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Monday, July 21, 2008

---Places In The Heart:Viaduct/Railroad------

The Viaduct on highway 77 in Waxahachie was a background scene early in the movie Places In The Heart. The railroad has changed considerable. The one track stops (use to head south towards Italy) and the functioning BNSF does not go through the same pair of pillars as the movie. It goes through the two pillars north of the movies track path. The BNSF curves a little to the east then goes Southeast to Bardwell and then on to Corsicana. Trees have grown up on the southern side of the tracks and you can't really get a clear picture of the track path in the movie. The old telephone poles are gone. I have seen a telephone pole on the east side of the bridge. The other direction


Looking at this picture you can see two tracks but the one on the right stops and has been pulled up. It ran by the train depot closest to the creek. This track would have paralleled the current walk path. The track on the left is a current functioning Burlington Northern Santa Fe track and curves to the left between the pillars which are to the left (North)of the movie pillars the tracks once went through. The single rail in between the tracks is just lying there don't think it serves a purpose

You can see the lights to Paul Richard's Field (Jungle Park in the olden days). The trees have grown since then.




Royce Spalding confronting Wylie in places in the heart filmed circa 1984

Interesting the more I get into the story of Places in the Heart I am finding more clues to the actual family Heritage of director Robert Benton who is related to Spaldings from Waxahachie. Maybe he showcased the Viaduct in the background because it reminded him of his relative W. A. Spalding. W. A. Spalding has turned up in many articles of research. He wrote many historical papers that are found in Library. I assume it is W. A. Spalding Sr who would have been 62 at the time Jr was only 14. It appears Sr. is the resident Engineer who officially opens the Viaduct December 12, 1931 in the below WDL article. (Note that an outsider technically the first person to drive over the viaduct)

Bridge Opening Today
from Waxahachie Daily Light December 12, 1931
The opening and closing of Waxahachie viaduct is scheduled to be turned over to traffic officially at 2:00 P.M. today. It was "off again, on again Flannigan" with the big bridge today. People rode over it a while; then they were shut off from it; then they were to travel over it again.
Division Engineer Rice had authorized resident Engineer W.A. Spalding early today to turn traffic on the bridge officially at 2:00 P.M. At this hour the City and County officials were to be the first to journey over the viaduct; but other folks beat them to it, for a maintenance man from Dallas came here and removed the gates about 11:00 A.M. from each end of the over-pass. And a stranger tourist was the first to travel over the long bridge; then the contractor closed the bridge, for the formal opening. So at 2:00 P.M. the city and county are to have a chance to make the official opening.
The bridge, nearly a quarter of a mile in length, concrete and steel, connects Elm Street with Rogers Street, passing over the Katy and T. & N.O. R.R. and Waxahachie Creek, White Way lights will illuminate the viaduct at night.

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