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How the
Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum Began
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Hours:
Monday - Saturday
10am-2pm
Sunday
2-6pm

 

Several years ago, Mr. James Abbott of Sevierville, Tennessee, a contract boilerman to Bear Creek Junction Railroad of Robinsville, North Carolina, noted that the owners of the railroad were going to sell a Shay steam engine #2147 to scrap and utilize those funds to restore another Shay engine #1925 of the Graham County Railroad. Engine #2147 was thought to be the least serviceable engine of that company's equipment and had been used as a roadside display at the entrance to Bear Creek Junction.


Mr. Abbott advised his friend in Maryville, Tennessee, Mr. George Morrison, who operates a one-half mile railroad on his own property with a restored 32-ton Shay engine #7 of the late William Ritter Lumber Company of Kentucky. Mr. Morrison became interested and in turn contacted Mr. Don Storie, who shared the other two men's interest in Shay engines.

This group of men determined to save #2147 from the scrap yard, as they considered this type of engine to be a significant event in the evolution of the steam powered railroad engines. They had the experience and judgment to understand that engine #2147 was complete enough in its parts to be restored as a static display, if not a functional engine.


 

 

 

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Mr. Storie and the others set out to find a new home and owner for #2147 and after many unsuccessful attempts the Chamber of Commerce at Townsend, Tennessee, was approached because of the historical connection of engine #2147 to that community while in service with the Little River Lumber Company, whose office and mill had been located in Townsend.


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