane. Bodies were recovered as far away as Flamingo and Cape Sable on the southwest tip of the Florida mainland.

The United States Coast Guard and other state and federal agencies organized evacuation and relief efforts. Boats and airplanes carried injured survivors to Miami. The railroad would never be rebuilt but temporary bridges and ferry landings were under construction as soon as materials arrived and, within a few years, a roadway (Overseas Highway) linked the entire Keys to the mainland.

The Overseas Highway was completed in 1938 and in 2009 was designated an "All-American Road".

Here is a listing of my sources as some of you may be interested in reading more about this subject:

Building the Over Seas Railway To Key West (pdf document)

The Flagler Centennial Home Page

The Last Train To Key West

The Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys: From Flagler's Railroad to the recently designated "All American Road".

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good Morning From Florida, MOTlies (19+ / 0-)

    Photobucket

    Have a great day everybuddy ;~D

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 03:36:57 PM PST

  •  Good morning everyone... (6+ / 0-)

    284 days until the 2012 elections... fired up... ready to go!!

    “I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.” President Obama 11/2/11

    by BarackStarObama on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:31:22 AM PST

  •  A couple of things (7+ / 0-)

    I read about Dave Sink and the Antiquarium in the Weekly Reader. I'm mad at myself and circumstance because I could have had a toe in the local Alternative Scene and could have had it in here for the past 20-25 years if I just could have picked up on what was happening there.

    And I was aware of Antiquarium enough that some of the clutter in the Martian Market in Sci Fi Guy! is based on how the place's basement looked like back in the late '80s.

    Last night I had this idea in a dream: "a Captain Saucer of time travel". I'll jot it down but I'm not sure it's really usable. Besides there's already Time Squad. Maybe I could work out something with more of a Time Bandits bent?

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:34:28 AM PST

    •  Good Morning, Dude. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JML9999, Stude Dude, Actbriniel, gulfgal98

      I'm a believer in "all things happen for a reason" and there well may be a reason you didn't get involved in the Alternative Scene earlier.  Maybe not, but at least don't beat yourself up over it.

      I also believe in dreams.  I'll bet you find a way to use your dream idea.

      Good luck and have a great day ;D

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:42:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        I just wanted to be in an Alt Scene so badly since the New Wave days.

        For the proposed comic: I'm thinking of a Dumb Jock Instigator and his Sensible Action Girl sidekick which was hinted at in the dream.

        Another idea: a couple of fan service gals, with the twist being they're fat, bounce through time. They could be Dirty Pair expies. Or maybe One's the instigator beside being the shy nerdette and one's an ex-jock.

        Variation of any of the above, the main characters are likable ineffectual villains who plans to mess up history to their advantage never pan out.

        "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

        by Stude Dude on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:55:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good Morning, Jax Dem and all! (6+ / 0-)

    First things first - great diary. We had looked at traveling in Patagonia by train... train travel is alluring don't you think, but there really isn't a great old Patagonia Express anymore. I wonder if trains will every truly make a big come back?

    Second things - I have a new diary up. This one isn't a travel piece but is more mundane... about the defense budget cuts and what they might mean for military families as well as the nation:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Hope everyone has a great day. Sunny and warm in Buenos Aires, but not too hot!

    •  G/M angela (5+ / 0-)

      Trains travel is alluring -- I agree whole heatedly!  I so enjoyed doing this piece and learning more about trains in general.

      Will pop over briefly for a T&R and read later.

      Have a good day.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:48:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, JaxDem! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        I can always depend on your support!

      •  Wayull, it depends. I rode Amtrak from DC's (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem, gulfgal98, angelajean

        Union Station to Wilmington, Delawar. The trip includes a Susquehanna River crossing (woo hoo!) and some great industrial parts of Baltimore (I love industrial hells). But the rest of it was pretty boring--poor people's backyards, as someone described it. Same thing with the Boston-Rockport run, with scrub grass added.

        •  Mornin' Champ. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          exlrrp, angelajean, bear83

          For sure there are some pretty dismal areas the trains must traverse.  There are others that are breathtaking for sure.  Some of the bridges - or trestles I guess they are called - seem death defying.

          Thanks for stopping in and I hope you have a great day.

