Just north of the the State Capitol in St. Paul on Pennsylvania Ave. there lies a very historical transportation center.
The Jackson Street Roundhouse is an entertaining place for train enthusiasts of all ages. It is run by volunteer staff and therefore is only open Wednesdays and Saturdays or by appointment. There is an admission fee for anyone 2 years old and over. $5-$10 depending on the day and the age of the visitor.
Jackson Street Roundhouse is in it’s original location and is still a functional and operational roundhouse. Just outside the museum and alongside the parking lot are many old rail cars that are no longer running but available for you to check out.
Remember how I said it was was an entertaining place for train enthusiasts?
Here are some of the things you can find a the Jackson Street Roundhouse.
Train tables. There were at least 4 train tables.
They were able to work a real engine in the roundhouse.
Many different types of historical train cars were available to tour through from a trolley (electric train) to a business class car.
Here is the caboose. Dash and JackJack were so excited about the caboose.
Check out these hand powered railcars.
Looking outside to the current trains was awesome!
This is the business class car (or a least a portion of it)
The roundhouse! This was fascinating to watch. The boys were enthralled.
The caboose and engine we were able to ride!
Dash in front of the cow catcher!
The Caboose ride was a highlight of the visit. On Saturdays they give caboose rides on the 1/2 hour. You can ride as many times as you want to. (You may even be able to ride in the engine–we asked and were able to go up front!)
In the Caboose
The boys and I sat in the cupola part of the caboose. Let me tell you , if you are sitting in the seat, it probably is an awesome view. As a mom, up there just to make sure her boys don’t fall off, you are wedged into a small space so all you can do is watch the boys or the people on the other side of the aisle. But apparently the view was great.
In the Engine
In the locomotive, there is no place for people to sit except for one person and the engineer. For the boys to be able to see out the front, I had to hold them above all the mechanics. (do you notice that JackJack’s hat is missing? He left it on the Thomas display in the giftshop. When we went back, there it was just sitting on Thomas.
This particular Saturday, the Jackson Street Roundhouse was also offering a Classic Bus Tour of St. Paul. It doesn’t happen every Saturday, but this day they were. I convinced my boys that they would love it.
When we got outside, this is what we saw
These are some of the buildings that were important during the railway era in St. Paul. In the lower picture everything that the rails needed in St. Paul was made in this building which was unique. Generally you ordered your parts from a company, but in St. Paul everything was hand crafted for their street cars.
Driving the bus and asking for you to pay your fare in the working farebox.
They offered the Classic Bus Tour 3 times, and we took it twice. The driver gave us a surprised look and just said, “Hi, again!”
My boys and I LOVED this museum. We spent all day there not feeling the need to even eat lunch, and when we left, we felt there was still more to see. We hadn’t seen it all or experienced it all.
It is an amazing museum dedicated to perserving and honoring the history of St. Paul. What makes it even more worth it is the fact that the glue that holds it together and perserveres the museum is that it’s run by volunteers.
I highly recommend it–2 thumbs up and 5 stars
St. Paul, MN 55130