The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum presents “Hell on Wheels: Union Pacific Railroad Towns in Wyoming”, a new temporary exhibit on display from April 8 to August 2, 2014. The exhibit, on loan from the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming, weaves together historical images and first-hand accounts of life in the towns along the Transcontinental Railroad as it was built.
During the construction of the railroad, end-of-track towns appeared and disappeared as the tracks moved west. Surveying and grading teams and later track-laying teams established temporary supply and construction camps along the rail route. Tent cities, consisting of canvas and wood structures, sprang up around the work camps to supply services for workers. Saloons, dance halls, brothels, stores, and gambling houses were common. Known as a home for wild behavior, these towns earned the nickname “Hell on Wheels.”
Spring exhibits at the museum also include “Imagining the Southwest: Art of the Santa Fe,” which opened last month. This exhibit explores the Santa Fe Railway’s support of western artists and their use of art to create a new identity for the railroad. “Imagining the Southwest” will be on display through May 31.
The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum is located at 315 W. Avenue B in downtown Temple, Texas. For more information about exhibits, museum hours and admission, please visit www.rrhm.org or call 254.298.5172.