The height of the Industrial Revolution was the height of the railroad, when the steam-powered metal giants chugged away across the country carrying fuel, supplies, and people. We still use these technological wonders, though more for transporting materials than people going from one town to the next. To celebrate the wonder of the train and how it has advanced and changed over time, Marquette hosts their annual Railroad Days, welcoming visitors to tour the Depot Museum, and get a taste of the machine’s extensive history. Tucked away in the river valley bluffs of Clayton County, the Depot Museum in Marquette has a mission to share the rich history of the steam-powered giant.
For the community of Marquette, the Depot Museum is a popular destination for residents and tourists alike, and I had to go up and see the festivities for myself. In and around the Depot museum had been demonstrations, railroad memorabilia, barrel rides for children, caricature drawings and so much more. Inside, a telegraphy demonstration had just started. The operator had given a historic demonstration of how the telegraph worked, and the impact it had on railroad communication to make train travel more efficient and most importantly, safe.
After gazing upon the historic relics and rustic parts saved from train cars of yesteryear, I stepped outside to grab a lunch and see other festivities. While enjoying my juicy, sizzling hot cheeseburger, the local Hole in the Sock Gang was performing a tribute to the Wild West and expansion of the railroad to celebrate the Marquette Railroad Days properly; with a good ole train robbing performance. The Hole in the Sock Gang was always a pleasure to watch, and I could always see how much the group enjoyed reenacting 1880s western culture for audiences across the Midwest.
The Railroad Days in Marquette are a great way to get in touch with the trains of the past and learn about the ways of communication and the culture that grew alongside the train. There’s plenty of games and activities for children so everybody can enjoy a taste of the Railroad Days.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Marquette Depot Museum