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This is not a tale of working on the railroads, but of my youthful memories. My father's store was across the street from the roundhouse at 23rd St. and Liberty Ave. in Pittsburgh,Pa. He sold bib overalls, bandanas, caps and gloves, and other items used by the railroad workers. He did not sell watches. The redbrick walls of the roundhouse were full of repairs where engines had come through and ended up in Liberty Avenue. The roundhouse was shut down at the start of WW2. The government feared having a rail center in the same city with the steel center. They actually stated that they feared German attacks. The place was never the same, but the old redbrick roundhouse did stand for a number years. Anyone else from Pittsburgh remember that area?
Like you, one of my earliest childhood memories was of a huge roundhouse. This one was at the Bessemer shops in Greenville, Pennsylvania. My Dad worked there during the war and into the early fifties.
I recall how big everything was, and watching the giant locomotives on the mammoth turrent in that tremendous roundhouse. This is something I haven't thought of in years, but when you mentioned your memories, mine came flooding back as well.
In those days my Dad carried the old South-Bend 18-size watch that belonged to his grandfather. It had been passed along to him upon graduation from High School in 1928.
The watch hangs in a dome here today, I was able to locate it shortly before Dad died in October of this past year. The watch and the memories are all that remain. So much else is gone.
In my memory I can see my Dad coming home from work carrying his lunch box. The South-Bend was on a leather thong with the heart-shaped fob hanging from his watch pocket.
Thanks for reminding me of some amazing times and places. But mostly of that tough old watch and the decent, hard working man who carried it with pride.
Lindell V. Riddle, Interim President
Internet Horology Chapter
NAWCC Life Member# 253-150074
Member of Chapters 10, 28, 37 and 174
Proud Charter Member# 003 of the IHC
Phone: (440) 461-0167
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