|Best Friend, Charleston, S.C.|
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Charleston's second best friend is coming home.
An 85-year-old replica of the Best Friend of Charleston, the first train in the nation to offer regularly scheduled passenger service, returns to Charleston this weekend. The replica of the engine, tender and two passenger cars, based on the original plans, will be installed in a new free city museum in one of five old railroad sheds dating to the 1800s. The new museum is the last of the buildings to be refurbished during the past two decades; the first was the nearby city Visitor Center that opened back in 1991.
The replica "is an important part of Charleston history," Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said Tuesday. "We're very proud to install it in a historically appropriate and a very accessible place."
The steam-powered Best Friend of Charleston made its inaugural trip along a 6-mile stretch of track reaching northwest from Charleston on Christmas Day, 1830. The Charleston Courier reported at the time that "the one hundred and forty-one persons flew on the wings of wind at the speed of fifteen to twenty-five miles per hour, annihilating time and space."The "Wings of Wind". How lovely that sounds.Welcome home!