Friday, December 25, 2009

Trains on Christmas Day

For as long as I've been working at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, there has been a model railroad set up at Christmas. Until Hurricane Katrina damaged the Old State Capitol in 2005, the trains were set up in the Senate Chamber. Starting in 2005, they have been set up in the main conference room in the Winter Archives Building.

The layout is set in a fictitious Mississippi town called Possum Ridge, in about the 1940s-1950s, and is O scale, standard gauge. It has period buildings that have been built over the years by a number of model railroad enthusiasts. It is run by volunteer engineers.

The front part of the layout depicts Possum Ridge's Main Street while an Illinois Central passenger train (either the City of New Orleans or the Panama Limited) makes it way "through the Mississippi darkness down to the sea" (to paraphrase the words of Steve Goodman, as sung by Arlo Guthrie). The volunteer engineer talks with Lucy Allen (facing, center), the Director of the Museum Division, and a visiting family.

Here is another shot of Main Street.

One of the many scratch built buildings is the Possum Ridge Museum (with "Lulu" Allen as the director), which is a refurbished "Possum Trot" house originally built by the Osborne family in 1824. "Lucky" Osborne is a master craftsman who has had a hand in creating much of the scenary at Possum Ridge. (You can see more of his work on this page.)

This completes my "homage" to Christmas. I hope that everyone who has stopped by has enjoyed the Christmas trees and the Possum Ridge model railroad. As I said in yesterday's post:





Capt Bill said...

All of Beerstein wishes you a Merry Christmas...

David Morfitt said...

Thanks for the trees and the train posts - enjoyable! happy Xmas and New Year to you, too.



Mad Carew said...

I'm always a sucker for trains! Fantastic

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Unknown said...

this used to be a great passion of mine..great site