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Rural Missouri Magazine

Return of the railroad
Trenton, MO

by Jim McCarty

It’s been a long time since the lonesome cry of a steam locomotive resounded in the north-central Missouri town of Trenton. That’s why long-time residents of this railroad town are looking forward to Trenton’s Sesquicentennial Celebration to be held June 28-July 4.

One highlight of the town’s 150th birthday party is the scheduled arrival of Union Pacific’s Corn Belt Rocket, a restored working steam engine that is featured on our cover. The last steam engine built for Union Pacific, No. 844 was delivered in 1944. It was designed as a high-speed passenger engine but was placed in freight service near the end of the steam era.

Northern-style locomotives like No. 844 could hit speeds over 100 mph in their day. It was saved from the scrap heap in 1960 and painstakingly restored to serve as the railroad’s ambassador of goodwill. The train’s arrival is just one of many activities planned for the four-day celebration.

Trenton will roll out the red carpet for visitors with a parade, Wild West entertainment, bed races, nationally recognized musicians, street dances, live theater, a quilt show, fashion show and fire truck rides, to name just a few. Many events will continue the railroad theme, including a look at the Mainliners model train exhibit and railroad vendors with items for sale.

Other attractions will focus on the town’s rich history. These include a historical musical comedy to be held at the Hoover Theater, tours of historic buildings (such as the Jewett Norris Library pictured at left) and a movie based on historic Trenton. The event concludes on the Forth of July with the traditional fireworks and a slam-dunk contest.

For more information, call (660) 359-4324.

Rural Missouri magazine - November 2014
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