Letter: Transportation Museum offers lessons for future

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 3, 2021

On Friday, Sept. 24, my wife and I drove from Richmond, Virginia to Summerfield, North Carolina.

After soccer on Saturday morning, we traveled with our daughter, her husband, and their two children to Spencer for the Day Out With Thomas The Train at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

For our grandchildren, Thomas and his friends were quite enjoyable. Our train ride around the grounds of the museum was pleasant.

And while I appreciated the connection Thomas has made with our grandchildren, it was the tour of the museum that took me back to my growing up in Burlington.

First, the massive roundhouse, the strength of its construction is a tribute to everyone who built this functional building.

For the displays, curators did good work in capturing a variety of vehicles from assorted decades.

Just like I did as a kid, I loved the fire truck exhibits. The Melville Dairy truck brought back memories of when milk was delivered to our back porch.

I can’t wait to see the Piedmont Airlines plane when it is fully assembled and restored. I was saddened when the airline merged with US Air.

But staring into that row of train engines really made me think.

I thought about the precision of engineering and the strength of the metal forged parts. All that ingenuity and determination helped to grow the region as passengers and freight were carried into communities of all sizes.

Probably every generation will find a new exhibit to bring them to the museum. But, my old heart hopes that the visionaries who developed this museum will forever preserve what is held in this revered space. Those modes of transportation and the people who created them offer lessons for the future, and we would be wise to continue to learn from them.

— Bill Pike

Richmond, Virginia