By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — A museum years in the making recently opened up for regular use in Franklin.
The Franklin Community Train Museum, located behind the National Bank of Delaware County, has been open the last Sunday of each month from 1 to 5 p.m., since December, said Franklin Mayor John Campbell. He is also a trustee of the Walter Rich Charitable Foundation that built and runs the approximately 60 by 200 foot museum on land it owns.
“It’s a dream come true,” Campbell said.
It’s something Rich wanted for the community, he said. When it is open, its Main Street driveway, next to the bank, is clearly marked, Campbell said.
Walter Rich was a long-time Franklin and area railroad executive, who died in 2007. The centerpiece is a railroad car that was delivered to the site shortly after Rich died. The museum was built around it. There are tracks leading out of the building so it can be moved for community events.
In addition, the museum holds some of the material of the Franklin Historical Society that had been located in Stone Hall, which is part of Franklin Central School. It includes such historical items as wedding dresses, toys, a mail buggy, photos and documents. Public access was limited at the former site, and Stone Hall wasn’t handicapped accessible. The facility also has room in the second floor library for community meetings as well as near the entrance.
Franklin Historical Society member Kim Hyzer said the museum will mean a lot more people can see the group’s displays. She was looking forward to the group’s first meeting at the new site in March. It’s a much better facility, than the the space it was using in the town hall, she said. Because museum material will be nearby, members have the option to categorize it during the meeting, she said.
Not only will Franklin teachers be better able to take classes to see the collection, but “it will make history more accessible,” she said.