New Mexico

Model trains return to Harvey House for special exhibit

BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) - Years after it was kicked out, a popular exhibit is returning to one of the most historical sights in the state — the Harvey House.

Visitors to the Harvey House in Belen will once again be able to hear the sound of trains outside and inside. 

Monday, the Model Railroad Club began setting up for its upcoming model train exhibit, but it's not the first time the Harvey House has welcomed the model trains. 

For nearly two decades, the museum was home to the club. That's until 2014, when it was evicted by the city.

"After 19 years of being in the Harvey House, we had to leave the Harvey House," George Winters said. 

The city said it could no longer give the club a free ride and that space was needed for records. 

"We are not able to provide free rent and free utilities. We must charge them fair market value rent, and rather than do that we would prefer to see this as a time we can transition," Belen spokesperson Julie Cervantes said. 

Now, four years later, the model train exhibit is returning for a temporary show. 

"There are several older members here that are just thrilled to death to be back. They've been telling me it's been bringing back memories and so on and so forth," a Model Railroad Club member said.

Museum manager Frances Zeller says it took time to rekindle the relationship but thinks the partnership will be a hit. 

"So it's taken a year of just kind of getting to know each other again, and they're finally back to set up a special exhibit and we're really excited about it," Zeller said. 

While the exhibit is only temporary, Harvey House officials are hopeful it will become a regular occurrence. 

"We welcome them back. If they're willing we'll have two or three shows a year if they're up for it," Zeller said.

The exhibit kicks off Tuesday, April 17 and will run for two weeks.


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