More Sources

My other active blogs:


History Hunts Blog http://historyhunts-blog.blogspot.com/

Following Louisiana's & Mississippi's Historic Railroads http://oldrrs-blog.blogspot.com/

Finding the Lumber Mill Railroads http://lumbermillrrs.blogspot.com/

Following the Historic Rails of Mississippi http://mississippirails.blogspot.com/


Losers and Loud Pipes

A group of at least 100 motorcycles just passed in front of my home. I'd say that these people are the ones that keep JC Whitney in business. 99% of them were enjoying their loud, temporarily chromed, pipes, blipping their throttles and "racking off" after almost losing their wives or girl friends during an impromptu acceleration. What a circus of Hell's Angels want to bees. At best they were enjoying the noise. At worst they were making a social statement, saying, "Look at me, know I'm here and try to stop me from dominating your environment". These are the same people who would not put up with some idiot playing rap at full volume in a filing station. The result of their roostering is that the general public will have one more bad impression of motorcyclist. Impressions accumulate. I'm pro motorcycle and I wouldn't care if they all ran into each other and suffered whatever fate. You may say loud pipes notify others of your presence and enhance your safety. You may reconsider that thinking. See yourself as that guy in the gas station making everyone miserable. Yea, the one with the target on his back. Most people can restrain their anger, but one might not.

PS: One noisy bike at a time is bad. He or she is usually moving fast and is gone before tempers can flare to the point of action. Given the time for 100 bikes to go by, you never can tell what someone might think up as a response to their Sunday afternoon nap being disturbed. That would be the nap that they worked 6 days to enjoy and you just "messed" it up. Ride on brothers.

Spur

The house expert was unaware of it. I was, too. So, it's a pretty good possibility that you are unaware of the connection between the old Spur gas stations and the railroads, also. In my last ride report, Back Street Riding, I took a picture of this old gas station next to the tracks. A reader in Amite wrote and said this:

The fuel station/distributorship brings to mind the old Spur gas stations. I'm also interested in old filling/service stations and a couple years ago did some internet research on them. Apparently, most places were right by a railroad spur where a tank car or 2 could be spotted and drained into the station's tanks. Hence the "Spur" name. They also carried bulk oil, kerosene, etc.



On my first attempt at searching for more information on Spur Stations, I hit THIS LINK.

The important part on the page was this:

Why does Murphy market under the Spur brand?
When Murphy Corporation entered the marketplace in 1959 by acquiring the well established Spur Oil Company, a logo was the first thing needed to distinguish the company's unique marketing techniques -- while continuing to identify with the Spur brand.

The Spur Distributing Company was formed in 1928 (re-organized as the Spur Oil Company in February, 1959) by J. Mason Houghland, and the Company was head-quartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Spur located its stations on right-of-way land it inexpensively leased from the railroad for 30 days to one year with the obligation to receive product by railroad tank car. At each location the Company erected a small building with a gravel driveway and three or four pumps. Only gasoline and motor oil were sold. The marketing system had less overhead than other marketers because of the relatively cheap transportation of the tank cars and the advantage of having the product shipped directly from the refinery and unloaded into the service station's tanks from a spur track, of side track, of the railroad.

Before Murphy purchased Spur, motorists knew the (still) registered trademark as a representation of one of the railroad tank cars which unloaded product to the stations. The words "SPUR GAS" were printed on the silhouetted tank car, and "SPUR GASOLINE" was printed in a circle around the edges of the glass globe atop the pump. The distinguishing sign was the only such trademark motorists saw from the road.

Murphy employed the New York advertising agency Lippincott & Margulies to originate a new logo that would be a blend of the well known Spur name and its new owner. To-pjCVQZ3U/s400/ScreenHunter_03+Mar.+14+20.04.jpg" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5313220544842176930" />


And here's what I'll bet was one in Ville Platte.



If you know where an old Louisiana Spur Station is next to the rails or where the rails were, please let me know. Could be a road trip. More later.

Added Info Part 4

On three previous occasions I've added "added information" pages. It seems time to do it again as it is raining. I had several questions about what was in and around Ville Platte on the last ride. Mike Wilson answered a rail question. Then a long time contributor in Amite opened his treasure chest of information. That is here. Next, I sent it all to Everett, knowing that if there was gumbo, he'd have some fillet to put on it. Sure enough, he passed that back seasoned up good. Dave chimed in and added his agricultural and petroleum expertise. Then, my sometimes riding partner Al, had an addition. Geezus, Al, you can't say that on the public internet.

