US Space and Rocket Center RV Park
Back In Site #4
Do you ever visit a place that just feels right? Well, that's the way I feel about Huntsville. The people go out of their way to be friendly and helpful.
Bill and I sat outside the park office while Dennis Whiteside puffed on his cigar. He has been the manager of the park while we've been here. They don't take credit cards to hold a reservation. As Dennis said on the phone, "we just go by your word that you'll be showing up." He enlightened us with tales and stories of the US Space and Rocket Center. He used to be a bus driver/tour guide. He told us some stories of the astronauts. We did learn that they had quit the bus tours after 9-11 until about a year ago.
After lunch we drove into town to the Railroad Depot Museum. I brought my camera and an extra battery but somehow I left the memory card in the computer.
I looked at the computer before we left and debated on visiting the Constitution Village, The Veterans Museum, the Railroad Depot, Big Spring Park, or the Historical District. It was such a gorgeous day I picked the Railroad Depot as I figured most of it would be outside. I can't say I had a dying urge to visit a railroad depot but what the heck.
As soon as we entered the depot, I was feeling better about picking it. A fellow in period clothing greeted us and asked if we wanted a guided tour. There is no way given the option, that we wouldn't take the guided tour. We watched a video that told us the depot was built in 1860 and gave a history.
As soon as the video was over our tour guide escorted us into a room and played the part of a railroad employee perfectly. He needs to be a professional actor as he played the part perfectly.
I find when using my cell phone for photos, I forget why I have it in my hand. The characters behind our tour guide moved and talked while telling the story of the railroad.
As this was going on, a real train blew it's whistle and went down the track. Bill and I were commenting the other day, that we haven't had any trains by any RV parks. We'll need to find some, so we can practice sleeping by the sounds of the trains and whistles before going back to Goshen.
The Memphis to Charleston railroad was the only west to east railroad and played an important part in the Civil War and was under the control of the Confederates. The Yankees made a surprise attack and captured 159 Confederate soldiers in 1862.
This depot's second and third floors were used for prisoners.
This was a vault room with the original floor and concrete door.
The neat thing was when you closed the door, it looked like an ordinary wooden door.
There were two of these vault rooms, but the second one had a narrower doorway and a ventilation shaft. There was a second door behind the vault door. Our tour guide said they thought they may have kept slaves in there.
This was a rendition of the town of Huntsville which was created in 1976.
This is was a painting of the depot. It was huge for that time period.
On the second and third floors they uncovered graffiti that was written back in 1862. The walls were covered with it, and they were very interesting to read.
One room had an exhibit of the women of the south.
Bill is always studying art.
We walked outside to the outdoor exhibits and when Bill touched the handle the engine made motor sounds like it was running and, standing in the compartment, it vibrated. I wondered what he did to start the train. Scared the daylights out of me!
This caboose had modern day conveniences.
There was another building that housed vehicles.
There were some kids climbing all over the vehicles and when they got on the firetruck the lights started flashing and the engine motor sound came on.
We thought of Jim Dixon when we saw the auto parts and a fish.
Bill was amazed at this cigarette machine.
And here's why. Do you see the price back then?
Can you see the kids in this car? The mother let them play inside and the windows were up. All I could think of was they would lock themselves inside.
This Erskine was a beauty.
I told Bill, that I'd pay $965 for one.
A Dodge Brothers fire truck.
I'm sorry that my phone picture doesn't seem to show how large this mosaic is.
It's composed of snapshots of all the veterans.
We walked through Veteran's Memorial Park.
At this point, my battery died on my phone. How could it, we're coming to the best part of the day?
I pulled this off the internet, but it's not a good photo. The life size bronzes on the sides don't show up. The water depicts the blood shed. There are quotes from individuals about war. They begin with the Revolutionary War and go up to present day. There are many more wars, than most people think about represented here. The US flag is 30 feet by 60 feet and weighs 130 pounds on a pole 140 feet high. Behind this is a walkway with stories about veterans. Can you believe this was erected with the total cost paid for by the citizens and not one penny of government money? Once again, you can't just talk about it and show a photo. You have to experience this place.
When we walked back through the Railroad Depot Museum the lady there told us that a veteran from WW II who is 84 years old was used as model for the bronze. The tour guide and lady also told us places to see in town. We're leaving tomorrow afternoon as we are meeting someone on Friday so we'll just have to come back.
Dennis just came by and gave me a brochure on the space camp. I thought he told us that it was $1,000 for a child to attend but it's $779 for 6 days. After watching the kids and all they do here, I'm surprised it isn't more. We just watched a group shoot off their individually made rockets.
This is a town we'll come back to visit.