Legends by Lantern tour at Transportation Museum

Published 2:42 pm Thursday, June 16, 2016

SPENCER — The N.C. Transportation Museum’s newest offering will take visitors on a nighttime stroll to hear railroad legends from across the Tarheel State as well as homegrown legends that remain unexplained. Legends By Lantern will be offered this Saturday from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Tours take place on the grounds of the N.C. Transportation Museum, once home to Spencer Shops, Southern Railways’ largest steam locomotive repair facility in the Southeast, a site filled with history and legends of its own. Legends By Lantern is expected to appeal to anyone fascinated by old-fashioned legends, ghost walks and lantern tours.

Led by Lucas Safrit, a longtime volunteer and employee at the museum, tours will focus on aspects of this historic site that may be overlooked by regular museum visitors. “There is so much history and so many interesting stories about the operations at Spencer Shops. This tour is a way for us to allow visitors to explore the facility in a really interesting way,” said Safrit.

Legends By Lantern will include Safrit’s favorite legend, that of the Maco light, which originated in eastern North Carolina. It is a tale that lasted more than 100 years, received the attention of Life magazine and numerous local news outlets, and still defies easy explanation. Safrit said, “the massive number of reports regarding the goings-on in Maco through the years make this a truly fascinating tale.”

Legends By Lantern will begin at the Barber Junction Visitor Center, but will include numerous buildings across the museum grounds.  Tours will include the outside of the Back Shop, the Master Mechanic’s office, the Flue Shop, and the Bob Julian Roundhouse. The 90-minute walk will also include a behind-the-scenes, after-hours view of a portion of the Roundhouse restoration bays, where numerous strange occurrences have taken place.

Not classified as a “ghost walk” or a “haunted trail,” visitors will not be intentionally frightened. Therefore, even those who scare easily are encouraged to attend. “The tour will be full of entertainment that will make the evening a fun and informative experience for all,” said Safrit.

Admission to Legends By Lantern is $10 for adults and $5 for children.  Tours will be appropriate for children 6 and up.

Future Legends By Lantern tours are scheduled for July 16 and August 6.

For more information or to buy tickets, contact the North Carolina Transportation Museum at 704-636-2889 ext. 242 or visit www.nctrans.org.