ATLANTIC COAST LINE
[ FOR BETTER RESOLUTION, CLICK ON IMAGE ]
Back to a recurrent theme and a decided favorite: "Surviving Railroad Equipment." This is, of course, just a fanciful term for obsolete railroad cars and locomotives.
This is the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Museum in Wilmington, NC, which is incorporated into a hotel, restaurant and gift shop. It is a practical and useful melding of historic preservation and commercial enterprise.
The railroad system holds a key role in the history of the United States. Much of the tangible evidence of our past has gone to rust and dust with that vital iron. As the railroad lines moved with the times so did their equipment. Retaining and storing obsolete equipment was seen as a costly indulgence which they couldn't afford and didn't.
Someone, somewhere at some time noticed that most of the old stuff had vanished and decided to save, restore and display such railroad equipment as could be managed. Now, it's one thing to hang on to that old college car in which much....history was made, but quite another to find the wherewithal to grapple with a gigantic steam locomotive. Increasingly, however, many communities are doing just that. It is primarily a good tourist draw, but it is preserved history as well.
Charleston, SC, largely because no one could afford to put up new buildings, did not destroy many of the old ones. Therefore, once the spirit of preservation took hold in the 1930's, we still had a wealth of historic structures to renovate and save. Would that we had saved more railroad equipment, but thanks to those who have secured what we've got today.