All aboard

Whistle signals opening of transportation museum


ABOVE: Todd McCormick, curator of the Logan County History Center who was among the leaders in building and opening the new transportation museum, poses with his wife Amy, mother Polly, and sons Ryan, left, and Ray near the time capsule after the Sunday dedication ceremony. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Richard DeLombard of Huron, captain of the Ohio Wheelmen antique bicycle club, rides alongside a line of Model A Fords during the Logan County Historical Society parade Saturday morning.(EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

A long blast from a railroad whistle Sunday afternoon marked the official opening of the Logan County History Center’s new transportation museum wing.

“This is the power of dreams at work,” Logan County Commissioner Dustin Wickersham said before reading a proclamation, “the power to leave a legacy for Logan County.”

“This facility has far exceeded any expectations we ever had,” Logan County Historical Society President Dan Bratka said in his opening remarks.

The Sunday dedication, which followed a Saturday morning parade and public unveiling, marked the opening of the 15,000-square-foot museum addition built in the spirit of the Big Four roundhouse that was once a hub of railroad activity in Bellefontaine.

The museum features a circular atrium ringed by six display bays that take visitors on a chronological progression through Logan County’s contribution to the transportation industry.

In addition to the changeable displays that include a covered wagon and horse-drawn carriage, antique fire vehicles, a railroad hand cart, an A.J. Miller hearse, a vehicle crashed at the Transportation Research Center and numerous Honda automobiles and motorcycles, the caboose formerly on the Logan County Fairgrounds is behind the building and a replica of local aviation mechanic Clarence Wissler’s WA6 airplane that is still being built will hang from the ceiling in the atrium.

The facility was paid for with a $2.4 million grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation and $620,000 in local matching money.

The ceremony included brief remarks by Ohio Historical Society Executive Director Burt Logan, Honda of America Foundation President Jim Wehrman and Ohio Department of Transportation Region 7 representative Matt Parrill.

Mr. Wehrman said Honda’s combined $300,000 contribution is a token of appreciation for the long-standing partnership with Logan County, which is home to two manufacturing plants, numerous supplier operations and about 1,500 employees.

“It’s a natural fit for Honda, Logan County and the transportation museum,” he said. “Honda is pleased to collaborate with you to celebrate the transportation history of Logan County.”

David Wagner, immediate past president of the historical society, closed the event by dedicating a time capsule that will be open in 100 years.

“We’re not done; we are looking ahead to the future,” he said, before describing a list of items placed in the capsule.

Some of them included a Newsweek article about 100 places to explore before they disappear, a roll of pennies, blank compact disc and cassette tape, books by Allan Eckert, a Honda uniform shirt, a video of the automaking process at the East Liberty Plant and copies of the Bellefontaine Examiner and other magazines of interest.