The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rails Around Houston - Douglas Weiskopf

Rails around Houston      Rails Around Houston.  By Douglas L. Weiskopf.  Charleston, SC:  Arcadia Publishing, 2009.  paperback, many photos, 128 pages, ISBN 9780738558844, the ticket's only $21.99, round trip, front to back.  All aboard!
While I was the librarian in the Texas Room of the Houston Public Library, we'd get questions about railroads.  My first response was "Where's Doug?"  He'd be nearby as one of the senior reference staff, and the patron's question would go to Doug because he KNEW railroads.  I'd tell him, "You oughta write a book."  Well, yes, now you have Doug's Rails Around Houston,a wonderfully annotated pictorial issue, part of Arcadia's series "Images of Rail." 
Weiskopf also serves as the chapter historian of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.  Last week he roped me into visiting one of the local conventions of railroad modellings, and I have seen the light - the light coming around the bend of those marvelous set-ups. 
But Doug's focus is on the real stuff.  He can be caught browsing and mulling over local train yards.  He's even inserted an 1888 drawing (Courtesy Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum) of Houston's Southern Pacific train yard in the Rails Around Houston.  Houston's train yards are fundamental to the area's history.  In fact as the frontispiece pictorial poster shows Houston's slogan was once "Houston:  Where Seventeen Railroads Meet the Sea."
The photos come from several sources, Doug, Houston's HMRC, George Werner's private Collection (George was our local tutor on railroading), Tom Marsh's Collection, the Temple Museum, and elsewhere.
Weiskopf's introductions and annotations genuinely boost the readers' grasp of the images; he begins with charterings during the Republic of Texas and then the
The strong point of the images is certainly the engines and cars, Weiskopf includes a good diversity of passenger interiors, portraits of potentates, bridges, stations and sheds, alluring travel graphics of the early period, and even the old Sunset Hospital.  And, oh my goodness, he's included photos of the North Shore Interurban AND Houston's 1955 prototype, overhead, monorail.
What's my favorite? Well, on page 43 you'll find the aerial shot of Edgewood Yard in its glorious splay of maybe 50 tracks.  This capillary action on the ground recalls the old Marshall, Texas yard over and through which I walked countless times in my youth.  Doug, thanks for Rails Around Houston and the memories.  Oh, and give me a call; a friend has asked me a question that's right down your tracks?


Unknown said...

Was looking for info on trains in Montgomery County era 1890-1900 as my great grandfather came to Montgomery County from Virginia working as a rail road laborer according to the census records. Will have to purchase this book. looks like a wonderful work..

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