Photos of 1218 at Union Carbide

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Thu Dec 10 13:36:11 EST 2015


My grandfather was a shift foreman on the island (Blaine Island) in the unit next to the boiler complex. Dad also spent time on the island before moving to a position that took him on the hill (Carbide Tech Center) and over at Institute. I've got a few photos taken of them at work but the boiler house area doesn't show up.

Somewhere, I've got a high resolution copy of the original photo, call it a Xerox of the photo on plain paper, that was in the Richard Andre collection. Richard may have used that for his newspaper column or in the planning for another book. The original was probably returned to the owner and the owner was never identified on my copy.

We examined the photo one day and determined that this was taken during the time they were setting up the engines for use as stand by boilers. Note the new insulation (white material) on the main header pipe overhead and on the various fittings. Note the newly installed blow down separator on the extreme left bottom of the photo with new insulation. This cooled the blow down water to a manageable temperature before sending it to the sewer or Kanawha River. One of those men working could be by uncle who was a pipefitter for Carbide. The asbestos eventually took him at age 65.

In the background you'll note one the C&O's fireless cookers or "steam pots" as the crews called them. The C&O used those on the island and the rest of the plant until 1963. My cousin was hired as a fireman and ran these until they were discontinued and replaced with Alco S2's and many idler flat cars.

I've seen only two other photographs of the 1218 in this area. One was of the 1218 sitting in Elk Yard (South Charleston) either coming to or going away from Carbide, the other was of the engines on the island taken at ground level. Both of those photos were in the brochure of the New River Train years ago. 

Here's where I'd search for more information.

CP Huntington RRHS in Huntington, WV. A letter to their historian might turn up something.

Dow Chemical... At one time there was a massive archives of photos and information from "The Carbider" the newspaper that Carbide had. I want to say it was at the Tech Center but if those files and photos still exist is open to speculation. Dow now owns what little bit of Carbide is left in South Charleston.

Charleston Newspapers Photo Archives.

I have rambled way too long on this... Good luck!

Matt Crouch

Sent from my Western Union telegraph.

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