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(rshsdepot) Salisbury and Spencer, NC

From the Charlotte Observer=2E=2E=2E

Rowan's railway history boosted
Smithsonian to include Salisbury, Spencer in exhibit debuting this fall
Staff Writer

Hardly a soul who traveled the Southern Railway during the first part of
the 20th century didn't stop in Salisbury or pass through Spencer=2E

The two Rowan County towns were the Charlotte/Douglas International Airpor=
of their day -- serving as the gateway among north, south and all points i=

Despite this storied lineage, few people outside of locals and
transportation buffs know the area's history=2E

But that's about to change=2E

The two towns are part of an upcoming exhibition at the Smithsonian
National Museum of American History in Washington, D=2EC=2E "America on th=
Move" will debut in November as part of a massive overhaul of the museum's=


The exhibition will cover nearly 26,000 square feet of the museum's first
floor, replacing the old Road Transportation, Railroad and Civil
Engineering Halls=2E The new show will have 13 period settings featuring m=
than 300 objects=2E

Among them are the steam-powered locomotive "Jupiter" built in 1876 for th=
Santa Cruz Railroad, a section of Route 66 pavement laid in 1932 in
Oklahoma, a 1975 California Highway Patrol Kawasaki motorcycle and the
"1401" locomotive=2E

Built in 1926, the 200-ton steam behemoth pulled passenger trains at up to=

80 mph on the Southern Railway's Charlotte Division, between Salisbury and=

Greenville, S=2EC=2E The 1401 earned acclaim in 1945 when it pulled Presid=
Franklin Roosevelt's funeral train on part of its journey to Washington=2E=

The Smithsonian has housed the 1401 since 1962 when it was donated by the
railway=2E In fact, the east end of the museum was built around the
90-foot-long engine=2E

Having the 1401 made the choice to highlight Salisbury and Spencer easy fo=
museum historians=2E The area's history and the 1401's association with it=

gave the Smithsonian a great opportunity to talk about how the train worke=
in that era, said Janet Davidson, a project historian=2E

"Making exhibits is a funny process of choice and luck," she said=2E "(Plu=
one of the things we wanted to have was a geographical range of places=2E"=

Visitors will start the chronological exhibit in Santa Cruz, Calif=2E, in
1876=2E On their journey to 1999, they will stop in D=2EC=2E, Wyoming, New=
Maine, Oregon and Illinois among other places=2E

Not all the details of the Salisbury setting are complete yet, but museum
officials say it will include a facade of the old train station and a scen=
from Spencer Shops -- where trains were serviced and repaired=2E

"They're still calling us," said Larry Neal, a manager at the N=2EC=2E
Transportation Museum in Spencer, where the 1401 was maintained=2E "We're
sending some of our artifacts to them=2E"

Mostly, state museum officials sent steam engine shop tools for the Spence=
Shops part=2E

Inside the station, visitors will see photographs of the area in the 1920s=

and '30s and learn how important rail was to everyday living=2E

"We talk about how you would get a package at the train station," Davidson=

said=2E "For many people in this country it's astounding to think that peo=
used to travel by rail=2E"

Also in the station visitors will hear what it was like to ride the rails
from two different perspectives -- that of a textile salesman and a black

A mannequin of early 20th century educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown will
tell visitors of the time she was thrown off a train by young white men=2E=

"What that allows us to do is not have to editorialize on Jim Crow
(segregation) laws," curator of transportation Bill Withuhn said=2E "We ju=
let her tell her story herself=2E"

A voice for Brown hasn't been cast yet, but everything will be in place
when the exhibition opens its doors Nov=2E 19=2E

The opening will culminate three years of work on the exhibit and a 20-yea=
campaign by Withuhn to update the transportation wing=2E

The $22 million exhibition is expected to have a 20-year life=2E That's a =
of publicity that local officials hope will translate into tourism=2E

"It really is exciting to our city and county," Salisbury Mayor Susan
Kluttz said=2E "The railroad has been such an important part of the city=2E=

The timing of the exhibit couldn't be better, Kluttz said=2E The city is i=
the midst of redeveloping its downtown to capitalize on the city's history=

and tourism=2E So far, the area around the train depot has seen nearly $20=

million in redevelopment=2E

Officials hope the Smithsonian exhibit, hopefully, will keep up that
momentum, Kluttz said=2E

"We really see tourism as being something that will be a boost to our
economy," she said=2E

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