|CJRRU - Short History of the Unit
AMERICAN TOPICAL ASSOCIATION formed:
President appointed: C.J. "Jeff" Keenan (9/16/1950)
|April 29, 1950
|CASEY JONES RAILROAD UNIT formed:
President: Dewey Crocker
Secretary: Jeff Keenan
Active in promoting the "Casey Jones" U.S. postage stamp
|CJRRU conducted ceremony in quiet graveyard in outskirts of
Jackson, Tennessee at grave of John Luther "Casey" Jones.
Reported in SUN newspaper, Jackson, Tennessee:
"The first public activity was the replacing of the rose tree on the grave, since the one placed there by Jeff Keenan on behalf of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Oregon Division of the Union Pacific Railroad, last April, had been taken, perhaps as a souvenir. As part of this ceremony a Life Membership in the new organization was bestowed upon Mrs. Casey Jones and upon President I. B. Tigrett of the Gulf Mobile and Ohio Railroad, where Casey began his famous career. Dewey Crocker, President of the Unit presented the gold membership cards."
|June 3, 1951
|"Mid-Century Empire Builder", Portland Union Station, inaugural run to Chicago; ceremonies conducted on behalf of the Casey Jones Railroad Unit-ATA by Jeff Keenan. Ralph Wacther, locomotive engineer, broke bottle of champagne over the nose of the new train. Officials of Spokane, Portland and Seattle and the Great Northern Railroad watched.
|June 4, 1951
|Ceremony to inaugurate "Western Star", streamliner to replace the old "Oriental Limited". Cacheted covers issued.
|September 2, 1956
|March 11, 1958
|Golden Anniversary of Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway, cacheted cover at Sheridan's Point, Washington, where rails joined on March 11, 1908; carried on train No. 6, postmarked accordingly with RMS cancellation
|June 10 to September 17, 1959
|NARHFAM (National Railroad Hall of Fame)
Exhibition at Oregon Centennial &
International Trade Fair. Cacheted covers issued. Portland Zoo Railway
operated with steam power over its own tracks every day during
It appears NARHFAM is now defunct, as a web search came back empty. There is a National Railroad Museum and Hall of Fame in Hamlet, NC, but it was opened in 1976, hence cannot be the organization cited here. Can any reader supply information?
|June 9, 1958
|"Certification of Initial Clearance" issued by Casey Jones Railroad Unit-ATA, for inaugural runs of the Portland Zoo Railway (Zoo Line) Trains Nos. 1 and 2, on June 9.
|June 7, 1963
|International Bridge (Canada - USA) ceremony honoring
150th birthday, March 1963, of
Sir Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski, span's
engineer in 1870, who was enshrined in National Railroad Hall of Fame (NARHFAM)
and honored by Canadian Post Office with postage stamp. The International
Bridge across the Niagara River linking Fort Erie with Buffalo, New
York, was built in 1873 and engineered by Gzowski.
He also built the Great Western Railroad, now part of the Canadian National Railways.
Jeff Keenan successfully located 300 postcards picturing the International Bridge. Printed in 1928, they had been handed down in a store's stock when the store was sold in 1956. With a special cachet the postcards saluted Sir Casimir and were postmarked at Fort Erie, Ontario on June 8, 1963.
My initial attempts to find an internet references to a bridge linking Fort Erie and Buffalo yielded only ones to the Peace Bridge, built in 1927 for automobile traffic, so I theorized that the Gzowski bridge had been replaced at that time. Today (8/11/2002), an alert web surfer wrote to tell me the 1873 bridge is still there, and still carrying rail traffic. He added that the two bridges are about a mile and a half apart. That led me to do a search once more, and I located this page - http://niagara.railfan.net/photos/trackp01.htm, which includes a 1998 photo of the International Bridge. Our thanks to Matthew M. Wade for the correction.
|With few interruptions THE DISPATCHER, journal of the CJRRU, has been published by the Casey Jones Railroad Unit since 1950. Herbert Rankin of Paisley, Florida was editor for many years - his untiring efforts kept the bulletin going to the membership throughout the world. Like several other DISPATCHER editors since, Herb acted in the double capacity of editor of THE DISPATCHER and treasurer of the Unit.
|As secretary of the Unit for many years, Charles Korleski of Sycamore, Illinois, won the distinction of never turning in an expense report for the labor of his office. After a period of illness, Mr. Korleski relinquished the job he had enjoyed for so many years and in December 1984 his death was noted with regret and love by his friends and acquaintances in the philatelic field.
|In January 1984 the tasks of the editor of THE DISPATCHER and treasurer of the Unit were taken up by Oliver C. Atchison of San Francisco, California, who served in the position for 18 years, until his death in February, 2002. Oliver won several awards for his efforts, including a National Philatelic Journalism Competition Silver Bronze "HONORS" Award in 1986, and the American Topical Association's highest award of "Distinguished Topical Philatelist" in 1998.
|Upon the death of Oliver Atkinson, Bill Senkus took the throttle as the CJRRU treasurer, membership director and journal editor. Bill Chappell resigned as president and Mr. Senkus, like Oliver, kept the Unit running while a search was conducted for new Unit officers. Norm Wright, a director since 1991, was designated vice-president and "transition coordinator." When no other candidates immediately came forward, Mr. Wright was assigned the role of acting president.
|In March 2004, Don Kesler volunteered to fill the position as the CJRRU president. During the next three months, additional unit members volunteered to fill the remaining Unit offices. Norm Wright, our vice-president and provider of the "New Issues List" in The Dispatcher, volunteered to pick-up the responsibility as The Dispatcher editor. Norm's wife, Florence, volunteered to become The Dispatcher publisher. Also, Ms.
Launa Droescher signed on as Unit secretary, and Dr. Roy Menninger agreed to become the Unit's treasurer and membership secretary.
On April 13, 2004, the Unit was saddened by the death of Theron A. Smith, secretary-emeritus and honorary board member. Mr. Smith had been a long-time supporter, board member and secretary of the Unit.
If you are interested in learning more about the CJRRU and its journal, The Dispatcher, e-mail Norm for a sample copy.