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:31:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  An historical addendum. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, JaxDem

        The first Congressperson elected from Florida after the Civil War, when the state was only entitled to one Rep because the population was so small, was Josiah T. Walls, an African American, who received land in Florida in compensation for his service to the Union.  Walls' big issue in Congress was getting the railroad extended across the state and he was successful in making Gainesville a hub.  He was less successful with the projected cross-Florida barge canal, which languished until Richard Nixon killed it off after it was determined that a canal would interrupt the ground-water flow to the southern parts of the state.

        People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

        by hannah on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:39:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very interesting tidbit. Thanks hannah (0+ / 0-)

          for adding this for us.  

          It is funny when you think about it, that Richard Nixon was the last truly liberal president in our lifetime.  

          Thanks for sharing this historic addition to the story.

          Have a great day, hannah.

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:47:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Good Morning, angelajean! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, exlrrp, angelajean

      I was up very early this morning, so I was already able to read and rec. your diary.  It seems as though austerity measures are always put upon the wrong people.  

      Have a great day!

      "Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help facilitate and structure the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction.”-Justice Stevens

      by gulfgal98 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:29:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Hurricane that saved the turtles (8+ / 0-)

    The destruction of that bridge saved the last remaining green turtles on Florida's east coast.  (It was no longer practical to ship them to the cannery on Key West.) A decades-long effort is beginning to succeed in restoring the species.

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by MrMichaelMT on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:44:18 AM PST

  •  G/M JaxDem. Fantastic diary!!! It is truly an (6+ / 0-)

    American tragedy we allowed the automobile to kill our railroads.   We could be energy independent today had we saved them.   I love History!!!  Will do more reading on your links later.

    However, back to bed---terribly restless night...
    might be time to find out what to do...

    Will keep one eye on the comments...........and chk back later.

    •  Good Morning, Phil (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phil S 33, gulfgal98

      Sorry you had such a restless night.  Those seem to be coming more regularly, don't they.  Did you ever speak w/you primary care about adding a sleep aid?

      Have a great day.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:52:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Trains, Planes and Automobiles (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, gulfgal98, eeff

      The railroads forgot they were in the transportation industry, is the way I heard it.  I have postcards that my grandmother wrote to my granddad about her train trips to visit relatives, when railroads were still transporting people, and they are wonderful accounts.  I remember train trips with my family when I was young that were simply magical.  Our next door neighbor when I was in college was a Burlington Northern Conductor, and every week, I would meet his train in Lincoln, hand over my laundry box which he would give to my mom, and the next week, I again met the train and he gave me my laundry box full of clean clothes and usually a cake in a box with waxed paper for a lid.  The activity and the noise at the train yard during the night in my home town were my lullabies.

      RE the Subject line:  Trains, Planes and Automobiles is an all time classic comedy (Steve Martin and John Candy) that is about as touching and as funny as anything I've ever seen on film.

      Most interesting diary!  Flager was quite the dreamer, but you wouldn't have caught me on a 19 mile bridge over water, unless I was dead, or otherwise disposed.

      •  Good Morning, JF! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gulfgal98, JFinNe

        Delightful story about your laundry.  How like moms to send home baked goodies along too.  I have always been drawn to trains and a train whistle...oh, it is soothing to my soul.  

        I've noticed you have a fear, or dislike at least, of bridges.  This is not a high bridge and the ability to drive along surrounded on both sides by the beautiful, clear, blue green water is a delight.

        Flagler had vision and this state would not be what it is today without that vision and his dreams.  

        Have a great day.

        As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

        by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:24:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I always took bridges for granted (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JaxDem

          until a major bridge on the West Virginia border collapsed the day after we drove across it.  It is a 'control' thing.  On a bridge, there isn't a spot on the road to pull off on, and on planes, once you're on, you can't get off.  Both situations make me uncomfortable.

        •  Those were the All Cotton days (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JaxDem

          when clean laundry had to be sprinkled and then ironed.  My college friends kidded me excessively about my laundry box and asked what I was going to do when I got married?  Buy a bigger laundry box...

          •  Oh my gosh. I remember those sprinklers... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JFinNe

            they were almost like wine bottle corks with a metal sprinkler head and they would be put into a soft drink bottle filled with water.  

