News Column

All aboard

August 5, 2014

By Matt Smith, Cleburne Times-Review, Texas

Aug. 05--When Cleburne will get a long promised railroad museum remains anyone's guess.

In the interim, area railroad enthusiasts can peruse photographs and memorabilia detailing Cleburne's historic railroad shops at the Johnson County Courthouse.

Railroads Remembered runs from Aug. 11-15 in the Johnson County Historical Commission Museum on the first floor of the Johnson County Courthouse, 2 Main St. in Cleburne.

Admission is free and the museum is open from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1-4 p.m.

Residents throughout the county and beyond donated the items in hopes of preserving Cleburne and Johnson County's railroad history, said Sandy Sims, JCHCM curator.

"We are fortunate to have these nice pieces to display for Railroads Remembered," Sims said. "The exhibit will only be on display for a limited time so we encourage people to come out and enjoy the photos and memorabilia."

The display includes more than 240 pictures with the oldest dating to 1902.

Some are "Kodak" moments, pictures taken by employees, while others are professional Santa Fe photos, museum volunteer Linda Burt Wallace said.

"All of the memorabilia and photos are on display through a loan program and will be returned to the owners at the close of the special exhibit," Wallace said. "The donors are from here and towns all over the country. It is safe to say that many in Johnson County have items they are holding in hopes of donating to a railroad museum here one day."

Cleburne resident Melvin "Sonny" Burt, who used to work in the Cleburne shops, said he's impressed with the items going on display.

"I thought I'd seen all the pictures of the shops around here, but there's several of the pictures donated that I'd never seen," Burt said.

Although the majority of the exhibits focus on Cleburne and Johnson County railroad history, some cover other areas of the state, Wallace said.

"The railroads, not just Santa Fe, had great financial impact on the growth of our county," Wallace said. "Sadly, the reverse can be seen when the railroads abandon a town."

The JCHCM celebrates the history of Johnson County and the cities within.

"Although our space is limited in the courthouse museum there is much to see here," Wallace said. "Besides, it's probably going to be a scorcher outside, so come in and enjoy the cold air conditioning."


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Source: Cleburne Times-Review (TX)

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