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.

The Ice House in the town of Possum Ridge (From the prop collection of the Museum Division, MDAH)

The Ice House in the town of Possum Ridge (From the prop collection of the Museum Division, MDAH)

Lucky Osborne grew up near the original Ice House in Tchula, Holmes County. His family lived down the street from the building. There was a fence on the side of the building with signs saying “Danger, High Voltage, Keep Out.” Inside the fence was a machine that whined and made other curious noises. Although Osborne was never allowed to see it, he always wondered what the mysterious machine looked like.

When he was building the Ice House model for Possum Ridge Osborne decided to put his own machine inside the fence. Using parts from washing machines, televisions, cable television parts, and toys, he constructed a device the way he had imagined it. He never learned what the original machine did, but now you can see his idea for it at the Possum Ridge Ice House, complete with the “Danger, High Voltage, Keep Out” signs.

The Ice House machinery The Ice House in the town of Possum Ridge (From the prop collection of the Museum Division, MDAH)

The Ice House machine in the town of Possum Ridge (From the prop collection of the Museum Division, MDAH)

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.