|Bower, Newby praise Monon’s move to Salem|
“I pledge that the City of Salem will be a friend and patron of the Depot and the Monon Historical Society for years to come,” Salem Mayor David Bower said during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new addition to the John Hay Center’s Depot railroad museum.
The groundbreaking took place Saturday, June 9, behind the existing Depot building, on the site of the 30x50-foot addition that will house, among other attractions, the world headquarters of the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society.
The Monon Railroad, which was organized in 1847 as the New Albany & Salem Rail Road served much of the state of Indiana. It merged into the Louisville & Nashville Railroad in 1971.
“We hear about economic development all the time but the realization is that tourism is a big part of economic development. I’m proud to have the Monon Historical Society in Salem and it lets people see that Salem is made of hard working people that pull together to get things done,” the mayor continued.
Danny Newby, president of the Washington County Historical Society which owns the John Hay Center, said, in referring to the Monon Society’s move to Salem: “When we heard about this opportunity we couldn’t believe our good luck and now it’s going to happen. We are proud to have this opportunity and we’re looking forward to it.”
Cecil J. Smith, the volunteer stationmaster for The Depot since it opened 11 years ago, praised the Paul Ogle Foundation for the grant it awarded the project, and thanked the members of the Monon and Washington County historical societies and the individuals and businesses in the community who have generously given their support.
Wielding shovels in the ceremonial groundbreaking were the mayor, Newby, Smith, and John G. Campbell, Louisville, an 11-year volunteer with the Depot who was named by the historical society as project manger for the expansion.
Many others took turns having their pictures taken turning the first shovel full of dirt.
Smith said, barring unforeseen circumstances, work on the addition should begin in mid-summer, with a completion date of May 2013.
He said the addition will greatly expand the size of The Depot, making it possible for the Monon Society to move its world headquarters to Salem. The society’s extensive collection of engineering files, documents and thousands of photographs will help establish a railroad research center at The Depot.
The Monon Society is currently headquartered at Linden, just north of Crawfordsville.