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Restoration Of Cookeville Steam Engine Complete

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Restoration Of Cookeville Steam Engine Complete

The Cookeville Depot Museum’s steam engine restoration project is complete thanks to a lot of helping hands.

Museums Manager Beth Thompson said the finished product looks wonderful. She said Tennessee Tech graduate and locomotive expert Caleb Leach handled a lot of the machine’s cosmetic restoration. She said Machines classes from Tech stopped by to help out and a local ironsmith worked on welding repairs.

“She is 111 this year, so we all need a little help at that point,” Thompson said. “So, it’s really great that we were able to go in there and mitigate some of those issues that were starting to happen and things that are just going to happen from it being out and exposed to the elements.”

Thompson said crews from Cincinnati that specialize in painting amusement park rides applied the brand-new paint job. She said people traveling through the Upper Cumberland pull off of the interstate to catch a glimpse of the engine, so it is great to have it back in perfect shape.

“It’s just really impressive that a small town like Cookeville has got this big steam engine for people to come experience,” Thompson said. “You know, there are so many children around the country that would never get to see a steam engine up close and personal like that.”

Thompson said a Capital Funds Grant from the state government paid for the project and Cookeville’s local government was extremely helpful throughout the process. She said the process of gathering funds took several years of work, but once that was handled, the restoration was smooth sailing.

“A lot of sun, especially on that south side,” Thompson said. “So, yeah. A lot of those problems were taken care of with all of the work that everyone has put into it.”

Thompson called the steam engine “a feather in Cookeville’s cap,” and said she is thrilled to have it looking just as good as it did 20 years ago when it arrived at the museum.


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