Charles Grattan Price Jr. Collection on Tweetsie and the Shenandoah Central Railroad is now open for research

Posted on: May 5, 2022

James Madison University Special Collections is pleased to announce that the Charles Grattan Price Jr. Collection on Tweetsie and the Shenandoah Central Railroad is now fully processed, partially digitized, and available for research.

Dr. Paul S. Hill, C. Grattan Price Jr., and Wade W. Menefee Jr. standing beside the Tweetsie locomotive on the day of the Golden Spike Ceremony, 1953 May 29.

The collection, compiled by Charles Grattan Price Jr. (1919-1996) and donated by his son Charles Grattan “Butch” Price III, documents the narrow gauge railroad that operated between 1953 and 1954 as a scenic museum line in Penn Laird, Virginia. The collection comprises correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, printed articles, and promotional materials concerning the purchase of Tweetsie, narrow gauge locomotive #12, and related equipment by the Shenandoah Central Railroad in 1952; the opening of the Tweetsie Route in Penn Laird in 1953; and the eventual sale of Tweetsie and equipment in 1955.

Railfans and country music enthusiasts alike will appreciate that the collection thoroughly documents the “Gene Autry Deal,” a failed business agreement between the Singing Cowboy and the partners of Shenandoah Central Railroad.

Gene Autry to C. Grattan Price Jr, 1955 September 9

The photographs included in the collection as well as a short home video narrated by W. Graham Claytor Jr. (1912-1994) have been digitized and are available online through Artstor.

Review the collection’s finding aid for a more complete description of the collection and its contents.

Information about visiting Special Collections and making appointments for in-person research is available on our Plan A Visit page.

Contact us at or (540) 568-3612 with any questions about this collection or about visiting Special Collections.

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