Crossroads Museum board member Lee Thurner was telling the tourism board the importance of sharing railroad history in Corinth before he was rather rudely interrupted.

He stopped his presentation inside the tourism office Tuesday morning as the Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Corinth) board and staff could not hear a word he was saying.

An approaching locomotive to the Fillmore Street railroad crossing began blaring its horn and the powerful sound silenced Thurner’s presentation for a brief moment.

It was as if the interruption was right on cue. It was the sound of Corinth history.

And that was the exclamation point on the Crossroads Museum presentation.

“Well, there you go,” said tourism board member Russell Smith. “Perfect timing.”

Using a slide show on the tourism office wall while the board wore masks and exercised social distancing, Thurner outlined the museum’s plans to focus more on Corinth history, its historic railroad crossing and the importance of the railroad to the Cross City.

“We are changing the focus of the museum,” said Thurner. “Railroad history will become our major focus.”

He gave details of plans to transform three museum galleries into railroad history, complete with HO model passenger and freight train models, complete with scale models of Corinth buildings.

“These will be actual railroads which came through Corinth,” he said.

He outlined costs and said the museum board would pursue grants.

“This will put us on the map of the list of railroad museums,” said Thurner, who plans to donate his own HO model trains to the cause. “There are a surprising large number of people who visit railroad museums.”

He also shared the museum’s vision to add a kiddie train on adjacent museum property using the former notable Marsh Town Railroad once in operation in Corinth, but there are still many details to work out, including use of the adjacent property.

No funding was requested, so the tourism board advised Corinth Tourism Director Christy Burns to work with Crossroads Museum Director Whitney Worsham on funding options to transform the Historic Corinth Depot into a railroad museum.

Burns and tourism board members voiced favorable praise toward the museum’s new focus.

Worsham invited the tourism board to a noon Thursday “roll-in” where the members of the Corinth Fire Department will place the 1924 American-LaFrance Fire Truck into its new home inside the exhibit between the tourism office and museum.

The antique truck has been inside the fire station on Harper Road and the new structure houses a viewing window and wall mural on the first floor and a covered railroad viewing platform on the second floor.

Lighthouse Classic

Lighthouse Classic Director Vince Overholt also addressed the tourism board, saying the notable high school basketball tournament remains a go for Thanksgiving weekend on Nov. 27-28 despite pandemic related issues.

There will be many local and area teams in the tournament, but restrictions will keep some highly ranked national teams from attending.

The biggest challenge will be the 25 percent pandemic capacity for the Corinth High School gym, which normally seats about 2,100.

Of the 500 allowed into the gym which includes teams, staff, volunteers and sponsors, tickets will be sold to about 250 people, Overholt estimated.

The $10 all-day admission fee would increase to $25 or more, but the classic is still working on details, he said.

“It’s shaping up to be a really great event,” said Overholt. “We are just having to do things differently.”

The tourism board has given the tourney $10,000 in the past, but no decision was made.

All proceeds of the classic benefit The Lighthouse Foundation. “It goes back to the support of local kids,” he said.

The classic is the foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year, he added.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first in-person meeting for the tourism board after several months of Zoom sessions and the first for new board president Danny Timmons.

“I appreciate everyone in this room and what you do for our community,” he said.

Editor

A 1981 University of Tennessee - Martin graduate, Mark Boehler has over 40 years of journalism experience. His wife Dawn is the love of his life and they share five grown children and 10 grandchildren. His passion is his work - writing and photography.

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