            I'll have to look around for an image to post.  Good grief, I'd long ago forgotten about them!

            As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

            by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:53:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ebay has everything... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JFinNe

                  Photobucket       Photobucket       Photobucket

              Ebay page w/prices

              As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

              by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:57:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I still have mine and still use it. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JaxDem

                Also have my old skate keys to tighten the skate clamps, but I don't use them any more...

                On Craigslist in Lincoln, there was a ceramic sprinkler in the shape of a Chinese man with the sprinkler as his hat for sale recently.  It had some silly (stereotypical) Chinese name on it.  

  •  Thomas Friedman's latest brain fart (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Actbriniel, JaxDem, Phil S 33, gulfgal98

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    Thomas Friedman Declares An End To Math, Urges Working Class To Get Awesome!

    I think that the average reader of Adam Davidson's recent piece in the Atlantic, "Making It In America," would likely come away with the idea that the middle class economy, in terms of the job opportunities available to people who play by all those traditional middle class rules of education and responsibility and thrift, is in a period of disruptive change. And that change comes with some dire realities, in which perfectly decent, intelligent, virtuous people -- with a basic drive to apply themselves, work hard, learn on the job, and get promoted -- stare out at the factory floor and wonder what might steal their opportunity: cheap overseas labor or cost-cutting technological innovation. Some of that worry and concern might get passed along to you, the average reader.

    But if you're one of those elite thinkers, with nothing but time on your hands to swan around in your own brain-brine, you might derive a different set of conclusions. And if you're Thomas Friedman, you will apparently wrap all of those conclusions into some sort of sunny exhortation for everyone to go out and get extraordinary, man! It's as if the moment calls for the kind of self-help admonition that you might hear from Oprah's couch, or the ballroom of your local Hilton.

    Per Friedman:

       

    In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won't earn you what it used to. It can't when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap foreign labor, cheap robotics, cheap software, cheap automation and cheap genius. Therefore, everyone needs to find their extra -- their unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever is their field of employment. Average is over.

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:47:37 AM PST

  •  Robert Hegyes aka Juan Epstein passes @60 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, gulfgal98, JFinNe, eeff

    http://www.nj.com/...

    Robert Hegyes, Juan Epstein of 'Welcome Back Kotter' dead at 60

    Robert Hegyes, the Jersey-born actor who played Jewish Puerto Rican wheeler-dealer Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein on the 1970s classic "Welcome Back Kotter," died from an apparent heart attack after suffering chest pains at his Metuchen home this morning. He was 60.

    Hegyes, who also co-starred on "Cagney and Lacey" and taught occasional master classes at his alma mater, Rowan University, was best known for his work on "Kotter," in which he performed alongside a young John Travolta as one of the tough remedial students known at the Sweathogs. Hegyes and nearly all of the original cast members reunited last year at the TV Land Awards to recognize the show's 35th anniversary.

    On his website, Hegyes wrote that he modeled the swaggering, skirt-chasing Epstein after Chico Marx, whom he played in a national touring production of "A Night With Groucho." He was a big fan of the Marx Brothers: "They were immigrant Jews, and I was an immigrant Italian. Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo, and Zeppo were intellectuals ... They all played the piano and took music lessons, and they were all juvenile delinquents; I could definitely relate."

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:51:27 AM PST

  •  Wow! What a great diary! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, greenbird, Phil S 33, eeff, slksfca

    And what a fascinating story!  I have lived in Florida nearly my entire life and never knew the story of the Overseas Railroad.  It was an amazing feat of engineering for the times.  What else is amazing is how Pigeon Key has been able to escape the ravages of hurricanes over the years.  Thank you for this wonderful and informative diary, JaxDem!

    Good Morning all.  I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

    PS.  If you want to read a really funny diary compiling Tweets regarding last night's Rep debate, this diary had me laughing out loud this morning.

    "Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help facilitate and structure the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction.”-Justice Stevens

    by gulfgal98 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:03:40 AM PST

    •  Good Morning, ggal! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gulfgal98, eeff

      Thank you for the kind words, but it was your Kudzu diary this week that hit the top of the charts.  Up on the rec list for hours!  Congratulations.  The diary was delightfully informative and I learned even more from the many comments.  Great Job!

