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The railroad in the Mineola area dates back to the early
1870's when the Texas & Pacific and the International & Great Northern railroads
first steamed through and changed the course of history in East Texas. Prior to
the coming of the "iron horse", cotton (and other goods) were brought by ox-cart
from central and north Texas to the river-boat terminus in Jefferson (70 miles
to the northeast) and shipped to New Orleans. Mineola continues to be a
"railroad town" to this day and sits on a major East/West route of the Union
Every train, passenger and freight, has a conductor --
the individual with overall responsibility for the entire train. This person is,
by definition, the "train boss" who accounts for all freight, any passengers,
the operating schedule, and is the official onboard representative of the
railroad. In fact, the conductor IS the railroad for all intents and purposes.
The uniform and the personal articles have been loaned
by Mrs. Ginger Ingram, the widow of "Inky" Ingram, who, for many years, was a
conductor for the Union Pacific railroad operating out of Mineola. We are truly
grateful for this contribution to the room and know you will enjoy sharing this
connection with an industry that opened East Texas to commerce and travel.
The antique leather chairs, acquired from the
Bailey-Carlton Hotel, an old railroad hotel on Front Street here in Mineola, the
English walnut beds, armoire, and secretary, and the white-washed walls and
floor speak of a time when the conductor "laid over" somewhere along his route
after a long day on the railroad. The galvanized bath tub on the porch, while
not original to the house, is indicative of the method of bathing at the time
the house was built (1898).
We know you will enjoy your "lay-over" in this quaint
room and will totally relax (using indoor plumbing) in a tub of hot water (or
the shower) following your "day on the railroad".