If it wasn't for the railroad, there would probably BE no McComb. And even if it were, it certainly wouldn’t be CALLED McComb.
There are several reasons McComb wound up being where it is and being named what it’s named. ALL of those reasons center around this, the railroad.
Colonel Henry McComb was a Union Civil War veteran from Delaware who bought the devastated Central Mississippi Railroad after the war and rebuilt it and expanded it into what would eventually become the Illinois Central Railroad.
He needed a place to work on locomotives and train cars. But not wishing his employees to be exposed to the evils of New Orleans, built his extensive rail yard a hundred miles north at the place that overnight became the city of McComb, all centered around the rail yard and the repair of trains.
Well, like all things that come around, they eventually go around and the rail yard closed in the 1980s, fortunately leaving a prospering town in its wake able to stand alone without the rail yard, but also a town deeply indebted to it. And a town that has compiled its memory and memorabilia of the rail yard days into the McComb Railroad Museum.
We visited the McComb Railroad museum about three years ago and got some shots of some of the rare and pristine antique rail cars on display here.
The mail car. In the day of the railroad, this was the fastest way a letter could travel. As a matter of fact, when the train came along, it was the first time a person could travel any faster than Adam and Eve could.
There was the office car. I could imagine this car filled with executives who would be filled with brandy and puffing on cigars.
The caboose, bringing up the end of the train staffed with people who made sure everything was okay between there and the locomotive way up front. Rare. And recently, ruined.
Last February a, or some, vandals trashed the train one night. I’ve never understood vandalism. And I’m not going to try to now. But I am probably the biggest proponent of tourism in the state, tourism as an industry. We have a few natural areas worth a visit here, and of course the beaches on the coast. But vastly and far away the biggest tourism asset we have is Mississippi is history. We’re loaded with it, if we can keep people from taking it away.
The only pollution the tourism industry leaves behind is MONEY!! Now, nobody is going to come to McComb and spend the night to see the train museum. But they may buy a meal and a tank of gas while they are here.
But I will tell you this, NO one will come to see where something USED to be.
The Train Museum is something that is McComb’s history, and even Mississippi’s history. And we need to make sure our stuff doesn’t get trashed by folks who don’t realize it is a part of THEIR history, too.
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