Save the Train closing celebration held at Pioneer Museum

Published 7:12 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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On Sunday afternoon, the Pioneer Museum of Alabama hosted a “Save the Train – Save Your Name in Celebrity Fashion” fundraising event.

Several local well-known, community movers and shakers braved the wet, windy weather in support of the Pioneer Museum of Alabama “Save the Train” fundraiser.

Keith Roling, event organizer, said the community celebrities each made a pledge that would provide them with the opportunity to have his or her handprint preserved in stone in acknowledgement of the museum’s support of the “Save the Train” fundraiser.

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The 1881 logging train is an eye-catcher for those traveling Highway 231 in Troy. Many motorists stop to see the train and take the opportunity to visit the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

The train was donated by Earl McGowin and W.T. Chapman Lumber Company and moved to the Pioneer Museum of Alabama in 1992.

Of note, Hank Williams, Sr.’s father, (Lon) Williams, was the train engineer on “The Madison.”

The backdrop for the “Save the Train” closing celebration was a mural by Brundidge artist Larry Godwin, of a steam engine train that brought the world to Troy and opened the way for pioneers and spurred the growth that followed.

In that setting, Dr. John Dew shared the history of the steam-driven train and how the train allowed the country to expand to distant and remote territories.

The train also allowed for the development of suburban areas, so people could commute from rural areas to urban areas to find work.

As the importance of the locomotive is more widely known, it is expected that there will be others who would like to be a part of the efforts to return the old locomotive to bring the Bradley and Hunter into the next century.

“We will gather, once again for those who were not able to attend Sunday for hands in cement,” Roling said. “But, we will not have a big ceremony. And, we are still accepting contributions from those who want to be a part of returning this history to future generations.”

For more information about the restoration of the logging train or to make a donation call (334-566-3597) or mail the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, 248 U.S. Highway 231, Troy, AL 36081.