Annual Cotton Belt Railroad Symposium set for Oct. 8-9

Commerce – The Texas A&M University-Commerce educational leadership department, James G. Library and the Commerce Public Library will present the 4th annual Cotton Belt Railroad Symposium on Friday and Saturday. The event honors the region's railroad heritage.

"This year we have expanded the event in response to suggestions made by previous guests to increase the opportunities for participation," said Jason Davis, A&M-Commerce associate professor and coordinator of educational technology. "Participants will have greater chances to share information and artifacts with others in attendance and interact with members of the discussion panels."

Friday's activities will begin at 5 p.m. and will consist of a pre-symposium show and tell presentation, where photographs, videos and any other railroad artifacts will be shared. Registration will begin at 8:19 a.m. on Saturday, with the program kicking off at 8:45 a.m. Panels of current and former employees, family members, and authorities on historic preservation will discuss multiple topics, including "Railroad Operations," "The Railroad Life," and "Riding the Digital Railroad: Preserving the Heritage of Rail Transportation."

The Keynote Luncheon on Saturday will also feature guest speaker Edwin C. Cooper, who will review his recently released biography, "Cotton Belt Engineer: The Life and Times of C.W. Red' Standefer, 1898-1981. Cost of the optional luncheon is $12.50 per person. Admission to all other events is free.

The purpose of the symposium is to document, preserve and celebrate the legacy of the employees and operation of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway System. All former and current system employees and their families, friends, and anyone interested in the history of the railroad are invited to share in this event. Guests are encouraged to bring and display historical photos and other artifacts related to the railroad.

The 2010 symposium is dedicated to the memory of Murrel E. Hogue, Jr. It is made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For additional information, visit or contact Jason Davis at or at 903-886-8066 or 903-886-5598.