MISSOULA — Staff and volunteers at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula are expressing thanks after the community helped in a historic train restoration project that surpassed its fundraising goal.
The museum wanted to renovate "Engine #7", the historic locomotive that's been parked at the museum. It ended it's long career on the railroads of Western Montana and was donated 30 years ago.
The engine is remarkable because it's one of the few remaining examples of the "Willamette" engines that were built to work the woods and mountainous terrain of the Northwest.
The goal had been to take advantage of a 1-to-1 match from an anonymous $13,000 donation, to build a display shed and start initial restoration. Not only did the drive meet the goal, but surpassed it, raising over $28,000.
"We are so very grateful and humbled by the outpouring of generosity for our community’s history," said museum spokesperson, Jesse Rogers adding that the museum and Engine #7 volunteers wholeheartedly thank everyone for supporting the fund drive.
The eventual plans are to restore the engine to moving condition for a more active display and better public access to see the engine.