1999 >> April >> Lehigh Days  

Lehigh Days - Memories of a Railroad Lineman 1922-1932
by JOHN H. BUCHHOLZ 1903-1994

Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", February 1999, page 21

Part Two

At age 90, my late uncle wrote his life's memories (over 32,000 words) on a portable typewriter. 

In his manuscript, he recounts his days during the 1920' sand 1930's as a young lineman for the Lehigh Valley Railroad in New York and Pennsylvania, and Pacific Bell in California. 

I hope that some of the memories and accompanying photos will be of interest for the readers of Crown Jewels of the Wire

... John A. Buchholz

(Part One, February 1999 issue)

The baggage master at the Lehigh station in Geneva used to bootleg peach brandy. One weekend before returning to the camp cars in Sayre, I picked up three quarts to take back to the gang. 

When I got to Waverly, I stopped off to visit Cork Whitaker, and we drank one quart before I left for the camp cars. As I drove down Ithaca Street with the two remaining bottles on the front seat, I panicked when a motorcycle patrolman pulled me over. He claimed I was speeding, but when he found out I was working in the line gang on the Lehigh, he let me go, and never said a word about the two quarts on the front seat.

I later found out that his name was Les Passage, and that at one time he had worked as a lineman on the Wyoming Division of the Lehigh. A few years later, after a bad storm had taken down most of the lines between Geneva and Buffalo, he was appointed foreman of our gang, and I had a chance to remind him of the favor he had done for me.

While I was working on the Lehigh in tile Geneva area, my brother Lester and I used to visit around and play poker. One place we played was at the DeMell gas station south of Geneva.

One night there was a new player I had never seen before. He wore a fancy straw hat, and almost every time it came his turn to deal, he seemed to have a winning hand.

I watched him carefully, and finally saw him slip a card off the bottom of the deck. I stood up and leaned over the table and knocked his hat across the room. Then I said, "Next time you do that, your head will go with your hat."

He picked up the hat and left, and never did play again.

Our cars were stationed at Laceyville, Pennsylvania, and one of our men, Bruce Newman, had relatives living somewhere back in the hills. He decided to go visit them one night right after work, and came back in the early evening with a gallon of musty cider so hard you had to bite it.

One of our guys, Glenn Inman, got into that cider like there was no more around. About ten o'clock, he decided to go to bed and started for what he thought was the sleeper. But he went the wrong way, got halfway into the kitchen and fell flat on his face. 

Cork Whitaker helped him up, and Cork and I started him toward the sleeper. We got him as far as the washroom, where he was taken sick and vomited in the trough. We had had bean soup for supper, and very shortly the trough was covered with beans.

Now, I wasn't completely sober myself, and decided I didn't want the beans laying in the trough all night. So while I was holding Glenn up and he was vomiting, I was poking the beans down the drain with an old spoon.

In 1926, when the line department was in need of more linemen, R.M. Smoyer, my division supervisor, asked Dewey Rice, the signal supervisor, if he had any linemen in his gangs. Dewey suggested that, if I wished, I could transfer to the line department.

The Lehigh Line Gang, Wysox, PA, December, 1926:
(kneeling) Harry "Fid" Norton; (standing) Ralph "Cork" Whitaker, 
John Buchholz, foreman John Wilke, Courtney "Slim" Carpenter;
(standing rear) Leonard Wood.

My first job in the line gang was to help install the #4 insulated copper wire that was used for the new 400-volt charging line. At that time, we had six linemen in the gang, so I was to take every sixth climb.

It was the first time I spent a full day climbing poles, and I had a hard time keeping up with the rest of the linemen in taking my climbs. It was pretty rough work for a few days.

Just before being called back to work in the spring, I was hanging around George Hesney's poolroom on Exchange Street. He was handling punchboards, and had a big board that had a lot of good prizes on it. The top prize was $50, followed by a gold ring, a mandolin, and numerous other prizes. It also had some punches that gave the player two or three free punches.

I played for quite a while with little money involved, as I was getting a lot of free punches, and I won the $50, the mandolin, and the gold ring. I took the ring down to Sol Golos' pawn shop, just down the street, and got $35 for it.

I became fairly adept on the mandolin, and used to play church songs for Grandma Schroeder after she had gone to bed.

