Business: The Lincoln Train Museum Location: 425 Steinwehr Ave., Gettysburg, PA Years in Business: 4 Manager: Karen Saylor Number of Employees: Full Time: 1 Part Time: 5-7 Sector of Business in the Community: Tours and Attractions
Railroads played a major part in the Civil War as they transported supplies and soldiers faster than any other way in the past- by foot, boat, horse, etc. The history of the railroad in Maryland and Pennsylvania is especially rich, which is why in 1969, Ken Rohrbaugh established the Lincoln Train Museum as a way to display his model trains and share the history of the American Railroad. When Rohrbaugh unexpectedly died, the museum was purchased by the late retired sheriff Jim Kralik in 2012 and opened in 2013. Kralik added patriotic and Americana exhibits with the focus on Abraham Lincoln- more specifically his funeral train while keeping the original train theme of the museum intact. In the museum, there are rows of shelves and display cases filled with Civil War and Lincoln memorabilia, model trains, U.S. military and armed forces memorabilia and American cultural pieces like baseball and cowboy memorabilia. “James wanted to keep American history alive with this museum. He extended the history past the Civil War and included exhibits from the days of the founding fathers leading up to today,” said Karen Saylor, manager and group sales director. The main focus of the museum is now President Lincoln and his funeral journey with an intro from the long-time Lincoln impersonator James Getty. The funeral train simulates Lincoln’s funeral train with Jim Getty appearing as Lincoln celebrating our American history as well as presenting his Gettysburg Address as he reflects upon that history while video screen monitors in the windows show passing scenery as the train car jolts and rocks as if it were traveling on train tracks. Saylor says they try to make as much of the museum as hands on as possible. “We want the kids and adults, really everyone, to be involved.” In addition to hands on exhibits visitors can participate in a scavenger hunt through the museum that “encourages visitors to get up close and explore the museum,” according to Saylor. Kralik had a great respect for veterans, so that appreciation has a presence throughout the entire museum from the different displays to the card writing station where children and adults can create a card to send to a veteran or a soldier on active duty. This is what sets the Lincoln Train Museum apart from the rest. “You learn from everyone that comes in here,” said Saylor. “You can learn just as much from them as they are learning from the museum.” Tourism is the “backbone” of the museum according to Saylor. “We have a lot of families stop in, as well as locals, many seniors, veterans and also students.” Saylor says they had just been visited by a man from Australia who served in Vietnam. “We see a lot of grandparents and grandchildren who come here. The kids love it so much that I find they usually come back with their parents so they can see it,” said Saylor. The Lincoln Train Museum also focuses on bringing groups into the museum. “We just had a WWII group come in, they were great,” said Saylor. Saylor says in the future, she plans on updating the funeral train display in the museum by adding mourning drapes and also adding to the existing exhibits.