Austin Barr began constructing locomotive #6568, an 1½" scale Pacific, in 1965 while living in White Hall, Arkansas.
There was a gathering of live steam engines at the plantation of Austin Barr, south of Jonesboro, AR in a community called Whitehall. There was a large loop of track for the beautiful engines to run around. May 1972. Photo by Mike Condren, from http://condrenrails.com/20th-Century-Steam-p2.html
Another photo of the May 1972 meet. That may be Austin Barr walking the background.
Barr was a charter member of the Mid-South Live Steamers, organized on 17 December 1966.
Barr finished #6568, along with his track at White Hall, Arkansas, for the first annual spring meet of the Mid-South Live Steamers. Austin continued to host Spring Meets from 1968 through 1973.
Harry Wade, who also attended the inaugural meeting of the Mid-South Live Steamers, provided the following about Austin Bar.
- I knew Austin Barr quite well, but not as well as some of the older members now deceased of course. When we first met I was kind of the "kid" of the club. See photo - I am in front. Austin is first row left. Shortly after that picture I went to college, then to sea (Navy) for a while, and then back to college so I rarely saw him after that. He had a 14,000 acre rice & soy bean plantation in Weiner, Arkansas (yes Weiner, as in Oscar Meyer) and built a large track on it where he hosted annual meets. He eventually lost the farm, his shop, and track in a divorce. I don't recall when he passed away but I don't think I saw him more than half a dozen times the last 20 years of his life. He was a very friendly and helpful guy and would help you in any way he could. I'm not sure he had a direct involvement in the development of the BLS standards, which may have already been established before he became Secretary, but he certainly helped promulgate and promote their usage.
Here is photo of Austin Barr from Cary Nettles. Austin is on the right and Snub Pollard is on the left. Cary is the senior member of Mid-South Live Steamers at 97 years old! (as of 2013).
- "Mid-South Live Steamers", Austin F. barr, Live Steam Magazine, Apr 1969
- "Weed Control", Austin F. barr, Live Steam Magazine, Mar 1974
- "A Change to report in IBLS Doings", Austin F. Barr, Jr. and Ralph Tucker, Modeltec Magazine, May 1984
- "Gold Spike Ceremony on Austin Barr’s Weiner & Western", William C. Fitt, Modeltec Magazine, Sept 1986
- "The Other Guy’s Shop: Austin Barr", William C. Fitt, Modeltec Magazine, Sept 1986
- "Mid South Live Steamers presents Leo Myers with the 'General' Happy Birthday Leo!", Austin F. Barr, Modeltec Magazine, Aug 1987