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Enormous train display coming to Connellsville

| Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, 6:03 a.m.
Progress is evident on Connellsville's new museum and cafe being constructed along Crawford Avenue next to ArtWorks in Connellsville. The museum will house an enormous train display. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier on Thursday, October 18, 2012.

The enormous model train scene housed at Nemacolin Woodlands for years will be making its journey to Connellsville on Wednesday.

The 25-by-50-foot railroad display, featuring scenes from the area like Connellsville's former B&O Railroad Station, was the result of a labor of love for 75 years by Harry Clark, who passed away in November 2011 at the age of 91.

The display was housed at The Wild Side, part of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington. Now, it must be removed to make way for the Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin.

Purchased by Terry “Tuffy” Shallenberger, the owner of Shallenberger Construction, the display will be moved, as he wished, to his hometown of Connellsville.

On Wednesday, a wall will be taken out of The Wild Side to make room for the display, which will then be placed on a heavy-duty tractor-trailer and make its way from Farmington to Connellsville.

While there hasn't been a confirmed time as of presstime, Michael Edwards, president of the Fayette County Cultural Trust, said the route for the display will travel down Route 119, then up through Martin's plaza and then down Route 201 and onto Crawford Avenue to the site where it will stay.

The display will be housed in a $450,000 building measuring 50 feet wide by 90 feet deep. Designed by K-2 Engineering of Uniontown and paid for by Shallenberger, the building will be modeled after Connellsville's old B&O station and is currently being built on the former Burns Drug Store site, which was purchased by the cultural trust.

In addition to the model railroad display and other railroad memorabilia, the building will house a coffee shop/restaurant and a gift shop and will be named “The Connellsville Canteen.”

The canteen theme honors the women volunteers who met troop trains with sandwiches and hot beverages during World War II. There is a historic plaque along Water Street, near Central Fellowship Church, on the spot where the canteen stood.

After the display is uncovered, members of the city's HObo Model Railroad Club are expected to help get it up and running.

A formal ground-breaking ceremony could be held at a later date, Edwards said.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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