You wouldn’t believe the wealth of information that exists in some of the buildings around your own town. The museum is one such place.We were lucky enough to get into the museum early. It opens at 10:00 a.m. every first and third Saturday. There were several pictures of Springs Park in its heyday. Things were alot simpler back in the day. I think we can take a lesson from history. We worry about things way to much now. It’s not what you own. It’s who you are that matters. Alot of the folks in these pictures were raised with the values and work ethics that we are missing nowadays. (I’ll get off the soapbox now.) This is a pic of the Colonel and some of his associates on the train “The Springmaid” on Catawba River Trestle. I am still working on finding most of the link between Springs and Gypsy Rose Lee. Gypsy Rose Lee (also known as Rose Louise Hovick and Louise Hovick) (born January 8, 1911 – April 26, 1970) was an American actress, burlesque entertainer and writer whose 1957 memoir, written as a monument to her mother, was made into the stage musical and film Gypsy. “This eventful era of the L&C came to an end with the death of Colonel Leroy Springs on April 7, 1931. The Colonel’s son and successor, Elliott White Springs would take charge and bring the railroad through the hard times of the Great Depression with consistent profits and consistant notoriety. Railway cars were added and new warehouses were constructed. Twenty-nine Vice-Presidents were named to the Board of Directors, one for each of the Railroad’s twenty-nine miles. This bold move was noted by The New York Times, partly due to the fact that the famed stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee, had been named Vice President of Unveiling.”
It seems that the folks at Springs certainly had a sense of humor.
The worst wreck in the railroads history occurred on June 30, 1913 as the train was carrying fans to a large play-off basebal game in Chester. The L&C, with 79 passengers onboard, derailed. A freight car jumped the track, causing three passenger cars to plunge to the bottom of the creek. Hooper’s Creek Trestle collapsed from the wreckage. Five people lost their lives in the wreck. Some two years later, Colonel Springs managed to settle the claims with the courts. However, after narrowly escaping bankruptcy, there was no money left to replace passenger car rolling stock and passenger service ceased.
This is going to have to be it for this part of the Springs Park Redux story. I have some things to do and perhaps I can get back to it later this afternoon.