Call it the Little Engine That Could…and it did, in fact, pull literally hundreds of thousands of guests at Eden Springs Park in the heydey of the House of David. Now, for the first time in 69 years, the 1904 Cagney Steam Engine which they called simply #7 for decades, will take passengers aboard for a truly historic run at Eden Springs Park in Benton Harbor on the weekend of October 22nd.
The mighty little engine was first purchased in 1908 by members of the House of David to make countless runs at Eden Springs Park when it first opened in July of that year. That little Cagney — the same style as is currently used at the park — was too small to pull the huge crowds that turned out regularly at Eden Springs, so it was modified by House of David members in the late teens, adding more muscle and weight to her.
Engineer Gordon Reay says that #7 served faithfully at the park pulling hundreds of thousands of guests up until 1948 when it was sold to help raise funds to build the new line of steam engines that would run at the park for the next more than 35-years. A restored example of those trains is beautifully displayed in the soaring lobby of the Hanson Technology Center at Lake Michigan College’s Napier Avenue Campus in Benton Harbor.
Fortunately for true fans and aficionados of Eden Springs Park, #7 was purchased from an owner in Pennsylvania and was recently returned to the Park on M-139 in Benton Harbor.
There the teams of volunteers were able to secure certification to return the steam engine back to public service. The might little #7 will still need a full restoration with a new boiler, and funds are being raised to help keep the engine alive and well for many generations to come at Eden Springs Park. However on Sunday, October 22, 2017 from 2pm until 4pm, a special event showcasing #7 will be held at the park, and give rides for the first time in 69 years.
In the meantime, Eden Springs Park is fully decorated for Halloween and will be running miniature trains each Saturday from 5-to-9pm and Sunday from 4-to-8pm for the next three weekends.
The public is invited out to take a seasonal miniature train ride and help support Eden Springs Park, which is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration and operation of the park.
Visit the park and see their amazing progress, and you can also follow along on Facebook “Eden Springs Park at House of David” for dates of the Christmas trains in December and other events.
Tickets are $3.00 for train rides (children 3 and under free)
Please purchase a separate ticket, also $3.00 for the special ride behind #7 on October 22nd between 2-4pm.
Your admission to the park and the parking of your own vehicle is free.