The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 19, 2013

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: The story of two engines that could

PITTSBURG, Kan. — It’s hard not to be enamored by trains if you grew up where I did.

Pittsburg is crisscrossed by rail lines, as are many Southeast Kansas towns that were built on the backs of coal miners.

We know the stories of immigrants who pulled into town at Second Street and Broadway where the Europe Hotel used to stand. We watched as, a block to the west, the Watco transportation company grew by leaps and bounds to become one of the largest short-line rail operators in the nation.

My earliest memories include riding the pint-sized train at Kiddieland and going to Schlanger Park to see Engine 1023. Last September, I watched the latter get pulled away in an elaborate parade of specialized moving equipment, bound for its new home at Carona, about 15 minutes southwest.

Some weren’t thrilled with that turn of events, but I’m happy that the historic engine is getting a new life there. Vandals had all but stripped it of the pieces and parts that made it an engine. Gone was its 1906 bell, its whistle. The headlights were broken, the inside trashed.

But wherever there is bad, there is good. Members of the Heart of the Heartlands club, a group of railroad enthusiasts from across the nation, have gone to great lengths to begin the restoration and preservation of the engine. I visited with one, Larry Spahn, on Friday.

He told me that, as is so often the case in the Midwest, individuals and businesses have contributed time, talent and equipment to get the job done.

Ed Mayberry, a local Kansas City Southern retiree, donated a reflector. Ron Chamberland, a member from near Wichita, donated a replica whistle. Jeff Kooney, a member from Texas, restored the headlights.

Pittsburg craftsmen Jim VanBecelaere, Shawn Brown of Sam Brown Sheet Metal and Francis DeMott of Red Ball Patterns have spent quite a bit of time fabricating parts.

Freddy VanBecelaere has done dirt work at the new site and found salvage items to replace missing parts. Gary Burton Welding of Opolis, Pittsburg electrician Brent Linder and Jerry Messer’s Crane & Salvage Service of rural Cherokee County have contributed their skills.

Cherryvale sandblaster Chris Helt is preparing to begin work on the exterior any day now.

My family can’t wait to see the finished product and take another peek inside the museum complex on the grounds. It’s a fun outing any time of year.

We’ll also be headed back to the Miners Hall Museum in Franklin to see another of our favorite trains that had disappeared for a while.

Consisting of an engine, a passenger car and a caboose, it was fashioned out of wood by master carpenter Bob Hurt, of rural Pittsburg, in 2005. He lent it to the Pittsburg community, in a sense, by installing it between Immigrant Park and Pritchett Pavilion at Second Street and Broadway.

Much to the despair of my sons, vandals went to work on it like they did Engine 1023, so it had to be removed and put in storage. But Watco restored it, and a few weeks ago, crews wrapped up work on a beautiful pavilion and concrete pad at the Miners Hall Museum and installed the train just before the opening of the Smithsonian Institution exhibit.

Now that train, too, will be preserved for years of enjoyment by visitors young and old. All aboard!

FOLLOW ANDRA BRYAN STEFANONI on Facebook at facebook.com/andrajournalist and on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • r072814dogbike.jpg Cross-country trip promotes animal adoption

    Where’s Bixby? Not the town in Oklahoma, but the dog on the back of a bicycle ridden by Mike Minnick. On Monday, the two were in Joplin, one stop on a cross-country bike trip to promote the adoption of dogs and cats from local shelters.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4.3 magnitude quake reported in northern Oklahoma

    The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 struck northern Oklahoma on Monday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • 4 workers injured in SE Kansas oil refinery fire

    A Texas company says four workers at a southeast Kansas oil refinery were burned in an early morning fire.

    July 29, 2014

  • Seneca man draws concurrent term in sexual abuse case

    A 39-year-old man who sexually abused a girl over a four-year period in both Joplin and Seneca received a 15-year sentence Monday in Newton County that will run concurrently with a term he received earlier this year in Jasper County.

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge lifts seal on records in Parsons quadruple slaying

    A judge has rescinded his order sealing court records in the case of David Bennett Jr., who is accused of killing a Parsons woman and her three children.

    July 28, 2014

  • Defendant who pulled knife on ER doctor sent for treatment

    A man accused of pulling a knife on a Freeman Hospital West emergency room doctor pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was sentenced to the state prison system’s Institutional Treatment Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to build second local Neighborhood Market

    A second Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store is planned for Joplin. The company has filed an application with the city to rezone nearly six acres of land on the west side of town in the tornado zone to build a new Neighborhood Market and gas station.

    July 28, 2014

  • r072814mailcar.jpg VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill

    With a police escort leading the way Monday, postal car No. 34 breezed through downtown Joplin en route to its new home in Redings Mill, where it was greeted by a welcome party of local residents and railroad enthusiasts.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter