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TONIGHT: Stop by the Avery Museum to Celebrate 40 Years of Preserving Local History

By Emily Willis

Photos by Ken Ketchie

Since 1976, the Avery Museum has been supplying the community with a unique look into the county’s heritage of railroads. Join the museum on Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. for birthday cake, punch, and coffee to celebrate this milestone!

The restored Linville River Depot.

The museum is Avery county’s number one historical attraction, which contains historical background of the East Tennessee and West North Carolina Railway. This past spring, the museum presented the newly restored Linville River Depot.

The museum’s 40th birthday is a great time to get to know the people behind and the projects they’re working on right now.

They are currently in the process of restoring the Caboose 505, which was the only caboose in service from 1934 to 1950. Conductor Cy Crumbly bought the caboose and moved it to Watauga Lake to use as a fishing cabin. It was moved later to a site near Bristol. In 2014, the caboose was moved to the Avery Museum, and placed on tracks laid in front of the Linville Depot.

To properly restore the caboose, the museum needs to raise $50,000.

“The first step will be to replace the roof,” said Michael Hardy, museum chair, in a recent newsletter. “This is a task, which once begun, must be completed in its entirety.”

The estimated cost of this first step is $10,000.

“Currently, we receive  some funding from Avery County, but depend mainly on Museum memberships, book sales, and donations,” explained Hardy. “Applications for grants are being submitted, but these require matching funds of at least $5,000.”

Check out the new website for more information and historic background at averymusem.org. Their new website is easier to navigate, read, and learn about the history. Donations to fulfill the restorations are always greatly appreciated and can be made online.

Photos from the museum: