Wednesday, November 04, 2009
North Carolina Transportation Museum
Before leaving the Salisbury area, we visited the nearby town of Spencer and the North Carolina Transportation Museum. It has a number of displays of aircraft and automobiles, but it is really about trains and railroad history. The museum is on the site of the Southern Railways locomotive repair facility which was established in 1896. The railroad business became a key to the economy of the area for many years.
At its peak the facility employed around 3, 000 people and has one of the largest roundhouses in the United States and one of the few still in existence. There are interactive displays throughout the exhibits and dozens of locomotives and other train units to explore. These include private coaches, mail, and hospital cars.
Flat Stanley particularly enjoyed the story about the stray dog-Owney- who found his way onto train mail cars and became a good luck charm for the trains he rode on, since those trains never experienced an accident and finally became an unofficial mascot for the mail service. Finally, in 1895, Owney made a round the world trip through Asia and Europe with the mail bags on trains and steamships, safely returning to the United States.
It was a fun visit for us and a must see for the train enthusiast.