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Rare 1920s locomotive built in Cobb returns for a visit

The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History on Aug. 1 will display Glover locomotive #10168, which was built in 1925 by Marietta-based Glover Machine Works.
The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History on Aug. 1 will display Glover locomotive #10168, which was built in 1925 by Marietta-based Glover Machine Works.

Credit: Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History

Credit: Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History

A steam locomotive built in Marietta in 1925 and later parked in an Ohio barn will be coming back home for a visit on Saturday.

One of only a handful like it and believed to be the only one still working, the 95-year-old engine is on its way to a new home in Williston, Fla., about 90 miles southwest of Jacksonville. But first, Glover locomotive #10168 built by Glover Machine Works will be stopping by the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History in Kennesaw.

The locomotive is owned by Daryl Kirby, who with his wife Tracy owns and operates Kirby Family Farm in Williston, a not-for-profit museum specializing in trains and locomotives for at-risk, special needs and terminally-ill children.

Kirby purchased the locomotive on July 9 from the family of Pete Stebelton, who bought it in the 1980s from a restaurant owner who had it on display before closing his business. Stebelton stored the locomotive in his barn in Groveport, Ohio, and restored it to run on compressed air instead of steam.

“We never thought we would see this Glover,” Kirby said.

After acquiring the locomotive, Kirby contacted the museum about his new item. Kirby will make the trip to Ohio this week to retrieve the locomotive, and asked the Kennesaw museum if it would like to showcase it for a few hours before he continues to Florida.

Kirby said Glover Machine Works built about 200 locomotives from 1902 through the 1930s. Out of those, only seven are known to still exist and only two are complete.

The Southern Museum has two Glovers that are partially complete on display. A third Glover that is complete, but not operational, is in the parking lot on the other side of the railroad tracks in front of the Marietta Welcome Center on Depot Street.

The visiting engine will be displayed alongside a coal car, a part of the train once needed to carry coal for burning to power the steam engine. Experts will be on hand to talk in depth about the locomotive to residents.

Richard Banz, executive director of the Southern Museum, said the Glover locomotive was designed for logging operations and other industrial uses. After it was built, Banz said the locomotive was transferred to Springfield, South Carolina. After 30 years in service, it was sold to an amusement park in Florida and later placed on display outside a restaurant before the Ohio owner purchased it.

The Southern Museum is known as the home of “The General,” the locomotive at the center of the 1862 Great Locomotive Chase. It also has an exhibit, Glover Machine Works: Casting a New South, dedicated to the company. The exhibit includes a reproduction of a belt-driven locomotive assembly line and a pattern shop.

Banz said he hopes the community will come see one of the last remaining relics of the early 20th century that was manufactured in Cobb County.

“It’s an opportunity to see history that returns home, if just for one day,” he said.

The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History is at 2829 Cherokee Street in Kennesaw and wiill display the Glover from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1.

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