On Dec. 28, 1852, at 6:05 p.m., the final rail was placed on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Wheeling, W.Va., connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Ohio River and marking the beginning of the city’s locomotive history.
Wheeling residents and visitors can now dive into that history at a train library that opened recently at the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum. The library offers a collection of hundreds of books and magazines about trains, both real and model.
“There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of that in Wheeling,” said Lynn Maguire, gift shop manager. “Just because of the rich history of railroads in Wheeling, we wanted to make sure there was a place for that.”
The small library, on the museum’s second floor, has a variety of books and magazines on trains, some dating to the early 20th century, Maguire said.
Model railroad books, books on local train history, collections of train magazines and even train-related novels are some of the items found in the collection.
“It’s a great place to do some research as well as fun reading,” Maguire said. “We have books on model railroading, quite a bit of that for the train fanatic. So it’s an entire spectrum of stuff on trains.”
The idea for the library came about due to the vast amount of books in the museum’s existing collection, she said.
“We have a huge amount of information,” Maguire said. “Why not put it on display and let other people use it?”
The museum, at 144 Kruger St., displays a variety of toys and model trains from different eras for both children and adults to enjoy. Exhibits include items such as dolls, toy cars, games, model trains and artifacts from Wheeling’s history.
Seven new exhibits are planned to open at the museum throughout the year in addition to a children’s library, Maguire said.