The Cy Crumley Scrapbook
ET&WNC Railroad

Tour 15: Doe River Gorge


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.

Pardee Point
Date: 2002

The scenic Doe River Gorge is accessible and viewable by narrow gauge rail today due to the dedicated hard work of ET&WNC enthusiasts and the support of the Doe River Gorge Christian Camp. In 2002, 120 years after the famous pose below celebrating the first passenger train from Cranberry via the Gorge, the scene was recreated in the photo above.


It looks as good as ever!
Date: 1882





Constructing the ET&WNC
Dates: 1881, 2002
Here's a photo about as far back as you will find.  This series of pictures is just incredible.  We are pretty sure that they are Burr Harrison shots, made as the railroad was being built in the early 1880's.
These pictures showed up at Doe River Gorge one day after we started running the train up there.  There is a wonderful lady named Suzanne Seiler who donated them to Doe RIver Gorge.  The story goes that her family had them for many years and she was glad to see the great work that Doe River Gorge does with children.  The picture technologist says that these old prints were made by using egg whites, and that some sort of critter was eating the images as of last year.  There certainly was termite damage to the album, but we are glad to have what we have got.
The album, critters, termite eggs and all were sent to the Archives of Appalachia at ETSU where they put it in their way-back machine to kill the critters and stabilize the photographs, which are very fragile at this point.  Guess you'd be fragile too if you were 125-plus years old and termites were eating you.  Anyway, the Archives has a public viewing copy of all this stuff for you to look at.  Thanks to Suzanne Seiler, the Doe River Gorge crew, the picture wizard and the Archives of Appalachia staff for saving this incredible record of the construction of the railroad.  There are a couple dozen of these shots, and we'll show you a few of them.
This one is made as they are putting the track in at Pardee's Point, so it says.  This is the same spot where "11 at Pardee Point" on page 8, and the Lucius Beebe picture, and a zillion other shots have been and continue to be made.  I stuck a shot of Rachel in the same place back in 2002 here to go with it. Thanks again to the Suzanne Seiler Collection, Doe River Gorge, and the ETSU Archives of Appalachia.



Constructing the ET&WNC
Dates: 1881
Here's a shot before they even got the roadbed blasted out of the side of the gorge.  Old Thomas Matson was pretty smooth, he divided up his crews and they worked towards each other, digging the tunnels and all.  This is at Pardee Point looking back toward Hampton.



Early Train
Dates: 1882
Here is Burr Harrison's photo of the train coming into the gorge.  That's really Tunnel 2, but those of you who come to the gorge to ride that is the first tunnel you go through leaving the camp.  It has washed away some of that big fill and the river has moved much closer to the track these days.
On the other side of the river from this point at the Doe River Gorge, folks have built some magnificent cabins for their campers to stay in.  They have big fireplaces and the deck is right out over the river.  I try to point them out when I am giving tours on the train and running my mouth on the PA system and but they are available part of the year for weekend getaways, retreats, etc.



In the Gorge
Date: 2000
Keith Holley rides the head end as Tim "Choo-Choo" Smith runs the engine "Rachel" around the family train at Pardee Point on October 16, 2000.  This was the fiftieth anniversary of the last run of the narrow gauge. Read the One Yard, Three Foot article by Mark Milbourne highlighting the history of the Doe River Gorge Railroad.

Below is an incredibly detailed scale model of the Doe River Gorge developed by Les and Mary Jo Walker of the Greater Saint Louis area chapter of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), the world's largest organization devoted to the development, promotion, and enjoyment of the hobby of model railroading.



Gorge Model
Date: 2005



Glenn Miller
Date: 2003
In 2003, Glenn Miller, grandson of Tweetsie Engineer Jim Miller, visited Doe River Gorge and using Photoshop software superimposed his family into this vintage photo of Cy Crumley and Sherman Pippin. The location matches exactly to the original photo.




