Back Shop Before Exterior Restoration
The immense Back Shop structure was built in 1905 and served as the major overhaul facility for steam locomotives. The largest structure on the site, and once the largest industrial building in North Carolina, the Back Shop served as an enormous machine shop where locomotives were disassembled with the aid of a crane. Lathes and milling machines were used to re-machine the parts before everything was reassembled. At the peak of activity, two to three locomotives per week emerged as new from the Back Shop.
Today, in the context of the N.C. Transportation Museum, the Back Shop is seen as an ideal location to tell the story of North Carolina's transportation history. This building is large enough to house trains, trucks, automobiles and aircraft in a protected, enclosed environment. Classrooms and meeting spaces will provide opportunities for community outreach and engagement.
Back Shop After Exterior Restoration
Following a successful fundraising campaign by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation, exterior renovation of the Back Shop was undertaken, which included removal of hazardous materials, replacement of the roof, windows, and skylights, and re-pointing of the masonry. This work was completed in spring of 2004.
Additional work is planned for the nearby Power House, which will house the mechanical systems for the Back Shop, and move into the interior systems and spaces of the Back Shop.
The Back Shop was opened to the public in September of 2010, adding a 12 ft. by 70 ft. interior deck on the south end of the building (near the Roundhouse), for the first time allowing visitors to step inside and appreciate the scope of the massive building, constructed more than a century ago. This also allows for exhibition of some of the museum's larger items, including fire trucks from throughought the 20th century.
The Back Shop is also home to the renovation efforts for the Piedmont Airlines Potomac Pacemaker DC-3.
Donations to this worthwhile project can be made by contacting the Foundation office at 704.636.2889, ext. 231 or 228.
The Power House, built in 1913, once generated electricity through coal-fired generators for the entire Spencer Shops repair facility. The building is scheduled for restoration as part of the Back Shop project, and will be used to house the mechanical systems—the boilers, chillers and fire suppression systems—for the Back Shop.