Letter: Railroad Museum
The news of possible closure of the Glenwood Railroad Museum is a heartbreaker for those of us who participated in its creation and should touch all who have visited it and consider it an important part of our community. This includes families whose children’s faces light up as they watch the model engine round the bend on the G gauge track layout, and all who love learning about railroad history and seeing photographs and artifacts from early times in the valley.
Those passing through Glenwood on the train also find it a welcome respite from travel, often having to be shooed out lest their train leave without them. They enjoy picking up items from the gift shop, train related books, clothing and more, commemorating their visit to Glenwood. More than one Christmas train set has originated at the Glenwood Railroad Museum.
The prospect of losing this is brought about by the Union Pacific Railroad, the landlord for the museum space, upping the rent to a point beyond what the museum is able to pay. The UP’s contention is that it should be getting rent equal in amount to other retail property in the area. Lengthy arguments that this space is not suitable for any other use, that the museum is most suited for that space, and that relocating it (not to mention clearing it out) would be an almost impossible undertaking — so far, all of that has fallen on deaf ears. Add to that the UP’s insistence that the property be returned to its original condition which would include falling plaster, unfinished flooring, etc., which suggests their unawareness of the work, the man/woman hours, care, creativity and expense that went into making it a useful, habitable space. Both volunteer and professional help, paid out of pocket, were involved.
But losing the museum does not have to happen and that is why we are sending out this message. And it is not the only agency of historic preservation in Garfield County struggling with financial short falls. All have come together to propose ballot initiative 1A, titled Garfield County Museum and Cultural Heritage Preservation Fund, which establishes a levy of .45 mills to fund continued operation of these agencies. The initiative appears on the Nov. 7 ballot and we encourage all to support it in the name of keeping our treasured reminders of the past alive.
Jan and Pat Girardot