Museum Receives Historical Railroad Collection

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 Richard Lloyd George
1914-1997

The Museum of the Great Plains in Leoti, Wichita County, Kansas has received the wonderful railroad collection of the late Richard L. George. To many residents of the Emporia area Richard was known as "Bicycle"! Richard acquired this nickname because of his love of riding his bicycle. As a young man in his late teens and twenties, he competed in many bicycle races in the Emporia area. In about 1933, he captured the first place honors in a 5-mile race staged by the Y.M.C.A. He finished the race in 15 minutes flat, or an average speed of 20 miles per hour. Richard began his railroad career as a fireman in the early 1940ís and went on to become an engineer of steam locomotives. One of Richardís favorite engines, which he drove, was Santa Feís streamlined steam engine, the "Blue Goose". As the steam engine era changed to diesel, Richard was certified as a diesel engineer. All of his test scores and certification papers are included in the collection. He loved his job on the railroad.

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                 Santa Fe's Blue Goose                                         A Diesel engine

 

In his later years he went to live with his son and daughter, Lloyd Boes and Elaine Bradshaw in Garden City, Kansas. From a window of their home, Richard could see the roof top of the old depot sitting on the north side of the highway at Pierceville. Richard was seeing the depot which was later moved to the Selkirk Well Site in Wichita County.

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Depot sitting at Pierceville before the move to Selkirk.

 

The families of Richard George have graciously donated the items in memory of their father to be displayed in that depot. Among the railroad articles for display will be his engineer "weigh box", which the engineer must take on each run. It is filled with many of his instruction manuals, train orders, souvenirs of railroad fairs, photographs of trains, his 20 and 30 year railroad pins, a certificate of 32 years of service, pins, certificates, and manuals of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Fireman & Engineers. Among the collection was a train track jack, a railroad pick, many assorted railroad lanterns, and a large framed lithograph of the beautiful Santa Fe "Blue Goose", and one of the Union Station in Kansas City.

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                A lot like Christmas!                                Elaine Bradshaw & Lloyd Boes

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Richard enjoyed the art of photography and took many slides and movies of trains and railroad. There are photographs of trains, wrecks, blizzards and many of the Kansas Flood of 1951. Richard made several scrapbooks of the newspaper articles of the stories of the flood, among these pages are his train orders at the time of the flood. He has written a detailed story in diary form of his involvement at this time of such terrible destruction. All of these photos, scrapbooks, slides, and footage of movies have been donated to the museum. This in itself is a fantastic "first account" piece of history.

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Water Running under the track                           Richard Viewing some of the destruction

 

 

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Part of Richard's collection is on display at The Museum of the Great Plains, in Leoti, Kansas. Upon completion of the restoration of the depot, it will be moved to Selkirk, 10 miles west of Leoti.

Whatever Richard George did, whether it was cycling, photography or the railroad, he did it with a passion! The Wichita County Historical Society greatly appreciates and will proudly display and preserve this wonderful collection of Engineman Richard L. George in his memory as an engineer who "lived and breathed" the railroad.

 

by Karen Walk

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