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 Hamp Smead, 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, and Homer Fleischer of Homer’s Model Trains was the “know how” in connecting all the
wires to the right places to make everything work as it was supposed to work. (No small task!!)
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. Homer Fleischer continues to connect all the
wires to the right places. 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 1st
from 9:30 am until 12:30 pm with vintage Holiday entertainment and
Gingerbread Man Cookie Decorating. The Holiday Model Train Exhibit will also open on December 1st
at 9:30 am until 4:00 pm.
The Holiday Model Train Exhibit will run through December 18th
during regular museum hours and also
during ArtWalk and Longview’s Christmas at the Courthouse. Admission is Free and sponsored in part
by Longview’s Cultural Activities Advisory.
Holiday Exhibit hours are Tuesdays thru Fridays 10 am to 4pm and Saturdays 12 pm to 4pm. Admission
is Free; sponsored in part by Longview’s Cultural Activities Advisory