The Southern Museum

In Association with the Smithsonian Institution

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The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History is bringing back its popular Polar Express Adventure event this December.

The special holiday event is scheduled from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. The Polar Express Adventure follows the City of Kennesaw’s annual Christmas celebration, parade and tree lighting ceremony.

Upon entering the Museum, attendees will meet a train conductor and a hobo before having the opportunity to create holiday crafts and watch elves make toys in their holiday shop in the Museum’s Glover Machine Works exhibit. They will also be able to meet Santa during the evening. Hot chocolate and light refreshments will be served.

A holiday-themed model train layout will also be on display during the event.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased the night of the event.The museum is offering special pricing for the event. Tickets for adults and seniors are $5, children (4-12) are $3 and infants (3 and under) are free. While attendees can go through most of the event at their leisure, please note that when you purchase your Polar Express Adventure tickets, you will need to select an appointment time to see Santa during the event.

Times you can choose from are as follows:

  • 5:00pm, 5:20pm, 5:40pm, 6:00pm, 6:20pm, 6:40pm, 7:00pm, 7:20pm, 7:40pm, 8:00pm, 8:20pm, and 8:40pm.

For more information, please email events@southernmuseum.org or call 770-427-2117 ext. 3058.

Additional details about Polar Express Adventure and other future Museum events are available at facebook.com/southernmuseum or southernmuseum.org.

*Please be aware that Polar Express adventure at the Southern Museum is not an actual train ride. Rather, it is a vignette taking attendees through the story of the Polar Express.

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The General locomotive retired from service on the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway – a successor of the Western & Atlantic Railroad – in 1891. But, even in “retirement,” the famed locomotive was a draw at the many expositions where she appeared, including Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition and Atlanta’s 1895 Cotton States Exposition.

By 1901, the famed locomotive was placed on “permanent” display at Union Depot in Chattanooga, Tenn.

After more than two decades on static display, the locomotive traveled to Baltimore in 1927 to participate in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s “Fair of the Iron Horse.” That trip started a new chapter in the General’s history as the famed steamer toured the country, attracting throngs of fans wherever she went.

Six years after the “Fair of the Iron Horse,” the General appeared at the 1933 “Century of Progress” Exhibition in Chicago. In 1939, the locomotive appeared at the “New York World’s Fair,” and in 1948, the General traveled to the “Chicago Railroad Fair.”

As the locomotive approached her 100th birthday in 1955, she was as popular as ever. For the centennial observation of the Great Locomotive Chase in 1962, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad overhauled the engine, adding modern air brakes and converting the steamer to burn oil.

Two years after the General toured the country under her own power as part of the now-famous centennial tour, she trekked once again to New York, this time for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. As the picture above shows, the locomotive’s smokestack was removed so the General could safely pass beneath low bridges during transport into New York Harbor.

The General eventually steamed her way to the Better Living Center at the Fair and was displayed for the summer of 1964.

The above picture, which has not been widely displayed or published, is part of the extensive railroad collection of the late Col. James G. Bogle. Until his death in 2010 at the age of 94, Bogle was the preeminent authority on the Great Locomotive Chase and collected hundreds of artifacts connected to the daring Civil War event.

Click here to read more about the collection, which the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History recently acquired. Did you see the General at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York? Share your experience below.

SM Groundbreaking 5

The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History on Friday broke ground on an 8,700-square-foot expansion to its research center.

Once complete, the Southern Museum will be home to one of the largest centers for researchers, scholars and historians studying southeastern railroads of the United States.

SM Groundbreaking 6

The Museum’s extensive archives collection includes more than 45,000 rare railroad photographs through the David W. Salter Collection, a one-of-a-kind glass plate negative collection of Glover Machine Works locomotives and thousands of Southern Railway-related documents through the Southern Railway Historical Association Collections.

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“We are fortunate that our collection of documents, letters and artifacts has expanded at the rate it has. But, in order to continue to grow, we need a larger facility,” said Dr. Richard Banz, executive director of the Southern Museum. “The expansion will be a world-class facility that will serve as a permanent place to preserve, interpret and, most importantly, make these important artifacts accessible to researchers.”

SM Groundbreaking 3

The $1.1 million expansion project is expected to be completed this spring.

The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History on Friday will break ground on an 8,700-square-foot expansion to its research center.

