The Cookeville Depot Museum

The winter months can feel so dark and dreary. I could easily compare my energy level to that of a hibernating bear during winter; but the weather is finally getting warmer. Spring is just around the corner. When we got an early taste of spring in mid-February, I took advantage of the good weather, heading out to the Cookeville Depot Museum to photograph the 1913 Baldwin Steam Locomotive, known as the 509.

The History of the 509 [as shown on one of the placards in front of the train]

“The Louisiana and Arkansas RR acquired this “Ten Wheeler” directly from the builder, Baldwin Locomotive Works, in 1913. They took delivery of eleven 4-6-0 engines which they used for both passenger and freight service. It was designated Engine Number 403 and later renumbered 509. It served the L&A until 1950 when it was sold to the Louisiana and Midland RR where it was used until having a collision with another of its engines, Number 551, a Mikado. It was repaired and then sold to the Rapids Gravel Company in 1952. In 1966 it was acquired by Mr. John Thompson of Monee, Illinois who place it into storage. Thompson sold it to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in 1982 where the tender was re-lettered with the Friends of the Depot Museum in 2002. It was reconfigured to match the large fleet of Baldwin 4-6-0’s operated by the Tennessee Central Railway Company. Its markings were changed accordingly but its numerical designation would fittingly stay 509 to let it symbolically join its historical sisters…the TC 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507 which regularly pulled their cargo along these tracks.”*

I would highly recommend a visit to the Cookeville Depot Museum for anyone who enjoys a little taste of railroading history. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and is located at the corner of Broad and Cedar Streets in Cookeville, TN. Admission is free!

Feel free to view more of my photos from this excursion on Flickr at Cookeville, TN Train Depot & Vicinity.

*It is not my intent to infringe on anyone’s copyright to the above words. I only wish to share the history of this locomotive as accurately as possible for educational purposes only. For more information, please visit: or call 931-528-8570.


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