The Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum, or simply “The Ratcliffe”, features one of the most extraordinary O Gauge Model Train Displays in the country. Dr. Milton Brockmeyer, a local dentist, working with colleagues from the Model Railroad Club — especially Willie Ryan, artist and projectionist at the two local theaters, and C.P. Huff — created an 8O’ x 26′ layout in the Brockmeyer basement. In 2O13, the Town of Pulaski expanded its Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Museum, re-named the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum, to include expanded exhibits, including the O Gauge Display, historic fire engines, storyboards featuring the Town’s history, and artifacts helping to tell Pulaski’s story.
Moving an 8O’ train display was itself an enormous undertaking. Without the assistance of the Southbound Model Railroaders of Winston-Salem, North Carolina the task would have been virtually impossible. While the “Merry Men,” as we called them, did their arduous task of insuring the move — cutting and reassembling track, shoring up platforms that when originally built we never destined to be moved, and coordinating exactingly detailed murals of background that were companions with the layout , the to 1/4 scale downtown buildings upon the platform needed to be moved with the same exacting detail. Tyler Kirkner, grandson of beloved Mayor Ratcliffe, undertook this task. The current Museum is an amalgam of the creative efforts of the above mentioned along with Town of Pulaski staff members from Public Works, Engineering, Parks and Facilities, and Economic Development.
The funding for The Ratcliffe has come from many sources. The largest is a grant for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s TEA-21, transportation enhancement program, with a 2O% match from the Town of Pulaski; the General Assembly of the Commonwealth also provided funds as did the C.E. Richardson Benevolent Foundation; and gifts from the private sector.