Railroad Museum hosting "Sweetheart Express" Valentine's event

Edna and Frank "Watermelon" Campbell stand inside Railroad Museum of Oklahoma on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. The museum will host a "Sweatheart Express" dinner Valentine's Day. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

ENID, Okla. — Railroad Museum of Oklahoma, 702 N. Washington, will host a "Sweetheart Express" dinner and dance on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.

The event will begin with hors d'oeuvres and music at 6:30 p.m., followed by supper seating in the museum at 7:30 p.m.

After dinner, a dance floor will be available for couples to enjoy and dance to the music of Steven Harwood, pianist and vocalist.

Dinner will be catered by Angel Delight Catering, and will include Chicken Kiev or grilled sirloin steak with sides and either cheesecake or apple crisp in a butter rum sauce.

Ticket cost of $45 per person will go toward museum operations. For reservations, call (580) 542-2639.

Edna Campbell, wife of museum founder Frank "Watermelon" Campbell, said the museum will be decorated for the holiday, and the event will be a fun time for local couples.

"We want people to come out to the museum and have fun," Edna said. "You'll have good food, good music and dancing. We just want to enjoy the event, and we like putting it on for people at the museum."

Watermelon said he hopes the Valentine's dinner and dance will raise visibility for the museum among Enid locals.

"We have people come here to this museum from all over the world — we have that pretty well bottled-up," he said. "But I want more people here in Enid to know the museum is here, so we'll have more people from Enid come and enjoy it."

He encouraged locals to "get out and see what Enid is all about."

Watermelon, who worked 44 years on various railroads, was able to convert the old Santa Fe Freight Depot into the Railroad Museum of Oklahoma in 1989.

The Santa Fe depot had been closed for 35 years when Campbell approached company officials about what their plans were for it. He was told it was going to be torn down. Instead, he proposed to let him have it for the museum. Officials told him they would let him try. Eventually, Santa Fe would lease the ground to him but donate the museum to Campbell.

Thirty years later, it has become what is billed as the largest museum of its kind with more than one million railroad artifacts.

The museum’s railroad yard includes:

• Eleven cabooses, nine of which served Enid — Rock Island, Southern Pacific, Frisco, Northern Pacific, Santa Fe, Missouri Pacific, MKT, Burlington Northern and Union Pacific.

• A 1930 Frisco boxcar and 1920 Frisco hopper car with arch bar trucks.

• Twelve different standard gauge freight cars.

• A 65-foot traveling post office car.

• A 1928 automobile boxcar.

• “Wigwag’’ grade-crossing signals.

• A 1937 3-dome riveted tank car.

• A 1954 U.S. Army hospital/former Amtrak lounge/diner car.

Inside the museum, visitors can see a large collection of railroading artifacts, the depot and a model railroading area.

Railroad Museum of Oklahoma is open 1-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (580) 233-3051.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for James? Send an email to jneal@enidnews.com.

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