New commemorative bricks laid on Museum walkway

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Memorial bricks bearing the names of railroad buffs and benefactors, the young and the old, grace the walkway in front of the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

The newest additions were set in place Wednesday in anticipation of this weekend's Memorial Day Steam-up -- among them, a brick bearing the name of Rollan Melton, a Reno columnist, editor and publisher who died in January following a long, heart-related illness.

"Anyone can purchase a brick," museum groundskeeper Lisa Macdonald said. "People buy them to commemorate family, friends, memorials, births, or just because they love old trains."

New bricks are added each year about this time, part of the History Happens Project, a joint venture of the Nevada State Railroad Museum and Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

Bricks cost $45 each, and the money is donated to museum restoration and program projects.

An ongoing project since the museum's inception 12 years ago, the pathway extends across half of the front walkway. The number of engraved bricks increases every year and officials plan to continue the project in other areas around the grounds. According to Macdonald, about 80 bricks are added each year.

"This has been a good, solid fund-raiser for us ever since we opened," said museum spokesman Rich Reitnaur. "Many have contributed several bricks over the years and some people travel from afar every year or two, just to visit their brick."

The volunteer organization sells the bricks and the museum handles the placement. Local businesses donate the labor, this year's effort compliments of Keystone Masonry.

"The money is used for emergency repairs and interpretive projects. When the state doesn't have funds, the money is also used for special opportunity purchases," Reitnaur said. "The Friends support this museum in a number of ways. Most of people seen here are volunteers and they're absolutely indispensable."

Considered one of the finest regional railroad museums in the country, the Nevada State Railroad Museum houses more than 50 pieces of railroad equipment from Nevada's past.

Included in the collection are five steam locomotives and several restored coaches and freight cars. The bulk of the equipment comes from the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, America's richest and most famous short line.

The Memorial Day Steam-up is slated for Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Train tickets cost $2.50 for adults and $1 for children 6 to 11. Those 6 and under are free. The museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, costs $2 for adults and is free for those under 18.


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