The Civil War-era train locomotive, the General, is now protectively in the possession of the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Ga., following an ownership dispute between Chattanooga and Georgia more than four decades ago. But an apparently rare print of the train recently discovered can belong simply to whomever wants to purchase it. Or the current owner might even be willing to donate it to an appropriate museum or non-profit entity.
Bill Allen from Maryland recently contacted Chattanoogan.
com about a print of the train he acquired in 2002 while bidding on a collection of prints that included an 1898 one of the Lehigh Valley Railroad’s train, “The Black Diamond.”
Several of his ancestors had worked for the LVRR, and that is what interested him in that print.
He framed and displayed it, but has simply kept the one of the General in storage. However, he recently decided to try to find some information on it and see if any collector or other person interested in the train might want to purchase it.
“I would like to find a home for the General with someone who appreciates it either via sale to a private collector or via donation to a non-profit organization,” Mr. Allen said.
But so far, his efforts to find much information on it have proved as fruitless as the plight of James Andrews and his Union spies was after they fled just south of Chattanooga following their hijacking of the Confederate train engine north of Atlanta in 1862.
He thinks the print was made sometime between 1901 and 1918 because he has found information that the General was displayed at the Union Depot across from the Read House beginning in 1901. And the general passenger agent listed on the print is W.L. Danley, who retired in 1918.
The print measures 24 inches by 17.5 inches and shows the train inside the antebellum arched train shed that sat behind the 1881 brick depot building.
Both were torn down in the early 1970s after developer Tommy Lupton redeveloped that site.
Mr. Allen mentioned that he has not been able to find another print anywhere like it. The Chattanooga Public Library was contacted, and librarian Mary Helms said the local history and genealogy department has a different print of the General on display, and cannot find references to a print similar to Mr. Allen’s in its clipping files.
Mr. Allen welcomes inquiries about the print at Ballen375@msn.com.
Clarke Dunham from New York, who designs theater sets and railroad models, also contacted Chattanoogan.com as well recently looking for photographs of the Union Depot because he has been asked by a client to recreate a model of it.
Local artist Chester Martin painted the Union Depot just before it was torn down. Walter Williams of the local Williams Lithographing firm made a print of it. It was featured on the dust jacket of the Chattanooga history, Chattanooga's Story, by John Wilson.
If anyone has detailed photographs of the Union Depot, Mr. Dunham welcomes them. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.