The Greenbrier Historical Society invites you to the opening of its newest exhibit, The Age of Steam: How Trains Transformed Our Lives. Join them as they explore steam locomotives and what they meant to the average person and their communities, and the way in which people worked and played from the early 1800s well into the 1900s.
The appearance of steam trains marked the beginning of the modern era for America. New towns sprang up along train routes. Locomotive power made possible the extraction of coal and timber resources from the remote areas of West Virginia. Union and Confederacy fought to control every mile of rail and bridge. Ultimate victory would depend on it.
Trains united eastern and western states. For the first time, the rapid movement of people, products of farm and industry and traveling entertainments brought prosperity to portions of rural America. Railroad access determined which communities thrived and which were left behind. Previously, in our region, this was determined by the location of springs resorts and the stage coach turnpikes that served them. The steam era came to an end with the arrival of diesel fuel, electricity and motorized vehicles.
The special exhibit opening will be Sunday afternoon, Nov. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. Jim Costa, noted musician, folklorist and story-teller,will entertain with songs that celebrate the stories of railroading history and share items from his collection. He will tell stories he has collected over the years from those who spent their lives working on the railroads. Local actor Larry Davis will portray George Washington Alley, doomed engineer for the Fast Flying Virginian, who was killed in a famous wreck near Hinton, in a play written and directed by Pam Barry.
On display will be amazing photographs from the C&O Historical Society’s collection, antique toy trains, a platform with a working HO scale model train, a large replica of a Meadow River No. 7 Shay engine and artifacts from the era that take you back to a time long gone. There will also be an electric train just for kids, as well as refreshments.
The exhibit will be up through March. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated and make exhibits like this possible. For more information e-mail email@example.com or call 304-645-3398.