So trains and Duluth, GA – what exactly do they have in common? When Congress approved a North-South railroad connecting Duluth, MN, with Duluth, GA, in 1871, the rest, as they say, “is history.” Today the current Duluth City Seal even includes a steam engine, reminding us all of the importance the railroad had to the growth of our Duluth community.
Meeting in the newly restored Duluth Depot building, Randy Pirkle, administrator of the museum, our host and fellow DMA member, shared a brief history of the museum and then an overview of events offered at the museum. If you haven’t been to the train museum, it’s well worth a visit! From summer day camps to “Second Thursday” preschooler events, to "Train or Treat" at Halloween, to the Christmas time "Polar Express Experience," the museum offers great train experiences year round for the whole family.
And for a special treat, this October will be a stop on the 2012 Railroad Revival Tour where Willie Nelson, folk rockers Band of Horses, Grammy Award-nominated Jamey Johnson and actor-musician John C. Reilly and Friends will arrive at the museum on antique railroad cars for a concert. (Tickets for the Railroad Revival Tour).
Volunteers and donations are important to the museum. Sixty plus volunteers log in 1,200 to 1,600 hours per month, and currently the museum has been awarded a $50,000 “challenge grant” to be used for buildings to protect the trains. This “challenge grant” means that for every cash dollar donated to the museum by Oct. 31, 2012, the Scott Hudgens Family Foundation will match each donation up to $50,000.
And just as the railroad brought the original economic growth to Duluth in the 1800s, DMA members, guests and city officials were gathered at the Southeastern Railway Museum, discussing and encouraging business growth in our community. Mayor Nancy Harris reminded us of several projects in the works, including the new Senior Citizens Center and Community Building at W.P Jones Park, the new Bike Lane on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, and the future realignment of Ga. Hwy. 120. Chris McGahee, the city's economic development manager, encouraged us with news of many redevelopment efforts in the works around the city.
So, what is that light at the end of the tunnel? It's the light coming from the bright future for Duluth Merchants Association members and the City of Duluth as they work together for the prosperity of the Duluth community…“all the live long day.”
Sheri and Bill