Oct 14, 2008

Kate Shelley Museum

Field Trip Day!!!!

We went to the Kate Shelley Museum in Moingona. It was a beautiful fall day so we all enjoyed some outside time hiking what used to be the railroad trail as well as a picnic at the park.

First, a few picture books that we read a couple of years ago about Kate Shelley:

Kate Shelley: Bound for Legend

Kate Shelley and the Midnight ExpressYou can also read about Kate Shelley at Wiki.

A few interesting facts that we did not know before the field trip. Moingona had a population of about 1,000 to 1,500 in 1880's. There are currently about 75 people that live in this little "village". Also, the railroad followed the lay of the land. Between Boone and Moingona there were around 33 bridges (mostly made of rocks to cross all the creeks, etc.), and between Moingona and Ogden there were 55 bridges. So for a distance of about 15 - 20 miles (railroad was not in a straight line), there were 88 bridges that had to be maintained.

DS#3 interesting fact to remember was that Ms. Shelley crawled over the Des Moines River Bridge with one hand on the rail and the other hand pulling her along. Her lantern had broken and she could only see by the lightening flashes. There were also spikes on the ties to discourage people from crossing the railroad bridge.

She was a very brave young woman. The bridge that she crawled over was burned in the late 1890's and replaced. When the Kate Shelley High Memoral Bridge was built in the 1920's, the railroad no longer regularly came through Moingona.

In the 1930's, the bridge over the Des Moines River where Kate Shelley crossed over, was removed. Today, you can see the embankment and the pilings. The railroad tracks are gone and there is now a path to the river where the tracks were.

We also saw a depot (the original one burnt down due to arson in the late 1800s or 1900s -- the station agent was trying to cover up his embezzlement of $3.50) with the passengar waiting room, the ticket office and the baggage area. The depot that is in Moingona was originally in Beaver, IA. The baggage room had various railroad artifacts as well as a minature steam engine.

A very fun and informative field trip!

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