September 17, 2011 was a momentous occasion for the 54-year-old Northwest Railway Museum. That occasion was the grand opening of the Train Shed exhibit and collection storage building, a project 54 years in the making. 137 invited guests joined together to hear live music, inspirational speeches, and to see the rehabilitated White River Lumber Company locomotive 1 and caboose 001 roll into the building. Hundreds of donors and over $4.3 million were required to achieve completion.
Last year the Museum celebrated the completion of the structure with a dedication ceremony. That empty building was an achievement in its own right but this year’s completion of all the railway track now allows the structure to be fully utilized for its primary purpose: protecting the most representative and vulnerable objects from the outdoor environment. It will also be available for limited public access.
Guests of all ages were transported to and from the Train Shed ceremony by train and while enroute Snoqualmie Postmaster Bud canceled a commemorative postcard. The Cornucopia Concert Band performed a variety of brass band standards throughout the evening and light refreshments were served from track two platform.
Mayor Matt Larson spoke of the importance of vision in achieving an important goal and praised the Museum for its many recent successes. 4Culture Executive Director Jim Kelly spoke of the tenacity and creativity evident in finding a way to build the Train Shed. (4Culture is the King County Cultural Development Authority and was a major supporter of the Train Shed design and construction.) Museum Board of Trustees Vice President Dennis Snook talked about achievement, planning and continued development. Museum Executive Director Richard Anderson spoke of eleven years of effort to plan, fund and construct the Train Shed, and of the interesting parallels between Snoqualmie’s beginnings as a railroad town and its revitalization efforts today led in part by a railroad museum. Other dignitaries attended to celebrate the event including King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert and City of Snoqualmie Councilmember Bob Jeans.
Opening the Train Shed for collections use and limited public access is the latest and greatest of the Museum’s achievements but it is hardly the last. Now work will continue on completing facilities for the museum campus including restrooms, additional parking, and program office space. Efforts will also increasingly focus on renewed and expanded collection care on the museum’s large collection of coaches, freight cars and locomotives.
(top left) Caboose 001 and locomotive 1 are pushed in on track three
(top right) Snoqualmie Postmaster Bud cancels a commemorative postcard
(middle left) Cornucopia Band performs live during the ceremony
(lower left) locomotive 1 and caboose 001 wait outside for their call
(lower right) native plants adorn the perimeter gardens at the Train Shed