Ride the Lawndale Dummy

    Most of the pictures that exist of the Lawndale Railway were taken on March 3, 1942 by famed railroad photographer Bob Richardson. At the time of these photographs, Bob was working for Sieberling Rubber (Tire), and the truck he was chasing trains with bore the company's insignia. Coincidentally, the insignia bore a faint resemblance to a Nazi swastika, a hated symbol by Americans, particularly in the midst of World War II.
    While most people may not have thought that Lawndale and her little railroad were of valuable strategic importance, one hawk-eyed resident believed otherwise. And in fact, when she saw Bob Richardson chasing the little train in a Nazi truck, she knew that the Germans were up to no good, and she alerted the local sheriff. Quick to investigate the war crime, the sheriff pulled over Bob, and after a big laugh and a simple explanation, it was determined that the Lawndale Dummy was in danger no more. Thankfully for all, it was a good day to remember. Now settle back, and take a ride, courtesy of Bob Richardson, on the Dummy Line...

   Sitting at Lawndale Junction with the Seaboard Air Line, Lawndale #4 sits with her tiny train as a local chugs by on standard gauge tracks.

   From the back of the combine, or the "cab" as it was called, the rolling piedmont of Cleveland County can be plainly seen.

   Number Four rolls alongside Highway 26 (now 226) on her way home to the Cleveland Mills. Don't blink, we've just passed Cobby Horn's house in the background.

   Almost home, as the train passes by the Double Shoals depot. This depot, one at Lawndale, and one at Lawndale Junction, were the only ones along  the railroad. There was also a two-stall enginehouse at Lawndale, and a warehouse at the Seaboard depot. This warehouse is the only existing Lawndale Railway structure.

   The train is just outside the mill complex in Lawndale, sitting on the tall Mill Creek (Londons Branch) trestle. This was the largest structure on the railroad. Hey, there's Nick Wells and Doc Sweezy standing on that boxcar!
    Before his passing, Frank Coffey recalled that the trestle was also an invaluable tool for repairing the locomotives. "The mill didn't have a pit for getting under those damn engines, so I'd run em' up on the trestle, and knock out a few crossties under the rails. We'd stand on the bank under the bridge and crawl up  under the engines. A couple of times we had  to weld the frames, as those Vulcans could be awful brittle!"

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