SUMMERVILLE — This town was the first depot stop for South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company trains travelling from Charleston to Aiken in the 1800s. It will be the last stop the Best Friend of Charleston makes before heading into the “shed” in Charleston this month.
The Best Friend is a scale replica of the 1830s locomotive that opened regularly scheduled commercial passenger service in Charleston and the country. The original ran for six months until its boiler blew.
The replica, built in the 1920s,is owned by the city of Charleston. It’s being returned to the city after six years on loan to Norfolk Southern headquarters in Atlanta. It will be housed in a new, glass-enclosed display museum near Ann and John streets downtown, in an area known as the East Shed.
The return — ironically by truck — has been scheduled for Oct. 28, said Chris Ohm, Summerville-Dorchester Museum director. The locomotive, wrapped in plastic for transport, will be unwrapped in the town after arriving about noon.
Ohm called it an opportunity for Summerville residents to get a glimpse of the town’s own railroad history.
The locomotive “is an amazing, 100-year-old museum piece,” he said.
A press conference has been scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the museum, 100 E. Doty Ave., to announce the train’s visit, Ohm said.
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