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1984 Blue Ridge Institute Calendar Features Train Photos

By Ferrum College

Issue: January, 1984

blue ridge instituteSteam billows as this Class Y6A Steam Engine built by the Roanoke Machine Works in 1942, labors up a steep grade.

"Steam on the Grade," a collection of train photos by Earl Palmer, are featured in the 1984 calendar of Ferrum College's Blue Ridge Institute.

Palmer, who lives in Cambria near Christiansburg, often is called the "Blue Ridge Mountains' Roaming Cameraman," and is the only major photographer to have worked so extensively in the Blue Ridge Region. His photos have appeared in National Geographic magazine and National Park publications, as well as numerous other magazines and newspapers.

In his travels through Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia, Palmer photographed native scenery, people and everyday activities such as fanning, logging and craft work. He also has one of the best collections of wildflower photographs in the south.

Palmer has photographed the trains and a dozen of these photos are used in the Blue Ridge Institute calendar. They are part of an extensive collection of photographs and slides given to the college by Palmer which comprise the Earl Palmer Collection of the Blue Ridge Heritage Archive.

An introduction to the "Steam on the Grade" calendar states: "Nearly two generations have passed since the great steam locomotives were retired from service, but for many people the sounds and images of those engines are the very symbols of this country's grand age of expansion and development. Breathing steam, pulsing with ground-jarring power, the lifelike trains pulled modernization behind them. Their names became a part of life, and their impact on the folkways of the nation was immeasurable.

The 1984 "Steam on the Grade" calendar is available from the Blue Ridge Institute, Ferrum College, Ferrum, Va. 24088 at a cost of $3.00 each plus 50 cents postage and handling.