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5/9/2013 6:00:00 AM
Kingmanites have been workin' on the railroad ... museum
Museum celebrating part of Kingman's history is having its grand opening this weekend
A scene from the three train layouts at the Railroad Museum that people will see during the grand opening this weekend. Whistle Stop Club member Mark Wolski built the railroad depot and Arlene Doutre built the other buildings and decorated them. Dave Bacon made the trees, sidewalks, roads and all other details.JC AMBERLYN/Miner
A scene from the three train layouts at the Railroad Museum that people will see during the grand opening this weekend. Whistle Stop Club member Mark Wolski built the railroad depot and Arlene Doutre built the other buildings and decorated them. Dave Bacon made the trees, sidewalks, roads and all other details.
JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Dave Bacon, president of the Whistle Stop Railroad Club, looks over one of three train layouts at the Railroad Museum. The railroad club created the museum and runs it.JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Dave Bacon, president of the Whistle Stop Railroad Club, looks over one of three train layouts at the Railroad Museum. The railroad club created the museum and runs it.
JC AMBERLYN/Miner

Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - The Whistle Stop Railroad Club is inviting everyone "all aboard" for the grand opening Saturday of the Railroad Museum in downtown Kingman.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Fe Depot, 402 Andy Devine Avenue, and admission is free.

The Kingman Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m., and the railroad club will present a check for $5,500 to the city, which is the unused amount from the $15,400 start-up money it provided to the museum.

"We're overwhelmed with the support we're getting for the museum from the community and all of northwest Arizona," said Dave Bacon, president of the railroad club, which has about 20 members. "I'm excited about the grand opening, and so is the public. We're expecting at least 500 people to show up on Saturday.

"Everyone loves trains, and if it weren't for the railroad, Kingman wouldn't be here today."

The museum, which features history panels, exhibits, books and three large model train layouts, opened Sept. 15 to the public, said Bacon. So far, about 2,000 visitors from 45 of the 50 U.S. states and 17 countries have visited.

Bacon said the grand opening is taking place because detailing on the three layouts, the largest of which measures 11 by 28.5 feet, is now complete. They include trees, animals, people, bridges, houses, cars and even a model of the depot and surrounding buildings.



A bookshelf houses railroad books donated by enthusiasts, and nearby sits a Fairbanks scale that can measure up to 7,000 pounds of freight. The scale was installed when the second depot was constructed of reinforced concrete in 1907 and weighed freight until shortly after World War II.

Photographs of the original wooden depot, built in 1885 and used until sparks from a steam locomotive set it on fire and burned it to the ground in 1906, line the walls.

According to the history panels, the depot had fallen into disrepair by the early 2000s and was closed to the public until a combination of federal, city and private grants paid for renovations, which were complete in early 2011.

The railroad club operates the museum at one end of the depot, and an Amtrak station is situated at the other end.

"We want people to see the whole museum at the grand opening, the artifacts, history panels and everything in here," said Bacon. "We've worked hard on getting it all ready, and we want to show it off.

"People will be surprised when they come in this weekend."

At the event, Dawg's 'N' Donuts will offer free donut samples throughout the day, and a raffle drawing is scheduled for 4 p.m.

A long list of raffle prizes will be awarded, including two round-trip Amtrak tickets from Kingman to Los Angeles, two certificates for four people to the Grand Canyon West Skywalk and round-trip tickets for two from Williams to the Grand Canyon on Grand Canyon Railway.

Food prizes feature meals at a variety of local restaurants, and other prizes include paintings and drawings, a pedicure, flowers, gift cards, handmade wreaths, sharpening services, yard art and car washes.

Raffle tickets are $5 for six tickets or $1 per ticket and can be purchased before the grand opening or on the same day at the railroad depot.

Winners need not be present for the drawing.



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Related Stories:
• City may fund depot railroad museum
• City to begin train depot renovations after 8 years of roadblocks, setbacks


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Article comment by: Downtown Native

@I Think not

Kids were not your point at all in your initial post. You bagged on the golf course and the museum. You made no point to better the amenities for kids in Kingman.

My point is reiterated in other posts, that is to say that those who consistently bemoan the city and volunteers like this should learn the facts and get involved before you condemn their efforts. If you're not into trains, fine, keep quiet. But those who are fascinated by the history of this town and what the RR means to our community, those folks will come from miles around to see this museum.

Will it bring downtown back to it's hay-day, not on its own, but look around. Each little step is a step in the right direction and if you're so apalled by it, take a nice ride off into the sunset.


Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013
Article comment by: I Think Not

@ Downtown Native

My point is that this will never be more than an attraction for the older crowd. You have to be delusional to think that it's going to draw tourist into Kingman. Oh you'll see a few kids here and there but also you will have the school tours that show up as a field trip, the only real reason they are there is to get out of class. I would really like to see someone (preferably someone with property) do something for the kids here in Kingman. How about a pool hall or a video arcade? Sure there are places they can go for those, however, most of them are in area's where they serve alcohol. The Boys and Girls Club doesn't provide the kids anything but a structured atmosphere, how many kids want that during their summer vacation. You want to get the kids off the street or reduce crime, give them a place to go. An adult managed and operated train set museum is not going to do it.


Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“…if you want to watch grown men play with toys.”

Yeah – it’s not like old men driving old cars along a stretch of old road that doesn’t really exist anymore except in the memories of those old men. Oops, wait a minute – that’s me! And I’ve made nice living off that old road.

Never mind.

As always the pettiness shown in these pages never fails to astound me.


Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

OK...here's one more...
Why are some people so jealous and hateful? Toys? Go check the pricing on some of the "toys". And I highly doubt any one of the members kept it in their "Mama's basement"....most are in their 60's or 70's as far as I could tell. I think they've earned the right to spend their money as they like. I'll bet some of their collections would pay for a pretty nice car.

How about the people with 2 watercraft or ATVs that sit on a trailer 360 days a year....those are toys. How about the full on 4wd trucks that don't have a speck of dirt on them...those are toys.

Why all the hate? Envy maybe?

Good lord...around here it could rain gold coins and some people would complain about shingle damage.....


Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

An additional comment...

People my not be aware of it....but train aficionados are as dedicated as hot rodders or horse people. My neighbor in VA used to take a vacation to PA every year to attend some big train festival He would often spend $500 on additions to his collection as well as meals and lodging.

I applaud the members of the Whistle Stop club as I know this was not an easy task. That they could do it with a limited budget and have contributed so much of their time and equipment makes it all the better.


Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Marvin Taylor

I find it amazingly sad that the amount of whiners who have an opinion and do nothing but blow hot air about everything in a negative light. These folks fought to get the opportunity to put in the museum with minimal moneys and all volunteer time. Go visit do something positive or as the saying goes " Shut your cake hole" If you are not part of the solution, you are the problem. Great job by the folks of the Whistle Stop Railroad club for not giving up on their vision.

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Downtown Native

@ I think not.

Just when I was over all the nay-sayers and decided not to read or comment on their negative statements, I can't help myself.

Here's something really good for Kingman and downtown, completed by a group of hard working volunteers and all you can do is bash them and the city. For crying out loud, if this town is so terrible, just leave. Get out and don't look back, no one is keeping you here.

There are folks in this town who love it here and work hard to make a positive difference and do it without fanfare.

Good job Mr. Bacon and the rest of your volunteers, the RR museum is a great asset to our town no matter what the boo hoo-ers have to say.


Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Just Saying

So this is Kingman's idea of Economic Development...playing with toys???
Is it any wonder that this town is stuck in a rut?


Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Casey Jones

Stopped by on Saturday, the WSRRC is unable to take debit cards and $1 for two people just isn't enough.

Please remember to bring cash money if you want to watch grown men play with toys.

After all, you have to offset the costs of relocating this stuff from their mamas' basements somehow.


Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: John Simon

waste of time and money. give us back our tax dollars. or, put the money into a quiet zone to stop those darn train horns. enough already.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: Dave Coop

Thank you for the advanced notice, DM! I'll be there.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: Butch Meriwether

Very nice article and I hope the train museum lasts. It is always nice to have some place kids can go and see cool looking things such as model trains.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

I think this is a great example of letting the people do the job. They actually returned over 1/3 of the money they could have spent! Bravo guys! I'll stop in after the Race for Hospice on Saturday.

Sorry that some hater had to bring up a completely unrelated issue.


Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: I Think Not

Well now, maybe the million and a half people a year that this is going to draw enough money to offset the golf course expenses. "NOT"!

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: julies mom julies mom

Trains and more trains...what a wonderful way to travel...my Dad worked on the B&O for most of his life and I had Uncles working on the C&O who were conductors, so I got to sit in the locomotive engineers seat on occassions, pretty cool for a young miss. Looking forward to visiting the Railroad Museum!



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