Look no Rails
Date: 1966
Dad and I would occasionally go take a walk thru Doe River Gorge before the amusement park was built in 1967 or 1968.  I think that is tunnel four, between the bridges and I'm glad we had our camera.

Lots of people think that the rail in the gorge now is the old ET&WNC rail, but it isn't.  It was pulled up and scrapped in 1951, but they left in the double bridges so if there was a forest fire down in there they could get in the upper end of the gorge to fight it.  The rail that L&S put in was bought from the receivers of the Smoky Mountain Railroad,  A. J. King Lumber down in Sevierville.  The poor old Smoky Mountain Railroad ran from the Knoxville Southern Railway station up to Sevierville, and at one time had run all the way to McCookeville, halfway between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  It wheezed along and finally starved to death sometime in the early 1960's, and King had the rail at a racehorse price.  A lot of it is pretty worn out, but it will last us a long time up in the gorge.

Below I am with my friends Allen and Dana Goodwin just after Loest & Stanley relaid the track in the gorge in 1968 I think.  This is on the "over bridge", on the Johnson City side of the double bridge tunnel


New Rails
Date: 1968



Date: 2002
Another view of the tunnel leading to the Gorge. Some fascinating views lie just ahead on the other side.



Little Whistler
Date: 1969
Here is my dapper little self on the infamous "Little Whistler", the Doe RIver Gorge Family Playland Railroad number 101.
That thing wouldn't make enough steam to get your hot dog bun warm.  Some outfit over at Marion, NC had reboilered it with some contraption from a dairy.  It tried to burn oil but it would not steam at all--not even enough to run the air compressor for the brakes.  The second week they were open we went up there and there was Walter Allison and his wife, Brownie, and George Allison.  Walt and Brownie refused to ride it because they didn't think it was safe with that little engine.  I rode it anyway and we ran out of steam five times between what is now the camp and the through the bridge up at tunnel four.
They fooled with it off and on and finally they bought a diesel and put it on the back of the train to make it up the hill.  The "Little Whistler" finally ran away and derailed at the upper end of tunnel two during the Hillbilly World era.  That was the end of it's career.
SO FAR......

Doe River Gorge Playland
Date: 1969
A souvenir coin used in vending and game machines from the Doe River Gorge Playland.


Date: 2003
On front left, Ken Riddle and Johnny Graybeal enjoy heading up an excursion into the Gorge sponsored by Doe River Gorge Ministries. Below Mike Dowdy and Ken Riddle serve as engineers and tour guides for excursion trips into the scenic Doe River Gorge.

Date: 2007



Rachel from Opryland
Date: 2002
The Engine Rachel, obtained from the Opryland Railroad after that theme park closed, smokes up the Gorge.

Rachel on Truck
Date: 2002
Rachel is loaded by crane en route to her new home in the Doe River Gorge.



Tradition Observed
Date: 2003
Ken Riddle upholds the tradition of Sherman Pippin and Cy Crumley and poses at Pardee Point for a photo with this attractive lady - his friend from childhood, Kathy Slaughter Burton.


Rachel's Orientation
Date: 2002
Al, Tim, and Keith at Doe River Gorge during the orientation of Rachel to her new home in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee.




The NARC Boiler
Date: 2002
East Tennessee Railway Managers, Darrell Edwards and Keith Holley, pose with Ken Riddle in front of the North American Railway Company "boiler" that has since been made part of a railway exhibit at the Elizabethton Chamber of Commerce. Below are photos of the Carter County railway exhibit and the marker denoting the county's railroad history.

NARC Boiler on Display
Date: 2006

Carter Co. Railways
Date: 2006



George and Keith Holley
Date: 2002
Veteran Clinchfield Railroad employee, George Holley, with his nephew Keith at Doe River Gorge. George Holley is a noted collector of railroad memorabilia and a fascinating reteller of railroad-era stories going back several generations.


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Feel free to copy and use these photos.


Kenneth Riddle
Johnson City, Tennessee
November 2005