An online auction is being held to raise money to move the locomotive now on display at Veterans Park to the Coal Miners Museum and Memorial. The auction is being held on Facebook.
The goal is to raise money to help the museum pay the $20,000 it will cost to move and restore the locomotive, which was built in 1900 by the Cooke Locomotive and Machine Company of Patterson, N.J. The locomotive was given to the city of Paris in 1963 by the Malvern Iron and Metal Company of Paris and put on display in what was then known as Paris City Park. It is one of only two Missouri Pacific Railroad steam-powered locomotive in existence today. Earlier this year, the city gave the train to the museum and memorial which wants to display it.
The auction, which began last week, ends at 9 p.m. Thursday. To participate, log onto Facebook and type Move the train 2522 in the search window. Once on the site, ask to be added to the group. Once added, you will be sent a link to the auction page. You can make bids from there.
Also, you can donate to this project. Donations can be dropped off at Little Shops on the Square in Paris.
“For those that grew up here, we played on this train,” Carla Gilbreath Engle, one of the people coordinating the auction, posted on the auction’s Facebook page last week. “We share memories of this train. And now, together, we are honoring this train. After only two days, this auction has already raised over $4,500 in bids and cash donations. There are over 120 posts with auction items. There are more items coming in every day. We are blessed.”
After being built, the locomotive was put in service with the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad. In 1917, that company consolidated with the Missouri Pacific Railroad and was renumbered as 2522, the numbers displayed on the engine today. After being placed in City Park, now known as Veterans Park, the locomotive became a playground of sorts for the children of Paris. As time passed, it became hazardous to explore the locomotive and the city built a fence around it.
Engle also wrote that the committee organizing the auction is pleased with the result so far.
“I am overwhelmed,” she wrote. “Overwhelmed with gratitude and amazement. It is extremely heartwarming to see a community come together for a cause. Especially for a cause that will help us remember and enjoy a past that we all hold so dear to our hearts.”