Ellis foundation reaches campaign goal for "Little Engine That Could"

Community Foundation of Ellis Press Release
[PHOTO: Picture of the December 28, 2020 snowfall on train park and the newly constructed storage garage for the miniature train rides.

The Community Foundation of Ellis reaches their $250,000 goal for The Little Engine That Could campaign with a $10,000 grant from the Beach Family Foundation, Derby.

The initial objective of the campaign was to construct a storage garage and restore the miniature train belonging to the Ellis Railroad Museum. The miniature train is a one-third scale replica of GM’s 1950s Aerotrain, 1 of 4 ever built, that has been providing rides since 1993 on a three-quarter mile-long track.

With the money raised, the Foundation and its partners constructed the new storage garage that represents an old-time loading dock and restored the miniature train. Train rides are anticipated to begin in March when the Ellis Railroad Museum opens for the 2021 season.

In addition to the original objective, the train park was revamped during the campaign, which included the repainting of the Union Pacific caboose and historic train depot from Penokee, and the addition of fencing, landscaping, lighting, and art murals.

The Foundation says ‘thank you’ to each donor who contributed to the success of the project and would like to recognize the top contributors: Lee and Jackie Frickey, Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Sizewise, Brian and Michelle Frickey, Brad and Stacy Frickey, Union Pacific Foundation, CCR & Landscaping, Beach Family Foundation, Heartland Community Foundation.

CCR & Landscaping and Dennis Schiel were very instrumental in much of the projects designs and donated labor and materials to help see the project succeed. Many other vendors who helped with the success also donated some variation of materials or labor. D & B Body Shop restored the train, Eck & Eck Construction built the storage garage, Don’s Electric brought in light posts and did the electrical work, and Rupp Arts & Signs repainted the Union Pacific caboose. Other vendors, but not all, include Honas Tank Service, JCR Painting Service, and Leon’s Welding. The Foundation is very appreciative of all the vendors who helped bring this project to life.

Donations to the campaign are still welcomed and can be addressed to the Community Foundation of Ellis and mailed to the Ellis Alliance office at 820 Washington St., Ellis, KS 67637.