Today my son and I went with my father-in-law, brother-in-law, and nephew to the Jackson Street Roundhouse, one of the Minnesota Transportation Museum sites. While this wasn’t something new, as my wife and I have taken our kids there before, we hadn’t been on a tour of the workshop and blacksmith shop.
If you request it of a docent, they’ll gladly take you to see the rest roundhouse you don’t normally get to see. Some of the roundhouse is just storage, while in other parts they are restoring trains and cars, and in the rest they have their workshops. For instance in the restoration area they are restoring a large steam engine. They have it stripped down and you can see right inside the boiler. They are also restoring a touring car and a diesel electric engine. All you really can see with the last two is where they’ve welded new metal top restore the rusted out pieces.
All the way to the back is the workshop, There they have metal lathes, mills, planes, and other equipment for making replacement parts. In the very back they have a hand cranked blacksmith’s forge where they forge parts they need and also teach iron working to scouts and other groups.
If you ever get to the museum, and I mean because the road construction is horrible down in St. Paul right now, be sure to ask to go back to the shops!