All these transactions took place between 1983-1996. The museum in Milford opened to the public on Saturday, June 8, 1996. The goal of establishing a passenger excursion train continued, and a first public run was made Sunday, June 6, 1999.
Hodges recalled as all these plans evolved there were setbacks, and both the funding and volunteer sources were lean, at best.
“But we always seemed to squeak by,” Hodges said. If this had been a for-profit entity, Hodges said the LRHS would have closed down several years ago.
“We have a really dedicated group of people who’ve gone out of their way, financially or with man power, to keep going because we just don’t want to see this go. We’ve put so much hard work into this, we just couldn’t walk away from it.”
“I don’t know how many times each year,” Hodges continued, “that people say this is their first time ever on a train. They’re introduced to a part of their heritage, most of whom have no clue how important it was to the development of this country.”
The LRHS has a few more weekends of Christmas-themed rail excursions. Visit www.lrhs.com for details.
This weekend, a triumph grows from tragedy in Walton in December 1912.
City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at simmark @stny.rr.com.