Daniel Boone VI
Boone, assisted by Nat Howell, built a 3 inch scale model of a Union Pacific 4-8-4. It was offered in an auction by Barrett-Jackson in late 2018.
- This train was handcrafted in the 1960s by Daniel Boone VI, a direct descendant of the legendary Daniel Boone who has many iron works featured in Appalachia and historical Williamsburg, VA, including the Governor's Palace. It took a total of five years to complete the train, which was featured in several magazines at the time, including Popular Mechanics and National Geographic. Every single piece was hand-wrought in Daniel Boone's forge. It sat dormant for a number of years after being used as an amusement ride in Maggie Valley and Burnsville, NC, until it was purchased at an estate sale in 1989. Its paint was carefully and painstakingly removed, and the entire train was cleaned and taken to bare metal. It was completely restored in a state-of-the-art body shop and remains in a temperature-controlled environment in good condition. It is a fully functional scale model of a Union Pacific 484 Baldwin Engine plus four Pullman cars that weigh 400 pounds each. It can pull 36 people with its fully functional coal-burning steam engine. The total train length is approximately 52.5 feet.
- At this year’s Scottsdale event, one of the most remarkable pieces to cross the auction block at No Reserve is a 1960s-era 1-1/2-scale Union Pacific 484 train (Lot #1308) hand-built from scratch by Daniel Boone IV, a direct descendant of the legendary American pioneer.
- The train, which is 52.5 feet long, features a Union Pacific Baldwin 484 engine and tender, as well as four Pullman cars for passengers. The engine and tender together weigh 2,450 pounds, and the passenger cars weigh 400 pounds each. All told, the train can accommodate 36 passengers, and it has a fully functional, coal-burning steam engine, all handcrafted from scratch by Boone VI.
- “It’s an actual coal-burning locomotive and it (has) a very efficient firebox – a good size firebox for the scale – easy fired,” Boone VI said in an interview in February 1965, just a couple of years after he finished the project. “In 25 minutes I can have a full head of steam.”
- Boone VI, like all five generations who proceeded him, was a skilled blacksmith, and every single piece in this train was hand-wrought in his forge. Family folklore says the Boones were blacksmiths for 18 generations, dating back to the Vikings in Europe.
- He began the project in 1957 and completed five years later, at a reported cost of $25,000, not including his own labor. Once operational, the train was used as an amusement ride in both Maggie Valley and Burnsville, two western North Carolina towns. Burnsville was home for Boone VI, who passed away in 1970.
- In an interview, Boone VI said this train is “the only time I know of it being done all the way out in miniature. The valve gears and everything I built from scratch … did my own machining. It’s a real coal-burning locomotive.”
- Make no mistake about it, Boone VI’s work is of impeccable quality. He and his family were selected for all of the restoration ironwork for Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, in the 1930s, as well as detailed iron work for the famed Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC.
- This custom train, an amazing work of art, sat dormant for a number of years until it was purchased at an estate sale in 1989.
- According to the train’s consignor, its paint was carefully and painstakingly removed, and the entire train was cleaned and taken to bare metal. It was completely restored in a state-of-the-art body shop and remains in a temperature-controlled environment in good condition.
- The train has a special and very personal connection for the consignor, who rode the train himself many times as a young child growing up in western North Carolina. This was an important piece of his early childhood, and even today it’s a significant cultural artifact of the Appalachian Mountains, where trains were a big part of daily life.
- After the consignor acquired the train, he got an offer to purchase it from automotive legend and longtime Barrett-Jackson friend Carroll Shelby. “I wasn’t ready to part with it,” he says. “I just wanted to have it. My grandfather worked on the railroad in the mountains back in the day.”
- This unique train is something sure to appeal to boys and girls, men and women of all ages. “Who, as a kid, doesn’t like trains?” he says. “They’re just special. The coolest thing is, you can’t buy these (trains). He (Boone VI) made every piece in a foundry to extreme detail. He was a very talented blacksmith, which is a lost art.”
From Farm Collector Newsletter, March/April 1963:
- "1960 Union Pacific 4-8-4 Scale Model Train", Barrett-Jackson Auctions
- "ALL ABOARD! This 1960 Union Pacific 484 scale-model train is a working masterpiece", Barrett-Jackson Auctions
- Photo of Daniel Boone VI and train, Farm Collector Newsletter
- "Daniel Boone Keeps Up A Tradition", Popular Mechanics, February 1952