Longﾒs legacy lives on at Cass Scenic Railroad
As well as being worth a thousand words, most photographs are worth a thousand memories.
The same is the case of the four photographs the Long brothers ﾖ Jerry, Norris and Tom ﾖ donated to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park last Friday. The photographs were taken during their fatherﾒs time as station manager at Cass.
P.F. ﾓBusﾔ Long was one of several men who worked to distinguish Cass as a state park. Long began working at Cass in 1945 at the end of World War II and stayed until the depot shut down in 1965. He continued his work with the C&O Railroad at the depot in Marlinton until his death in 1973.
Long worked with Russell Baum, of Pennsylvania, to initiate the designation of Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.
ﾓI donﾒt know if Dad really saw the potential of the railroad becoming a facility to run people on, but the guy from Pennsylvania did,ﾔ Norris said. ﾓHe got Dad all excited about it and Dad immediately called a meeting of local citizenry to push for the establishment.ﾔ
Norris said Bus, along with a group of citizens, lobbied with the politicians in Charleston to get the state park designation.
ﾓIt was not an easy task for my father because he was a staunch Republican and Wally Baron, a Democrat, was our governor, so it became quite a difficult task,ﾔ Norris joked. ﾓThank goodness on West Virginia Day, 1963, our Centennial, the park opened up officially, and next year marks the 50th anniversary.ﾔ
The photographs Norris and his brothers donated are of Bus doing what he loved ﾖ working at Cass.
The first is of Bus standing beside an old brass bell in front of the depot. On January 1, 1960, in celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, Bus, who was Cass Mayor, rang the bell for 60 seconds while Weber sounded the mill whistle for 60 seconds.
The second photo shows Bus with a train crew taking a smoke break while sitting on the track. In the left corner, the side of the train reads ﾓGreenbrier, Cheat, Bald Knob Scenic Railroad.
The third photo, which was included in Roy B. Clarksonﾒs book ﾓOn Beyond Leatherbark: The Cass Saga,ﾔ shows the crew and Bus standing in front of the Shay No. 4.
The fourth photo, one of the brothersﾒ favorites, is Bus at the ticket window in the depot, talking to a customer and smoking a cigar.
ﾓI can remember helping Dad sell tickets and having a blast at it,ﾔ Norris said.
ﾓDad loved this town and he loved this railroad,ﾔ Tom said. ﾓHe loved the job and I can see him doing that right about now [selling tickets].ﾔ
West Virginia State Parks Chief Ken Caplinger accepted the photographs on behalf of Cass Scenic Railroad and shared a few memories of his own of Bus.
ﾓI donﾒt think you give your dad enough credit,ﾔ Caplinger said to Norris. ﾓYour dad was a visionary and I think he realized what we had here and what it could become. Itﾒs a tribute to him that he realized state parks protect legacies. The entire park system protects legacies for future generations and your father, along with the other people you mentioned, assured Cass was preserved as a legacy for generations to come.ﾔ
Caplinger moved to Cass in 1963, when his father became the park superintendent.
ﾓI was fairly well read even at seven or eight and I met your father. We moved from Babcock and Watoga out in the middle of nowhere into what was still a fairly bustling little town and your dad, I remember, with his fedora and his cigar clamped between his teeth, and he reminded me of a character from a Damon Runyon story,ﾔ Caplinger recalled.
He added that Bus was a kind and unique ﾓcharacterﾔ who would help anyone in need.
ﾓMy father came from being, sequentially, a combat veteran from World War II, right to being a conservation officer, then he ran a service station in Charleston for eight years, then he got into parks. He was the assistant superintendent at Babcock and Watoga before we came back here,ﾔ Caplinger said. ﾓHe didnﾒt know anything about running railroads.
ﾓI can tell you he relied a lot on Bus for advice,ﾔ he continued. ﾓWhen we would face a challenge, he would go to Pop [Walter] Good, Catty [Kyle Neighbors] and Bus. Frankly, I think thatﾒs probably one of the only ways he was able to succeed here as well as he did, because of advice from sage people like your father.ﾔ
Along with the photographs, Norris presented Cass Superintendent Rob Sovine with Busﾒs conductors hat.
Norris said he and his brothers plan to donate other items to be displayed in the Marlinton Depot once construction on the building is complete.
ﾓItﾒs been an ongoing dream for myself,ﾔ he said. ﾓWeﾒll always remember Dad without having the pictures. Being able to share that with people, it gives him the recognition he deserves.ﾔ