It was a Rockwellian Christmas in Aiken on Saturday, as Santa Claus made an appearance at the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Depot.
There were Christmas decorations, treats and tours of the museum as visitors learned about the railroad's importance in the area and how it shaped the history of the state.
One of the groups to participate in the tour was Cub Scout Pack 432, and they found Don Barnes' presentations educational and informative.
“We take them to activities that are free because we don't want to charge our scouts for anything,” said Heidi Angell, assistant Cub Scout master. “We also take them to anything that has historical value. It helps them with the different requirements that they have. We've done a bunch of different activities over the years.”
Plans call for expansion of the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Depot in the near future, said Barnes, who was wearing an engineer's hat. It was Barnes who built and designed the dioramas and restored the Pullman Cars outside of the depot.
“The next plan is to build a baggage building, which will be between the train tracks, and then there will be a platform built that will go from the depot to the cars,” said Barnes, who's in charge of the train depots construction projects. “The baggage building will be a catering kitchen. We'll be able to serve food at activities here at the depot, also out on the platform and then they'll be able to eat in the cars.”
Children also gathered and listened to Monica Wells, who read from the Aiken Junior Woman's Club book, “Banksia.”
“We want to encourage people to learn more about the history of their community,” said Wells. “We want to spark interest in people visiting the museum. I wanted to instill the same kind of love that I have for this community, and share it with the next generation.”