John Henry

Hinton Daily News
December 28, 1972

The long-awaited John Henry statue is finally erected

By J. E. Faulconer

After many delays and several disappointments, the long awaited John Henry statue has finally been erected and it is possible that it will stand for the next 100 years as the trains of the Chessie Line pass through his legs and Big Bend Tunnel going east and west.

The building of Big Bend Tunnel was quite an achievement more than 100 years ago, and John Henry was one of the hardest workers among the hundreds who got the job done- but it is doubtful if he worked any harder at his job than did many of the members of the Talcott Hilldale Ruritan Club in getting his statue made and erected.

Despite all the delays and obstacles encountered, the 750 pound bronze statute of the legendary steel drivin' man arrived in Hinton late Monday afternoon from Michigan without fanfare or advance notice to the press on a trailer in the custody of the sculptor Charles O. Cooper.

This morning a mobile crane furnished by the Chessie Lines was used to lift the eight-foot statue on to a flat car, and the special train made the run from Hinton to Talcott through Big Ben Tunel, and stopped at the east portal.

The mobile crane followed, and after a short delay for some picture taking, the statue was lifted from the flat car onto a truck, and made the trip up route 20 where the crane lifted the statue onto the stone pedestal that had been waiting at the overlook since last June When the dedication program was first scheduled to be held.

The statue was then scheduled to be delivered here in October, but again there was an unexplained delay. The formal dedication ceremony was set for November 26 to be followed by an social hour and dinner at Pipestem Resort.

At the last minute Bill Halstead, the hard-working executive director of the John Henry Park, Inc., was advised that a part of the statue had been broken at the foundry, so the unveiling ceremony was again cancelled but the dinner at the resort went on as scheduled, and was a nice affair with nearly 100 persons in attendance.

Many hope that some sort of ceremony will be held in the spring or summer, but even if it is the "edge" is gone due to the numerous delays - even as the bronze statue of John Henry should be a conversation piece for tourist for many, many years.

African Americans

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