Marshall County Museum, Plymouth, Indiana

IMG_8879

There is a town in northern central Indiana called Plymouth.  In this small town is the Marshall County Museum.  This museum tells the history of the county.  If you really want to know the history of Marshall County, Indiana, visit the Marshall County Museum in Plymouth, Indiana.

IMG_8926

Some of you are saying, “Interesting.  I have never heard of the town of Plymouth, Indiana, and I have never heard of Marshall County.  It is a good thing that they have this museum.  If not, nobody would know about Marshall County.  There is one problem.  This museum is a county museum and not a railroad museum.  Therefore, you will not see me visiting this place.”

 

IMG_8929

It is a museum about Marshall County so why visit this museum?

IMG_8892

As mentioned, it is a museum that displays the story of the county from home life to school life to the local sports.  This museum is filled with artifacts.  This museum also has a very special room.  What is this room?  The Train Room.  No, this is not some small model train that goes in a small circle.  This display is a good size.  From steam to diesel, the trains go down the trains.  There are also trains on the walls plus old photos of the old train depot.  You may be spending a little time in this room.

IMG_8894

Although the Marshall County Museum is about the area around Plymouth, out-of-towners will appreciate this place.  It is run and operated by the Marshall County Historical Society.  It is located at 123 North Michigan Street (Indiana Route 17) in the heart of Plymouth.  It is minutes from U.S. Routes 6, 30 and 31.  The building is handicap accessible.  Parking is street parking.  You can learn more at https://mchistoricalsociety.org/.

IMG_8900

So, you not only have a reason to visit Plymouth, Indiana, but you also have a reason to visit the Marshall County Museum.  They would love to have you visit.

IMG_8888

The Erie Zoo, Erie, Pennsylvania

IMG_5960

The city of Erie, Pennsylvania is in the northwestern part of the state on the south shore of Lake Erie.  It is the second largest port city in the state.  (Philadelphia is number one.)  It is home to a maritime museum where the U.S.S. Niagara is docked, and it is home to a few lighthouses.  Then you have Presque Isle State Park.  Like other cities, it has a zoo.  The Erie Zoo may not compare to the big city zoos, but it is still an enjoyable place to visit.

IMG_6064

Some of you are saying, “This is great.  It is a small zoo compared to many zoos across the country.  It has animals like any other zoo, but there are no trains.  Therefore, I will not waste my time at this place.”

IMG_6083

Yes, it is a zoo.  Yes, it has animals just like any other zoo.  This zoo also has something that rail fans like.  Why is it?  A train.  It is a miniature train.  It is a small version of a C. P. Huntington which was used on the transcontinental Railroad.  This C. P. Huntington runs at the Erie Zoo.

IMG_5964

Some of you are saying, “I know.  It goes down the track, around a loop, and comes back.  I have been on these mini trains.  It is the same thing.”

IMG_5995

It does go down the track, and it crosses a bridge.  It goes through a tunnel, and then it goes across a long trestle.  Yes, it is a long bending trestle.  Then the fun begins.  It becomes a safari train.  The tracks go through an animal pen where you get up close to rams, deer, antelope and ducks.  Be advised.  This is not your average mini train ride.

IMG_5987

While you are walking around looking at the animals, you will find another discovery.  What is this discovery?  You will discover a model train.  It includes a huge train trestle, a farm, a covered bridge and a few structures.

IMG_6033

The Erie Zoo is located at 432 West 38th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania.  It is minutes from downtown and from Interstates 90 and U.S. Route 20.  It is open from March to November (closed in December, January and February) from 10:00am to 5:00pm.  Admission to the zoo is $10.00 for those 13 to 62, $8.00 for those over 62 and $6.00 for those 2 to 12.  The train will cost $3.00 more.  It runs weather permitting, and it is accessible to those who are handicap and for those in wheelchairs.  You can get more information at https://www.eriezoo.org/.

IMG_6125

Now you have a reason to visit the Erie Zoo for something other than seeing animals.  You can take a train ride.  It is worth a visit.

