Prairie Village News 6/26/18

Faron Wahl, Manager.

Remember last week when I wrote about waiting, especially that part about the tougher the wait, the sweeter the reward? Well, things just got a bit sweeter!

Just prior to Carousel Works departing for South Dakota to begin our carousel’s reassembly this week, one of their primary service vehicles suffered a sudden major engine problem. Since the one involved is outfitted as needed for an installation such as ours, it is a key component of the entourage headed our way.

Moreover, because the nature of this firm’s work and heavy travel causes them to necessarily operate under DOT rules and permits, this unit is DOT compliant for all states traveled through during this trek, (the regulations of which vary considerably from state to state). The only solution is to allow the repairs to be made, and they will take several days.

Since the scheduled trip we agreed upon lands just ahead of a major international trip and installation already in motion, our next window of opportunity for the installation is later in July. We have nailed down those details, and with some very tight planning and work here after they depart, our grand celebration should only be delayed about two weeks. I’m working out those details now, shooting for early August.

A longer buffer zone to help shield us from any repeat holdup is also built into the new dates. Why wasn’t there any safety scheduled into the first planned trip, some may ask? There was, but in a business such as theirs, only so many options for movement are available, buffer included, and we had chosen the time frame that worked best on our calendar. All choices have their risks, and in the scheme of things, this will work out fine.

Along the same lines of adding newness to major historic artifacts, let me share about an exciting addition coming soon to our chapel car display area.

Of all our historic offerings, one of the most rare and unusual, and certainly the most understated, is our Chapel Car Emmanuel. This church on wheels was one of only 13 ever built, and one of just a few remaining in existence. It traveled the rails of the western U.S. for 49 years, bringing church to rough start-up towns forming along newly-laid rail lines.

Emmanuel was retired in 1942, came to the village in 1972, underwent significant restoration, and was later honored with placement on the National Register of Historic Places. Because of its rarity and need for protection, it is not open to the public daily, but rather we offer tours during major events and for specific visiting groups.

The down side of that limited access recipe amounts to our hosting a fascinating and little-known slice of our nation’s history, but at the same time accepting that the average daily visitor walks past it not having any idea the breadth of its rich and important legacy. Until now.

Seeing the need for Emmanuel to have her story told for every visitor and recognizing that 2018 marks 125 years since this car was built and commissioned, a historic marker is now in production. Its placement will be such that passers-by can view this incredible relic and absorb her narrative, making good on our continued commitment to excellent preservation of the past. And if production moves as expected, we’ll dedicate this new marker during Railroad Days, on Sunday, July 8.

There will be much happening that weekend – all things trains, a history presentation, and a great evening concert (get your tickets now!) – all of which I’ll touch on more specifically next week. This marker dedication will occur Sunday morning about 10:45, immediately after the close of the 10:00 am church service we hold each year inside Emmanuel during that weekend.

Please join us. It will be a fitting tribute to a humble rail car that brought light and hope to thousands, as we gather for a worship service inside and then re-assemble outside next to her for the unveiling of a marker which will tell her story to the coming generations.
This is truly what we’re all about.