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railroad history

Celebrating the Railroads at the World’s Fair

Since May 1851, the global community has come together to celebrate each participating country’s industrial and technological achievements in a World’s Fair or Exposition. Every five years, a new country and location are chosen to host an International Expo or World’s Fair. The United States has been home to a World’s Fair 14 times throughout…

Train Crashes at the State Fair

  Summer is winding down, and August is now upon us. In a normal year, we would be preparing to make the trek down to a special place where we could enjoy whirling rides, the animal barns, a chili cook-off, and funnel cakes that seem tall as the Statue of Liberty! That’s right; we’re talking…

Wide Open in the Fresh Air

From riding fast on your bike or going down the open road in a convertible, there is nothing better than a swift breeze on a hot summer day. Even train-cars got in on the action. Before the invention of air conditioning or where the technology might not be practical to install, the railroad’s open-air cars…

Freedom Trains of the United States

Freedom Train Part One: 1947-1949 With the 4th of July literally around the corner, we reflect on the freedoms we have and sacrifices our nation has endured, both in the past and the present. As Americans, we live in a country where the “Can Do” spirit allows us to attain momentous achievements. Take the railroad,…

From Boxcars to Big Boy: The Story of Railroad Graffiti

During the first decades of the 20th century, the circus arrived in town aboard one of the most colorful trains traveling the rails. Brightly colored railcars carrying ornate wagons drew the attention of people along the tracks. The circus train was a sight to behold. Today, almost all the circus trains are gone. However, viewing…

Adventures of a Circus Clown

There is a good chance you’ve seen Jeff McMullen if you’ve ever attended an event at the National Railroad Museum. A magician, a clown, a consummate entertainer, McMullen has led a fascinating life.    At the age of 4 years old, he knew he wanted to become a clown. While most people outgrow their childhood…