The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park has been a staple of Scottsdale, AZ since opening to the public in 1975. The 30 acre park sits on land that was donated to the city in 1967 by the Fowler McCormick family. The jewel of the park is the 5/12 (5 inches equals 1 foot) standard Paradise & Pacific Railroad. The train runs year-round, with rides available to visitors every 30 minutes on weekdays, and continuously on weekends during park hours. With assistance from former U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, the train was actually constructed by the United States Marine Corps as part of a training exercise.
In addition to the fully operational railroad, the park features a variety of additional attractions including a carousel, playground, Western Town play area, authentic railroad exhibits, ramadas for parties/picnics, designated birthday party train cars, stage for evening performances, xeroscape arboretum, railroad museum, eating areas, live steamers (miniature train for small children), model train clubs and more.
The park is not just a paradise for the kids, however. It is awash in history for the adults. Exhibits include the 1907 built Magma Arizona Railroad Engine No. 6, which hauled copper from Superior to Magma, AZ for 38 years.
The Roald Amundsen Pullman Car was built in 1928, and used for maximum security travel for every president from Herbert Hoover to Dwight Eisenhower. The Baggage Car which currently houses the Railroad Museum was built in 1914 as a sleeping car. It was converted to carry baggage during World War II. The Merci Train was France’s “thank you” to the goodwill of the American public. Following WWII, Americans donated goods and materials to fill 250 railroad cars, which were then delivered to war- ravaged France. France commissioned the Merci Train to return the favor. 49 so-called 40 & 8 boxcars (could hold 40 men or 8 horses) full of French treasures were delivered to America as a gesture of thanks. One of the boxcars is proudly on display.*
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The Railroad Park hosts a series of events over the course of the year including Railfair, a free summer concert series, holiday lights, and more. Follow the link below for the full calendar of events.
The park is also getting a facelift as construction is under way for a new home for the model train clubs that operate on its grounds. Completion is slated for the fall of 2010.
*All McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park facts courtesy of www.therailroadpark.com
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Paul Slaybaugh is a Realtor with Realty Executives in Scottsdale, Arizona. An Arizona native, Paul was raised in McCormick Ranch. He loved riding the Paradise and Pacific Railroad as a child, and he still visits the park every week. Only now he rides with his own little ones.