Model train display educates many of Scott City's past - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Model train display educates many of Scott City's past

(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS) (Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS) (Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS) (Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Scott City Historical Museum/Facebook) (Source: Scott City Historical Museum/Facebook)
(Source: Scott City Historical Museum/Facebook) (Source: Scott City Historical Museum/Facebook)

Tucked into its own room in the Scott City Historical Museum is a model Cotton Belt train display.

But this isn't just any ordinary display. This display is dedicating to showing a lot of how Scott City's past and how the city came to be.

Ron Mason of Scott City started on this project roughly six months ago. Mason and his friends Randy Morris and Ken Hosp helped work on the train and spent hundreds of hours of time putting this display together.

The idea is simple, Mason said: to educate people on how trains helped grow an area of land into a city.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, the last three spikes were installed, signifying in a way the finishing of the railroad.

More than a 100 people came out to see the trains as they chugged their way through the display of the town.

"I'm glad I can help explain railroading to the younger generation," Mason said. "The kids have no idea what a roundhouse is or a turntable. We've got one on the layout and I can demonstrate it and show them how it used to turn the engine back in the steam engine days."

Mason worked for the Cotton Belt Railroad for 39 years and knows a lot about the trains and railways in this area.

"We're kind of at the crossroads," Mason said. "Trains go through here going to the east coast to the west coast carrying all this stuff made in China mostly (giggles). It's a very busy railroad out there. There's probably 50 trains in 24 hours go through this place."

The whole display is from a time period set the 1950's. This was before the town was called Scott City. The town actually was divided into the three smaller towns of Illmo, Ancell and Fornfelt (formally Edna). Ancell and Fornfelt consolidated in 1960 to become Scott City. 20 years later, Illmo consolidated into Scott City, as well.

It's not just the display that shows the area's history, though. Buildings are painted on the walls, as well,some of which existed before Scott City was Scott City, in the towns of Ancell, Illmo and Fornfelt.

There are an assortment of businesses, cars and homes that were found in the 1950's, including some of which you can still see today.

The display also has three different trains from three different eras.

"One of them is a steam engine pulling the oldest trains; cars back in the 30's and 40's," Mason said. "Then there's the first generation diesel which would pull trains in the 50's. And then I have a modern engine that you see pulling trains that you see nowadays on the track."

Mason feels if it wasn't for the trains and railways in the area, Scott City wouldn't be here today. He said they brought a lot of development to the area and created jobs for many.

"Originally the trains ferried their trains across the river and then they built the bridge in 1905," Mason said. "That's when they moved the terminal back to this area, and then the town grew up around it."

"In the past, most of the people in this town either worked for the railroad or worked for the cement plant in Cape and that was your two big employers," Mason said.

Mason feels this train display can help everyone understand the area's past and help bring history to life.

"Everybody needs to know what their roots are," Mason said. "That's the reason they teach history in school so you know where you come from, what the past history is. And this is the history of this local area."

People can see this train display at the Scott City Historical Museum during their normal hours of operation on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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