      I knew just a bit about the railway and it was fun to learn even more.  Have you been to the Keys?  It is a beautiful drive down the Overseas Highway.  

      Thanks for the tip on the  tweet diary, I'll go check it out.

      Have a great day, my friend.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:09:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Overseas Highway (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem, eeff, Phil S 33

        I am embarassed to say that I only have been on it once, many years ago.  It was a beautiful drive and I remember seeing lots of key deer along the way.  They are very small animals compared to regular deer.

        By the time we got to Key West, I thought to myself that it was like going to a foreign country.  And it is the Conch Republic afterall.  I heard people talk about "rock fever" and I can understand it now after having visited there.  It take a unique person to live that far out in the water on a relatively small island.

        Again, I really enjoyed this diary.  Learning new stuff is a big part of why I come to dkos.  And I learned a lot today.

        Have a great day too, my friend.

        "Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help facilitate and structure the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction.”-Justice Stevens

        by gulfgal98 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:22:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  GM gulfgal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem

      Hope your Friday is a good one.

  •  Rain here in CT....all morning, but mild,, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, gulfgal98, slksfca
  •  Interesting story, thanks for telling it. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, gulfgal98, Phil S 33, slksfca

    The Overseas Highway was a marvel of engineering and impressive given the resources available at the time.

    Good morning, JaxDem and MOTleys. Today is Friday (thank goodness) and there are no tournaments this weekend so I can sleep in tomorrow and Sunday (ha! as if!!).

    My critical end of January projects are about 40% done so I have to put my nose to the grindstone today because there are only two January days next week.

    On second thought, that grindstone looks a bit scary ...

    Maybe I will play instead.

    Words have meaning and your words will reflect what is in your soul.

    by JanF on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:18:20 AM PST

  •  Good Morning MOTleyville (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, Phil S 33, emmasnacker, slksfca

    Another great diary JD !!
    I've read many things about the railroad & Flagler over the years , But I didn't know he was in such a frail state of health when the project was complete.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday.

    •  Morning, eeff!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eeff, Phil S 33

      When you spend some time in Florida as you did growing up here, you see the many links to Henry Flagler.  It was amazing he was willing to take on such a huge project that late in his life.  

      Hope you have a great day and wonderful weekend, good buddy ;D

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:43:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Flagler's name (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem, Phil S 33

        is everywhere in South Florida.
        The 2 main streets in downtown Miami

        BIscayne Blvd & Flagler Street.
        for years it was the Flagler Grayhound Track that was on the radio ads growing up.

        on a second note it's 60° here this morning !
        0_0

        •  We are at about the same temp (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eeff, Phil S 33

          with scattered showers.  Maybe thundershowers later so I've got to stick close to home w/my doggie ;D

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:59:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Ive always been a railfan (6+ / 0-)

    Its one of my more obscure obsessions but I always had a kind of thing for railroads.
    My dad did too and thats where I probably got it from. When we were kids he'd take my older brother and me down to the SP yards in Oakland and date us around. He never worked for the railroads but he had the gift of gab (salesman) and would get us rides into the roundhouse on the turntable.
    Later, when I was a teenager, I developed the hobby of hopping freights. This was more for sport than necessity but it really gave me my first look at THe Wild Side of Life.
    The Southern Pacific roared through town on a 4 track speedway but the Santa Fe sort of snuck through town on a single track, dropping off a gondola of gravel here and a boxcar of plywood there. There was good curve where it was easy to hop on unobserved and get a ride down to El Cerrito Plaza whcih was the local mall at the time.
    Later I expanded my range and hopped frieghts all over the West.  I liked it better than hitchhking.
    Nowadays I have a huge collection of railroad books, about  300 now. I also have model trains.

    Something intersting came up before Christmas concerning railroads.  We have an elderly friend, my son's godmother, who, as a young girl, was raised at a place called Midlake which was a train order station in the middle of the long trestle that the SP uses to cross The Great Salt Lake in Utah.
    She had told me that story and then one day I bought a book called SP Salt LAke Division  by John Signor and looking through I found this photo.
    Its my friend Max, then a todddler, and her family, her brother and their mom, who was a telegrapher.
    it was great to get a copy of this picture into her hands, she was thrilled to know she'd make the history books

    Photobucket

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:58:01 AM PST

    •  Mornin' exlrrp!! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eeff, Phil S 33, slksfca

      What a GREAT story about finding your friend in the SP Salt Lake Division book.  Incredible.  