Once complete, the Southern Museum will be home to one of the largest centers for researchers, scholars and historians studying southeastern railroads of the United States.

The Museum’s extensive archives collection includes more than 45,000 rare railroad photographs through the David W. Salter Collection, a one-of-a-kind glass plate negative collection of Glover Machine Works locomotives and thousands of Southern Railway-related documents through the Southern Railway Historical Association Collections.

“We are fortunate that our collection of documents, letters and artifacts has expanded at the rate it has. But, in order to continue to grow, we need a larger facility,” said Dr. Richard Banz, executive director of the Southern Museum. “The expansion will be a world-class facility that will serve as a permanent place to preserve, interpret and, most importantly, make these important artifacts accessible to researchers.”

The $1.1 million expansion project is expected to be completed this spring.

Descendants of a participant in the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase recently donated a 110-year-old Medal of Honor to the Southern Museum.

The family also donated written accounts and personal belongings of Wilson W. Brown, who in 1862, was part of a group of Union soldiers who stole the General locomotive from Kennesaw as part of a daring bid to destroy the Western & Atlantic Railroad between Atlanta and Chattanooga.

Brown was bestowed the Medal of Honor in 1863 for his participation in the Chase, also known as The Andrews’ Raid. The Medal his descendants donated on Saturday was a duplicate Brown received in 1904.

Click here to read more.

Starting immediately, visitors to the Southern Museum should park in the lot on Cherokee Street in front of the Museum or in the lot at the historic Kennesaw train depot across Cherokee Street from the Museum. Handicap parking is located in the lot directly in front of the Museum.

The parking lot behind the Museum is closing to prepare for the start of construction on the Museum’s expanded research center. More details on construction will be announced soon.

Sallie Loy, archivist for the Southern Museum, looks through documents from the Bogle Collection.

Sallie Loy, archivist for the Southern Museum, looks through documents from the Bogle Collection.

The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History has received the extensive railroad collection of the late Col. James G. Bogle.

Until his death in 2010 at the age of 94, Bogle was the preeminent authority on the Great Locomotive Chase and collected hundreds of artifacts connected to the daring Civil War event.

Bricks from the old W&A RR freight depot at Marietta, Ga., are part of the Bogle Collection.

Bricks from the old Western & Atlantic Railroad freight depot at Marietta, Ga., are part of the Bogle Collection.

In addition to his research on the Great Locomotive Chase, Bogle thoroughly researched and collected artifacts related to railroads throughout the southeast, ranging from well-known routes such as the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway to lesser known lines such as the Etowah Railroad.

“Col. Bogle was such an expert on the Great Locomotive Chase and railroads, and his work remains invaluable to researchers today,” said Sallie Loy, archivist for the Southern Museum. “Filmmakers, authors and researchers always contacted Col. Bogle when they had a question because they knew he had the answer. We are preserving his years of dedicated work so it can live on for the next generation of researchers and historians.”

Bogle’s collection includes four filing cabinets filled with documents, including newspaper clippings, letters and notes. His collection also includes more than 30,000 photographs, a rail that was likely in use during the Great Locomotive Chase, signs from railroad depots throughout the southeast and documents from the late Wilbur G. Kurtz, the son-in-law of Chase participant William A. Fuller.

Bogle, a native of Colesburg, Tenn., moved to the Atlanta area with his family in the late 1950s, and the colonel retired from the U.S. Army in 1967 after serving for 31 years, including tours of duty in World War II and in the Korean War.  During his distinguished military career, he earned the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

The Bogle Collection includes historic rail that was likely in use on the Western & Atlantic Railroad in April 1862.

The Bogle Collection includes historic rail that was likely in use on the Western & Atlantic Railroad in April 1862.

In 1999, Bogle co-authored with Stan Cohen “The General and the Texas: A Pictorial History of the Andrews Raid.” In 1982, he oversaw the restoration of the Texas locomotive, another locomotive that saw action during the Great Locomotive Chase and which is on display in Grant Park in Atlanta.

“Col. Bogle was a true friend to not only the Southern Museum, but to historians and railroad enthusiasts,” said Dr. Richard Banz, executive director of the Southern Museum. “His collection is one-of-a-kind, and we have a sense of duty to not only preserve the documents and artifacts in this collection, but share his lifetime of work with historians and researchers.”

