Robert Stinson reported on visit in the Temple Daily Telegram.
Officials from the governor’s office and the Texas Historical Commission visited Temple for a two-day assessment of Temple’s current and potential draw as a tourist destination.
Nate Gieryn, travel research specialist with the State of Texas, and Teresa L. Caldwell, Assistant State Coordinator with the Heritage Tourism Program of the Texas Historical Commission, arrived in Temple on February 26th to begin the assessment.
Their first stop was the Railroad and Heritage Museum and the Moody Depot, which houses the Central Texas Area Model Railroaders organization and its collection of model railroad layouts. They were hosted by Club President Earl Blanchette and members Noel Cowling, Dan Ladd, Bill Lancaster, Ed Neill, and Wylie Starnes.
While at the museum and modelers’ center, Ms. Caldwell said she was impressed with her first look at the city.
“I have to say my first impression is wonderful,” she said. “You (the city) recognize your railroad heritage and tie it to not only existing services such as your Amtrak station that is fully operational, but also to your railroad heritage, and that is huge for the heritage tourist.”
“That is a unique opportunity to recognize what you have and you’re playing off of that.”
Gieryn said he was impressed with the Moody Depot and the collection of models.
“This is very neat,” he said. “This is the most model trains I’ve ever seen in one place,” he added.
Last year, CentraMod and the City of Temple struck a 15-year, $1 per-year lease agreement with the modelers for the Moody Depot. In exchange for the lease, the club puts its building fund into renovation.
Guided by city officials, they also visited locations such as the Miller Springs Nature Center; entertainment, shopping, dining and cultural locations; the Cultural Activities Center; and the Mayborn Civic and Convention Center. The Mayborn Convention Center is the site for the 2007 25th Annual Temple Model Train Show.
About the Texas Historical Commission
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is the state agency for historic preservation. THC staff consults with citizens and organizations to preserve Texas’ architectural, archeological and cultural landmarks. The agency is recognized nationally for its preservation programs.