304 N. Glover Drive, Longview, Texas 75601.
Recently, I have been called upon to make my favorite speech on the theme, 'The Age of Steam,' before the Gregg County Historical Society of Longview, Texas, and the Rotary Club of Glade-water, Texas. During this effort I presented a number of items pertaining to the age of steam, from my collection, including a small stationary steam engine, a whistle used in Civil War days on a wood burning locomotive, a 'box whistle' which came from France, one whistle used on engine No. 210 used in building the Panama Canal, plus many other articles.
I gave the history of the use of steam as a power and related some of my experiences with steam engines. The speech was received with much enthusiasm and the cheering was prolonged. Many of the people present in these meetings had heard the old wail of locomotive whistles, but seemingly did not know that there was so much interesting history in connection with the use of the steam engines of yesteryear. To present and thus to preserve some of the historical facts in the memories of men, of the use of steam, was a genuine delight on my part.
With the coming of both electric and diesel power, the steam engine was relegated to the background and many of the late generation know but little or nothing about it. I could but wish that a steam engine reunion could be held in every part of our country by steam engine enthusiasts. Perhaps, I could but wish that in every city and town at some central point a large steam boiler with steam pressure of 175 PSI could be located to which would be attached large locomotive and steamboat whistles and these blown at certain intervals to keep alive 'The Age of Steam.' Such would put to shame the old fog horns of the diesels and keep alive the sweet appealing tones of the chime whistles of days gone by.
Maybe I am 'old timey' and doubtless 'besides' myself but I love those old steam engines which, to me, were more of things of life than any machine ever invented by man. The boiler is the belly, the food was coal, wood and oil and water fed into it the drivers were the legs, the cylinders the lungs, the stack and whistle and bell were the tongue and the headlight and marker lights were the eyes! As a boy, I loved this monster made of steel as it rushed through our old farm by day and by night and that love lingers still.