IMG_6144

The Corner Field Model Railroad Museum and Trading Post Train Shop, Middlefield, Ohio

IMG_8510

You are driving across Ohio, and you come upon a baseball field.  Next to the baseball field is a railroad crossing sign next to a small building.  Curious to see what is going on, you pull into the lot.  What could be here?

IMG_8514

Welcome to the Corner Field Model Railroad Museum and Trading Post Train Shop.  You go inside, and you are greeted by friendly people behind the counter.  You look around the hobby shop, but you did see that there is a model railroad museum.

IMG_8516

Some of you are saying, “I know.  It is a model railroad museum with a hobby shop.  You see the trains in the hobby shop and then watch this train go around in a small circle, and that is their museum.  I have seen these places so many times.  They are just not worth your time.”

IMG_8535

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Corner Field Model Railroad Museum and Trading Post Train Shop.  No, it is not a train going around in some small circle.  It is more like a very big circle.  As you enter the museum, you will be amazed.  This display is huge.  How huge?  It happens to be the largest family owned and operated O gauge train display in the United States of America.  Yes, it was built by one family and not a model railroad club, and it remains in the family to this current day.  You see trains going over bridges and past buildings some of which are at least sixty years old.  From steam to diesel, this display will amaze you.  You may think about going back to see it again.

IMG_8552

The Corner Field Model Railroad Museum and Trading Post Train Shop is a hidden treasure that is waiting for you to discover it.  It is located at 16720 Pioneer Road in Middlefield, Ohio (in the Huntsburg Township).  They are opened year-round from Wednesday to Sunday.  (Hours vary by day.)  Admission to the museum is $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors and $5.00 for kids 4 to 12. You can get directions, hours for the day you visit, and learn more about the hobby at http://cornerfieldmodelrailroadmuseumandhobby.com/.

IMG_8556

‘Love on the Train’

The Train at the Depot in Thomaston Connecticut

A man and a woman arrive at the train station at the same time.  As they are waiting for the train, they glance at each other.  The glance becomes a look.  The look becomes a stare.

“Which train are you wait for,” he asks.

“The 9:00 to Charlotte.”

“I am waiting for the same train.”

“Maybe we can sit together.”

The train arrives on time.  They climb aboard.  They sit down next to each other.  The train is on its way.  They look at each other and smile.  Something begins to brew.  What is brewing?  It is Love on the Train, and it will be a long-lasting love.

May everyone have a Happy Valentine’s Day, and may you spend it with the one you love, and if you are alone on this day, may love on day find you.

 

The photo is of the excursion train at the Railroad Museum of New England in Thomaston, Connecticut.

The Iron ‘T’ Rail Monument, Danville, Pennsylvania

IMG_5329

The U.S. state of Pennsylvania is home to numerous coal mines.  Some of those mines have been decommissioned while some are still active.  Along with these mines came towns that grew around the mining communities.  Among those towns was the town of Danville.  Situated on the Susquehanna River, it was an industrial town that benefited from the iron ore that was mined in the region, and it was the site of an invention that benefited the railroad to the present day.  What was this invention?  You see it every time you visit the railroad line: the rail shaped like a ‘T’.

IMG_5326

For this reason, the Iron ‘T’ Monument was erected in the town of Danville, Pennsylvania.  The monument features a coal car commemorating those in the coal mining industry.  It sits on iron ‘T’ rails next to the County Courthouse at the intersection of Mills Street and Market Street.  There is no admission fee to see it, and you can visit it day or night.

IMG_5327

The next time you are in Danville, Pennsylvania, do not think of it as just a small town but as the place where the iron ‘T’ rail was born.

IMG_5325

If you are a wine lover, you may want to visit the Shade Mountain Wine Store.  It is located across the Susquehanna River.  It is easy to find because when you take Pennsylvania Route 54 across the river, you can turn right… at the railroad crossing.  It is housed in an old train depot.  You can purchase a bottle or have a glass while sitting at a table next to the tracks.  If you are fortunate enough, you may enjoy your glass and enjoy a passing train.  You can get more information at https://shademountainwinery.com/.  (Please note that Pennsylvania state laws require that you must be at least 21 years of age to enter the site or to visit the wine store.)

