The train town of Possum Ridge has been a holiday tradition in the capital city for nearly forty years. Its running trains and detailed model buildings have delighted both children and adults every December. This series explores the history of the town and the stories behind its buildings as related to us by Lucky Osborne, who built most of the town himself. Osborne continues to volunteer his time to maintain the town and read from “A Special Visitor Comes to Possum Ridge,” the children’s book inspired by the exhibit.

Osborne's Grocery in the town of Possum Ridge (From the prop collection of the Museum Division, MDAH)

Osborne's Grocery in the town of Possum Ridge (From the prop collection of the Museum Division, MDAH)

The original Osborne’s Grocery was a basic general store in Carroll County that was operated by Lucky Osborne’s uncle. He never saw the building prior to making the model, but he had seen pictures of it. The scene depicted in the model is based on a story told to Osborne by his uncle and others.

Shortly after World War II, a soldier was home on leave from the army. When it was time for him to return, his wife took him to Osborne’s Grocery, a Greyhound stop, to catch the bus. At the same time the couple was waiting for the bus, two men were on the roof painting the front of the grocery. Just as the bus was pulling up, one of the painters knocked over a bucket of white paint. The soldier happened to be standing below the workmen and the paint spilled onto the soldier’s head. They tried to clean him up as well as they could, but he returned to camp with paint still on him. If you look closely, you can see the soldier with his bag standing underneath the paint as it falls from the roof!

The model train town of Possum Ridge and historic Christmas trees and toys are on display Monday, noon–4:30 p.m., Tuesday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. through December 22 on the first floor of the William F. Winter Archives and History Building at the corner of North and Amite streets in Jackson. Tours for school groups are available by reservation Tuesday–Friday, December 6–16, 9 a.m.–noon. For information call 601-576-6800.