It was the Friday before Christmas and we had just finished stringing a telephone line from Sayre to Ithaca. We were due to go home the next day, and to celebrate the occasion, three other linemen and I went to the Ithaca Moose Club.

I was in pretty good physical condition in those days, and was able to hook my fingertips on the thin board above a door and skin the cat. Most of the time, my buddy Ed Orcutt would suggest to somebody at the bar that I could do it and would bet drinks on me. 

When going out to bars back in those days, I always carried my pliers in my hip pocket in lieu of brass knuckles, which were against the law. It was a matter of safety. 

As the evening wore on, I did the trick a number of times, but by my last attempt, I had imbibed quite a few. Just as I was putting my feet through my arms, my fingers gave way, and I landed hard on my back pocket. But I got up, and after the fall sobered me up a bit, I did the job anyhow.

For a long time after that, I was convinced I still had the imprint of the pliers in my butt.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad shop yards at Sayre, Pennsylvania were at one time the largest in the country. Car and locomotive repairs were made there, and some locomotives were built there, also. The shops had very large dynamos and electric generators, and had the capacity to provide their own electricity, as well as supply a 2300-volt line to the Robert Packer Hospital. 

We were expected to go into the shop yards and repair old electric lines and change some transformers every year. Once, while on a pole making some changes, I created a short circuit across a pair of handheld connectors. The flash of light was so bright that I had to stay on the pole for well over half an hour before I could see well enough to get down.

The members of our gang, myself included, never had sufficient working knowledge of high power lines to warrant our working in the shop yards.

Once a year, we traveled from Sayre to North Fair Haven on the Auburn Branch to clear the poles and wires of vines and branches.

I was the only one in our gang who was not allergic to poison ivy; consequently, I was the one to clear the poles and wires, and it seems that poison ivy was in its glory along those lines.

Many years later, I saw some poison ivy getting a hold on our river bank. I removed it bare-handed, thinking I was still immune, and came down with a terrific case.

The tracks from Pittston, Pennsylvania to Manchester, New York were known as the Seneca Division. My railroad pass was good on any train except the Black Diamond Express, but only on the Seneca Division. If I wanted to go to Buffalo or New York, I had to apply for a trip pass.

Anyhow, one weekend I was waiting to get from Sayre to Geneva on a local self-propelled car that followed the Black Diamond Express. I was acquainted with a Lehigh detective by the name of Mort Henderson, and he was waiting to get to Buffalo on the Diamond. He said he could make it good with the conductor on the Diamond for me to get to Geneva, and did so. 

The Diamond followed the main line to Van Etten Junction, branched off to Ithaca on the Ithaca branch, then on to Geneva Junction, where it again joined the main line. once up the grade out of Ithaca, the train picked up speed, going about 70 miles per hour. Over around Romulus and MacDougall, the power was cut, and the train coasted into Geneva Junction. 

We were approaching MacDougall, and I was sitting next to the window when I heard a big crash. I looked up quickly enough to see what I thought was a body going through the air. The train finally came to a stop a long way down the track, and Mort and I got off and walked back to the crossing. An ambulance was just loading a body. A woman's body lay along the track, and a little girl's body lay a short distance from the track, partly in water. I wanted to move it from the water, but was told not to. 

We learned that the man who drove the car had been raised around MacDougall, and had returned for a visit. They had just left a garage near the tracks, and had been cautioned that the Diamond was due.

One interesting job we had was hanging a new pair of wires from Pittston, Pennsylvania to Manchester, New York. That pair was to provide increased telephone capability, along with a pair of lines already in use. In order to prevent cross-talk on both lines, we were required to make what were called "phantom transpositions" at specified pole locations.

There were four different transpositions. Call the wires #1, #2, #3 and #4. Numbers 1 and 2 were transposed at certain locations, and numbers 2 and 3, ditto. Then, at specified poles, pairs 1 and 2 were transposed over pairs 3 and 4. All in all, it became quite confusing at times.

Before the Seneca and Buffalo Divisions were combined, and before Kimmel Armbruster became our foreman (early 1931), Johnny Wilke was foreman. Wilke was easy to work with, and if we could save a few hours through the week, he would let us off early on Friday. If we were working too far from our camp cars to go in for lunch, we would carry lunch.

One day when we were about six miles from camp, we ate lunch where we were. It was a real hot day, and my legs were sweaty and sore where the pads were against them, so I took off my hooks and ate lunch.