IMG_5322

IMG_5324

IMG_5320

Medina Railroad Museum, Medina, New York

IMG_5723

Do you love New York?  Back in the day, you heard the old jingle ‘I love New York’.  When you are asked what you think about the U.S. state of New York, what most people will think of is what is known as the ‘Big Apple’, New York City where most of the state’s population happens to live.  The state has many great historic sites like the Saratoga Battlefield in Saratoga Springs where the turning point of the American Revolutionary War took place.  You have natural wonders like Niagara Falls, one of the most visited and most spectacular waterfalls in the world.  The state of New York also has great small towns.  Among these towns is Medina.  Located halfway between Rochester and Buffalo, the town was constructed around the Erie Canal, and it was a stopover for boats using the canal.  As it was a major stop on the Erie Canal, it also became a stop for the New York Central Railroad.

IMG_5720

A small train depot, known as ‘Small Stone Station’, was built in Medina, and the town had regular passenger and freight service.  However, the town grew, and the locals complained that the depot was too small.  A much bigger freight depot was built.  It remained in use until the 1960’s when railroad service declined.  The depot was sold, and it became a furniture shop.  The owners of the furniture shop retired in 1991.  Was the depot demolished?  No.  It was purchased and became the home of the Medina Railroad Museum.

IMG_5644

Today, the Medina Railroad Museum is the home of the largest model train display in the state of New York and one of the largest model train displays in the United States.  The walls are also filled with memorabilia from the railroad to include signals, lanterns, small models and much more.  You pay your admission at an old ticket window, and you can see a layout of the ticket master’s office.  If that is not enough, you have two E-8 locomotives from the New York Central Railroad outside along with other rail cars.  If you are fortunate enough, you may see a passing train.

IMG_5659

The Medina Railroad Museum is open year-round, but the trains rides are offered seasonally.  It is located at 530 West Avenue in Medina, New York.  (It is two blocks west of New York Routes 31 and 63 and Main Street next to the tracks.)  It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm.  (It is closed on Mondays and major holidays.)  Admission is $9.00 for adults, $8.00 for seniors, $7.00 for children 2 to 18 with those under two free.  The museum admission is included with the purchase of any train Excursion ticket or with any ticket to their Special Events.  You can learn more about the train excursions, their special events and information on the museum at https://www.medinarailroad.com/.  You can also read a tribute to the founder, Marty Phelps, who made this museum a reality.

IMG_5661

When you think about the great sites in the state of New York, you can think about the Medina Railroad Museum.  It may be a great place to stop.  The people of the Medina Railroad Museum would love for you to visit their town.  They provided a promotional video.  You can click on this link: https://www.elocallink.tv/m/v/player.php?pid=w7QwyQ54&fp=nymed19_wel_iwd.

IMG_5705

Shenandoah Caverns, Quicksburg, Virginia

IMG_4796

Along the Interstate 81 corridor in the state of Virginia, you will find a great number of caverns that you can tour.  You have the famous Luray Caverns in Luray.  You have Skyline Caverns in Front Royal.  You have the Natural Bridge Caverns in Natural Bridge, Virginia.  As you visit each cavern, you find a uniqueness to each one.  This is also what you will discover when you visit Shenandoah Caverns in the town of Quicksburg.  For those who are disabled and have mobility problems, Shenandoah Caverns is special because it was the first cavern to be handicap accessible, and it is now one of two caverns that is accessible to those who are handicapped.  (Luray Caverns recently became handicap accessible.)  Shenandoah Caverns is an amazing place to see, and you will be amazed at the numerous stalactites and stalagmites.

