Imagine being 135 years old, completely moved off your foundation twice in your lifetime, and having four different jobs, and serving four different railroad companies.
Lady Lake’s Historical Train Museum is alive and well after doing all of the above.
A recent ribbon-cutting celebrated the grand re-opening of the renovated building with exhibits for an audience of elected officials, supporters, and the general public.
Ceremonies began with presentation of colors, pledge of allegiance to the flag, and welcoming speech by Tom O’Brien, president of the Lady Lake Historical Society.
Lady Lake Mayor Jim Richards, who also serves as Commissioner of Ward 5, officially cut
the ribbon re-opening the museum to the public.
The ceremony was just the beginning of a complete “Fun Day at the Museum” by Log Cabin Park, which also includes The Farmers Market, food and sale vendors, music by Ron Eldridge entertainment, raffles, and giveaways.
“All aboard!” Tom called out as he began the ceremony by giving a short history of the significance of the depot building and the special life it has lived.
The Lady Lake Depot was built in 1883, and the first train ran through in January 1884.
Without the depot building, Lady Lake would have been only a “flag stop” meaning the train would stop, if and only someone flagged it down as it passed by. Having an actual depot building put Lady Lake on the map, so to speak.
Over the years, the building served hundreds, perhaps thousands, of travelers until such time as transportation dried up and the railroads stopped transporting people here.
The depot building was eventually moved to Guava Street and became a warehouse for a packing company.
Eventually, it was moved back to within 200 feet of its original location and became the first Lady Lake Library.
When the present library was built, the depot building was donated to the Historical Society. It and renovated to become an historical museum. Though it has been closed periodically for new installations, this is the final re-opening.
“A big thank you must be given to Carmen Barreto and her staff of volunteers,” says Tom.
Carmen is administrator of the museum and its day-to-day operation. Wray Hall, treasurer of the Historical Society pointed out that many items on display have been donated.
A Community Craft and Yard Sale will be held Saturday, Nov. 17, from 9am-2pm at the Log Cabin Park to benefit the Lady Lake Historical Museum. Display tables are available by calling 352.259.4359.
The Historical Train Museum is at 107 S. Old Dixie Highway, Lady Lake, behind the Log Cabin Park. Hours are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday 10am-1pm.