My climb was the first one after lunch, and my pole was down over the bank, about five or six feet away. Rather than go down over the bank and climb the pole, I took a jump, expecting to be able to get my spikes into the pole. Sadly to say, no spikes. They were up on the bank. I hit the pole pretty hard. The result: skinned arms and face, and a bump on the forehead.

It took me a long time to live that mistake down.

"The Bull Gang" (average weight 190 pounds), 
Alpine, NY, June 1927.
Some of the linemen and ground hands that hung #4 insulated copper wire for the Lehigh Valley Seneca Division's new 400-volt charging line: (front) Courtney "Slim" Carpenter (6' 7", and never call him Courtney), John Buchholz, ? Kepner, Miles "Tiddley" Earl, Harry "Fid" Norton, foreman John Wilke; (rear) ? MacNeal, Paul Kepner, Steve Kenick, Stuart Rae, John Bellner, ? (a lineman borrowed from the Auburn Branch), Ralph "Cork" Whitaker.

One night just before Christmas when our cars were laying in Waverly, Ed Orcutt and I had imbibed a little too much. When we left the Moose Club, we ran into three friends of ours who had just left a turkey raffle. They bragged that they had won two turkeys, some chickens, and a goose, and opened their car trunk so we could see for ourselves. 

Just about the time I wrapped my hand around the goose's neck, we spotted two policemen coming down the street. Why those three guys were scared, I'll never know, but they hopped in their car, took off, and left me standing there holding the goose.

Ed and I crossed the street, went over a couple of blocks out of the business district, and started for our camp cars. About every twenty steps, Ed would holler, "Who's got the goose?" and I'd reply, "I've got the goose!"

When we got back to the cars, the rest of the gang hadn't returned yet, but Charley ("Hatchet-face") Crider, Ed Yale, and our boss, Johnny Wilke, were asleep. So I went to each bunk, pressed the goose's head against each one of them, and said, "Kiss the goose." 

Nothing was said then, but the next morning before I got out of bed, Wilke bawled hell out of me. "Another episode like that'" he said, "and you'll be without a job."

I had no use for the goose, so I gave it to the cook. I'm sure that in his circumstances, very low-paid, he made good use of it.

We were working near Clifton Springs one day, and while walking between poles, I saw a little garter snake about six inches long and put it in my shirt pocket.

When I got close to Jim Campbell, I pulled it out in front of his face. He turned white as a sheet and said, "Buck, if I'd had a pitchfork, I'd have stuck it right through you."

There were two tunnels on the Seneca Division of the Lehigh Valley: the Vosburg and the Musconetcong. When running new lines, they had to be run over the mountains above the tunnels. All the material that was needed to renew the lines or to replace old poles had to be slugged up the mountain. Fortunately, the tunnels weren't too long, so the distance up and over the mountain wasn't too great. But, even at best, it was tough work.

When the Lehigh got some newer and larger locomotives, it was necessary to enlarge the tunnels to accommodate them. Rather than cut the ceilings, it was decided to lower the roadbeds through the tunnels. That required some work by our gang, so we were stationed at the little town of Vosburg. 

One morning we were working at the mouth of the tunnel, where they were bringing out the rip-rap, and I picked up a snake while on the way to our materials car. I wanted to show the snake to our cook, Tubbsy Barnes, a big 250-pound man.

When I got to the cars, I found that he was lying down resting, fast asleep. I held the snake up in front of his face and wakened him. His face paled, his eyes widened and he grabbed his alarm clock and threw it at me. It hit me on the shoulder, and Tubbsy told me I was lucky he didn't have a gun, or he would have shot me.

I learned later that the snake was a copperhead, and very poisonous. Tubbsy got even with me later by putting a toad in my bed.

Our cars were stationed in Athens, Pennsylvania, and we were electrifying the Athens switching tower. The old tower was operated through a series of pipes connected to numbered tracks in the Sayre yards. The tower operator could send incoming trains to any designated track by pulling on a long lever connected to that certain track switch. I have seen the time, when switching conditions were at their worst, that it took two men to throw the switch. That was true in the wintertime when snow and ice covered the switches.

Now about the lamp. I was dating a lovely girl by the name of Anne Keavin, who lived less than a block from the tower. A carnival was due in town, and I asked Anne if she wanted to go with me.