The collection is expected to be ready for researchers by November. A number of artifacts will be used in exhibits throughout the Southern Museum to help tell the story of the Great Locomotive Chase and the role railroads had in developing the south after the Civil War.

For more information, visit southernmuseum.org.

The Kennesaw Museum Foundation is lacing up its running shoes and sprinting towards the 6th Annual Great Locomotive Chase 5K.

This year’s event, to be held Sept. 6 in downtown Kennesaw, coincides with the Taste of Kennesaw and is a one of the six Kennesaw Grand Prix Series races. All proceeds from the 5K support the educational and outreach programs of the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History.

Runners may register at the Southern Museum, at any Big Peach Running Co. store or online at active.com or greatlocomotiverace.com.

Registration is $25 for the 5K and $15 for the 1-Mile Fun Run until August 26. Late registration (postmarked after Aug 26) is $30 or $35 for runners that register on the day of the race. The corresponding Tot Trot is free. Runners who register the day of race are not guaranteed a race shirt.

Early pick-up of race packets, which include a race shirt, numbered bib and free give-away items, will be held at Big Peach Running Co. in Kennesaw on Wednesday, Sept. 3 and Thursday, Sept. 4 from 4 to 8 p.m. Race day registration will be held from 6:30 to 7:15 a.m. at Kennesaw First Baptist Church. The 1-Mile Fun Run will begin at 7:30 a.m., the 5K will start at 8 a.m. in front of the church and the Tot Trot will start in front of the Big Shanty Barber Shop at 8:55 a.m.

The starting line for the 5K will be located in front of the Kennesaw First Baptist Church. On the relatively flat, shady race route, runners will head north on Main Street to Swift-Cantrell Park, loop through the park, continue toward downtown Kennesaw and finish near the intersection of Main and Cherokee streets. This certified course is professionally timed.

Following the race, awards will be presented to the top three in all age groups, as well as a cash prize to top male and female racers.

For more information about running or volunteering, please contact the Kennesaw Museum Foundation at foundation@southernmuseum.org or 770.427.2117 ext. 3174.

 

More than 600 people turned out Saturday for the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History’s second annual Railroad Rendezvous event.

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

During the event, museum visitors were able to climb aboard the General locomotive, experience a hobo jungle, play outdoor games and race slot cars.

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

“Thank you to everyone who came out and supported our second annual Railroad Rendezvous event,” said Sara Wilson, events coordinator for the Southern Museum. “We are overwhelmed with excitement on the attendance for the event and hope it continues to grow year after year.”

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

To view photos from Saturday’s event, visit facebook.com/southernmuseum. Guests are invited to post their photos from the event to the Southern Museum’s Facebook page using #RailroadRendezvous.

Next up on the Southern Museum events calendar – the Kennesaw Museum Foundation is lacing up its running shoes and sprinting towards the 6th Annual Great Locomotive Chase 5K on Sept. 6. Race details can be found at greatlocomotiverace.com.

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

For more information about the Southern Museum, call (770) 427-2117, visit southernmuseum.org or follow the museum at facebook.com/southernmuseum.

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

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One of the things our visitors seem to always want to know is whether the General is still a functioning locomotive.

The answer to that is…it’s complicated!

Technically, the engine was operable when it was donated to the original Big Shanty Museum in 1972, but a lot of time has passed since then. The General has now stood in the same spot for 42 years, so we can only imagine how stiff its moving parts are. Also, steam engines require a lot of steam pressure to operate (120 lbs per square inch in the General’s case); if we tried putting the engine’s boiler under that much pressure after all these years, the result would likely be disastrous.

The General is a large, powerful, and imposing locomotive, so it’s easy to forget that it’s still an artifact that’s now 159 years old.  It might be fun to imagine firing it up one more time, but history would almost certainly be destroyed if anyone ever tried it.

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Annual Events

The Southern Museum, in association with the Smithsonian Institution, is a premier metro Atlanta museum, featuring exhibits on Civil War and locomotive history. The Southern Museum is home to the General locomotive, stolen during the Civil War's Great Locomotive Chase; a reproduction of the locomotive assembly line from the Glover Machine Works; weapons, uniforms and every day items of Civil War soldiers; and the Jolley Education Center that features train history, hands-on activities for children and Georgia's French Gratitude Train.

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