Library exhibit celebrates local railroad heritage

railroad at library

A display at the Crestview Public Library includes a photo and floor plan of the former Crestview rail depot and local timetables.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 06:29 PM.

CRESTVIEW — A collection of timetables, artifacts and a G-scale model train comprise a Crestview Public Library exhibit that recalls when the railway was king.

Crestview and Laurel Hill began as railroad towns, with regular daily train service hauling forest and field to distant markets. Towns including Campton, Svea and Baker grew up along the rail routes.  

Timber, turpentine, peanuts and cotton regularly departed local communities on the Yellow River and Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. railroads. Dry goods and groceries arrived on return trips.

Local passengers enjoyed the convenience of regularly scheduled runs on smooth rails —versus rutted, bumpy and washed out dirt roads —for shopping and commuting throughout the area.

Folks could hop the Yellow River Rail Road in Florala, Ala., or Laurel Hill — at 7:10 a.m. or 7:42 a.m., respectively — and be in Crestview at 8:35 a.m. Ten minutes later, the L&N train would whisk them off to Pensacola, where they’d arrive at 10.

The library display was assembled from collectibles belonging to the West Florida Railroad Museum in Milton, the Emerald Coast Garden Railroad Club and the Shalimar Model Railroad Club.

Laurel Hill resident Paul Weston curated the exhibit, which will remain through the first week of January.

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