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Welcome to the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum!

Train rides at

2014 Speaking Schedule
The programs are free and are open to the public.

If you wish to have a tour of the museum, admission is:
$8 adults, $3 children and includes a tour with a guide. 

The museum is a division of the Iowa Railroad Historical Society.

Saturday, April 26, 2014
In the midst of World War II, lacking men due to the war effort,  the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) recruited an 18-year-old woman from Fonda, Iowa to become a railroad telegrapher.

Bonnie(Prendergast) McGovern answered the call. Visitors will learn about Bonnie's adventures as a UP telegrapher at a presentation that she and daughter, Mary Ann (McGovern) Carson, will present at the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum and History Center at 2 p.m. on April 26, 2014 in the museum theater.

The program will detail the life and times Bonnie experienced as she pursued her career in this, at the time, very necessary field.  Mother and daughter  team up to offer firsthand accounts of Bonnie's life as a telegrapher, the dangers involved with the position, and how it came to shape her life.

Bonnie worked as a UP telegrapher from 1943-1945 in various midwest depots. According to their book, “Down the Tracks of Time” written by daughter Mary Ann Carson, Bonnie was approached by a Union Pacific representative on August 26, 1942, at her home in Fonda, Iowa, to become a  telegrapher for the railroad. The representative said he was traveling from town to town recruiting one girl from each location to handle this important task.  According to their book, Bonnie said “As the man talked, I could scarcely believe what was happening.” Her life was about to change dramatically.
Throughout her telegraphy career, Bonnie was posted at five different depots and held two positions within the Union Pacific organization.  After attending business school in Omaha, Nebraska, she was first posted, as a telegrapher, in Paxton, Nebraska and was there for a few months before she moved to Archer, Wyoming. Bonnie's next posting was at the depot in Pine Bluff, Wyoming, 40 miles east of Archer.  At age 19 she then became the depot agent in Hershey, Nebraska in the spring of 1944. Her last posting was as a telegrapher in the North Platte, Nebraska yard office where she concluded her career.
On June 21, 1945 she married George (Mac) McGovern. The couple met while Bonnie was working at the North Platte canteen.  Bonnie McGovern now lives in Grand Island, Nebraska not far from her daughter, Mary Ann Carson.  Bonnie will be turning 90 years young on April, 28, 2014.

Bonnie's and daughter Mary Ann's presentation will conclude this year's speaker series at the James H. Andrew museum. 

Learn how this 18-year-old girl from Fonda became a telegrapher with one of the largest railroads in the nation.  Attend Bonnie and Mary Ann's presentation April 26, 2014 at the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum and History Center at 225 10th St. Boone, IA  50036.

Depots of Iowa Exhibit
At one time, there were more than 1,000 railroad depots in Iowa, serving a number of railroads. If you have ever wondered about the history of these depots, wonder no more. Our "Depots of Iowa" exhibit is now open.

The exhibit encompasses Iowa railroad depot history, beginning with the inception of railroads and their depots in the state, progressing through the golden years, and culminating with the declining years of railroading. 

Topics include the importance of railroad depots as social centers, communication outlets, and their initial catalysts of community builders in the state. Thirteen color banners highlight depot history, with many unseen photos. In addition, several interactive kiosks are available, enabling visitors to view many Iowa depots, with more depots being added over time.

Our Exhibits page has information on the new exhibit.

The Railroaders: Honoring their careers
Read the first of our articles highlighting the contributions that railroaders have made to the industry. These folks went above and beyond the call of duty in their work, and made important contributions to railroading in the United States. Now, we are honored to be able to shine a spotlight on Norman "Si" Simons.  Click here to read his story.

Volunteers Wanted
As is the case with our non-profit operating railway museum, the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad, The James H. Andrew Railroad Museum is a volunteer-driven organization. We are always looking for a few good volunteers.  Our Volunteers page has been updated with a look at the many opportunities to volunteer at the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum.

Join Us!
You can help preserve Iowa's railroad history by making your contribution now.  Donations may be sent toIowa Railroad Historical Society Foundation Board, PO Box 603, Boone, Iowa 50036, or pay by credit card by calling 1-800-626-0319, Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM.  The Iowa Railroad Historical Society is a non-profit 501C3 tax-exempt corporation, and as such, donations may be tax deductible. More information may be found on our Support page.

Iowa Railroad Historical Society | 225 10th Street | Boone, Iowa  50036  |  1-800-626-0319

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