OGDEN -- The Treehouse Children's Museum has seen a lot of changes in recent years, and additional exhibits continue to pop up.
The latest is a wooden handcrafted locomotive train designed after the original Central Pacific No. 60, better known as the Jupiter, that met Union Pacific's No. 119 at Promontory Summit for the golden spike ceremony in 1869.
"When we first built our new building here in 2007, we wanted to have a train that celebrated Ogden's train past and Northern Utah's history and so, we are really excited to have this," Treehouse Director Lynne Goodwin said.
Exhibit designers David Hobbs and Steve Hancock followed the exact blueprints of the original plan.
"The engineer suggested that we get the blueprints," Hobbs said. "They were $19 in the gift shop (at Promontory Summit), so we went in and bought the blueprints on a CD and from there, we dissected it down to half-scale."
The Jupiter and No.119 were two locomotives that met at Promontory Summit to celebrate the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
Goodwin said the train serves as an educational tool for kids to learn more about Utah's train heritage.
"One of our goals as a museum is to tell stories, and we think Ogden and Utah have a great story to tell," she said.
Hobbs and Hancock said this project was not easy. They talked about some of the challenges they faced in finding and using the right materials to replicate the train.
"The processes that went into it stretched both of our talents to the maximum," Hancock said. "We had to figure out how to make the stack out of wood, but yet make it look like metal, and then to make the wood bend to conform to the shape. I had some experience in the sheet metal trade and used those talents to help layout the different sections."
They also used some unexpected materials for the finishing touches, including a silver salad bowl for the front light reflector.
"A lot of the time, we have to go out and source things that are off the shelf and then either tweak them or custom-make them," Hobbs said. "That salad bowl worked perfectly."
Hobbs and Hancock starting building the train a year ago in Hobbs' shop behind his home. Once they finished, Ogden Automotive loaded the train onto a flatbed truck and transported it to the museum. It was inducted as an exhibit Aug. 19 this year.
Hancock said it was fun to see kids' reactions when they brought it in.
"The greatest joy that I have is bringing in a project like this to the museum and then watching the children's reaction as they see it," Hancock said. "That's the best feeling you can have in a job like this."
The train exhibit also includes a pretend ticket office for kids to sell passes and smaller toy train car exhibits for them to play on.
"It's so fun that it's right here with the little station we've got set up, so you can sell the tickets and you can go for a train ride," Goodwin said.
The actual Jupiter model locomotive is up to child safety standards.
Hobbs and Hancock agree that, while it was a difficult project, the finished product exceeded their expectations.
"It's probably more beautiful than what I expected," Hobbs said. "As I was putting it together, at the very final stages of assembly, there were times I just had to stand back and say, 'This turned out really nice.' "
The designers hope the Jupiter locomotive model will continue to enrich the lives of children visiting the museum.
"The engineer that kind of inspired us has stated that it's the most accurate representation of a train he's seen in any museum and in any children's museum," Hobbs said.
For more information, you can visit www.treehousemuseum.org or call 801-394-9663.
Contact reporter Kelly Keiter at 801-625-4218 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @kkeiter.