We went, and when passing one of the game stands, Anne noticed some nice lamps that could be won by throwing balls into a small bucket. I tried to win a lamp for her, but with no luck. I managed to get a ball or two into the bucket, but they always bounced out, so I decided to quit.

As I turned away from the stand, the operator said, "Here, take these three balls and try again." I took them, and the second ball stayed in the bucket, so I said to Anne, "Take your pick of the lamps." 

The operator said, "Nothing doing. Those balls were just for practice."

I insisted that he owed Anne a lamp, and when he refused to give her one, I hopped over the counter and told him there would be no more playing until she had it. 

By that time, quite a crowd had gathered, and I noticed that several carnival workers were being called. Then a local cop asked what the problem was. I told him, and he called the carnival operator over, and Anne got a lamp.

I was laid off in the fall of 1928, and my brother Lester and I decided to look for work in California. We left Geneva on Saturday, November 24 in my 1923 Model T Ford coupe. Lester was 20 and I was 25. 1 had paid $250 for the car, and it had 23,000 miles on it when we left. We carried six spare tires. 

One vivid memory I have of our trip is standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon with my brother, and for the first time in my life realizing how little I was in the entire scheme of things.

When we finally got to Los Angeles, we put in our applications to work for the Pacific Telephone Company, and in due time, we were both employed. When I was hired, I was sent down to San Pedro to work as a lineman on cable construction and installation. I was assigned to work with a crew consisting of a foreman, a line gang of six, and a timekeeper-truck driver.

The first day on the job, the timekeeper got my name and other pertinent information, and when he found out that I was nearly broke and had no place to stay, he arranged for me to stay at the boarding house where he lived. He also arranged with the landlady to wait for two weeks to be paid, and somehow fixed it so I got my first pay in one week. I sorely needed that first week's pay, as Lester was staying in a hotel in L.A. and was out of money. The man who arranged all of this was Bob Bignall, and I stayed in touch with him until he died in 1977.

The first day on the job, I was told to go to the truck and get a "snivvy". I didn't know a snivvy from a snavvy, and didn't want anyone to know. So I went to the truck, found that I knew just about everything on it except one thing, and took that back to the job. It was the right tool, a snivvy, but the wrong size. It was a wire arrangement that fitted over the end of a cable and tightened as you pulled on it.

Two days later, although we had all the mechanical tools to dig holes, we came to a place that the truck couldn't get to. I was given an eight-foot spoon and an eight-foot iron bar and told to dig an eight-foot hole in solid adobe. It took me a day and a half. 

A couple of hours after I started to dig, the bar became so hot that I could hardly pick it up. The boss came over and told me to stick it in the dirt and point it toward the sun rather than lay it on the ground.

Shortly after I went to work for Pacific Bell, the division superintendent at San Pedro called me to his office. I had no idea what was going on. He told me that the company was looking for men to send to South America, to act as foremen on cable construction jobs. He said that if I was willing to go to night school and get a working knowledge of Spanish, he would recommend me for the job.

It was to be a contract job for a three-year period, and the pay was to be $800 a month. The company would withhold and bank $600 a month for me and pay me $200 plus all expenses on the job. I agreed to go to school three nights a week, and enrolled in a Spanish course. My teacher was a young man named Don Pedro Jibaja, a pleasure to study under. 

One of my classmates was Curtis Thue, who had a rumble-seat roadster, and we dated several of the girls in our class. I continued in school for about three months, until brother Lester and I returned back east.

While doing line work in California, I was assigned temporarily as a helper to an installer who was to install a PX telephone board at the VanCamp tuna processing plant on Terminal Island, which was located in Los Angeles harbor.

The tuna boats came to the dock at the island, and the tuna were unloaded on a conveyor system that went to the processing plant across the street.

The whole process was so crude and the odor so bad that for years afterward, I wouldn't eat tuna.

Numerous rooms had been added to the back of the boarding house where I lived in San Pedro. These rooms were occupied by men, young and old, most of whom worked in the oil fields nearby. Shortly after I got there, I got involved in some of the poker games that were going on in those rooms. It didn't take long for me to realize that most of the players were heavy drinkers and poor poker players, so before Lester and I left for home, I had picked up a pretty good amount of poker money.

We were given a job to hang a new cable from the main cable line down to the shoreline of the bay. That took us down a fairly good grade. 

