This little shovel was made for the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. It would have been used by train workers to feed coal into a stove in a caboose.
Beautifully cast R-I-LINES down the top of its handle, this shovel is approximately 16 inches long in total. The scoop is about 4 inches wide and 7 inches long. It is in extremely good condition with NO cracks, splits or repairs. The surface is a bit rough documenting use but that only adds character and interest. SEE OUR LAST PICTURE: There is a narrow piece missing in one place along the edge just below the handle. Whether it was molded that way or (more likely) on-the-job damage, the edge is worn smooth from years of use. There are some shallow nicks and dings on the underside.
Caboose shovels are relics of trainmen's lives traveling over the road in cold weather. They are not easily found in such good condition.
Another plus is that the railway was made famous in the song called "Rock Island Line," most famously by singer Johnny Cash.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, at the easternmost reach of its massive territory, the CRI&P was a Class I railway that operated in the US states of Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. To the west, it reached Denver, Colorado and Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Galveston, Texas, and Eunice, Louisiana were its southernmost points and to the north it ran as far as Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to an extensive passenger service, the CRI&P operated a large commuter train network in the Chicago area. Years of operation were 1852 to 1980.
The song "Rock Island Line" : We were surprised to discover an amazing background of "Rock Island Line" which originated as a true American folk song. Per Wikipedia, the earliest known version of "Rock Island Line" was written in 1929 by Clarence Wilson, a member of the Rock Island Colored Booster Quartet, a singing group made up of CRI&P employees at the Biddle Shops freight yard in Little Rock, Arkansas. The lyrics to this version are significantly different to the version that later evolved and became famous, with verses describing people and activities associated with the yard. Many vocalists recorded various versions, including Lead Belly, Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie, Bobby Darin, Lonnie Donegan, Harry Belafonte, The Brothers Four, John Lennon, Paul Simon and George Harrison - among numerous others.
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