Mountain Gateway Museum Celebrates Railroad Day September 16

Norfolk Southern Lawmen Band
Old Fort

A trolley ride, hike along Point Lookout trail, music, food and railroad history and lore will make for a delightful day at Mountain Gateway Museum’s annual Railroad Day, Saturday, Sept. 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day was created to celebrate Old Fort’s rich railroading history.

The popular Norfolk Southern Lawmen Band, Route 70 Cruisers’ antique cars, informative presentations and displays by authors, historians and railway related groups guarantee a day of facts and fun. Face-painting, a costume dress-up/photo op with a locomotive cutout and train-related games will be part of the children’s area.

Artists, craft vendors, demonstrations, special artifact displays, music, food trucks and railroad related activities will round out the day. Festival admission is free. Trolley rides will be $3 per person, ages five and under ride for free. Tickets will be sold at the Old Fort Depot. Parking will be available at the lot at the end of Water Street.

Activities include:

9 a.m. Hike along Point Lookout Trail, led by members of the McDowell Trails Association, on a paved trail roughly paralleling the train tracks, on a 5.2-mile round trip. The adventurous can continue up the trail to see views of one of the seven tunnels built on “Old Fort Loops” adding two miles to the hike. Hikers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The hike may be cancelled due to rain. Please contact stevepierce50@gmail.com if you wish to hike.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Trolley car rides, departing from the Old Fort Depot parking lot will include stories about the Western North Carolina Railroad en route to Andrews Geyser, a tourist attraction dating to 1885.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Authors and historians will sign and sell copies of their books and give presentations at various intervals at the historic Old Fort Depot. Railroad stories and songs, a presentation on logging railroads will be shared. Other presentations will examine restoring rail passenger service to Asheville, the Craggy Mountain Line, rail safety and the old Peavine line, which is now a rail-trail in Marion, N.C.

11 a.m.  Norfolk Southern Lawmen Band (mixed genre) takes the stage at Creekside Theater at Mountain Gateway Museum.

1 p.m. Possum Creek Band (bluegrass) performs at Creekside Theater.

The N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation will have a display with touchable objects and railroad-related activities for children. A representative from the Carl Sandburg Home will talk about Sandburg’s days as a hobo and help participants create cigar box-banjos and “play along” to songs from Sandburg’s book of folk songs. If all the activity makes you hungry, vendors in the museum’s food court area near the outdoor fountain will offer hamburgers, hotdogs, barbecue, fried-fish sandwiches, funnel cakes, ice cream and other taste treats. 

For complete information on Railroad Day, visit online https://www.mgmnc.org/railroad-day.

For more information about Railroad Day 2017 or the museum, please contact RoAnn Bishop at Mountain Gateway Museum by phone at 828-668-9259 or by e-mail at roann.bishop@ncdcr.gov.

Mountain Gateway Museum & Heritage Center is the westernmost facility in the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ Division of State History Museums. Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of historic Mill Creek in downtown Old Fort (McDowell County), MGM uses artifacts, exhibitions, educational programs, living history demonstrations, and special events to teach people about the rich history and cultural heritage of the state’s mountain region, from its original inhabitants through early settlement and into the 20th century.