Once we got all the poles in, we were to string the new cable. First we put cable clamps on all the poles, and then we strung out the steel cable along the ground. When that was secure to the poles, we put a #8 iron wire in position on the poles. Then someone had to ride a dolly along the steel cable and ring in the iron wire. I was given that job. 

By the time I had rung in about 1,500 feet of wire, I found myself high over the terminal for the electric trolleys that ran between San Pedro and Los Angeles. Five or six poles back, I had noticed that the truck keeping tension on the steel cable was drifting slowly backward and that the cable was sagging, but I didn't pay much attention to it until I looked down. There were five or six sets of trolley tracks beneath me, running perpendicular to my path, and it was sort of scary to see that my feet were dangling just a few inches from some high tension trolley wires.

The Pacific Bell Line Gang, San Pedro, CA, 1929
Paul Bostwick: Bob Bignell; ? (one of two brothers in the gang); 
? (a drifter who worked less than a month); ? (the other brother); 
John Buchholz.

I got the attention of the boss and Bob Bignall, the truck driver, and it didn't take Bob long to tighten the cable and allow me to finish ringing in the #8 steel wire.

It didn't bother me much at the time, but later I realized that I would have been badly hurt or killed had the cable hit the electric wires, burned through, and dropped me to the tracks.

We were working in Wilmington, halfway between San Pedro and Long Beach. The Union Oil Company refinery was located behind a seven or eight-foot chain link fence. 

While we were putting in a pole, one man had to be on the other side of the fence to pike the pole in. I was chosen for the job, and rather than take the time to go all the way around and through the gate, the boss suggested that I be piked over the fence. 

When the job was finished, I was to be piked back. I was standing on the spike at the end of the pike pole and had my right arm over the fence. The man holding the pole let it slip out, and I was left impaled on the fence with wires sticking into my underarm until they freed me.

The boss was trying to preserve a record of no accidents for his gang, and suggested that he would take me to the doctor, pay all the bills, and excuse me for a week if I didn't report it.

I took him up on it.

When Lester finally returned from his job (helping to install a telephone line across the Mojave Desert) and said he was going home, we decided that the old Ford would cost less than train fare.

To get a leave of absence from my job and hold my seniority, I wired my sister, asking her to send me a telegram stating that Grandma's estate was being settled and that it was necessary for me to be there when the settlement was made. In time, the wire came, I got a thirty-day leave of absence, and Lester and I started home. 

After we got home, I spent the next several days partying and visiting friends, and realized I couldn't get back to the job in time. As I walked out of the Sayre Hotel on the morning my leave of absence expired, I met Dewey Rice, the head of the Lehigh Valley telegraph and signal departments.

He asked me where I was working, and when I explained my circumstances to him, he offered me a job in the line gang, and I immediately accepted.

Our gang was laying in at Clifton Springs when we had a terrific snow and ice storm. The lines were nearly all taken down all the way from Clifton to Buffalo. The Buffalo Division called our division, the Seneca, for help. Johnny Wilke, our foreman, was sick, so Dewey Rice told me to take the gang up to the Buffalo Division and to act as foreman.

When we got to Buffalo, Kimmel Armbruster said that nobody on the Seneca Division was going to tell him who would act as foreman on his division. So he appointed Les Passage, an old buddy of his with whom he had worked years before on the Wyoming Division. Les had no idea how to handle the book work and timekeeping, so he asked me to take care of it for him. I did it for a while, until he got his son a job with us.

Passage's son, who was probably 19 or 20 years old, eventually got a job with the Lehigh track crew. One day when they were working down near Laceyville, they opened the hopper on a loaded ballast car, and somehow he was dragged under and killed.

In the fall of 1930, the Lehigh telephone and telegraph department depleted its budget, and our entire gang was laid off. A good friend of mine who worked in the line gang, Worth Vanover, suggested that we rent one of the cottages at Cannon Hole, a small settlement on the Susquehanna River east of Waverly, and spend the winter there. I agreed, and we rented River View cottage, but Worth stayed only about a month before moving to Rochester.

River View cottage wasn't outfitted with the best of furniture. The kitchen had an old-fashioned stove that took half an hour to get up to cooking heat, so when I saw an ad in a magazine for a three-burner kerosene stove, I sent away for it.

By chance, my brother Bill was visiting me when I was notified that the stove had arrived at the freight house in Sayre, so he and I went down to pick it up. 