IMG_4797

Some of you are saying, “Wow!  How cool.  This must be a beautiful place to see.  There is one very big problem.  Being a ‘cavern’ means that it is natural.  Being natural means that there are no trains here.  Therefore, I will naturally not be making a visit to this place.”

IMG_4807

There has never been a train that has gone into this cavern.  What does the railroad have to do with Shenandoah Caverns?

IMG_4804

A visit to Shenandoah Caverns is a visit to see many things.  The main attraction is, of course, the caverns.  You also have the Caverns Café which is set up like an old 1950’s diner.  It is a great place to have lunch.  You then have ‘Main Street Yesteryear’, a place that takes you back in time to see the old displays from the old department stores.

IMG_4816

Then you have the Yellow Barn.  On the outside, it is a yellow barn, but the very first thing you will notice is the caboose.  Yes, you want to see the caboose, but you must see what is inside.  As you enter, you will see plates behind the receptionist desk.  What is special about these plates?  They have locomotives on them.  Earl C. Hargrove, a former owner of the caverns, is a railroad fan, and this is just the beginning.  There are displays inside the main room, but while you are walking through, you will want to look up.  Why?  You can see the model trains going around.  In case you are wondering, this space is available to host your event.

IMG_4784

As mentioned, Earl C. Hargrove is the former owner of the Shenandoah Caverns.  (It is now owned by his daughter, Kathy.)  Before Earl Hargrove was the owner of the caverns, he was a designer of parade floats.  From his designing company in suburban Washington D.C. he designed floats for many parades to include town parades, the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California and numerous Presidential Inauguration parades in Washington D.C.  Many of his parade floats are on display at ‘American Celebration on Parade’.

IMG_4758

As you enter ‘American Celebration on Parade’, you will see a model train display on your left.  After seeing the trains going around, you will want to enter the main hall to see all the floats.  You will be amazed at the works.  Two things you will see is a trolley that was used in a parade in Cheverly, Maryland.  As you walk around some more, you will see your favorite float.  What will be your favorite float?  It will be the steam locomotive and caboose.  It is a float that you can climb aboard.  What is special about this float?  It is the longest float on display.  It was used in the 1994 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.  It was here where the float won top honors.  It was also used in President William Clinton’s 1997 Inauguration Parade and in three of Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Parades.

IMG_4762

Now some of you are saying, “That is nice.  Model trains.  Trains on plates.  A train float used at the Rose Parade.  I guess that is everything.”

IMG_4785

Not exactly.  The Yellow Barn and American Celebration on Parade has railroad stuff.  However, there is more.  This has to do with the discovery of Shenandoah Caverns.  How?  In the autumn of 1884, the Southern Railway was building a line through the Shenandoah Valley which would have brought service to what is Quicksburg today.  The rail line was being built next to a farm owned by a man named Abraham Neff.  The railroad needed some limestone.  Abraham allowed them to dig up his farm for the limestone.  It was on one Sunday that the two sons decided to play in the quarry while the workers were resting for the day.  While playing around, one of them felt cold air from the ground.  It was at this time when they discovered what would be Shenandoah Caverns.  In 1920, the property was sold to Hunter Chapman, a stockholder in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad who built a hotel (the current visitor center) at the caverns.  Being a railroad man, he ran excursions from Washington D.C. to Shenandoah Caverns.  Sadly, the trains no longer have passenger service to the caverns.

IMG_4776

Shenandoah Caverns is located at 261 Caverns Road in Quicksburg, Virginia.  It is just minutes from Interstate 81 and U.S. Route 11.  Although the caverns and ‘Main Street Yesteryear’ are open year-round, the Yellow Barn and American Celebration on Parade are open seasonally.  Access to the caverns is by way of an old elevator built in the 1930’s.  Although it is handicap accessible, those using a wheelchair may need assistance through the cavern.  You can get all of the information and learn more about the cavern at https://shenandoahcaverns.com/.

IMG_4820

The next time somebody tells you that there is nothing about the railroad at Shenandoah Caverns, tell them to pay the place a visit.  You will see a place that the railroad helped discover.

IMG_4815