Steve Young and Bryan Riggsby approached the Rowan County Historical Society for support in displaying one of the old Morehead & North Fork locomotives somewhere in the Morehead community.
The society provided seed money and the project was off and running. The family who owned the locomotive showed interest and several sites were examined while additional members were recruited into the project and the organization took the name of one of the former railroads in the county calling itself the Morehead & North Fork Railroad.
A vintage wooden C&O caboose was acquired, stripped of its covering and readied for restoration. It was to be displayed with the M&NF locomotive.
The old Chesapeake & Ohio Freight Station (built originally by the Elizabethtown Lexington and Big Sandy Railroad in 1881) became available for rent. Recognizing the project had limited funds, the owner helped out with lowered rent while the members of the project performed repairs and restoration to the building. Construction was underway on the new museum buildingClick to view photo(s) larger.
The locomotive aspect of the project was brought to an abrupt halt when a wealthy collector from Ohio determined he wanted the locomotive (# 12), wrote a sizable check and waltzed away with the locomotive that the project had been trying to acquire for two years. The locomotive was moved to Sugar Creek, Ohio where it disappeared into the collector’s private collection.
The building, now on the National Register of Historic Places, opened as the Morehead Railroad & Historical Museum hosting both a railroad museum and general historical museum of Morehead, Rowan County and Eastern Kentucky. In its first year of operation it saw more than three thousand visitors from 30 states, the District of Columbia and eight foreign countries.Click to view photo(s) larger.