Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moore, Beebe and the Tuscaloosa Depot

This little post is about a little good luck. A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through a local used bookstore and came across a copy of When Beauty Rode the Rails by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg. Although they were the most well known railroad documentarians of the mid 20th century I had only just heard about them via Carl Fallberg's Fiddletown and Copperopolis - Beebe wrote the introduction, and he and Clegg appear in a cartoon. The book was in fine condition so I bought it. Turns out E. L. Moore mentions in the opening to his Tuscaloosa depot article that appeared in the March 1969 issue of Model Railroader that he used the photo on page 64 of Beebe and Clegg's book as his reference for the project. That's Mr. Moore's lead photo from his article on the left, and photo from page 64 of Beebe and Clegg, attributed to the Owen Davis Collection, on the right. You can see that Mr. Moore staged the shot to be very similar to the reference photo.

26 November update: With a little internet searching I found out that a railroad station still exists at the site in Tuscaloosa. It turns out that the depot featured in Beebe and Clegg's book, and modelled by E. L. Moore, was demolished and replaced by a new brick structure in 1911. The original wooden depot was built in 1873, so it had a good long life. Beebe and Clegg note that the photo they featured was taken in 1910, so it wasn't long after that it was demolished. According to Google Street Views, the 'new' brick station was still there and in operation as of December 2013:


  1. Mr. Lowe, here's the west side of the old AGS station in Tuscaloosa. c1886-1910.

    Please Visit TuscaloosaTrolleys.com !!!

    1. Hi Jason,
      Thank you for the links. They're fascinating. I especially like the second one that looks like it shows the new station partially under construction beside the original. The trolley site is good too. Looks like I'll be spending some time there.

    2. The streetcar photo on your site's title card struck me as being very similar to streetcars that once ran here in Ottawa. Take a look at image #8 at this blog post: http://centretown.blogspot.ca/2012/07/the-last-signs-of-urban-rail-in.html There are differences, but overall they seem rather similar.