They’ve been working on the railroad at the Crossroads Museum and Historic Depot.
The result of countless hours and intense attention to detail is a HO scale model railroad depicting in miniature the vital role of the railroad in shaping the history of the Crossroads Area.
Museum Board Member and model railroad enthusiast Lee Thurner, who is leading the project along with fellow Museum Board Member Bill Avery, said the project remains under construction with more features to be added and more work to be completed.
“The track is laid, the trains are running and much of the scenery is finished so people can see what we’re doing. The trains are operating. People can go back and run the trains,” he said.
The long-term project, helmed by Thurner and Avery, is part of an ongoing shift in the museum’s mission and focus from Civil War history to the history of the railroad.
Thurner said as the board looked to the future of the museum they understood the nearby Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center was telling the Civil War history of the area in a powerful way and they needed to find a new niche for the Crossroads Museum which had historically focused in large part on Civil War history.
He said the museum, located in the historic Corinth Depot which served both passenger and freight service for many years and sits at the crossroads of two major rail lines, was a perfect place to tell the railroad story.
“Corinth wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for the railroad,” said Thurner.
A centerpiece of that story is the model railroad project which began in October and will eventually include around 225 of HO track winding its way through a landscape of detailed recreations of historic sites in Corinth and the surrounding areas. HO is the most popular model railway size using a 1:87 scale.
Along with a depiction of downtown Corinth and the depot, the display also features the Glen Depot and sawmill, Iuka Depot, the area of Pickwick Lake and more. It contains two trains, a passenger train and a freight train, depicting both types of activity on the area lines.
Thurner said they’ve done a great deal of research to ensure historical accuracy, obtaining plans and documents from various sources including the railroads themselves, the Tishomingo Museum and Historical Society and others. He’s particularly proud of the work they’ve done in recreating the Glen Depot which was torn down in 1936. Floor plans were obtained from the railroad and a picture was located, allowing them to create an accurate recreation.
The downtown Corinth depiction includes the historic railroad crossing, the Depot and many recognizable buildings. While space limitations don’t allow for a recreation of the entire downtown area, Thurner said visitors will be able to easily recognize streets and buildings and understand how the railroad fits within the geography of Corinth.
Work is continuing on the project, though Thurner said they have taken a brief break for the summer. They encourage people to come and see what’s been done already as they look toward completing the first phase in the fall. He said the project will never be truly complete as they plan to add details and continue to expand the display into the future.
An official opening is planned sometime in the fall to recognize all the volunteers and supporters who have contributed materials, funds and time to the project.