A restored 1856 locomotive will return to Atlanta May 3 and be installed in a new exhibit at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.
The “Texas” locomotive has undergone an extensive $500,000 restoration at its current home at the North Carolina Transportation Museum, but it was previously a main fixture of Grant Park’s cyclorama exhibit for 88 years. The locomotive exhibit is expected to open to public in the fall of 2017.
“The Battle of Atlanta” cyclorama was also moved to the Atlanta History Center from Grant Park earlier this year as part of a 75-year licensing agreement with the city of Atlanta that includes the locomotive.
“After many years of limited view in the basement of the Cyclorama building in Grant Park, we are putting the Texas in a place where it is going to be front and center,” Jackson McQuigg, vice president of properties for the history center, said.
Most trains from this era were destroyed, but the “Texas” was saved because of it’s role in the “Great Locomotive Chase”, an 1862 incident in the Civil War where Union troops stole an engine near Kennesaw.
The locomotive also ran for decades on the Western & Atlantic Railroad, the line that sparked the founding of — and gave a name to — the city of Atlanta.
“No artifact can be more important for telling the story of Atlanta’s beginnings than this Western & Atlantic locomotive,” Sheffield Hale, the center’s president and CEO, said.