River Oaks Assisted Living and the Beaufort Railroaders, the group of gentlemen that annually put on the Christmas train exhibit at the Beaufort Library every year, are joining forces to capture something that means a lot to a lot of people.
In the early 1950’s many young men were introduced to a beautiful place named Beaufort by way of a railroad line connecting Yemassee and Port Royal. Their destination in life was not known to them but their next stop would lead them to a place called Parris Island. Soon after these young men would be sent to far away places unbeknownst to them. Some of them never made it back to the U.S. Some of
them did and carried on their lives with the memory of that experience. Many of them realized a dream of returning to the area to work and retire among the beauty of the low country and the tradition of their honor to their country.
River Oaks is beginning to carry on the tradition that brings memories to many. A replica in H-O scale of that train line is beginning to be realized. River Oaks’s Resident Harry Southall came up with the idea before he moved in this year to start a train club. He had stored his trains over the years. Fortunately the local train club was already up and running and Harry and River Oaks Administrator Tony Makar have some trains and buildings to start with.
River Oaks Activities Director Penny Mont jumped on board with the idea of having a train and travel culture including letting the residents at River Oaks choose their destinations. They choose cities across the country and celebrate each stop with indigenous food, entertainment, history & or guest speakers to help experience or relive each locations culture. So far their favorite part is choosing the dinner which embodies each stop. Our first month was kicked off with our home depot, Beaufort.
Historical facts about Beaufort were shared one day. Frogmore Stew Dinner with fresh local jumbo shrimp , smoked sausage, corn, onions, and potatoes were served with homemade cocktail sauce. Our travels started as Beaufort ‘s Mayor Billy Keyserling spent part of the afternoon explaining what it was like to live in Beaufort over the past ½ decade. Most recently we’ve been to Alaska understanding the Iderod through the experience of Mark Sanfords sister Sarah and her PBS documentary of the race.
Donating used tracks are not needed as the Beaufort Railroaders explained that new ones are the only way to go. We are now reaching out to the community for donations of items recreating the Magnolia Trail. Needed for the train line : H-O scale buildings, trees, trains, military vehicles, infantry, animals, fences, roads, etcetera. Also if we could copy any pictures or prints that capture historical Yemassee, Sheldon, Lobeco, Beaufort, Port Royal, and Parris Island related to this era and/ or the train line that ran through.
If you have or know anyone who has items such as these, please contact us so you can be a part of honoring our local heritage.