Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v02n10)
The Story of the 587 Engine: Nickel Plate part four - by Jay Williams
posted: May 13, 2005
by Jay Williams
Officials soon chose Broad Ripple Park, located on the city's north side, as the permanent display site for 587. What influenced their decision probably was convenient access via rail: Broad Ripple Park was less than a mile east of the Monon's main line to Chicago. The Monon conveniently intersected with the Nickel Plate next door to the latter's roundhouse in Frankfort, 47 miles to the north. Also, the Indianapolis Railway's streetcar track had yet to be removed. This line was adjacent on the north side of Broad Ripple Avenue. This rail line would be used to move 587 from the Monon grade crossing to the new display pad approximately 100 yards northwest of the Park's main entrance. Railroad track crews would lay temporary sections of track between the IRS's line and the display site, over which the 2-8-2 would roll its last few feet.
Original caption: You are looking at several hundred thousand dollars worth of railroad leadership in this photo. After these gentlemen departed, it became the kids' turn to play. (Rear row, l - r: Mayor Alex Clark, Wayne A. Johnson, President, ICRR; Warren Brown, Monon; Chas. Nauh, President, Ind'pls Belt-Stockyards Co.; Ike Duffy, President, Central Indiana Railroad; and H.H. Pevler, V.P., Pennsy. Front Row: H. Raffensperger, Director, DPR; C. Walter McCarty, editor, Ind'pls. News; S.P. Hutchison (behind McCarty), the last engineer to run 587; and Lynne L. White, Chairman, NYC&StL R.F. (Nickel Plate).
image courtesy of Jay Williams collection
But a fly in the ointment occurred. The old streetcar track could not safely support the 587's weight, which forced crews to use temporary track over the entire distance between the Monon and the park. The moving project completed, Walter McCarty and the Chamber of Commerce invited VIPs and City officials to a September 20, 1955, dedication ceremony.
Mr. Lynne White, Nickel Plate's Chairman of the Board, said that it was "good to know that a representative of the old iron horse is going to live forever, rather than end its days on the scrap pile." Mickey McCarty was the other speaker. He, Mr. White, S.P. Hutchinson, 587's last engineer, and others posed for various publicity photos that glorious afternoon.
The 587 was placed in its new home in Broad Ripple Park. It was quite the tourist attraction for young and old.
Workers adjust the temporary tracks for the 587 engine and tender arriving in Broad Ripple.
image courtesy of Jay Williams
For ten years, the City employed a curator who watched the 587, gave tours to interested groups, and kept the site tidy. He worked out of a small shanty that the City installed.
The fellow had worked for the New York Central at either Brightwood Yard or Beech Grove. He had retired from his job after almost 40 years of service to the railroad. He entertained thousands of children and adults during his tenure in Broad Ripple Park. Financial considerations forced the City to retire "Casey Jones", which left the Nickel Plate engine open to any and all visitors, including vandals.
Note: The Broad Ripple Bowl can be seen in back. On the right there is an ice cream shop. The window says Dairy Treet Inc. The 1957 city directory lists the Spudnut Shop (baker) at the 1009 Broad Ripple Avenue address. Today it is Elgin Water. This photo was probably taken from the roof of Dawson Lumber.
image courtesy of Jay Williams
This is the end of part four of the 587 story. Part five will appear in the next issue.