Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 Quincy Depot, Before Demolition

Video courtesy of Gayle Sørlien.  Here is her description of the video:

"I took this video unaware it was going to be demolished in the very near future. I also wasn't aware of the number of times my finger video-bombed me. Still not knowing it was to be torn down, I kept putting off going back to re-film the station. I was waiting for a nice sunny day. On Thursday March 23 that sunny day came and when I arrived at the station, I was "shocked" find it completely gone. If I had known I would have gone on a lesser nice day. 

"My Dad started working for the Great Northern Railway in 1966, based from the Quincy station. A few years later Burlington Northern acquired GNR. He retired in 1983 at the age of 68. Up to the time Dad retired, he still pounded the spikes the old fashion way, with his powerful human strength and ability of hitting the spike on the small head with a small maul hammer head. Dad had the reputation of doing the work of two men when he drove those spikes. 

"Employees and their dependents could ride the trains free. We were also picked up and dropped off at the Quincy station even though it was not a stop for regular passengers. In the summers of 1967, 1968 and 1969, we traveled to visit our family. We waited inside the station (it was opened just for us) for the Minneapolis, Minnesota bound train at about three in the morning. The trains we rode on had passenger related cars along with freight related cars. I remember looking on curves to see how long the train was. Now days, freight cars and passenger cars are not allowed to be together. Of course we had the caboose which was done away with around 2005.

"In the summer of 1969, while riding the train (I’m sure it was on the way back to Quincy) my Dad returned to where Mother and I were sitting and was excited that Sammy Davis Jr was on the train. Of course, I had to see Sammy so Dad took me back to his car. We walked up and down the aisle without disturbing Sammy. What I saw was two big mean looking white guys sitting on both sides of a small built slouched, sleeping black man with his fedora over his face. A few years after the turn of the 21st Century, I was dinking around on the internet and found the story about Sammy and the train in summer of '69. According to the website, Sammy was married to a white woman and the white extremists were out to get him - literally. (In 1969, I remember seeing the tabloid articles with pictures and articles but I didn't realize the seriousness of it.) The internet information also stated two decoys and the real Sammy were on three different trains. Was that Sammy I saw that historical day? Maybe - maybe not. Either way I was a small grain of sand in the life of the great Sammy Davis Jr. and for the civil rights movement. 

"We also “experienced” the Spokane train station stop. While there was a time in 1969 Dad got off for some reason but that was it – we basically didn’t get off. I wish I had because it would have been fun to see the inside of the Spokane station. A few years later . the station was replaced by the remodeling for the 1974 World’s Fair. Never was the same."

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