Model train exhibit opens December 4th.

Released by Gregg County Historical Museum:

LONGVIEW, TX -  The Living History Christmas with its Model Train/Village scenes has a history of its own.

The LGB Trains, which are owned by Ann and Hamp Smead, were set up each year in their home for their family's Christmas enjoyment and celebration of Christmas beginning with one train in 1971.

It was such a hit, that each year they added more features, including village scenes, more and different trains, more track and varying configurations for the train - including tunnels, overpasses, depot stops, auto crossings, and many moving parts in the village besides the trains themselves.

It steadily grew in size and reputation until schools were bringing classes of children to view the village setting which was magical.  This continued as an annual event in their home up thru the early 1980's.

Addition of Department 56 Village Scenes were added, and Nancy Elswick was helpful in selecting many new additions, and Homer Fleischer of Homer's Model Trains was the "know how" in connecting all the wires to the right places to make everything work as it was supposed to work. (No small task!!)

Several years later the Gregg County Historical Museum was preparing a Christmas Celebration at the historical Northcutt House on South Fredonia.  To enhance the occasion, W. D. Northcutt, III, founder and long-time Board Member of the Museum, asked the Smeads if they would allow one of their trains with scenery to be used in decorating the House.  After that successful display, it was expanded to be set up in the Museum itself each Christmas as part of the annual LIVING HISTORY CHRISTMAS.

It has grown each year with the addition of more Department 56 Villages and scenes.  Nancy Elswick continues to help with the set-up and design each year.  Homer Fleischer continues to connect all the wires to the right places.  This becomes the transformation of the Museum into a magical place for children and adults alike.  It transports any viewer to a place of imaginary wonderland and happy experiences, and the experience lingers in leaving the actual display.

This year the LIVING HISTORY CHRISTMAS will open at the Gregg County Historical Museum on December 4, 2010, from 9:30 am to 12:30.  Admission is free.  Guests will enjoy seeing a vintage blacksmith with his forge and anvil on Fredonia Street, vintage Holiday festivities, and children's activities.  Local historian Van Craddock will be signing his latest publication, "Longview" - a picture postcard history with 240 images.

Holiday Model Train opens at 9:30 am on December 4th and continues through December 18th.  Holiday Exhibit Hours are Tuesdays thru Fridays 10a to 4pm and Saturdays 12 pm to 4:00 pm.  Special Train Exhibit Hours during Christmas at the Courthouse December 3, 4, 10, and 11 6:00 pm to 8:30 enter through the Museum's Education Center entrance 218 N. Fredonia Street.

Admission is Free and sponsored in part by Longview's Cultural Activities Advisory Commission.

For more information contact the Gregg County Historical Museum at (903) 753-5840.