Centennial Locomotive Built by Rotary Club

| March/April 1976

304 N. Glover Drive, Longview, Texas 75601

The Texas and Pacific railroad was built into what is now Longview, Texas, in 1870 before there was any Longview. It was customary in building this line to establish a town site about every ten miles apart. When the surveying crew reached the point where our city now stands, they climbed a rather steep hill in order to get a clearer view of the country lying westward above the timber line. When they reached the top of this hill one fellow exclaimed, 'Look, what a long view ahead!' And from this remark the town established was named Longview.

Longview had its Centennial Celebration in May of 1970. Great plans were made for this celebration and carried out to the satisfaction of all. I was asked to address the Rotary Club on 'The Age Of Steam' and incidentally suggested that since the railroad came to Longview first it would be fitting to have a float made to head the parade duplicating the 1870 type locomotive. The suggestion was immediately considered and plans adopted to build it, the Rotary Club assuming all responsibility. Accordingly, a blue print of the 1870 steam locomotive was secured and the work was begun. This engine was to be 42' in length, with a 13' height cab, and 80' drivers, complete with cylinders and side rods. The old type headlight and cabbage-head smokestack along with 'cow catcher,' ancient brass bell and chime whistle were to be in place. The Cab was placed upon two rubber tired wheels equipped with hand brakes, while the front end (underneath the boiler) was sup ported by a small tractor completely concealed from view, with 'port holes' for the driver to see his way along the streets. The chime whistle was blown by means of compressed air and oxygen tank. The engine was, of course, painted black with appropriate stripes and the name 'SAM HOUSTON' (named for the first governor of Texas) was prominently displayed on the sides of it. Since I was called 'the daddy' of this creation I was asked to be 'the hogger' (engineer) to occupy the right hand side of the cab and to blow the whistle for the street crossings and to cheer the crowds along the way. The locomotive was given the number 100, and when we handed into the man thoroughfares where an estimated crowd of 35,000 people were waiting, great cheers went up and hand signals were given for more 'happy whistling' to be done. There were more than 200 floats in the parade but old No. 100 took the first award. Nothing attracts people more than a live steam locomotive or even a steam powered tractor.

Since the Longview centennial in 1970 many other towns in this area have had centennial celebrations. And old No. 100 has shared in altogether eight street parades, and always she has carried off the greatest honors. In commenting upon it the people have said, 'It looks so realistic!' It always fits into a centennial parade, and it carries the minds of all who see it back to the days of those who pioneered in the building of railroads and towns, some of which are now modern cities with modern transportation systems.