Shay Engine #2147

Explore Townsend, TN

Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum

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The Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum is a non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the history of the Little River Lumber Company and the Little River Railroad - the companies that made Townsend, Tennessee and that of the people who worked for them.

Together the Little River Lumber Company and Little River Railroad, owned by Colonel W.B. Townsend and his investors, harvested millions of board feet of lumber from the Great Smoky Mountains from 1901-1939. This operation had a profound effect not only on the environment but also on the people of Tuckaleechee Cove.  Lands owned by the Little River Lumber Company, which included Elkmont and Tremont, later became part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

The museum is housed in the actual Southern Railway/Little River Railroad depot that was located at Walland, the terminus of Little River Railroad.  Exhibits in the museum include equipment used to harvest the lumber and run the railroad, in addition to pictures of the operations, equipment and people.

Displays on the grounds include steam engine #2147, AKA Dorothy, a 1909 Shay locomotive, a Barnhart log loader, a Frick steam engine, and a “set off” house. Set off houses were built by the company and rented to the employees for their families to live in.  The set off houses were moved by train on railroad cars from site to site.  Shays worked best for logging by hugging the curves and steep grades of the mountains. 

Located at 7747 East Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882, on “The Peaceful Side of the Smokies”, the Museum is 45 minutes south of Knoxville, 20 minutes from the Maryville-Alcoa area, and five minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and adjacent Cades Cove. Pigeon Forge and Dollywood are 30 minutes away and Gatlinburg 40 minutes away.

Free admission.  Free parking.  Donations welcome.

Large groups please email or call for an appointment.

For special tours please email or call the museum for an appointment.

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Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum
May, June, July, August, September & October: Daily and Saturday 10:00 -5:00, Sunday 1:00-5:00

April & November: Weekends Only – Saturday 10:00-5:00, Sunday 1:00-5:00

December through March is the Off-Season.

The grounds and outdoor exhibits are available daily although the gift shop and museum building are closed in the off-season of December through March.
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For the most up-to-date hours and information, please contact Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum directly.

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