After returning to The Runaway Train Cafe for lunch, we drove across Brownwood to see the Lehnis Railroad Museum. While paying the $3 per adult entrance fee, the docent told us about all the museum offered. The main features are the model railroad layouts which are done in different gauges/sizes.
The Martin & Frances Lehnis Railroad Museum
While we were there, another visitor came in with a child and went directly to the model trains. The docent turned on a number of trains. Clearly the model trains appeal to children of all ages.
After the other guest left, the one of the technicians (volunteers?) working on improving the layouts offered to let me drive. Tempted, I politely declined. Pictures are more important to me.
The coolest individual model train engine is this working coal powered steam engine. An engineer (person) rides with their butt on the coal tender and works the controls with in the tiny cab with their hands. Where the engineer’s feet go isn’t clear.
When the engineer leans forward and looks down through the hole in the cab roof, he/she can see a boiler pressure gauge, a red handled valve and labeled controls. Unfortunately, the labels weren’t documented.
Since this is a working model, the engineer needs somewhere to put the coal. The picture below shows the door to the firebox where the coal is shoveled in by (in the real old world) by a fireman.
Other items in their collection caught my eye like this baggage cart from the early 20th Century.
Being a fan of flashlights and lanterns for camping, the design of the following railroad lantern appealed to me for its utility and functionality.
I remember Rosie the Riveter as the heroic female working hard in industrial jobs to support the WW II war effort. I didn’t know about the railroad version – Molly Pitcher. Molly Pitcher was a hero in the American Revolution and must have been adapted to WW II railroad work.
Outside the museum, in the entryway, are two railroad cars. The first one is a red caboose. Visitors are encouraged to climb the stairs into the cars. The effect of entering the cars is like stepping back into the early days of the 20th century.
At the top of the caboose is an observation deck. From that vantage point, railroad workers could watch the train and track for problems. On the main floor, there is a desk, chairs that fold into beds (like the dinette in my camper), equipment storage lockers, a heater/stove and a kitchenette.
The second car is the green Santa Fe Railroad Business Car. This is a cross between a railroad executive office and a Pullman car. After entering the car, visitors see a parlor of sorts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any furniture to speak of inside.
Down the hallway past the parlor were bedrooms, bathroom, dining room and kitchen. Below, the hallway from the opposite end to the parlor.
There were a number of bedrooms. Some had toilets and sinks. Some beds were single, others double. One room, the one shown below, appeared to have a folded up fold-down bed above the double bed.
The only bathroom in the Business Car with a shower also has a fold up sink. The sink bowl folds up to make more room in front of the shower. The toilet is similar to a marine toilet.
Oddly, the business car had four bedrooms. Three of the bedrooms had overhead bunks. The cook/porter probably didn’t eat with the others. The dining room table seated 4. I wonder how often the overhead bunks were used.
A rural train depot built around 1914 in Kress, Texas was restored and moved to the museum grounds for viewing.
The train station’s waiting room is small and reflects the expected passenger load. When there was a passenger, the train depot workers would display a red wooden signal flag in front of the station.
The station’s office is well preserved and looks like it could still function as a railroad office anytime before the 1970’s.
Across the street (E Adams St) from the Lehnis Railroad Museum are two historic railroad buildings and an historic steam engine.
Brownwood Santa Fe Harvey House
Originally built in 1914, the Brownwood Santa Fe Harvey House has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Brownwood Chamber of Commerce is currently the primary tenant and access to the building interior is through the Chamber of Commerce office. The Chamber offices are downstairs and The Harvey Girl Room is upstairs.
Harvey Houses were restaurants and hotels built and operated by the Fred Harvey Company next to a number of Santa Fe railroad stations during the late 19th and beginning of the 20th Century. Harvey Houses were high-end restaurants and hotels during their heyday. For more info on Harvey Girls, see Harvey Girls Change the West.
Brownwood Santa Fe Passenger Depot
Workers were repairing the passenger depot exterior. The above interior was taken from the doors in the breezeway between the depot and Harvey House.
Active railroad tracks are on the back side of the train depot.
Steam Engine In The Margaret and Stuart Coleman Plaza
The steam engine in the plaza is a Santa Fe ATSF 2-6-2 1080 Locomotive.
That was a lot of trains for one day!
Hope to see you on the road ahead!