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No. 1 (H. K. Porter)

Photo courtesy University of South Carolina Library
HKPorter Argent No. 1 in the weeds

Argent Lumber Company's No. 1, a 2-6-0 "Mogul," was built in March 1914 by H.K. Porter as construction number 5540. It is of Porter's C-2-T class, meaning it has six coupled driving wheels (C), a two wheel pilot truck (2), and a separate tender to hold water and fuel (T). It has 12"x16" cylinders, 36" drivers, and weighs around 25 tons empty.

Argent Lumber's No. 1 was originally owned by Beaufort County Lumber Company of North Carolina. In 1916, the owners of the Beaufort County Lumber Company helped incorporate the Argent Lumber Company, moving No. 1 to Hardeeville, South Carolina. In Hardeeville, No. 1 would operate alongside two of MCRR's other locomotives: N.B.&W.R.R./A.L.Co.'s No. 2 and S.S.&S.Ry./A.L.Co.'s No. 6 until 1956. At Argent Lumber, No. 1 gained an iron cab and Rushton stack. Electric headlights were installed along with a Pyle-National dynamo which was installed on the base of the rear sand-box. No. 1 was often used as a switch engine in the Hardeeville yard and was operated by Engineer Only S. Cooler.  

No. 1 was briefly displayed in a city park after the Union Bag-Camp Paper Corporation auctioned the former Argent equipment. It eventually ended up in Florida, where it ran at the "Petticoat Junction Theme Park" until closing in 1984. The crew at Petticoat Junction renovated the engine in 1975. During this renovation, the Argent iron cab was replaced with a Hollywood-inspired wooden cab. The original Porter tender was replaced. It is also believed that this renovation included converting No. 1 to fire on oil after over half a century of burning wood slabs and coal.

In 1985, the late Fred Hallmark of Warrior, Alabama, bought the locomotive. He occasionally operated it at his property after having repairs performed in 2005. In late 2018, the Midwest Central Railroad purchased Argent Lumber No. 1.  It arrived on MCRR property on April 13, 2019.

An in-depth analysis of Argent Lumber No. 1's condition will happen in the near future.

Each photo links to a larger version
Photo courtesy Mallory Hope Ferrell
B&W on location Argent No. 1
Argent No 1 at the MCRR
Argent No 1 at the MCRR Argent 1 tender
Argent 1 Argent 1
Argent 1 Argent 1
Argent 1 Argent 1
Argent 1 Argent 1
Argent 1 (left) The founder of Petticoat Junction Amusement Park, was J. E. Churchwell. His niece,  was Lois Churchwell. Argent No. 1, here shown as "Cannonball No. 7" was known as "Lois" among family members and friends. Photo courtesy Bay County Public Library


 Midwest Central Railroad  Mount Pleasant, Iowa 52641 319−385−2912 (updated 02May19)