Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A New Project in the Works

A couple of months ago, I took my boys to the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum. I previously wrote about this historic treasure on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Second Manassas Campaign. The countryside surrounding the railroad station became one major field hospital following the fights at Bull Run and Chantilly in 1862. Clara Barton rushed from Washington City and helped tend to the wounded.

The current station dates from 1903 and hosts frequent model train displays. The museum also has exhibits on the history of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, particularly during the Civil War. I've taken my sons there a few times. We are all train buffs, and the place has become a real family favorite.

After my last visit, the museum contacted me via my blog Facebook page. They put me in contact with Michael Chinworth, a volunteer who serves as the Vice President of the Friends of Fairfax Station. Michael asked if I was interested in helping the museum with various activities, including research, exhibits, and programming. I jumped at the opportunity. What better way to make a contribution to local Civil War and railroad history?

The Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, a stop along the Civil War Trails in Northern Virginia

Currently I am assisting with research on the civilian population around Fairfax Station just prior to and during the Civil War. I also hope to dig into the lives of the ordinary soldiers who protected the O&A R.R. Another possible avenue of exploration is the experience of slaves and Irish immigrants who worked on the railroad in the antebellum period. We hope to use this research in drafting a comprehensive historical guide on the station. The work may also form the basis of temporary exhibits or be made available on the museum's website.

I'd like to put a call to my readers as well. If you know anything about the area during the Civil War era, please feel free to email me and we can talk. In the meantime, if things are a little slower here as of late, it is likely because I am knee deep in old records about soldiers and civilians!


Richard said...

Congratulations and goid luck! That sounds like a great opportunity.

Ron Baumgarten said...

Thanks, Richard. I am looking forward to it! I am sure you know how rewarding it can be given your own experience with the Ramage Museum!

Chuck said...

I have been researching the O&A RR for years and have quite a bit of the history in my files. I have a website at:

If you wish to talk send me an email with contact info.

C. Siegel

Ron Baumgarten said...

Thanks, Chuck. I am very familiar with your excellent site. I'd welcome an opportunity to talk. I will shoot you an email.