While celebrating the 150th anniversary of Palestine’s intertwining with the railroad, an afternoon touring the model train exhibit at the Railroad Heritage Center of Palestine is time well spent. Whether you’re a locomotive fan, history buff or model enthusiast, the extensive layout is not to be missed.
The Texas State Railroad Society sued and received the exhibit from the family of Paul and Maria Domis of Dallas. Heritage Center director John Price and his wife, Linda, spearheaded the effort.
The HO scale model train exhibit is a grand sight, measuring approximately 20 by 40 feet. The detail, featuring miniature buildings, people and scenery, is breathtaking. The move took around 18 months and involved cutting the exhibit into 10 pieces and then reassembling all the sections and pieces in Palestine.
“It was never intended to be historically or geographically accurate,” Price said. “It was intended to reflect Domis’ personal experiences.”
The cathedral, a prominent feature of the exhibit, is based on an actual building in Germany.
“We don’t know if it was seen on his travels in Germany, but it was one of the first designs he made,” Price said. “It was constructed from 1,500 pieces of paper, cut one at a time and glued together.”
There are other prominent features that are part of the Dallas skyline. The main train station is based on Dallas Union Station. Another structure is reminiscent of the Magnolia Building, with the Pegasus sign perched above. Near the passenger station there is a “strip”, believed to have been influenced by Domis’ time in New Jersey.
The detail effort is amazing, and it seems to go on forever. It is both a journey through time and a world tour.
The Railroad Heritage Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located at 808 W. Oak Street in Palestine.
For more information, call 903-393-4014 or visit tsrrsociety.com