Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Old Gainesville Midland, a Remeberance

I sorta' got nostalgic when I found this video. The Gainesville Midland Railroad ran by our house on Jefferson Road in Oconee Heights,  just out of Athens. We moved there in 1946 I was thrilled to have a train to watch every day as a 5 year old.  It woke us up at night switching cars at the Standard Oil Company.y The granite outcrop under our house shook us awake as it rumbled by.

 It's last run on Sept 19th 1959 according to published reports. I seem to remember it being in mid August. I was just going off to Sewanee that fall, on a football scholarship. this was my parents idea. I were again it. I wanted to go to Alabama and play for the Bear. So I  stood, one last time, watching the Old Rattletrap, as we kids used to call it, go by the house on it's last run.  I failed out of Sewanee after football season, and all I had to show for it was a badly strained knee. I made my last run that fall, too.

All the Midland engines are still on the wheel, I think. There is one in Jefferson on old 129, another in Winder, and one in Gainesville. There is plenty other information on line about  the Gainesville Midland Railroad, and some GREAT picture. I remember being told by potter Edwin Meaders, and others, that the Westmoreland family  of Cleveland were engineers for the line. Nub said he "knowed 'em well."

My experience with academia almost ended in a train wreck...but like the Gainesville Midland, I was able to retire from nothing, with a college eduction and had a myriad of experiences on the way...sorta' like the Midland; a long journey carrying the freight. Not much to show for it. My Uncle Red told me once, "you never let your schooling interfere with your education". A fine legacy in my book!

I have hung on the caboose once or twice from my house to Athens Country Club when I was a lifeguard. It was a ride of about a half mile. I dropped off at the Club. I could have walked there faster. Sorta' put me in mind of being a hobo, which appealed to me for some reason,,,running away to something more exciting?

Robert Soule, my hats off to you, and your father, for this priceless window into a past. A true labor of love. I remember with great glee waiting for #208, or one of the others, to come "home" to Athens on Sunday afternoon with nothing but a caboose higballing it at 35 miles an hour.  Or trying to keep up with  it on the dirt road on our bicycles...not a hard as it sounds when it was pulling a load.

The pictures of the newly built grain elevators and Arnold's Store and the  Russell Daniel Irrigation site on US 129 N are about 1/4 mile from the house. I recognise many a landmark in you video and I'm sure there are others that will ,also.

 Many Thanks. Hope you don't mind my sharing it with friends and neighbors

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