Saluda Train Tales: How “The Southern” served the South

Published 4:13 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

Bo Brown from Spartanburg, S.C. will look at the history of railroad dining cars followed by a brief history of Southern Railway at Saluda Train Tales at the Saluda Historic Depot to be held Aug. 18. This will be followed by an in depth look at the history of Southern Railway dining car service which will explore all aspects of service including, china patterns, silver hollowware, silver flatware, linens, menus — all things used in the dining car during their 84 years of Southern Railway passenger car service.

For almost as long as he can remember, Bo Brown has been a railroad collector. This actually began at the age of 12 at his grandfather’s house in Spartanburg. Bo’s grandfather worked for Southern Railway as “storekeeper” at the Hayne Car Shop, and that’s where he spent almost every summer vacation.

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As he grew older, that passion only increased and now at 58 years old the love of railroad collecting has not diminished but has only grown. His collection started with a silver thermos, a lantern and a long neck oiler that his grandfather gave him while they were cleaning out the little garage outback their home. As far as railroad antiques go, he loves bells, whistles, lanterns, locks, china, silver, lamps, dining car tables and chairs, hats, badges, heavy signs, ticket cabinets, motorcars … you get the idea, he loves it all. You will see some of this collection at Saluda Train Tales.

Bo’s day job (and sometimes day and night) is as a funeral director and embalmer. Along with his wife, Brynda, they own The Howze Mortuary in Travelers Rest, S.C. Thankfully, she understands Bo’s passion for collecting and encourages him along. The bug has bitten her, too, and she collects Atlantic Coast Line “Flora of the South” china and railroad uniform buttons. To date she has right at 600 sets.

Bo hopes to someday open a Southern Railway Museum so that his collection can stay together for others to enjoy.

Saluda Train Tales is a free monthly event to educate the community of the importance of Saluda’s railroad history and the Saluda Grade. These events are at the Saluda Historic Depot, 32 W. Main Street, Saluda, N.C. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Presentation is at 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The events are free and voluntary donations are appreciated..

– article submitted by Cathy Jackson