Scroll down and view just a sample of the many
photos you will see each month
in The Kentucky Explorer magazine.
Bob Adams of Foster, Kentucky, shares this photo of his great-grandfather, Ras Ditto "R. D." Clark, when he was a member of an early baseball team. He is shown kneeling at far right. Bob has no idea of the name of this team, but an "F" is imprinted on the players uniforms. R. D. was from Henry County, Kentucky, but spent his adult life in Frankfort. He played pro-baseball for the Louisville Colonels beginning in 1897. Perhaps readers can help identify the team. (See letter in the June 2013 issue of The Explorer further information.)
One can see how this curve, located near Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County, Kentucky, earned the name of Horseshoe Bend. This photo, shared by David Owens of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, was taken in 1915 when the Dixie Highway was under construction.
The End of an Era at Elkhorn City Yard.
The Clinchfield Railroad was completed to Elkhorn City, Pike
County, Kentucky, in 1915. From 1915 to 1984 the Elkhorn Yard
was a booming train yard. For years the Clinchfield Railroad
had passenger trains (No. 37 north from Erwin to Elkhorn City
and No. 38 south from Elkhorn City to Erwin) that ran every day
from Erwin, Tennessee, to Elkhorn City, until 1954 . The last
passenger train for the Clinchfield Railroad that came to Elkhorn
City was in 1954. The Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) had two
passenger trains, No. 36 and No. 38 east that ran from Ashland
(Boyd County) to Elkhorn, and No. 37 and No. 39 west to Ashland.
The last passenger train that ran for the C&O was July 7,
1963. The Clinchfield Railroad (CR) had time freights from Erwin
to Elkhorn City (No. 97, 95, and 93) and the C&O had a time
freights from Russell to Elkhorn (No. 92, 94, and 290), also
a shifter out of Shelby, Pike County, Kentucky, to Elkhorn City
carrying southern coal to Duke Power in North Carolina. Elkhorn
Yard interchanged hundreds of rail cars in a 24-hour period.
The employees at Elkhorn worked together getting all of these
trains out of the Elkhorn Yard. Elkhorn was a small yard with
only five tracks. No. 97, a second class time freight that came
from Florida had top priority because the railcars contained
perishable goods. No. 97, was also known as the Florida Perishable.
When 97 stopped in Elkhorn Yard to change crews, the Carman inspected
the train to see if there were any defects in the railcars. The
first Santa Claus Train on the Clinchfield Railroad came from
Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Elkhorn City in 1943. The Santa
Claus Train is still run by the CSX Railroad. It stops at Elkhorn
City and Shelby, Kentucky. One of the first general yardmasters
was G. W. Heaton. Other employees that worked at Elkhorn City
in the 1920s were Cecil Owens, general yardmaster, from 1920
to early 1960. The Hostlers (the employees that worked the steam
locomotive when they laid up at Elkhorn Yard) were Joe Ratliff,
Howard Starnes, Ezra Starnes, Brewly Starnes and John Ford. Other
employees at Elkhorn City before the merger with the CSX were
Yardmaster Edward (Chick) Spradin (1960-ApriI1981), Car Foreman
Roy Owens, Carman Bill Powell, John Adkins, Cliff Vanover, Harold
Sloan, Joe Barrowman, Dale Ratliff, Bill Ratliff, Ben Childers,
W. W. Barrowman, J. B. Roberts, S. J. Lanier, Nelson Wallace,
Durwood Ratliff, Clarney Mullins, Leonard Mullins, Bobby Coleman,
Clifton Vanover, and A. I. Edwards. The first telegraph operators
were E. O. Bennett and M. E. Brummitt. Clerks were Morris Wallace,
Ira Haynes, H. C. Spradlin, A. N. Stafford, and T. C. Bumgardner.
Other telegraph operators were Lonnie Johnson, Mack Mullins,
J. A. Sloan, M. C. Campbell, Randall Belcher, Dean Sanders, Sam
Sanders, Harry Willis, John S. Moore, Randall Gourtney, and Scott
Jessee. Getting trains in and out of Elkhorn Yard required that
all the CRR employees work together. With a volume of 10,000
to 12,000 cars monthly, that was some accomplishment. Remember
that Elkhorn had only five tracks with a capacity of less than
400 cars to handle all the trains and to furnish service to approximately
eight coal-loading facilities. The Elkhorn Yard was supervised
by Hubby Spradin and after the yardmaster shift was over at 5:00
p.m. Hubby was a clerk for the CRR. The CRR sure got a bargain
in the work force at Elkhorn, with a telegraph operator on duty
around the clock. With one clerk from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
and another clerk from 9:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m., plus a yard
clerk at night. With the merger with CXS, the CRR employees were
transferred to Dant, Virginia, or to Shelby, Kentucky. These
men worked extremely well together without a trainmaster or road
foreman to supervise their work and manage the yard, in fact
the superintendent at Erwin knew that and told other officials
to leave them be, because they were doing a good job managing
the trains in and out of Elkhorn. The Elkhorn Yard was booming
for 66 years, but today the yard looks like a ghost yard. A.
V. "Ott" Ratliff, 1012 Raceland Avenue, Raceland, KY
Martha Crider Bynum, 80 HWY 902 E., Fredonia, KY 42411; 270/545-3304; firstname.lastname@example.org, shares this photo of a group at Lone Star School near Crayne, Crittenden County, Kentucky, in 1918. Those in the photo are (not in order) Ruby Terry, Opal Terry, Virginia Jennings, Paul Riley, Eldon Riley, Frank Riley, Stella Jennings, Gladys Sigler, Ruby Belt, Benny Belt, Gola Boone, Edith Boone, James Boone, Burgess Boone, Ted Hill, Vera Hill, Imogene Hill, Vera Jennings, John Jennings, Stella Jennings, Corbert Rushing, Lacy Rushing, Taft Rushing, Norvel Cannon, Ezra Cannon, Ray Cannon, Ross Crayne, Ruth Belt, Mary Belt, Ross Belt, Clara Belt, Jewell Belt, and Carlos Campbell.
Willis Bond, 202 Bands Loop, Olive Hill, KY 41164, shares this photo of Jerry T. Bond riding his pet goat. Jerry was the youngest son of Harrison and Mona Bond. The photo was taken in the early 1950s in Carter County, Kentucky.
The Kentucky Explorer Contains Over 100 Photos Each Month.