You cannot imagine the excitement I had reading the Jan. 18 Times-News and the article by Greg Larry, about the “Historic rail car returns to area, will be restored.” (Page 1A).
My father, Clifford P. Flanagan, worked at the Western Maryland Railway as a machinist helper and back in the 40’s, he was picked up daily in Knob Mount (WM shops,) now Carpenter’s Addition), by the passenger train from Elkins, W.Va., to Cumberland.
His job was to inspect the locomotive, lubricating it and other areas. It was Dec. 8, 1941, never to be forgotten. I ran up to the WM crossing in Ridgeley, where they exchanged the mail bags and told my father the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor on Sunday, Dec. 7, a date that will live in infamy, said President Roosevelt.
We lived right beside the tracks on Main Street, where Victor Tambello and his father Nick would visit frequently, as Nick and my dad worked together at the WM.
Victor’s body is entombed in the hull of the USS Arizona, a national memorial at Pearl Harbor.
I still get excited when I see or hear No. 734 giving its notice of a rumbling giant as they seemed to me, growing up in Ridgeley, beside the tracks.
I am sensitive to the present folks in Ridgeley, near the “tracks”, with still enduring the cinders and black smoke from the giant 734.
But my family and I, especially my mother, endured the same experience, hanging clothes in the back yard, for the white clothes and sheets, to catch the cinders and soot that bellowed from all the freight activity in the yards (Ridgeley) at that time.
I was just going to write you a personal letter, thanking you for the extensive cost and effort you have rendered, bringing the 1918 Pullman railway car back to Ridgeley.
But then, I thought it should be brought to the attention of those who might have missed this historic story and the ancient history that goes with it.
I think I remember seeing it in 1943 and the gold letters “Western Maryland” painted across each side.
My excitement was always seeing the rear platform on those cars, as I remember seeing it and the WM officials riding through between here and Elkins.
It is ironic and exciting that after Carl Belt Inc., delivered this car to Swanton, after 50 years, you have returned it to its home in Ridgeley.
As the article stated, “Dan Pluto, the chief mechanical officer, and the folks at our shop do great work,” and they do, by the evidence of the continuing success of the WMSR, that bears that memorable name and logo, Western Maryland Railway”.
This project will be one I will checking on from time to time. Those visits will remind me of the many days I carried the Times-News papers from Cumberland to Ridgeley in the early morning and half of my trip was warming up in the “shack” at the site of the present WMSR repair facility.
Our community, which includes the tri-state area, is very blessed to have the benefit of your family and the Carl Belt family, of which your father founded and your mother was as popular as your dad in Cumberland.
Your many services and contributions to this area, namely to the local Boy Scouts of America, have helped it maintain the proper and historic title of “The Queen City of the Alleghenies.”
Thank you for your special contribution to the WMSR and many other projects and employment for the benefit of this area.
Jimmie D. Flanagan
Support the March for Babies May 3 at Canal Place
At the March of Dimes, we promise to work tirelessly toward the day when all babies are born healthy.
The March of Dimes has worked for more than 75 years to help babies get a healthy start in life.
Celebrate Earth Day every day: Reduce, reuse and recycle
April 1 marked the beginning of April Envi- ronmental Education Month in Maryland — and with Earth Day coming up on April 22, Maryland has much to celebrate.
Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift
While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.
Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man
I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.
It’s a secret
Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.
What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?
Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.
Which approach to the school makes sense?
What exactly is the long-range plan, according to the Allegany County Commissioners?
I’ve read in the Cumberland Times-News that the current County Commissioners intend to spend $9 million to construct a new high school.
H.O.G. Rally coming to Cumberland in June
Let me introduce myself. My name is Francine Kraft and I am the Maryland/Delaware State H.O.G. Rally Coordinator for 2014.
With a team of seven others, we have put together a rally for June 19-22 to be held in Cumberland.
Access to trout ponds hard for those who have trouble walking
I took my 5-year-old grandson Easton, who lives in Cumberland, to the Evitts Creek three ponds on March 31, the day it was stocked with trout.He had the joy and excitement of catching his first trout and two more. I have a Maryland fishing license and trout stamp.
Wait long enough; they will die off without being cared for
The letter to the editor of April 14 (“Military veterans have few friends in Washington, D.C.”), I am afraid, hit the nail on the head — sort of — about this next set of returning veterans.
- More Letters Headlines
- Support the March for Babies May 3 at Canal Place