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 Post subject: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:18 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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I apologize in advance if this topic has been raised or discussed already and I didn't see it. If so, point me to the thread(s) involved and I will remove this one.

Very recent story in the Trains Magazine Newswire (apparently unlocked for general reading) that says the recently-restored locomotive "Texas" (nominally the 'other woman' in the Andrews Raid) was intentionally painted in the wrong livery (a rather drab black) for some reason involving not glorifying the Civil War period. That didn't stop them from using the Civil War name (and fame) rather than putting the historically-correct-name-for-that-color-scheme ("Cincinnati") on the locomotive.

If they wanted to make an Enola Gay-style politically-correct statement, the least they could have done is restored the locomotive as the Cincinnati, and explained in some little display poster that this locomotive was actually the famous Texas but was purposely repainted to represent a different epoch so as not to glorify that heee-evil slaveholdin' Confederacy bidnizz.

I think the situation can't be as bad in reality as the Trains story and my own suspicions are making it out to be. Who knows the details of why the restoration was made as it was, and how it's being presented to the preservation community?

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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:27 pm 

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Reminds me of all those stories where the reporter is only telling you what somebody said without researching to report on whether the statement said was truthful or not......

I'm not involved and fairly ignorant of the specifics, but I do know that the restorers did a more than competent job of paint layer research and documentary research before beginning. This doesn't mean that their results either went as far back as the big event, or that if they did it wasn't overruled - Like GENERAL, TEXAS was repaired and rebuilt after the war, but not to the same extent - GENERAL was blown up by the Confederates leaving Atlanta ahead of Sherman's arrival. There may not have been much original fabric to provide good guidance. Also, while TEXAS was fairly newly out of the shops at the time of the raid, during wartime little attention was paid to niceties like touching up the paint what there was materiel to be hauled..... my guess is if one were to know the actual appearance at the time, it would have looked pretty shabby.

I think if one wished to make a modern political statement about the realities of an event that happened back then, the paint on a locomotive wouldn't be a priority. I could be overestimating the rationality of those involved in making the decision, but it's a prop to use as a part of the show that tells the story - and making it look its part could be to reflect the war-weariness of the time? The history and the story have little to do with political correctness, but are just a fairly compressed but interesting little incident that made no difference in the larger war under way at the time.

I'd sure like to know what the reality of this situation might be....... it seems unlikely but unfortunately possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:53 pm 

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There are many interesting details in this Friday, September 9, 2016 entry on The Civil War Picket blog:
Bold colors or plain black? Atlanta History Center mulls options for locomotive Texas


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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
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Reading the TRAINS story, it seems the folks in Atlanta History Center have picked a later era paint scheme to illustrate the locomotive's long role in service for W&A after the Civil War. The boiler will still have decorative brass, the jacket will be painted Russian iron, and the tender will be lettered Western & Atlantic.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:24 pm 
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Location: Henderson Nevada
The preserved Texas is while the same locomotive which was made famous for it role in the Andrew's Raid, is far removed from the locomotive which it once was. It is the old story of Washington's axe... which has had the handle replaced 6 times, and the head replaced once... the object as a object has a history traceable back to the event, but little or none of the object was "there".

The current restoration has taken those changes into account. I understand that it would be near impossible to return the locomotive to his war time configuration, and doing so would reportedly effectively destroy the current artifact.

Instead they are doing an accurate, researched restoration of the object they have, recognizing its history but not presenting a false god...

Randy

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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:52 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
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Overmod wrote:
If they wanted to make an Enola Gay-style politically-correct statement, the least they could have done is restored the locomotive as the Cincinnati, and explained in some little display poster that this locomotive was actually the famous Texas but was purposely repainted to represent a different epoch so as not to glorify that heee-evil slaveholdin' Confederacy bidnizz.



Not everything is a conspiracy.

Nowhere in Jim's piece does he say there was political motivation behind the restoration choices. He does mention some people have made that accusation, but the museum stands behind the choices they made based on interpretation of the artifact as it is.

If anything, a most ardent historian would argue the museum made a major mistake not painting and lettering her in her last in-service paint scheme (as #212), since that was the scheme that matches her end of service appearance. Adding the name "Texas" to it (inaccurately for the paint scheme chosen) was a bow to folks who couldn't figure out for themselves that the locomotive had a history well past the Civil War era.

Instead of making a brouhaha about not returning her to W&A colors circa 1863, consider this: the only part of the locomotive left from 1863 is the frame. There has been a lot of discussion about this from folks close to the locomotive. The tender is not her original. The boiler is not her original. The engine truck wheels are not original. The cab is not original. Apparently, even the drivers are not original (they were larger).

She is not an 1863 locomotive, but she is very much a wonderful example of how early steam was rebuilt to extend the serviceable life of the asset. She's a locomotive that had the crap beat out of her in regular service until 1907 and then suffered under the fate of well-intentioned "preservation" for another 110 years.

There's no need to summon Alex Jones to get to the bottom of this one.

Rob

PS: And if my babbling is not enough, here is Jim Wilke's take on why black was the right choice. There isn't anyone on earth I would trust more about issues of paint on early locomotives than Jim. http://civil-war-picket.blogspot.com/20 ... lanta.html

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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:03 am 

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Location: Roanoke Va.
I agree with Randy, here. Basically, what they've done is restore the locomotive to the end of it's service as it entered "preservation". It was then that it was changed back to "Texas" from "Cincinnati" . If you look closely at the photos, they even preserved some of the patina. Several friends of mine were involved with this job, and I think they did a magnificent job. If you want the Texas circa 1862, go buy one of the beautiful O scale models produced by SMR Trains a few years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:15 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
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Hi,

As with anything from computer marketing to museum advertising, some compromises have to be made. How many non-railroad tourists would go see the "Cincinnati" over the more historically famous "Texas" even though both are the same loco during different eras of its life.

