A new museum recognizing the role played by the railroad in the life of Ashland and neighboring communities will open its doors to the public this Saturday.




The opening comes 120 years after a crowd gathered in Ashland to watch a golden spike be driven in to connect railroad tracks from the north with railroad tracks from the south. The spike connected not only the West Coast, but completed a route around the nation.




The new nonprofit Ashland Historic Railroad Museum is located in the heart of the historic Railroad District at 258 A St., No. 7, in the A Street Arts Building. At 2 p.m. this Saturday, the public is invited to attend the grand opening of the museum with live music, cookies and coffee as part of the celebration.




"The museum, through photographs, artifacts, and educational displays, will preserve an important part of our history," said Victoria Law, an Ashland resident and president of the museum board of directors. "It will also serve as a venue for artistic, historical and technical presentations related to railroad transportation."




The Ashland Historic Railroad Museum is several hundred feet from Ashland's once-busy railroad depot and hotel. For over 100 years, Ashland served as the hub and crew-change point for all freight and passenger operations in Josephine, Jackson and Siskiyou Counties.




"In recent years, people are showing increasing interest in our railroad roots," Law said. "The museum provides an opportunity to celebrate and understand this heritage."




The museum will be open from noon until 4 p.m.




Wednesdays through Saturdays.




Beginning in January, the museum will begin "Railroad Days" and have extended evening hours from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on the second Friday of each month. Residents are invited to enjoy railroad-related lectures, movies and discussions.




For more information, call Law at 488-2131.