      I have no doubt you were a daredevil early on, so the hopping freight trains story comes as no surprise.  I love trains, but admit to knowing next to nothing about them.  I guess it is even more accurate to say I'm drawn to the bridges (trestles) and such as much as I am to the trains themselves.  There are some breathtaking, scary ones out there.  Such as this one in New Mexico:

      Photobucket

      The train attempts to balance through the frames of old tracks, pass the narrow ledge against the 800 foot Park Toltec, and winds of more than 10,015 foot in Cumbres Pass (the highest mountain the train reached in the United States).

      I enjoyed the first video I posted as it gave a good (for dummies like me) description of concrete arches and pier and deck plate used on the bridges.  This is the kind of thing I need to learn more about so that I can fully appreciate them.

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 05:13:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm going to ride that one this summer! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JFinNe, JaxDem, Phil S 33, slksfca

        The Cumbres and Toltec has long been on my bucket list, as has the Durango and Silverton. I'm heading out to Colorado this summer for a reunion and definitely going to see them.
        One of the best rides I ever had was over Soldier Summit, Colorado from Salt Lake City to Pueblo on a moonlit night.
        I'm also one of the few people youve ever met who crossed the Panama Canal.......in a boxcar!  We'd jumped onto the Gatun (Atlantic side) drop zone and they just marched us over to the railroad and told s to get on. We rode the 38 miles back to the other side in boxcars, the track runs right along the canal most of the way.
        Mucho people have crossed the Panama Canal but not many in a railroad boxcar

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 05:26:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You need to be working on a book!! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          exlrrp, Phil S 33, slksfca

          I am sooo serious about that too!  From the bits and pieces you've shared with us, you have led a most interesting and adventurous life!!

          Lucky duck on the Cumbres trip!! and funny enough, I'd been reading up on the Durango and Silverton just last week!  What coincidences.  

          I'm as serious as can be about that book.

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 05:34:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Fabulous stuff! n.t. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem

      There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

      by slksfca on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 08:08:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bus-Size Asteroid to Give Earth Close Shave Friday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem
    A small asteroid will make an extremely close pass by Earth Friday (Jan. 27), coming much nearer than the moon, but the space rock poses no danger of impacting our planet, NASA scientists say.

    The newfound asteroid 2012 BX34, which is about the size of a city bus, will pass within 36,750 miles (59,044 kilometers) of Earth at about 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT) Friday, astronomers with NASA's Asteroid Watch program announced via Twitter.

    The space rock is about 36 feet (11 meters) wide, making it much too small to pose a threat to Earth.

    http://news.yahoo.com/...

    would be neat if we could see it !

  •  Got an hour back....sorry to not have been here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem

    throughout.....I'll offer some other goodies next week....

  •  I stayed in the slaves quarters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phil S 33, JaxDem

    on pigeon key for a FAU leadership retreat. It was very interesting. One of the buildings was said to be haunted.

    Lo que separa la civilizacion de la anarquia son solo siete comidas.

    by psilocynic on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 07:13:30 AM PST

    •  Wow! Scary. Thx for chking in...have a good one. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psilocynic, JaxDem
    •  No kidding! I'm sure all of you had (0+ / 0-)

      fun.  I've not ever stopped in Pigeon Key, but it looks beautiful from the videos.

      Funny you said that about being haunted, I had been thinking that when I was writing this up.  All those deaths; must have left an imprint of some sort.

      Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 09:23:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great post (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phil S 33, slksfca, JaxDem

    thanks for this lovely history.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 07:24:11 AM PST

  •  I *love* trains! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem

    Been coast-to-coast (San Francisco/New York) on Amtrak four times (two round trips), and have taken a number of shorter jaunts. :-)

    Great post!

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 08:07:09 AM PST

    •  Thank you, slksfca ;D (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slksfca

      Oh, I so envy your trips.  I'll bet they were wonderful.  I'm not very knowledgeable on trains, but the more I dig around, the more I find things to love about them too ;D

      Thank you for reading and for your kind words.

      Enjoy your weekend.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 09:28:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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