GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum has continued to push forward over the course of the year despite delays in financial assistance and grant application processes.
“We had submitted our grant request to the Ohio General Assembly and we did that a year ago this month and, because of COVID-19, the capital budget was not funded,” said Museum Board Vice President Jerry Davis. “So there was no money for that to be distributed to us this year.”
Davis noted that the museum’s application for capital bill funding could still be considered for future approval whenever the state approves such future financial distributions.
“What we’ve been able to do and accomplish the past year has been with gracious local donations,” said Davis. “As far as anything major in completing the freight area to open it, we’ve not been able to do so partly because of the grant situation.”
Davis, however, lauded the additions of a 1947 Baltimore and Ohio Railroad caboose and boxcar over the summer as donations from the West Virginia State Farm Museum. The Gallipolis museum, according to the vice president, has placed more track along its Third Avenue location and anticipates receiving in the future an additional 1945 Porter engine that was previously used at an American Electric Power plant. The museum already has a passenger car once utilized by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, a 1960s Southern State caboose and another Porter engine.
“There is a group that does railroad work and installs tracks and switches and they have volunteered their services,” said Davis. “If everything goes well during the month of December, they will come in and install a switch for us. We will have two lines going off that switch and they will install that switch, the rail and everything that goes with it. It will be a positive step in getting our rail yard together.”
Davis said the museum had previously applied for a Transportation Alternative Program grant but was not awarded the funds this year. He said the museum had been encouraged by the administrators of the program to submit to apply in the coming fiscal period.
In the meantime, Davis said museum’s board members were pleased to note that the museum had become a location for area youth to utilize for senior and prom photographs.
“We still have people coming by from Columbus and other such areas and just stopping to see as we continue improving the museum,” said Davis. “We’re always delighted to take people through the cars and it’s an opportunity for folks to get outside and see something fun.”
© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Dean Wright is a freelance reporter and former full-time staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.