At that time, I was driving a Chevy roadster with a rumble seat. The stove was packed in a fairly large cardboard container, and we figured we could get it home if we unpacked it and put it in the rumble seat. However, when we got it to the car, it seemed that if we set two legs on the running board, with Bill holding the top tight against the car, it would ride all right. 

Bill had never ridden in my car before, and I was anxious to show him how fast it would go. When we got to Waverly and started out old Route 17, I stepped on the gas. We were going at a pretty good clip when we hit a bump and I heard Bill say, "Oops!" I heard a crash and looked in the rear view mirror and saw my new stove bouncing end over end, chasing us down the road.

In spite of the fact that I thought I had lost my stove, I remember laughing as we watched it trying to catch up to us.

When we got it home and assessed the damage, we knocked it together, and at least I got some use out of it.

Our cars were laying in at Kendaia, New York, and we were working five to six miles on both sides of Kendaia putting in new poles. The ground hands went ahead, digging the holes, and we linemen followed, erecting the poles.

One morning we came to a hole that had been dug the previous day and found a good-sized skunk in the bottom. Kimmel Armbruster, the foreman, ordered us to dump the pole in on top of it. When I objected, Armbruster said, "OK, you get it out."

I took a handline and dropped it in the hole, and when the skunk straddled the line, I heaved him out. I was ready to make a quick retreat, but, strange to say, that skunk turned around and faced me, and I'll swear he looked at me and as much as said, "Thanks."

One day while the cars were laying in Burdett, New York, we were working close enough to the cars to come in for lunch. 

There was an elderly man named John Duggan in the gang. He had been a trouble-shooter out of Geneva, but his job had been eliminated. Beside being older, he was quite heavy, so the rest of the gang always tried to make life easier for him.

We all rode on a three-cylinder motor car, which had to be pushed to start. As usual, we insisted that Johnny stay on the car and let the rest of us push. But Armbruster ordered Johnny to get off and push, and Johnny did so.

The following morning, I heard Armbruster, who had a severe speech impediment, burst into the car with his usual greeting. Every morning he would stomp through the sleeper hollering, "Turn on boyds, am time to det up." 

Johnny's bunk was right across from mine. When Armbruster got to Johnny's bunk, he said, "Tum on Johnny, am time to det up," but Johnny didn't stir. Kimmel put a hand on Johnny's shoulder, turned around and said "My dod, boyds, Johnny am dead!" And he really was. 

Johnny had lived in Geneva, and I knew his son. My car was in Burdett, and Armbruster told me to go to Geneva and get word to the family. I did so, and didn't go back to work that day.

Armbruster and I didn't get along very well, and several times in the next few weeks, when he made things tough for me, I accused him of causing Duggan's death. 

After the poles had been set along the spot where the skunk incident took place, Armbruster sent me back to arm them, and sent his brother-in-law Nipple Engleman back with me. Engleman had a watch eye, was past middle-age, and was a lousy lineman. 

But I felt sorry for him, and instead of arming every other pole in turn, if I got ahead of him, I would do two or three poles in succession. When the gang came back to pick us up at quitting time, Armbruster gave me hell for not having completed more poles. I didn't say anything. 

The next morning, when Nipple and I started arming poles again, I did just every other pole. The result was that Nipple was about twenty poles back when they came to pick us up. 

Kimmel didn't see Nipple, and when he asked me where he was, it was a real pleasure to explain that I had taken every other climb, as was expected of me, and if he had any complaints, he could go back and talk to his brother-in-law. 

Armbruster layed off me after that.

It has been both fun and sad recollecting thoughts of yesteryear. I've written everything to the best of my memory, but remembering incidents that happened sixty or seventy years ago hasn't been easy for an old man of ninety. I'm sure this will be the last account of my past, so auf wiedersehen, adios, goodbye, and good luck.

John Buchholz left the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1932. He later became an independent cattle buyer in Arizona and New Mexico, and subsequently owned and operated a retail food store in Dundee, New York. 

During his retirement, he lived along the Susquehanna River near Waverly, New York. One of his great pleasures was hiking a nearby abandoned roadbed of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, recovering insulators that he might well have wired as a young lineman decades before.

John Buchholz and Harry "Fid" Norton, 
Lehigh Valley Railroad linemen, 
near Tunkhannock, PA, 1926

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