Iron Man Of the Month

| November/December 1972



Welcome to our Blue Grass Engine Show,' he said, coming up and extending his right arm for a long handshake. 'We're mighty glad to have you folks.'

He was the first man we met after setting foot onto the Blue Grass Engine Show soil at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, that July day back in 1970a perfect gentleman, typifying the old-time southern hospitality we read about in books.

'I like to poke in the fires,' chuckled Forrest Cunningham, tall and erect with a physique belying his seventy-seven years. 'I began pumping water and cutting wood for the steam engines when I was twelve for the sawmill man, a Mr. Will Stevens & Sons of Mercer County, Kentucky. Later I helped him with the threshing.'

'I like to shovel coal', says Forrest, looking back over his many years of steam threshing, interrupted by several years preceding and following World War One when he handled the scoop on the left-hand side of the cabs of L & N steam locomotives on the 140-mile Knoxville Division running from Louisville to Livingston, Kentucky. 'I've lived here in Mercer County, Kentucky, all my life, excepting those years I boarded in Louisville and hired out as fireman on the L. & N.

To Forrest Cunningham, the mighty bark of a steam thresh engine became even mightier from the stack of those husky L. & N. Mikao steam locomotives with the 2-8-2 American railroad classification, listed in the Wytte System of wheel arrangement as two leading truck wheels, eight drivers and two on the trailing truck.