The Living History Christmas with its Model Train/Village scenes has a history of its own. The LGB Trains were originally owned by Ann and HampSmead, and were set up each year for their family’s Christmas enjoyment and celebration of Christmas beginning with one train in 1971.
It was such a hit, that each year they added more features, including village scenes, more and different trains, more track and varying configurations for the train – including tunnels, overpasses, depot stops, auto crossings, and many moving parts in the village besides the trains themselves. It steadily grew in size and reputation until schools were bringing classes of children to view the village setting which was magical. This continued as an annual event in their home up thru the early 1980’s. Addition of Department 56 Village Scenes were added, and Nancy Elswick was helpful in selecting many new additions.
Several years later the Gregg County Historical Museum was preparing a Christmas Celebration at the historical Northcutt House on South Fredonia. To enhance the occasion, W. D. Northcutt, III, founder and long-time Board Member of the Museum, asked the Smeads if they would allow one of their trains with scenery to be used in decorating the House. After that successful display, it was expanded to be set up in the Museum itself each Christmas as part of the LIVING HISTORY CHRISTMAS event which the Museum began to sponsor.
It has grown each year with the addition of more Department 56 Villages and scenes. Nancy Elswick continues to help with the set-up and design each year. This becomes the transformation of the Museum into a magical place for children and adults alike. It transports any viewer to a place of imaginary wonderland and happy experiences, and the experience lingers in leaving the actual display.
This year the LIVING HISTORY CHRISTMAS will open at the Gregg County Historical Museum on Saturday, December 7th from 10:00 am until 2:00pm. Thanks to World of Wonders there will be several hands on activities for the kids. Christmas comes alive with the Dulcimer Players, a blacksmith, a choir and Mrs. Claus reading Christmas stories in the museum. It is free to the public.
A sneak preview of the Holiday Model Train Exhibit will be held on Friday, December 6th from 5:00 pmuntil 8:00 pm during downtown Longview’s Christmas at the Courthouse celebration and will
remain on display through December 21st. There is also a smaller collection on display
in the lobby at the Citizen’s Bank building on Fredonia Street, downtown.
Holiday Exhibit Hours are Tuesdays thru Fridays 10 am to 4 pm and Saturdays 10am to
2pm. Admission is Free and sponsored in part by Longview’s Cultural Activities Advisory
For more information contact the Gregg County Historical Museum at (903)
Follow the museum on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Gregg-County-Historical-Museum