Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

For the Ferroequinologists

Posted in Memory, Technology by Andy Hall on April 29, 2011

Over at the Civil War Picket, Phil Gast mentions a proposal that would (sort of) reunite the Texas and the General, engines made famous in the “Great Locomotive Chase” in 1862. From the linked news item:

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, [Marietta, Georgia Mayor Steve] Tumlin said he’d like to display The Texas across the tracks from the historic Kennesaw House, in a parking lot managed by the Downtown Marietta Development Authority, or nearby.

Tumlin is asking the council to pass a resolution to make inquiries with the state, city of Atlanta and Cobb Legislative Delegation about a possible relocation of The Texas to Marietta, whether permanent or temporary. . . .

The General is now housed in The Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

Camille Russell Love, director of cultural affairs for the city of Atlanta, said The Texas is owned by Atlanta. It was moved to Atlanta’s Grant Park in 1911 and moved into the Cyclorama building in 1927, when that building was under construction.

Love, who is in charge of the Cyclorama, said no one has contacted her about moving the steam engine.

“My first question would be how could they get it out? Someone would have to dismantle the building,” she said.

Yeah, there are a few minor details to work through.

The proposed Texas locomotive display area (red shading) in Marietta, between the Kennesaw House museum and the dumpsters behind the Krystal Burger drive-thru. At upper right on the corner (black sign) is the Gone with the Wind Movie MuseumWhy, fiddle-de-dee!

It would be six different kinds of awesome to have those two locomotives together, but it’s pretty silly to move one, now miles away from the other, to a site slightly fewer miles away from the other. And the notion of putting a 155-year-old locomotive out in the weather — even under cover — should be a non-starter. It’s a big, heavy artifact, to be sure, but it’s still an artifact, and not replaceable. The pair need to be displayed together; if you’re going to put the Texas in a parking lot behind a burger joint, you might as well leave it in Atlanta. These locomotives both should be carefully preserved and interpreted, to inspire future Civil War bloggers as they’ve done for generations. For their part, I can’t imagine why Atlanta would want to give up the Texas. This really sounds like an idea that needs to incubate a while longer.

In the meantime, Friday is always a good day for Buster Keaton:

In other news, the good folks over at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen asked about cross-posting Thursday’s piece on Confederate soldiers and the prevalence of slaveholding. Those guys are a smart, eclectic bunch, and I’m honored to share a little electronic real estate with them. I wear 7¼ in a bowler, thanks.

Dead Confederates recently passed 1,000 comments. Thanks to all of you who take time to write, and thanks especially for keeping things (mostly) civil. Given the consternation my writing seems to cause in some quarters, y’all may be surprised to know that in the nearly-a-year this blog has been online, I’ve only had to drop the ban-hammer on two parties. I’d like to think of that as a success.

Everybody have a great weekend, and keep the people of those areas devastated by tornadoes, particularly Alabama, in your thoughts and prayers.


Image: “Confederates in Pursuit,” by Walton Taber. Yuh, I know the Texas ran in reverse during the chase. I still like the image.

2 Responses

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  1. Tye said, on July 26, 2012 at 9:21 am

    in all actuality, the Texas really belongs where she was stationed , Adairsville.To have the Texas back in Adairsville housed near the Historic Train Depot would be the only right place and right thing to do.

    • Andy Hall said, on July 26, 2012 at 11:02 am

      The first priority has to be what’s best for the long-term preservation of the artifact, and second, best for public education. I understand the desire to return Texas to Adairsville, but it’s hard to imagine that that community has the resources to fully preserve or interpret the locomotive and its history. (Many communities have no idea how much its costs to do something like this properly, including onging expenditures.) As I say in the post, the proposal to bring Texas to Marietta and put her outdoors (even under cover) should be a non-starter, regardless of the symbolism involved.

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