On Saturday, May 10, 2014, I had the opportunity to participate in an award ceremony for Richard Hillman, one of the founders of the Southern Museum for Civil War & Locomotive History. This museum is primarily a railroad museum that focuses on education through outreach programs, lectures and educational exhibits. The museum was founded in 2003, replacing the Kennesaw Civil War Museum, which was the enclosed display site of the locomotive General, which was part of what has come to be known as the Great Locomotive Chase.
Dick was honored with the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society’s Senior Achievement Award, which recognized his life-long contribution to the preservation of railroad history as a writer and collector, but primarily for his role in founding the museum. A major exhibit at the museum tells the story of the Glover Machine Works, which was a late nineteenth-century/twentieth century builder of small industrial steam locomotives. This business, which closed it’s doors after over 100 years of operation, was one of the earliest examples of post-Civil War industrialization in the South. Hillman worked tirelessly with the Glover family and the managers of the new museum to ensure that the Glover exhibit showcased the many contributions the business made to southern industry, as the region transitioned from an agrarian economy to an industrial one.
In addition, Hillman wrote a book about the Glover Machine Works, which was heavily illustrated with black & white builders photos made from glass plate negatives. Moreover, the entire Glover archives collection is housed at the Southern Museum.
It was my pleasure to join others in honoring the many contributions to the preservation of railroad history made by Dick Hillman. The museum is his signature achievement, and will teach multiple generations about the role of railroads in the Civil War, along with the story of the Glover Machine Works.