“Young Johnnie Steele has an Oldsmobile, He loves a dear little girl, She is the queen of his gas machine, She has his heart in a whirl.” Few songs capture the nostalgia of the birth of the “horseless carriage” than the 1905 musical composition, “In My Merry Oldsmobile,” written by Gus Edwards and Vincent P. Bryan and published by M. Witmark & Sons. Ransome Eli’s Olds Motor Vehicle Company came into existence in 1897.
In mid 1973, Dorothy Hamill conducted an interview with Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Jones to reminisce with them about Mrs. Jones’ 30 years service as ticket agent at the Southern Railway Station, once located between Market and Roan streets.
The East Tennessee and Western North Carolina’s (ET&WNC) narrow gauge railroad, affectionately known as Tweetsie, can be traced to 1881 when it began trekking between Johnson City and Hampton and a year later to Boone.
In 1925, an acknowledgement was made that although several automobile manufacturers had been building motorcars since 1900, it was the inimitable Henry Ford who produced a vehicle that exceeded the realm of manufacture to become an institution.
An April 1939 article in the Johnson City Chronicle and Staff News provides specifics of the building of a new and difficult train route across the Blue Ridge Mountains. The title was “The Building of ‘The Clinchfield Route’ - A Romance in Railroad Construction.”
Today’s column is the story of Julia Whalen, a young girl unknown in the annals of East Tennessee folklore except for one brief moment of valor displayed in a near train collision in the vicinity of Carter’s Station (Elizabethton) on the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia (ETV&G) Railroad in December 1874.