Council Bluffs celebrates the history trains and railroads – The Omaha News
Omaha News

Council Bluffs celebrates the history trains and railroads – The Omaha News

By: Hannah Wheelock, Reporter

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Over the weekend, museums and businesses of Council Bluffs have come together to celebrate the history of the railroad system and the impact it has had to the area.  

Railroads have been a critical part of the growth and development of both Council Bluffs and Omaha. The first railroad in the area was started in 1858, and many more followed.  

It allowed Council Bluffs to thrive, and the population went from two thousand to 47 thousand in less than one hundred years. Council Bluffs also rose to be the fifth largest mail terminal in the United States in 1953.  

Because railroads have played such a big part in the area’s history, many find it important to educate people of the present on the subject. One place to find these people is at RailsWest Musuem in Council Bluffs.   

RailsWest Museum front sign located in Council Bluffs, IA. (Photo/Hannah Wheelock)

According to the museum director, Kat Slaughter, even the building itself has an important history. “But it was built in 1899, and it was one of the main ways to get in and out of the city. In fact, the first war-or soldiers to come through here was the Spanish-American soldiers coming back from fighting.” 

The RailsWest Museum educates the public year-round, but on this day, through rain and shine, they invite everyone to have fun and get excited about trains just like when they were a little kid. 

Railroad Days is an annual event that has brought many people from around the area to Council Bluffs to learn about all things train and track.  

The event is hosted at multiple locations in Council Bluffs, including RailsWest Museum, each with their own activities. Attendees are welcome to drive or take the trolley to each location.  

Ollie the Trolley stationed at RailsWest Museum to transport event attendees.  (Photo/Hannah Wheelock)

It has become an event that the community looks forward to every year while also exposing new minds to a critical part of local history.

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