Located in the former Central of Georgia railway depot, the Chambers County Museum contains a rich variety of exhibits reflecting life in the county as it was in yesteryear.
The depot itself is of masonry construction with a tile roof built in 1908 after fire destroyed the original wood structure. The freight room interior still bears the names of local businesses on the walls to aid in identifying their delivered shipments. A large scale built into the floor of the freight room still weighs correctly to the ounce.
The museum contains an extensive collection of regional stoneware made in early Alabama history from clays mined in Chambers and Randolph counties.
An interesting artifact is a goat treadmill with a hay basket designed just out of reach of the tethered goat thereby enticing him to continuously walk. The treadmill attaches to a wheel that activates a churn’s dasher to make butter.
Joe Louis, world heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949, was born on Buckalew Mountain southeast of LaFayette. An exhibit featuring scrapbooks, photographs, trophies and a pair of his boxing gloves can be viewed.
Other interesting items include a spinning wheel collection, dress fashions of years ago, a hand-woven and dyed pre-civil war coverlet and a mock-up of a typical general store.
On the museum grounds the river ferry Tallapoosa Queen is displayed. It last operated crossing the Tallapoosa River in northwestern Chambers County in 1986. The river crossing was named “Bibby’s Ferry.”
A caboose originally built for the Southern Railway (now Norfolk Southern) is also on display. This caboose is interesting to young folks who’ve never seen one bringing up the rear of a freight train and also to rail fans.
An annex to the museum is a cotton warehouse which shelters the first fire engine in LaFayette, a horse-drawn buggy, a blacksmith shop, primitive carpenter shop and an extensive collection of horse and mule drawn farm equipment. These are just some of the displays in the Farm and Industry Building.
For a trip back in time (just yesterday for seniors) be sure to include a visit to the Chambers County Museum and Annex. Hours are Wednesdays from 9:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 4:00. Saturday hours are from 9:00 to 12:00. Groups can make special arrangements to tour the museum at other times by calling (334) 864-9656 or 864-7924.