Longview council moves ahead with plan for Shay Locomotive pavilion

2013-02-16T20:15:00Z 2013-10-04T18:00:32Z Longview council moves ahead with plan for Shay Locomotive pavilionBy Amy M.E. Fischer / The Daily News Longview Daily News
February 16, 2013 8:15 pm  • 

Progress on moving the restored Shay Locomotive back to its old site on the Longview Library lawn is chugging along slowly.

Thursday, the Longview City Council approved a $9,400 contract to Collins Architecture Group, a local firm, to design a pavilion to protect the historic 1924 engine from the weather. Collins Architecture also will create a site plan, a building plan and a set of permit documents for the project.

The contract’s cost will be paid out of the city’s capital projects fund, which is fueled by real estate excise taxes.

The general concept for the structure is a peaked roof supported by log pedestals. Beneath it, the locomotive would be surrounded by a fence. Sidewalks would lead to the pavilion, which would have interpretive panels. The pavilion would be near the giant wooden squirrel statue.

The city Historic Preservation Commission, Library Board, Parks Board, city staff and Shay Locomotive restoration sponsors will need to approve the design.

Long-Bell Lumber Co. presented the city of Longview with the 50-foot-long locomotive in 1956 to display as a tribute to the city’s logging roots, and the city placed it next to the Library. Unprotected from the weather, thieves and vandals, the engine rusted there until the mid-1990s, when the city gave the nod to Longview history buff John Chilson to restore it.

Chilson and Longview businessman Jeff Wilson disassembled the rusting hulk into 700 pieces in 1998. The restoration work was finished by 2005, but the parts remained in storage because there wasn’t a practical place to reassemble and display the locomotive. The Chilsons and Wilsons entirely paid for the restoration, which has cost “tens of thousands” of dollars, Wilson said.

Last year, the City Council approved a plan to return the engine to the library grounds. For several months, Wilson and a crew of skilled volunteer laborers have been putting the locomotive back together at Chilson’s house on Columbia Heights.

The 64-ton train will need to be brought to the library in three pieces and lowered with a crane onto a railroad bed that will prevent the engine from sinking into the earth.

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. earlzwow
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    earlzwow - February 17, 2013 3:07 am
    I look forward to welcoming back the 'SHAY'. t has been fifteen years since I've seen it, and
    to have it displayed next to our library couldn't be better. My gratitude to Mr. Chilson, and Mr.
    Wilson. I trust they have done an exceptional job restoring this historical landmark.
  2. Oracle
    Report Abuse
    Oracle - February 17, 2013 2:15 pm
    Should make a lovely shelter for the civic center transients.
  3. Gnildir
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    Gnildir - February 18, 2013 12:10 am
    Ummm Oracle... Did you see that it says it is going to be fenced? I'm glad that they are bringing the Shay back...
  4. Treefarmer
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    Treefarmer - February 18, 2013 7:48 am
    Many Thanks to all involved!!
  5. Oracle
    Report Abuse
    Oracle - February 18, 2013 8:31 am
    Ummm Gnildir...did you see that it was also covered, and is the cover going to end at the fenceline...and we all know that transients don't ever cut fences to access where they want to go, don't we? Yeah, right. Waste of time and money on a hunk of junk that most people don't give a rip about that will rust away just like it did before when the ones who do care about it lose interest.
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