These are just notes. If you can't understand what they are talking about, you need to CLICK HERE AND READ THIS FIRST.

I had asked about the Elton depot that is now in Ville Platte. Everett answered:

The railroad through Elton was originally built by the Gulf Coast Lines, which was either controlled by or affiliated with the St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) Lines. During one of the Frisco bankruptcies, they lost control of the Gulf Coast Lines and they were taken over by the Missouri Pacific, now the UP. If it was the original depot, (which it probably is, Elton never being big enough to warrant a new or larger one) it can be called either the Gulf Coast Line depot or the Frisco depot.

Mike had this to say about the marker on the line just before the depot.

Your 2/0 sign should indicate crossings ahead. The top number is the number on the main line, and lower number denotes those that cross sidings or spurs. [They are] Usually placed to allow the proper whistle blowing approaching the crossing (if you were running the speed limit, and started blowing at the sign, you should hit the crossing during that loooong last note.)

Dave had this to add:

Ville Platte does have a lot of good stuff. I love that Perridon building, nice. The gas/ fuel place is a 'bulk plant' distributer. I've worked at my father in-law’s in Eunice, so I know. The building with the odd roofline and vertical 'bracing' is a fertilizer storage plant. The high roof is on the side where the fertilizer is piled high and the walls needed to be strengthened. There are partitions inside to separate the different types and there was once mixing and weighing equipment located there. I've bought tons of fertilizer from places just like that, mystery solved. The street signs are a hoot. Is that the sauce you use [Jack Miller]? It's mine. On the right hand side of the second to last picture, as you head out to Tate Cove, there are some tanks that I'd bet money are another bulk fuel distributor. As far as murals, I think there are some nice ones on Jennings' main street and there is a very nice assortment all over the walls of the Pigley Wigley in South Park Shopping Center at Pinhook and South Park.

My Amite contact donated a lot of info:

The fuel station/distributorship brings to mind the old Spur gas stations. I'm also interested in old filling/service stations and a couple years ago did some internet research on them. Apparently, most places were right by a railroad spur where a tank car or 2 could be spotted and drained into the station's tanks. Hence the "Spur" name. They also carried bulk oil, kerosene, etc.

He added this when I mentioned murals: By the way, Amite has 3 murals. One is of a huge steam locomotive pulling up to the depot, one showing an oyster boat (b/c of Amite's Oyster Festival) and one representing the old logging days (albeit with oxen pulling a log wagon rather than a logging railroad).

Amite's Oyster Festival has more to do with the fact that there was a huge oyster processing plant in Amite, than any closeness to oyster beds. I think the nearest oyster beds are down toward Buras.

Here's something you might get a laugh out of. Some years back, a local bank had a calendar printed up with pictures of Louisiana. One month's featured photo showed a commercial oyster boat with a caption about it traveling up the river to Amite to unload its catch. I got a huge laugh out of that one. The Tangipahoa River, though deep in places, is just barely navigable by canoe. The oysters were brought many miles by truck over Louisiana highways to Amite for processing, NOT by boat. I guess the caption writer wasn't familiar with the landscape or the facts. Still, it was a howler.

He continues:

The fact that there appears to have been several spurs at Ville Platte seems to indicate that at one time, there was a tremendous amount of railroad-moved commerce there.

Surprisingly, dead little Amite once had a good bit of railroad commerce, too, and not just because of the Illinois Central running right through it (though that sure helped).

The town once had a thriving grocery warehouse that had it's own side track and loading doors. The old Smith Grocery Warehouse bldg is now used by a sign company. I understand that before the rise of Winn Dixie, Schwegmanns, etc., grocery warehouses like this one would supply all the mom-&-pop grocery stores in an area. The giant grocery chains put most of the mom-&-pops out of business.

Also, there was once a huge cotton gin manufacturing company on the south edge of town, at one time a major employer in Amite. The Gullett Gin Company had its own depot and was a stop for the IC many years ago (most of it's gone now; company went out of business in early '60s, most of buildings burned down in 1995). An interesting thing about Gullett is that during WWII it tooled up for wartime production, and produced bomb and shell casings. An [acquaintance] was a machinist at Gullett and once told me about working there, before, during and after the war.

On the north end of town, the old foundry also had a spur. This foundry melted down and recast some of the steel from the downed towers of NYC 9/11. The recast steel went into the construction of a US Navy warship, I understand.

The Amite depot is now the police station and senior citizens center.

