Carson museums team for a day of railroad history

Carson museums team for a day of railroad history

CARSON CITY, Nevada – The Nevada State Museum and Nevada State Railroad Museum are teaming up for a day of history about one of the state’s most beloved artifacts and the rail line on which it operated.

The historic Glenbrook locomotive was built in 1875 to haul lumber from the mills at Lake Tahoe. Photo courtesy of Travel Nevada

The 142-year-old Glenbrook locomotive – originally built to help transport lumber from the Tahoe Basin to the silver mines of Virginia City – was donated by the family of lumber magnate D.L. Bliss to the Nevada State Museum in 1943. For much of the next four decades it was on display outside the museum, where it was admired by thousands of visitors. In 1980, the locomotive went to the Nevada State Railroad Museum where it was restored to working order over a 31-year-period.

On Sept. 28, Railroad historian and author Stephen Drew will first team with the Nevada State Railroad Museum’s chief mechanical officer, Chris DeWitt, to tell the story of the Glenbrook from the time it was built in 1875 through the painstaking restoration process. Later the same day, Drew will be the featured speaker at the Nevada State Museum’s monthly Frances Humphrey Lecture Series, expanding on the subject of “Lake Tahoe’s Railroads.”

“By teaming up, the museums can provide a more in-depth look into this colorful chapter of Northern Nevada’s railroad history,” said Nevada State Museum director Myron Freedman.

“Shop Talk with Stephen Drew and Chris DeWitt,” takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, 2180 S. Carson St., and includes a book signing by Drew. The pair will discuss the important role the Glenbrook played in delivering timber from the shores of Lake Tahoe to the mines of the Comstock; and the restoration completed in 2015.

No reservations are required for this event. The cost is $6 for adults; free for museum members and children 17 and younger. For information, contact Adam Michalski at (775) 687-6953 ext. 224 or amichalski@nevadaculture.org.

At 6:30 p.m. at the Nevada State Museum, 600 N. Carson St., Drew will give a presentation on “Lake Tahoe’s Railroads.”

In the 1870s, the Comstock Lode created an insatiable appetite for Tahoe’s virgin pine forests. The timbers would shore up underground mining and build communities approaching 40,000 inhabitants. As the mining boom subsided, the rail lines were repurposed for the burgeoning new industry of tourism.

Drew has been researching railroads of the Comstock and Lake Tahoe region for 45 years. He recently retired after 35 years as chief curator of the California State Railroad Museum. He is the author of the book “Nevada’s Virginia & Truckee Railroad.”

Seating is limited in the museum’s South Gallery. The cost is $8 for adults; free for museum members and children 17 and younger. To reserve your seat, contact Mary Covington at 687-4810, ext. 224 or email mcovington@nevadaculture.org.

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