The Texas (locomotive)

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The Texas
Texas1.jpg
Specifications
Power type Steam
Builder Danforth, Cooke and Company
Build date October 1856
Configuration 4-4-0
UIC classification 2′B n
Gauge Originally: 5 ft (1,524 mm),
Now: 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver diameter 57 in (1,448 mm)
Weight on drivers 32,000 lb (14.5 tonnes)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 15 in × 22 in (381 mm × 559 mm)
Career
Operator(s) Western and Atlantic Railroad, Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway
Number(s) 49, renum 12 in 1880, 212 in 1890
Official name Texas, renamed "Cincinnati" in 1880
Retired 1903
Current owner City of Atlanta, Georgia, displayed at the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum
Disposition Static display
The Texas
The Texas (locomotive) is located in Georgia (U.S. state)
The Texas (locomotive)
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Coordinates 33°44′1.78″N 84°22′15.42″W / 33.7338278°N 84.3709500°W / 33.7338278; -84.3709500Coordinates: 33°44′1.78″N 84°22′15.42″W / 33.7338278°N 84.3709500°W / 33.7338278; -84.3709500
Built 1856
Architect Danforth, Cooke & Co.
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 73002234 [1]
Added to NRHP June 19, 1973

The Texas is a type 4-4-0 steam locomotive that played an important role in the Great Locomotive Chase during the American Civil War. The locomotive is preserved at the Atlanta Cyclorama building within Grant Park in Atlanta, Georgia. The Texas is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Before the Civil War[edit]

Built at a cost to its owners of $9,050 in 1856 by Danforth, Cooke and Company in Paterson, New Jersey, the Texas provided freight and passenger service between Atlanta, and Dalton, Georgia, before the Civil War on the Western and Atlantic Railroad (Antebellum trains were generally known by names, not numbers.)

Civil War[edit]

During early part of the Civil War, the locomotive was used primarily to haul local freight and cargo without any major incident. However, on April 12, 1862, the Texas, pulling a load of 21 cars from Dalton southbound towards Atlanta, was commandeered by William Allen Fuller to chase down spies led by James J. Andrews during the "Great Locomotive Chase." Steaming in reverse after jettisoning the railcars, the Texas pursued the fleeing General over 50 miles to Ringgold, Georgia, where the raiders abandoned their stolen train two miles north of that town and fled. The Texas's engineer, Peter Bracken, towed the abandoned General back to Adairsville, Georgia, and then picked up his 21 cars and steamed into Atlanta, well behind schedule, but with a good reason.

The Texas and nine boxcars were loaned to the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad to haul salt and cargo from the mines at Saltville, Virginia, from 1863 through the end of the war.

Postbellum and Present Day[edit]

Moved back to Georgia following the war, the Texas again served the W&ARR during the postbellum Reconstruction era. The locomotive was renumbered and renamed as the Cincinnati in 1880 and continued to serve the W&A, as well as successor road Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis until retired in 1903. At this time, the engine was stored on a siding in Atlanta, awaiting scrapping. However, an August 1907 issue of the Atlanta Georgian brought to attention the deteriorated state of the locomotive as well as the role it played in the Civil War-era chase, and began a fundraising effort for its preservation. In response, NC&StL president John W. Thomas stated that he was willing to turn the engine over to the state for preservation. Similarly, the Georgia General Assembly had passed a resolution recognizing the need to preserve the engine. However, neither the railway nor the state had taken any further action, and the engine continued to decay on the siding.

In 1910, Wilbur G. Kurtz began writing articles in the Atlanta Constitution advocating preservation of the Texas, and the following year, the engine was moved to Grant Park. Here, while preserved, the engine remained exposed to the elements and in an unrestored state. In 1927, the Texas was placed in the basement of the newly constructed Cyclorama, but remained unrestored. During its service life, the Texas underwent numerous rebuilds and its appearance at retirement, though not as drastically changed as was the General, had several marked differences from its Civil War era appearance. Most notably, the engine's smokestack, originally a Radley-Hunter balloon design, was replaced with a diamond design suited for coal-burning, and its cowcatcher had been replaced with a wooden step for use in yard service.

In 1936, the locomotive, under the guidance of Kurtz, was cosmetically restored to resemble its wartime appearance. The engine's smokestack was replaced with one resembling the balloon design of the Civil War era, its horizontal strap-iron slat cowcatcher was restored, as were the nameplates on the sides of the boiler. The basement in which the engine was placed, while adequate to protect the engine, had been criticized for its small size which made viewing the engine difficult. As with the General, several proposals had been made as to where the Texas should be displayed, including placing it on display in the Atlanta Union Depot, at the site of present-day Underground Atlanta, at Stone Mountain Park, among others, none of which materialized.

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was growing concern about the condition of the panoramic painting of the American Civil War Battle of Atlanta, also displayed in the Cyclorama, which had suffered from storm damage as well as long periods of neglect. In 1972, the City of Atlanta developed plans to renovate the Cyclorama building, including a complete restoration of the painting as well as an enlarged display area for the Texas. However, the renovation did not begin until 1979, and was completed in September 1981.

Future[edit]

After the 2008 restoration of the Gettysburg Cyclorama, concerns again began to arise about the Battle of Atlanta painting's condition, prompting the city of Atlanta to explore another restoration and potential relocation of the painting.[2] Ultimately, the decision was made to relocate the painting as well as restoring it, the move would include the Texas locomotive as well as the remainder of the Cyclorama museum collection. At this time, the city of Marietta, Georgia expressed interest in acquiring the engine.[3] However, city officials determined that the engine should remain preserved in tandem with the painting. In July 2014, the city of Atlanta announced that the Cyclorama collection, including the painting, Texas locomotive, and other artifacts were to be relocated to the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.[4] The collection is planned to be removed from the current location in 2015, which will mark the first time the Texas has been removed from the Cyclorama building since its 1981 remodeling. The enlarged History Center is slated to open in 2016.

References[edit]