He Added;

Steve be sure and thank Everett for sending those scans. I know a few folks in Amite who remember Mr. Spence and caught rides on his train when they were kids. Fond memories...

By the way, regarding the Spence estate, I have heard from someone who knew the family. He tells me that despite a lot of rumors about the family dumping the steam engines after Mr. Spence died, the truth is that they tried very hard to find takers for those machines. Unfortunately, virtually no one was interested, since this was steam which the railroads were no longer using, having switched to diesel locomotives. They basically ran out of time since they were selling the gravel pit and the new owners didn't want the old engines. So the old girls finally fell to the scrapper's torch.



Mr.Spence.

The gravel pit was a combination business/hobby. Mr. Spence was a collector, but he also put some of them to work hauling gravel out of, and up to the Illinois Central mainline. I guess the guy decided to have his cake and eat it too.



I've heard those rumors that make it sound like Mr. Spence's widow was cackling with glee while the locos were chopped to pieces. Apparently it's not so, she and other family members tried to find homes for them.

Tell Everett I hope to get over to the Forest Museum one day. Maybe I'll see him there.
Regards…..PS

You are welcome to use anything I send you. Don't expect it to be 100% accurate, I'm not an expert nor am I the last word on Amite's history. Remember I moved here in 1985, I did NOT grow up here.

Everett adds:

Amite was also the home of the largest personal collection of railroad steam locomotives in the USA, if not the entire world. In the 1950's there was a gravel pit operator in Amite named Paulson Spence, and he collected steam locomotives. His personal dream was to buy the Illinois Central line from Baton Rouge to Hammond, and the former Illinois Central Line from Baton Rouge to Mandeville, and add the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio line from Mandeville to Slidell and from them construct a bypass around New Orleans. In anticipation of that plan, he bought steam engines from railroads all around the USA and stored them out at his gravel pit. He lettered each and every one for the Louisiana Eastern RR, and on occasion, he ran one or two of them for groups of people. About 1960 he died unexpectedly of a heart attack and his heirs sold the entire collection, mostly for scrap. I think that only 4 or 5 engines escaped and went to other operators. Two went to Stone Mountain, one of which was Red River and Gulf #104, which has now gone on the Southeastern Railway Museum northeast of Atlanta, another wound up in New Jersey, and one is now operating in Pennsylvania.



With some reflection on Ville Platte, Al added this:

Don't think you can get brave and start shit with people just because I'm with you and will pull my piece to keep 'em off your ass, he he.

Me: Thanks Al

Oh, y'all do remember Al, don't you?



Stay tuned for "Mike B's Garden". Hopefully he'll send some garden and antique tractor pictures. Mike, you need to meet Al, maybe over tea, at 3:00.

Added Information Part 4

On three previous occasions I've added "added information" pages. It seems time to do it again as it is raining. I had several questions about what was in and around Ville Platte on the last ride. Mike Wilson answered a rail question. Then a long time contributor in Amite opened his treasure chest of information. That is here. Next, I sent it all to Everett, knowing that if there was gumbo, he'd have some fillet to put on it. Sure enough, he passed that back seasoned up good. Dave chimed in and added his agricultural and petroleum expertise. Then, my sometimes riding partner Al, had an addition. Geezus, Al, you can't say that on the public internet.

These are just notes. If you can't understand what they are talking about, you need to CLICK HERE AND READ THIS FIRST.

I had asked about the Elton depot that is now in Ville Platte. Everett answered:

The railroad through Elton was originally built by the Gulf Coast Lines, which was either controlled by or affiliated with the St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) Lines. During one of the Frisco bankruptcies, they lost control of the Gulf Coast Lines and they were taken over by the Missouri Pacific, now the UP. If it was the original depot, (which it probably is, Elton never being big enough to warrant a new or larger one) it can be called either the Gulf Coast Line depot or the Frisco depot.

Mike had this to say about the marker on the line just before the depot.

Your 2/0 sign should indicate crossings ahead. The top number is the number on the main line, and lower number denotes those that cross sidings or spurs. [They are] Usually placed to allow the proper whistle blowing approaching the crossing (if you were running the speed limit, and started blowing at the sign, you should hit the crossing during that loooong last note.)

