Although the wheels of progress seem to turn like the minute hand on a clock, barely noticeable when you first stare at it but as soon as you turn away from it for a short time it can be amazing to see how far it has traveled when you next take a glance. This is the fashion that many of our projects seem to follow. As a stead fast, dedicated group of volunteers doing our very best to preserve the communities and the nation’s heritage we are listening, learning and adjusting as we go. With our long term strategic plans and goals pointing us in the right direction there is definitely more than meets the eye going on behind the scenes. So, just like watching the minute hand on the clock, if you’ve stepped away for a while come on back and see what’s happened you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Be sure to checkout our Before and After pictures located in the Photo Gallery tab and you can see that progress is definitely being made.
In this section we will keep you informed on our many current and future projects. Here is a brief overview of what’s in the works.
Construction Projects – HISTORY UNDER RECONSTRUCTION!
With the assistance of Federal and State Transportation Enhancement grants, Vision Iowa Grant Funding, Woodbury County, City of Sioux City, Losses Hills Tourism Bureau, Iowa State Historical Society, Missouri River Historical Development, and local donations from hundreds of visitors, community business leaders and members we are going to:
1. Construction Development Phase IV – ( Summer 2010 ) – COMPLETE
- Blacksmith/Machine Shop – The brick tuck pointing was accomplished a couple years ago. This year we will put on a new roof, install new windows and doors. A specialized concrete foundation is going to be installed in the larger machine shop portion of the building as this will be the new home of the 1911 Corliss steam engine and it’s ammonia compressor that we rescued from the former Sioux City Stockyards Swift & Company pork packing plant in the summer of 2009 prior to it’s demolition. This display hall will showcase industrial steam operations and the main exhibit will be the completely restored AND operational Corliss Steam engine. This way our visitors can not only see the engine they will be able to get a real feel for and the sights, sounds, and smells of a live operating steam engine.
- Civil and Railroad Engineering Exhibit Center – Being built on the location of the former Lunch Room/Air Brake Shop building. This all new 50′ x 80′ wood structure will look similar to the old Lunch Room & Air Brake Shop there by maintaining the historic look of the railroads shops complex. See more on this project in our Current Project 3 tab.
2. Construction Development Phase V – (Fall – Winter – Spring 2015-2016) – COMPLETE
- Car Shops Building – The former Car Repair Shops offices and carpenter shop building will be our new Railroad Marketing Display Hall. This will feature rotating displays focusing on different railroads and the means to which they marketed their railroad to the public. Renovation to this building will include new windows, electrical and heat and air conditioning.
- Sand Drying House – This building will receive a complete make over. Brick tuck pointing, new roof, doors and windows, interior, electrical, heat and air conditioning. This building will have a future as a multi-media display hall which will include video and audio displays about the area and the workers that made the railroads go.
- South End Water Closet – The former bathrooms for the south end of the rail yard this building will also receive new brick tuck pointing, new roof, doors, windows and interior. This building will be used as a storage facility.
- Engineers Tool Shed – This small building will receive new tuck pointing, windows, door, electrical, heat and air conditioning. This building will become our main entrance ticket booth and welcome center.
2A. Construction Development Phase V – (Fall – Spring 206 -2017)
- 15 inch Railroad – A 15 inch gauge operating railroad will be installed on an approximately 1 1/2 mile loop to provide transportation in a fun and quick manner around the fenced in area of the historic district. Starting with a replica 1st generation gas powered F7 locomotive and 3 passenger cars all painted to resemble the Milwaukee Roads Midwest Hiawatha passenger train that used to provide service to Sioux City. The passenger cars will have seating for 12 people each and the observation car on the back will also be handicap accessible and have space for two wheel chairs. A long range plan a few years down the road yet, is to bring in and operate a live steam locomotive for this train also for all to enjoy.
3. Construction Development Phase VI – (2016-2018)
- Big Sioux River Trail – In conjunction with the Sioux City River Trail System and the Stone State Park header trail which will run down along Iowa State Hwy 12 we are providing a crossover trail to connect the trails into one continuous trail system for the enjoyment and health benefits of the entire community.
- Milwaukee Railroad Shops Interpretative Trail System – A new paved trail system for our visitors interconnecting all the buildings and other sites of interest around the complex. No longer will our elderly and handicapped visitors have to worry about using 4-wheel drive wheel chairs and extreme terrain walking shoes (ha,ha). A nice smooth, easy walking, level, non-muddy trail for all to enjoy.
- Entrance Drive and Parking Lot – YES! REALLY!! A paved entrance and parking lot – HAPPY DAYS, HAPPY DAYS!
4. Construction Development Phase VII – (Feb – Mar 2015) – COMPLETE
- Visitor Restroom Facilities
5. Construction Development Phase VIII (2016-2018)
- This phase of construction will be primarily focused on the roundhouse building. The scope of work will include; new external wood locomotive bay doors for bays 2 thru 6 and another door at the front end of bay 4 and internal metal roll-up doors behind each of these – this will allows us to keep the historic look of the external view of the building and increase security and help make the internal envelope of the building more weather tight, internal lighting for bays 3-6, electrical installations throughout bays 3- 6, a new external wood wall for bay 6, window repairs as required, complete external painting of the roundhouse woodwork in its entirety and finally electrical and lighting installations into the machine/blacksmith shop building.
6. Preservation Gallery – (2012) – COMPLETE
- This gallery will be located in the room to the north of the gift shop in bay 1 of the roundhouse on the ground level. This gallery is being built to highlight our restoration efforts since the SHRA was formed on Feb 14th, 1984. The gallery will be a quiet place to contemplate, explore and understand our organization, it’s efforts, it’s volunteers and it’s long range goals. The gallery will be split into seven areas, Memberships and Volunteer Recruitment, Donor Recognition, Volunteer Recognition of current and past volunteers, Historical and Preservation Awards & Designations, Projects Before & After Gallery, SHRA Organizational Timeline Past, Present and Future and a private Donation Kiosk for those wishing to make an immediate donation or become a member.