DEKALB, Miss. (WTOK) -- If you know anything about East Mississippi and West Alabama, you know that trains have always played an important role in the lives of many.
Jim Hobgood, owner and curator of the Dekalb Regional Model Railroad Museum (Photo Source: WTOK-TV)
And for one Meridian native, he's turned his love for trains into a very serious hobby. In fact, he's built a museum in DeKalb so others can enjoy.
Jim Hobgood has had a life-long love affair with trains.
"The house I grew up in was across the tracks," said Hobgood, the owner and curator of the DeKalb Regional Model Railroad Museum. "We had to cross the railroad to go anywhere so as a kid from birth to age five, I saw trains coming by the house every day."
In his younger years, Jim got to travel quite a bit, and almost always, it was by train. Now, several years into retirement, he's created a model railroad museum with literally thousands of train items and artifacts.
"I got to ride a train all the way from Jackson, Mississippi, to Chicago and all the way up to Montana," said Hobgood. "While being in the National Guard and doing maneuvers sometime, we'd go to Italy or to Europe. We'd always find a way or to Alaska to ride a train and I've just always liked trains."
Jim continues to criss-cross the country in search of new items to put in his museum, and he enjoys folks coming into his place to take a step back in time. He says his hobby is not a common one, but one he truly has enjoyed for his entire life.
"It's therapeutic to me to do it. I've always enjoyed it," said Hobgood. "I tell folks all the time some men hunt, some fish and some play golf. I play with trains."
Jim Hobgood's Model Railroad Museum: a look at how things used to be, and a definite must-see when you're in Kemper County.
The model railroad museum is located on 299 Main St. in DeKalb. You can schedule an individual or group tour by calling Jim Hobgood at (601) 938-1729.