If you missed that post, you can read it here: http://www.hhhistory.com/2018/07/mount-vernon-gardens-outdoor-theatre.html.
Has anyone here ever ridden a steam locomotive? At one point in history, steam was the only power available to advance a heavy train. Today, we have electric, solar, and a variety of fuels. Today, let's go back to the very first steam locomotive in operation in the U.S., and one of the first in the world to operate outside of the England.
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The Stourbridge Lion
For the Stourbridge Lion, a locomotive that weighed about 7.5 tons, life began in 1829 in Stourbridge, England, where this beast of a locomotive was built. It is named for the town where it originated and for the lion's face painted on the front. The Delaware & Hudson Railway in the U.S. obtained it shortly after, and it was shipped on board the John Jay to New York in May, where the first tests were performed while the locomotive was raised on blocks.
|A Clyde O. DeLand painting depicting the historic first run
Can you imagine the excitement at the time of seeing such a large mode of transportation actually fire up and become fully functional? Nothing else in the world compared to it. In fact, a lot of focus at that time was on canal transportation, but the Delaware & Hudson Railway's chief engineer John Jervis had become interested in the steam power developments happening in England. That's what led to the purchase of the Stourbridge (and 3 other locomotives) and bringing it to the U.S.
|A 1931 painting by Sheldon Pennoyer
According to an eye-witness, "the fire was kindled and steam raised, and, under the management of Allen, the 'wonderful machine' was found capable of moving, to the great joy of the crowd of excited spectators."
Although deemed a successful first run, the track that was built on which to run it was insufficient for the task. It simply couldn't consistently hold the weight of the 7.5 ton machine.
|replica on display at the 1935 New York World's Fair
|Stourbridge boiler on display at B&O Museum in Baltimore
Today, what remains of the Stourbridge is on display at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. I wish I could find the photo of me as a little girl standing in front of that display, but it's probably buried in a box somewhere in a closet at my parent's house. (grins) Maybe one day I'll see it again.
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For further reading, pick up a copy of the hardcover book written by Karl Zimmerman: The Stourbridge Lion: America's First Locomotive.
And in the fiction world, if the creation of the American railways and the expansion west fascinate you like it does me, don't miss a phenomenal 6-book series co-written by my dear friend, Tracie Peterson and Judith Pella. The first 3 books are part of the Ribbons of Steel series, and the second 3 books are Ribbons West. These books still remain on my shelves and are among my top favorite re-reads of all time!
Ribbons of Steel
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NOW IT'S YOUR TURN:
* Have you ever ridden a steam locomotive or visited one? Where?
* What has been your experience with trains and/or locomotives?
* Do you have a favorite fiction story or nonfiction book about trains? What is it?
* What did you like most about today's post?
Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an author and speaker who works in the health & wellness and personal development industry, helping others become their best from the inside out. She is also an educational consultant with Usborne Books.
She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and Nova, their Shiba Inu mix, in Colorado. She has sold twenty (21) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and LinkedIn.