McComb depot offers free trips back in time.
Today, however, that whistle has found a new home just a few yards away at the new McComb Railroad Museum, located in the refurbished 1901 depot. Children of all ages can pull its cord to take a step back in time.
The golden age of railroading in Mississippi may well have been lost if it were not for a few determined visionaries. Winnie Len Howell, a local railroad enthusiast and historian, and Edwin Etheridge, the last Illinois Central shop superintendent for McComb, worked for three years to establish the museum. Etheridge had saved several hundred historical artifacts when the shops closed in 1987, hoping that a museum might someday be built. Eventually, the baggage room in the south end of the restored depot was converted into the permanent railroad museum. The work was done entirely by volunteers. Finally, in June 2003, Mayor Thomas Walman dedicated the museum.
Visitors today enter through the original Illinois Central passenger terminal and step through doors designed to resemble the Panama Limited train that for decades served cities from New Orleans to Chicago. Displays reveal how McComb was established as a railroad town, showcase mannequins in period railroad attire, and feature model trains, oral history, and famous photographs. Just outside, a 200-ton steam locomotive, the only aluminum refrigerator car ever built, and a cupola-style caboose offer a life-size taste of railroad history.
The museum, located at 108 N. Railroad Blvd., is free and open to the public from 1-4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays from April through August. Group tours may be arranged by appointment. For more information; call 601/249-0116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Title Annotation:||southern scarpbook|
|Author:||Leggett, Kay Holmes|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2004|
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