History of Old 100
The wood-burning "Rushton cabbage stack" steam locomotive
In the small sawmill community, the engine was a familiar sight
By 1974, Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company had been purchased by Jim Walter Door Corporation. The engine, after years of weather deterioration and vandalism, had become quite an eyesore. Instead of selling it for scrap metal it was sold and the new owners restored it as closely as possible to the way it looked in the early 1950's, which included the correct paint scheme. The only major mechanical alteration planned was the eventual installation of air brakes. No. 100 was used as a standby switch engine on a private industrial railroad in Mobile.
After the Bicentennial celebration of 1976, Old 100 was sold to the Whitewater Valley Railroad in Connersville, IN, a not-for-profit railroad museum where, until the early 1990's, it faithfully hauled tourists on a daily roundtrip run.
In August 2003, Rich Weller of Dayton, Ohio, happened to log onto the Alger-Sullivan Historical Society's website. Weller wrote that he ran the steam locomotive for about 15 years at the Whitewater Valley RR. "Changes in management and government regulations will probably make it impossible to run there again. I ran her regularly from 1980 till we took her out of service around 1990. 1 miss her very much, it makes me sad to see her now all torn apart and rusty"
At the time the engine was sold to Whitewater Valley RR, the late J.R. Phillips of Eight-Mile, Alabama, near Mobile, was responsible for its restoration. Weller noted the most memorable trips he made were with Phillips, who he said was "one of the gentlemen who rescued her from the dead."He added, "He had a way with the whistle cord and could make Number 100 work like no other could! He taught me a lot about firing and running. I especially liked running her during our annual Christmas trips in December. We ran at night, and working and listening to her work through the valley in the cold dark air, and seeing the coach lights winding around the twists and turns will remain with me always."
Dave Farlow, CMO (chief mechanical officer) with Whitewater Valley Railroad told us in 2005 the company would like to donate the engine to the Alger-Sullivan Historical Society but that is was not that simple an issue. He stated that about 14 years ago a new boiler was needed. Government regulations changed and the boiler no longer met specs requiring an additional investment to be made before the engine could be operational.
A grant from the State of Florida and a generous donation from Warren Briggs, former president of the Alger-Sullivan Sawmill Company (formed after the original Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company was dissolved in 1957) allowed for the purchase of the engine and its transportation to Century in May 2007. Employees from CSX Transportation volunteered their time and provided for the laying of a special track for the engine and our Boxcar Museum.
However, there was a change in leadership in the committee charged with the engine's fate and therefore things changed. So it sat with nothing being accomplished until late 2009, when the Society contracted with an individual who came to us with high recommendations. He would reassemble the engine with little cost but that proved to be a waiting game. It wasn't going to cost much but we didn't realize that meant there wasn't much going to be done. Deadline after deadline came and went but we saw little to no progress. But little was done from then until early 2012, when we decided we had to make another change. New folks were assigned to reassemble the engine and their new enthusiasm brings hope that the engine will soon be changed from its condition to a static display the community will proud of.
"Bring back # 100"
Alger-Sullivan Historical Society
Number 100 working for Florala Sawmill Company
Trip to Whitrewater Valley Railroad in 2005
This page last modified on Saturday, March 03, 2012