10 Jan 2024
In 1887 my great-grandfather Clarence was a newly qualified 18 year-old draughtsman, he then took himself to the US for 5 years. Before getting employed as a draughtsman in San Francisco he lived with some relatives at Bowling Green, Kentucky and worked in the engine workshop of the Louisville and Nashville Rail Road for several months in late 1887 and early 1888. Some of his ½ plate glass negatives from that time have survived along with some background to the images. This from a letter home to Yorkshire dated 21st November 1887.
“I am sending you a view taken at 5pm Bowling Green Station. It shows No 1 in the centre, this is the main line train to New Orleans. On it’s right hand you will see No 1 branch with with engine No 71 this train follows the other out and goes down to Memphis, on left you will see a main line freight ready to pull out when the passengers are clear. The blur on the tank of No1 is caused by two men trimming the coal. The men near the cab have been taking down the rod brass as it arrived hot.”
He must also have exchanged a print of this image with another photographer as this photo appears on the cover of a book about the Louisville and Nashville Rail Road published in 1968 and reprinted in 2000. Along with several others of Clarence’s inside the book it is wrongly attributed and all were published without checking the ownership of copyright. Something which has got even worse with the internet.