The Cy Crumley Scrapbook
ET&WNC Railroad Historical Photo Collection



Your host and narrator for this tour is Ken Riddle, close personal friend of Cy Crumley, legendary conductor of this great railroad. From 1906 until 1960, Cy worked on the ET&WNC as Brakeman and Conductor. This is his scrapbook of those years and his story.
Click Here to Start the Tour.


Charles Grover (Cy) Crumley was born in 1885 in Elizabethton, Tennessee. He spent 54 years of his life, from 1906 until 1960, working on the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad as a brakeman and conductor. He was the conductor of the daily passenger train from Johnson City to Boone for many, many, years.

Mr. Crumley was my good friend from my childhood until his death in 1978. I spent many hours with him listening to his tales of his railroad days and looking over his three massive scrapbooks filled with photographs, timetables, and ET&WNC goodies. We were great buddies and later I had the sad duty of being one of his pallbearers. He is buried at Happy Valley Memorial Park in Carter County, Tennessee.

After Mr. Crumley passed on I stayed in touch with his baby daughter, Ruth Tupper. She had been her Poppa’s caregiver and constant companion for the last fifteen years or so of his life and she was such a delightful girl. The presentation of these photographs would not be possible without her help.

One of the last things that Mr. Crumley did before he passed on was to get with Ruth and try to rearrange the scrapbooks. Unfortunately, many of his items had been taken by “railroad historians” and never returned to him so the later scrapbooks were probably only about half of what they had been in the 1960’s, before the "borrowers" found out how free of heart Mr. Crumley was and stripped the collection. Many of the photographs that have been published in recent years under other names were taken from the Cy Crumley collection by the people who have their names on them now.
Shame and dishonor on all those people.

All is not lost, however.

Ruth Tupper passed away in 2003. Before she died, she allowed me to have the remains of the collection to make sure that they would be around for anyone who would like to see them after she was gone. The collection is now in the Archives of Appalachia at ETSU, and now will be available for everybody to see online at Johnson’s This would please Mr. Crumley and Ruth a great deal to know that everybody could see his photographs and hear the story of this great, great, railroad.

Plus, even more good news.......

I recently found a group of negatives that I shot about 1972-1973 among my scrap pile. Evidently, I took photographic copies of the scrapbooks, page by page, at that time. While they are still not what they were in 1965, they are about twice what is there today and I am working through these page by page and all the results will be both in the Archives of Appalachia and online here.

So, light yourself a cigar and sit back and enjoy ol’ Cy’s pictures. He would be tickled to death for you to see them.



Kenneth Riddle

Johnson City, Tennessee

November 2005

Note: To understand Johnson City, Tennessee and its heritage, you have to understand the railroads. The narrow gauge East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad, completed in 1882, guaranteed Johnson City's location as a strategic rail crossroads for the Appalachian Mountain region. The Johnson Associates are grateful to Ken Riddle, who the Crumley family entrusted to keep this historic collection intact, and who has retold the stories of this small mountain railroad and the men who participated in this fascinating chapter in the developmental history of Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Gratitude is also expressed to the Archives of Appalachia at ETSU who have preserved film footage and a vast collection of rail photography and memorabilia that is available for present and future generations. Few, if any, railroads have the "cult following" of the legendary ET&WNC and the Tweetsie Railroad Theme Park, the Doe River Gorge Railway and the ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society ensure the great ET&WNC (Tweetsie) Railroad will not be forgotten.
Scrapbook Index
Tour 1:
Cy Crumley and Ruth Tupper
Tour 1a:
The Youthful Conductor
Tour 2:
The Early Years
Tour 2a:
George Hardin
Tour 3:
Chet and Corrie Ford
Tour 3a:
Cranberry, North Carolina
Tour 4:
Narrow Gauge Still Kicking
Tour 4a:
Chick Ferrell
Tour 5:
Tighteye and Turkey
Tour 5a:
Tour 6:
Andy Kern
Tour 6a:
Postcards and Excursions
Tour 7:
The End is Near for the Narrow Gauge
Tour 7a:
Sherman Pippin
Tour 8:
The Last Order
Tour 8a:
Tweetsie in Color
Tour 9:
Brownie Allison
Tour 9a:
Clinchfield Cousins
Tour 10:
Korean War Troop Train
Tour 11:
Standard Gauge Years
Tour 12:
Standard Gauge in Retreat
Tour 13:
Tweetsie Returns
Tour 14:
Reunions and Tall Tales
Tour 15:
Doe River Gorge
Tour 16:
Requiem for the ET&WNC Crew
Tour 17:
Dick Conger's Garden Railroad
Tour 18:
Revival of the Narrow Gauge: Little Whistler
Tour 19:
Hist. Society Convention & Railfan Weekend
Tour 20:
Scenic Doe River Gorge 2006
Tour 20a:
Doe River Gorge Fall Colors
Tour 21:
Doc Watson Day in Johnson City
Tour 22:
The Return of Cy Crumley's Hat
Attention Special Train from Cranberry:
Don't Forget the Forth of July, 1888
See in action - The Johnson City Reds
Order this DVD which contains Historic Film Footage, Aerial Views, and a Walking tour of the ROW.
Price - $18 & NC residents please add 7% sales tax.
Trane Productions
P.O. Box 1284
Linville, NC 28646-1284
  Classic Photo:
McGregor, Texas Depot

Other Resources
ET&WNC Route Map from Trane Productions: Johnson City to Boone
ET&WNC Anniversary Program: 1951
Walter Allison's Guided Tour
Johnny Graybeal's History of ET&WNC Article
Last Run of the Narrow Gauge
ET&WNC Schedule and Map: 1922
ET&WNC Excursion Ad
Chris Ford Photo Album
Aerial Photos from Chris Ford
The Blue Ridge Stemwinder
1888 Map: Johnson City to Cranberry
Slim Rails: ET&WNC
Cy Crumley Interview: 1976
ET&WNC Schedule: 1919
ET&WNC Employee Records/Database
Wikipedia Encyclopedia: ETWNC
  Tribute to Railway Artist Ted Laws
  Model Railroad Gauge Guide

Visit the Tweetsie Railroad

Continue to the Next Page in this tour

Learn More about the historic ET&WNC Narrow Gauge Railroad via these outstanding publications:

Along the ET&WNC Award-Winning Book Series by Johnny Graybeal

Published by the
Overmountain Press
The Blue Ridge Stemwinder

by author John R. Waite is a great historic documentary of Johnson City's railway heritage focusing on the ET&WNC.

The Stemwinder volume includes a series of customized maps created by Chris Ford depicting industrial and railway features of Johnson City and Elizabethton and the entire ET&WNC - Linville River lines during the 1880 - 1930 time period.
Foreward by Ken Riddle.

The History of Engine No. 12
ET&WCN/Tweetsie RR

DVD’s are available for just $12 plus $3 for s/h
For more information contact us at