The Heritage Museum's Shay Locomotive
by Maggie Craig
December 6, 2011
The Heritage Museumís dedicated group of volunteers has been planning for quite some time now to refurbish the museumís Shay steam engine. The engine had been the subject of past vandalism, and most recently, weathering, wood rot, rusting and general disrepair. Saturday saw the beginning of moving the engine from its fenced location near the museum to a shed beyond the cook shack, a move of over 500 feet.
Laying down temporary track to move the 64,900 pound engine is the short answer to a much more complicated question of, "How do we move this thing?" Progress was made Saturday, though, in the form of moving the 1906 vintage workhorse about halfway toward its restoration shed. The accompanying pictures show some of the first dayís process.
If youíve never paid much attention to the museumís Shay engine, located until Saturday in front of the museum in a fenced area, itís interesting to delve into its history.
According to information provided on the web site shaylocomotives.com, there were 2767 Shays built over 67 years under four company names. There are now only 116 known surviving Shays.
Libbyís Shay, Shop Number 1643, was built in 1906 for Thompson Greer Construction Company, which sold it to Libby Lumber Company, with the engine eventually making its way through the years and subsequent owners to the Heritage Museum. For an informative history of Libbyís Shay engine and the work it did, visit the Heritage Museumís Shay Locomotive page.
The Heritage Museumís Shay locomotive is a prized, visible reminder of Libbyís logging heritage, aptly representative of the strong, capable, hard-working men and women who settled this area. The goal of the museumís volunteers is to not only restore the engine, but also to return it to active service around the museum and adjacent grounds. That would be a fitting tribute to Libbyís history.