Saturday, June 22, 2019

Rebel Railroad, June 1965

Welcome to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee! Today we are revisiting the old "Rebel Railroad"; some of you may recall that I've posted pictures from there in the past, along with some historical context. If you're interested, check those out HERE and HERE.

As some of the old comments mentioned, 1965 was the 100th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, and apparently there was a lot of interest in that era among the public. For instance, "Fifemania" was a thing; all the cool kids learned to play the fife. Why did I waste my time learning to shred on the electric guitar??

Rebel Railroad had two beautiful USATC (United States Army Transport Corp) steam locomotives; this one is #192, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1942, in a 2-8-2 configuration (2-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles and two trailing wheels on one axle, usually in a trailing truck. This configuration of steam locomotive is most often referred to as a Mikado, frequently shortened to Mike). After the war, it went to the White Pass and Yukon Route and ran between Canada and the U.S. 

In 1961, real-estate developer Grover Robbins acquired #192 (and #190) for his second amusement park, located in the Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee - the Rebel Railroad. It looks great, don't you think?

Looks like we have a bunch of new recruits. My gosh, they look like kids. But I wouldn't mess with them - those Union boys better watch out.

These two steely-eyed soldiers are brandishing their Sharps rifles. War is heck.

In 1966, the park was renamed "Gold Rush Junction"; and in 1976, new owners called their park "Silver Dollar City", and the locomotives were given considerable makeovers.

In 1986, Dolly Parton became a co-owner of the property, and the park was renamed Dollywood. The train ride was renamed Dollywood Express, while the locomotive itself is called  "Klondike Kate". It's so great that it is still running today! It's sister, the #190, went to the Tweetsie Railroad in North Carolina.

I was going to describe these buildings as "western-themed", but that doesn't seem accurate to the Civil War motif. I know the war extended into the west, so perhaps that's the justification. Either way, as long as you have a saloon, it's all good.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Rebel Railroad!


Nanook said...


Is it any wonder that Walt loved trains-? Almost as much as that ragtag group of 'free labor'.

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Sadly, though devoted to the cause, those young brothers got kicked out of the service. No shoes, no shirts, no service.


Melissa said...

Good one, Sue!

Tall girl in striped shorts is not impressed. She reminds me of the kid version of Ensign Ro from the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where some of the crew get turned into children.

All that Civil War fifin' was good practice for the Bicentennial, which lasted roughly from 1969-1980.

That train sure is a beaut!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks, Melissa!

And did you notice that the two sisters, behind the unimpressed girl, have cute matching outfits and the same pose?


TokyoMagic! said...

Every kid in that third pic, is holding a gun! I wonder if this was some sort of battle reenactment? Today, those guns would be painted day-glo orange!

In that fourth pic, either the man with the tie, or the woman with the large white bead necklace, has their shoe up on the ledge in front of them. I hate it when people do that on rides, or in movie theaters! Where were you a barn?

Chuck said...

Note that all of the seats in the open-air cars face to the right, just like three of the carsets at Disneyland. It's a bummer that they don't issue firearms to kids on the DLRR.

It's too bad they didn't incorporate the DLRR into Wookiee World; they could have renamed it the Rebel Railroad there, too. (Yes, SW purists, I know that Galaxy's Edge is set during the postquels era, but work with me here.)

TM!, that shoe was actually part of the train's safety equipment. The Rebel RR didn't have an emergency stop pull cable; instead, if an emergency occurred while the train was in motion, passengers would squeeze the shoe to activate an emergency horn to let the crew know to stop. The device was known as a "shoe horn."

I'll go stand in the corner now.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I like to think of the “free labor” as “cannon fodder”.

Lou and Sue, an army has to have standards.

Melissa, so funny, I listen to a “Next Generation” podcast (with Matt Mira), otherwise I’d have no idea who Ensign Ro is. Today I am headlining at a local club, playing solo jazz fife.

Lou and Sue, those are the same girls in photo #3!

TokyoMagic!, not many people know that most of the guns used by the Confederacy were painted day-glo orange. It turned out to be a big tactical disadvantage. And it’s that man who has his foot up on the rail! My brother does this all the time at movie theaters, and it drives me crazy.

Chuck, I never saw “Solo”, but I guess there is actually a big “space train heist” that is supposedly one of the better action sequences. Ha ha, “squeeze the shoe”, I don’t know why but that phrase made me laugh.

Chuck said...

Major, I totally forgot about that sequence. Actually, I totally forgot about pretty much the whole movie.

JC Shannon said...

I always suspected Major was a shredder. Late nights playing 9 to 5 on his electric. These are some real gems. The kids are so well behaved, and still appear to be having a good time. It's great that these old locomotives are being lovingly preserved for future generations to enjoy. ALLLLL ABOARD!

Melissa said...

Chuck, I thought you were going to say, "brake shoes."

Chuck said...

Melissa, I wish I'd thought of that.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, now that you mention about the little girls, I see there are TWO sets of sisters in matching outfits and in the same poses. Originally, I only saw the ones in shorts, directly behind Melissa's unimpressed girl. That's sweet!

Brake shoes and shoe horns! :o)


Melissa said...

As for the Union Army fighting on both Southern and Western fronts, that's how the Maverick brothers became "Galvanized Yankees."

DBenson said...

The Civil War Centennial turned up in the Peanuts comic strip. For much of 1961 Linus wore a period soldier's cap (not sure if it was blue or gray) and there were a few passing references. Evidently the Centennial was sufficiently high profile that there was no need to explain the cap.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, it’s kind of astonishing how little interest there seemed to be in “Solo”, especially since it was written by Lawrence Kasdan. You’d think that if anybody knew how to write good Star Wars, it would be him.

Jonathan, I PLAYED GUITAR UNTIL MY FINGERS BLED! Favorite riffs: “Smoke On the Water” and “Takin’ Care of Business”.

Melissa, you gearheads are all alike.

Chuck, you think of plenty of stuff!

Lou and Sue, aha, I didn’t even notice those girls.

Melissa, I’ve always regretted that I haven’t seen “Maverick”, not even a single episode. From all accounts, it would have been right up my alley.

DBenson, oh interesting - I might have even read those strips long ago, I was crazy about “Peanuts”, and used to buy many book collections. Remember when Snoopy’s doghouse burned down and he lost the Van Gogh? When he rebuilt, he got an Andrew Wyeth though, so it worked out.