CATEGORY: Clay County
HED: West Point museum seeks trailblazing tidbits
By Eileen Bailey
WEST POINT – A Columbus historian will assist in the search for information for transportation memorabilia that will be housed in a new museum.
Carolyn Neault of Columbus will be working with the West Point/Clay County Cultural Historical Arts Museum for the next several months searching for photographs, written information and other transportation memorabilia.
The transportation museum, which has been in the works for the last two years, will be housed in the newly renovated depot along the railroad tracks. The museum will be the first for the city of West Point and will focus on the history of transportation in the area.
“We want anything that has to do with transportation from prehistoric times to present,” Neault said Friday.
By December, Neault said, they hope to have enough information to begin designing exhibits to surround a model train display 60 feet long by 14 feet wide that will be in the center of the museum.
Neault, who has served as the curator of the Lee Home museum in Columbus, was recommended for the project by Cavett Taft, curator of the state museum in Jackson. She is the co-author of a historical book and is the former local history librarian at the Columbus Library.
The scope of the work involved, she said, will surround the preservation of the depot located along the railroad tracks on Main Street. This is the only remaining depot in West Point. At one time there were three.
The renovation work on the depot, built in 1876, included replacing deteriorated wooden floors with ceramic tiles and painting and repairing walls. The project cost an estimated $300,000.
Eighty percent of the funds will come from the Department of Transportation and 20 percent will come from the city’s general fund.
Organizers of the museum will feature information on the earliest of roads in the area, such as the nearby Natchez Trace and the Gaines Trace, which went through Monroe County and tied into the Natchez Trace at Houston.
That section of the museum will feature different modes of transportation used on the roads from horses and buggies to automobiles.
Railroads and railways played a major part in the development of West Point and will have a space in the museum. Airplanes and aerospace also will be honored at the museum.
Anyone who has historical information or photographs that would benefit the transportation museum in West Point is asked to call 327-8888 or 327-5875. Mail inquiries to Sam Wilhite; PO Box 833; West Point MS 39773.