The Cy Crumley Scrapbook
ET&WNC Railroad

Tour 12: Standard Gauge in Retreat


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 on each photo to see a larger view.

Shooting the Rods
Date: 1966

Andy Kern "shoots the rods" before 207 goes to work one morning in 1966. Brownie and Mr. Vest would show up between 8 and 9 and they would go to work after the Clinchfield would set out the day's inbounds. Shooting the rods means using the grease gun. Photo courtesy of John Waite.



in Sand
Date: 1966

Here is a good shot of Andy putting sand in the "sand dome" on top of the engine in 1966. This can be activated in the cab to put sand ahead or sand in the rear if needed for traction.This picture was hanging in Andy Kern's living room. Photo courtesy of John Waite.


206 in Color
Date: 1956
Here's a shot Mike Hardin brought me of the 206 in color at the Johnson City interchange with the Southern.  Look at that big Illinois Central steamboat whistle on her!



Bonnie Lou & Buster
Date: 1959

Two favorite local entertainers of the Allisons and Crumleys were Bonnie Lou and Buster Moore, local television personalities and country musicians. The Archives of Appalachia is restoring many vintage television programs featuring popular local artists. Below is Bonnie (holding flowers) at a tribute show in 2005 in Johnson City.


Bonnie Lou
Date: 2005



Charles Goodwin Band
Date: 1974
Here is a photo from July 4, 1974 and the Charles Goodwin "Half Fast Marching and Riding Band"  Is spreading jazz across the streets of downtown Kingsport.  Gene Young on the drums (look at his name on the bass drum), Charlie Goodwin on piano, Fred Goodwin on bass, Ron Flanary on trumpet, Stan Alexander on trombone, Bill Gamble on clarinet, and the nearly invisible famous Jacques Edwards on tenor sax.
Kingsport and Johnson City somehow gathered up a lot of old big band musicians.  It was a real treat to see these guys get together and jam at the Fine Arts Center on Sunday nights back in the 1970s.  Jacques (Jack) Edwards was about the funniest man I ever knew.  He could be standing up playing a solo and make his pants fall down. 
Another guy that is missing in this show was Vance Cox.  Vance was our neighbor when I was a little boy, and a great trombone player that enjoyed playing music as much as anybody I ever saw.  I am an old tuba player, and Vance would get me to come sit in with these old guys when I was in high school and he would give me pointers and showed me how to play "off the top of my head", by ear.  He really helped me out a lot and I wish he was in the picture.  He had a heart attack shoveling snow and died in the late 1970s.
Gene Young was a real treat.  I was the band director at Erwin for a while after I got out of college and Gene worked for Henry Frick at the music store in Johnson City as a road man.  I could set my watch with Gene.  He would come thru the band room door at ten after twelve on Monday as regular as clockwork.  We would visit a while and he would talk to me about his Uncle Fred Helton.  Gene was a real good dude and we lost him way too soon.  Next time you see "Coal Miner's Daughter" look for him playing the drums. One of the Henry Johnson Associates historical team, Alan Bridwell, had the honor of being a pallbearer for legendary musician Gene Young in 1999.




Relics of the Past
Date: 1951

After the narrow gauge finished up in 1950, Sherman Pippin got three boxcars for use on his farm in Shell Creek. They were set out and he took the bodies over to where Wayne Holtzclaw's big sawmill is today, and used them for everything from rental property to country stores. One of them is on display in Elizabethton today, thanks to the generosity of Wayne, one is captured and being held in New Jersey where it is rotting to the ground, and another one is rotting to the ground in Roan Mountain. It is a crime to see these two priceless relics rotting, but we have tried to get them saved and met with no success whatsoever.   Anyway, this picture was made after Sherman stripped the bodies and left the steel for the scrappers in 1951.




Still Working
Date: 1960s

Mr. Crumley had a good friend from Norfolk named H. Reid.  H. wrote a book back in the early 1960's called "Extra South" that featured the story of Mr. Crumley's life on the railroad. H. found the old ET&WNC first number 8 working for a living over in Waverly, Virginia at the Gray Lumber Company.  He made a few pictures of her in her new job and sent copies to Mr. Crumley. 




Souvenir Cover
Date: 1980

Commemorative ET&WNC envelope postmarked in Johnson City in 1980 featuring Jimmie Rodgers stamp. A legendary entertainer known as the "Father of Country Music," Jimmie Rodgers performed in Johnson City during the town's glory days as an Appalachian rail center.


Bring on the Diesels
Date: 1980s

The diesel Engine 214 the first week she came to the East Tennessee railway. It is standing right on track 1 at the Legion street shop. How many pictures have you seen on this website made right in this same place?





Date: 1980s

Here's the 215 made at the same time the 214 was. It looks great in that green paint doesn't it? There had not been any green engines on Legion street since 1942 I think!




Steam Guys on Diesels
Date: 1968

Brownie Allison looks none too happy about being in the cab of that "deezul".  This is right after they traded the two steam engines for the 209 and 210.  Brownie didn't like those diesels one bit.  The day they came in, Earl Vest retired. Brownie worked until 1969.  That's Brownie Allison, Jim Salyers, Dee Whitson, Cecil Bowden (who replaced Mr. Hobbs as the superintendent), Jim Dowdy, and I think that is Earl McKinney.

All the old- timers were jealous of Sherman Pippin who found work at the narrow gauge steam railroad theme park in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

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Feel free to copy and use these photos.


Kenneth Riddle
Johnson City, Tennessee
November 2005