COMMERCE, Texas -- Enjoy railroads?
Then mark the Annual Cotton Belt Railroad Symposium on your calendar.
It is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8, beginning at 8:45 a.m.
in the Traditions Room of the Sam Rayburn Student Center at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
The symposium is sponsored by A&M-Commerce's Department of Educational Leadership, James G. Gee Library, and Commerce Public Library. The state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities is helping to make the event possible.
A special invitation is extended to all former and current railroad employees and their families to come to this free event and share recollections of their railroad days. Anyone interested in the railroad and its history can attend.
The Cotton Belt played an important role in the development of Commerce and other towns.
Those attending the symposium can set up displays of historical photos depicting people, places, equipment, and rail operations.
The keynote speaker this year is noted author, photographer, and historian Steve Allen Goen. Goen is known throughout the railroad community for his thorough knowledge of railroad history, outstanding railroad videos, and color pictorial series, including the Cotton Belt Color Pictorial.
The program will also feature presentations by Gayle Gordon, director of the Commerce Public Library, and Cheryl Westhafer, the Commerce Public Library's Local History librarian and curator of the library's Cotton Belt Railroad Collection.
At least two photo collections will be presented and added to the Railroad Archives of the Gee Library's Digital Library Project.
There will also be a panel discussion with panelists S.L.
"Red" Grimes, Murrel Hogue, Lenton R. Moore, and moderated by Harley Davis.
Cotton Belt and railroad artifacts from the Commerce Public Library and the Arkansas Railroad Museum's Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society will also be featured. The public may bring railroad photos and other artifacts.
Self-guided, driving tours of local sites of railroad significance, will be included.
After a break for lunch, on your own, the tour will begin with the Railroad Collection Open House at the Commerce Public Library.
Other sites on the tour include:
Former Cotton Belt yard & Roundhouse grounds.
Blacklands Railroad Locomotive display.
Railroad Partners, Inc. motorcar display old Texas Midland Freight Depot, and the East Texas Model Railroad Club Layout Open House.
Those with Cotton Belt stories to tell can have them included on videotape in Gee Library's Digital Collection. Photographs, copy, and historic railroad pictures will be copied or duplicated.
Directions, maps, a printable flyer, lodging details, and other information can be found on the symposium website as http://www.cottonbeltroute.com.