Dave had this to add:

Ville Platte does have a lot of good stuff. I love that Perridon building, nice. The gas/ fuel place is a 'bulk plant' distributer. I've worked at my father in-law’s in Eunice, so I know. The building with the odd roofline and vertical 'bracing' is a fertilizer storage plant. The high roof is on the side where the fertilizer is piled high and the walls needed to be strengthened. There are partitions inside to separate the different types and there was once mixing and weighing equipment located there. I've bought tons of fertilizer from places just like that, mystery solved. The street signs are a hoot. Is that the sauce you use [Jack Miller]? It's mine. On the right hand side of the second to last picture, as you head out to Tate Cove, there are some tanks that I'd bet money are another bulk fuel distributor. As far as murals, I think there are some nice ones on Jennings' main street and there is a very nice assortment all over the walls of the Pigley Wigley in South Park Shopping Center at Pinhook and South Park.

My Amite contact donated a lot of info:

The fuel station/distributorship brings to mind the old Spur gas stations. I'm also interested in old filling/service stations and a couple years ago did some internet research on them. Apparently, most places were right by a railroad spur where a tank car or 2 could be spotted and drained into the station's tanks. Hence the "Spur" name. They also carried bulk oil, kerosene, etc.

He added this when I mentioned murals: By the way, Amite has 3 murals. One is of a huge steam locomotive pulling up to the depot, one showing an oyster boat (b/c of Amite's Oyster Festival) and one representing the old logging days (albeit with oxen pulling a log wagon rather than a logging railroad).

Amite's Oyster Festival has more to do with the fact that there was a huge oyster processing plant in Amite, than any closeness to oyster beds. I think the nearest oyster beds are down toward Buras.

Here's something you might get a laugh out of. Some years back, a local bank had a calendar printed up with pictures of Louisiana. One month's featured photo showed a commercial oyster boat with a caption about it traveling up the river to Amite to unload its catch. I got a huge laugh out of that one. The Tangipahoa River, though deep in places, is just barely navigable by canoe. The oysters were brought many miles by truck over Louisiana highways to Amite for processing, NOT by boat. I guess the caption writer wasn't familiar with the landscape or the facts. Still, it was a howler.

He continues:

The fact that there appears to have been several spurs at Ville Platte seems to indicate that at one time, there was a tremendous amount of railroad-moved commerce there.

Surprisingly, dead little Amite once had a good bit of railroad commerce, too, and not just because of the Illinois Central running right through it (though that sure helped).

The town once had a thriving grocery warehouse that had it's own side track and loading doors. The old Smith Grocery Warehouse bldg is now used by a sign company. I understand that before the rise of Winn Dixie, Schwegmanns, etc., grocery warehouses like this one would supply all the mom-&-pop grocery stores in an area. The giant grocery chains put most of the mom-&-pops out of business.

Also, there was once a huge cotton gin manufacturing company on the south edge of town, at one time a major employer in Amite. The Gullett Gin Company had its own depot and was a stop for the IC many years ago (most of it's gone now; company went out of business in early '60s, most of buildings burned down in 1995). An interesting thing about Gullett is that during WWII it tooled up for wartime production, and produced bomb and shell casings. An [acquaintance] was a machinist at Gullett and once told me about working there, before, during and after the war.

On the north end of town, the old foundry also had a spur. This foundry melted down and recast some of the steel from the downed towers of NYC 9/11. The recast steel went into the construction of a US Navy warship, I understand.

The Amite depot is now the police station and senior citizens center.

He Added;

Steve be sure and thank Everett for sending those scans. I know a few folks in Amite who remember Mr. Spence and caught rides on his train when they were kids. Fond memories...

By the way, regarding the Spence estate, I have heard from someone who knew the family. He tells me that despite a lot of rumors about the family dumping the steam engines after Mr. Spence died, the truth is that they tried very hard to find takers for those machines. Unfortunately, virtually no one was interested, since this was steam which the railroads were no longer using, having switched to diesel locomotives. They basically ran out of time since they were selling the gravel pit and the new owners didn't want the old engines. So the old girls finally fell to the scrapper's torch.



Mr.Spence.

The gravel pit was a combination business/hobby. Mr. Spence was a collector, but he also put some of them to work hauling gravel out of, and up to the Illinois Central mainline. I guess the guy decided to have his cake and eat it too.



With some reflection on Ville Platte, Al added this:

Don't think you can get brave and start shit with people just because I'm with you and will pull my piece to keep 'em off your ass, he he.

Me: Thanks Al

Oh, y'all do remember Al, don't you?



Stay tuned for "Mike B's Garden". Hopefully he'll send some garden and antique tractor pictures. Mike, you need to meet Al, maybe over tea, at 3:00.