Recall the Civil War battle of the iron side ships the Monitor and the Merrimack. The Merrimack was "(built from the remnants of the USS Merrimack)" and was named the CSS Virginia at the time of the Battle of Hampton Roads.

Because of the history books, the name the Merrimack has more historical significance than the CSS Virginia.

I do not see a problem with them advertising the "Texas" because of the name recognition. The story to be told by docent or letter board is that the restoration was done at a time when the locomotive was properly named the "Cincinnati".

As a comment about what era to restore to, the Colorado Railroad Museum has a few pieces of freight cars lettered on one side as Florence and Cripple Creek (first owner) on one side and Montana Southern on the other (second owner). I seem to recall a PRR hopper car that was painted PRR from one era on one side and PRR from another era on the other. I bring this up because it might have been an option to letter the side most people see first "Texas" and the second side "Cincinnatti".

FWIW

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:16 am
Posts: 539
The issues over the Texas are typical of a lack of communication of what we are doing. Preservation should be done objectively by individuals for other individuals. When we do not communicate and openly discuss areas and decisions people can create a level of distrust and then imaginations take over. Further match with society stereotypes and you wonder if history is even understood.
While it is obvious that paint is an easy change that does not permanently alter the artifact it creates an emotional response that a true alteration like the instillation of 26 air system does not. I heard from someone who was convinced EP &SW#1 was not right in its current colors in spite of the work to document the colors found. The effect of a lack of understanding of the history that our artifacts represent is something many groups simply do not choose to do. How many offer a preservation study for your artifacts that document the history of the piece and what decisions were made and why. When people begin to talk about what is right or wrong do you criticize and belittle or do you take the opening to educate on the process?
The museum made its decision which I do agree with but the real test will be to educate others the history of the artifact and why decisions were made.

Robby Peartree


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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 7:44 am 

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What I think would be interesting, and maybe solve the decision, would be to use some kind of computer animation projection, maybe on the wall nearby, showing artist renderings of how the locomotive looked at construction and at a few key rebuildings during its lifetime.

Another idea I had was to paint the locomotive half and half, one scheme on one side and another scheme on the other.

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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 11:19 am 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
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TRRM online magazine has a few pictures:

Unveiling the Texas May 8, 2017
By Aaron Isaacs, HRA editor

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TrrmMaga ... dium=email


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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 11:51 am 

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It's an appropriate color scheme for the "Texas", at least to display something about her life's work. If I recall correctly, the "General" is nowhere near accurate in configuration or color. The locomotives are relics, connected to a remarkable incident of the American Civil War. I kind of like softwerksalex's idea of a computer showing how the locomotive was modified over a long period of time. That would help the public better understand where the locomotive has been and what it tells us today.
The photos of the completed locomotive are quite beautiful.

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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 2:31 pm 
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Dougvv wrote:
Because of the history books, the name the Merrimack has more historical significance than the CSS Virginia.

No, it's because the Confederacy lost is why the history books list that ship as the Merrimack today. Just like the majority of the land battles in the Civil War are named in the books for what the later-victorious Union called them (for example, “Bull Run” was named for the creek the Union Forces crossed before being soundly whipped, but the Confederate forces called the same battle “Manassas” after the town they went through before getting the farmlands the battle was fought in).
The battle of the ironclads was largely a draw as both ships retreated from the fight after each being damaged in different ways. The history books list it usually as a sound defeat against the CSS Virginia, which really isn’t all that accurate.
But that’s how it is; the victors have always written the history.

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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 3:19 pm 

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You have to understand the back story on this. The city of Atlanta owned The Battle of Atlanta cyclorama painting which was in a deteriorating building that saw few visitors. Wasn't worth the expense to renovate it. The Atlanta History Center (which is a history museum, not a railroad museum) said give it to us and came up with the $35 million to make it happen. The locomotive basically came with the painting and had been displayed in the basement. Had to dig a trench and cut a hole in the wall to get it out. They rolled the painting up and cut holes in the roof to get it out. Was all over the news a few months ago. Didn't hear anything a few years ago when they moved the locomotive.

The Atlanta History Center is in the ritzy part of Atlanta, and gets 50,000 school kids a year. The road it is on is about 1/2 mile from the governors mansion. The painting is going to be used to teach about the civil war. The locomotive is going to be used to teach how Atlanta started as a transportation hub and railroad town, with the added bonus it had something to do with the civil war. It's going to be displayed out front in a glass enclosure and lighted at night. Way cool.

More info here, http://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/exp ... -cyclorama


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 Post subject: Re: Texas restoration controversy
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 10:00 pm 

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I was wondering when they were going to move it back from NC. Would have liked to have seen them bring ii in and unload it. Found this press release. Apparently it happened May 3rd. I called them today. It's sitting under a tarp until the enclosure is finished. So the general public can't see it.

http://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/ass ... elease.pdf

And looking for more info on their website, came across their financial statements. About $1 million a year in admissions. $1.3 in merchandise sales. I wonder if that's just the gift shop, or maybe includes food sales or something too. That's over $3,500 a day. Rental income is running 3/4 to 1 million a year. Looks like their operating expenses are around $12 million a year.

http://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/ass ... Report.pdf

I'm going to have to go visit. Check out their operations and set up. Ask lots of questions and take notes. 30 years ago I for a bit worked down the street, but at the time didn't really know what it was. 22 acres of gardens. Who and how do they maintain that? Certainly worth a look see how a successful museum does things.

Did they really spend $500,000 to refurb it? Maybe that includes the glass display enclosure.


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