Of all the train photos on this Web site, this one best shows how the railroad and the town coexisted. The trains literally came right by your door. Here engine 110 is backing into town, past the engine shed, returning from the junction with loads of who knows what. This scene, viewed from the bluff at the south end of the 4th Avenue footbridge, shows Railroad Street crossing the tracks and skirting Hollis Scruggs' front porch. The house with the fuel tanks is where Walter Toney's family lived, and just visible above the Toney house is where Earl Owensby grew up.
The dusty, sandy streets were perfect for young bare feet, whether you were ambling around to a friend's house or rolling an old tire for the fun of it. (There are two such tires lying in the yard at left.) Off in the distance, the smoke stack at the school house rises above the treetops.
Sam Davis, who spent his childhood a stone's throw from this scene, offers this: “The train went up Monday through Friday about noon and returned around
3:30. On rare occasions it would be late, returning around 5:30 or 6:00. If it was winter time and dark all the kids and some grown ups would stand on the bridge to see it come down. Why? Shine [Freeman] would have the big light on.”
Photograph by Michael Dunn, from the collection of Mal Ferrall. Provided by Jim Scancarelli.