AMORY – Antiques collectors Greg and Sharlet Beason have steadily been developing a unique tourism attraction on 13 acres surrounding his repair shop near the Glendale Shopping Center. Up until now, all the machinery has been stationary, but on Christmas Eve they launched their train ride on an eighth of a mile-long track just laid in the last few weeks.
The 1912 vintage train first operated in a mine near Columbia, Tennessee and was retired to an amusement park in Florida for a while before ceasing operation.
“It sat in a yard in Warrior, Alabama since 1984 when I bought it to bring to Amory a year ago,” Greg said.
The Beasons’ friend and fellow antiques buff, Dee Comer, spotted the small steam train for sale on Facebook Marketplace.
“I contacted Greg about it. He told me he had already bought it,” he said.
The train made its first Amory run with passengers from as far away as Athens, Alabama. Their friend and fellow antiques buff, Michael Hodges, of Athens keeps up with the Beasons on social media and brought several carloads of visitors for the inaugural train ride. The children all enjoyed a chance to sound the whistle before the experience completely ended.
The train joins the Beasons’ collection, which ranges from old vehicles and manufacturing machinery to antique carnival rides and even industrial art made from pipe rails and gas bottles. Sources for their finds have ranged from their own property to other collectors and estates from as far away as the Midwest and New England.
Indoor exhibits are also set up in the various buildings on the Beasons’ property recalling Amory’s history. Exhibits include a cotton gin, grist and cane mills. Greg plans to recreate a production line from a former pants factory.
“We have a good time collecting,” Sharlet said.
The overall scope of the effort is like what Walt Disney said about his first theme park – an ongoing project that will never really be finished.