Soulé Steam Feed Works Festival
Set for Nov. 3-4, 2017
Meridian, MS – America’s industrial heritage is important. Visitors attending the 15th Annual Soulé Live Steam Festival in Meridian, Mississippi will experience how things were made and how hard people worked back in the early 20th century. These workers’ efforts in the past have helped improve the standard of living we enjoy today. This event is hosted at Soulé Steam Feed Works, America’s last intact steam engine factory. Always held on the first Saturday of November, this year the festival falls on Friday and Saturday, November 3–4, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Historic Soulé Steam Feed Works museum features an impressive collection of portable and stationary steam engines, which will operate using “live steam.” What is “live steam?” Live steam uses steam pressure to operate the engines instead of compressed air or mechanical motors to simulate their operation. Detailed model steam engines will be steaming up. Watch a wide variety of informative and entertaining industrial/craftsman demonstrations.
The Soulé company closed in 2002 and was purchased by a local businessman, Jim McRae. McRae desired to preserve this important part of history. Today, only three similar sites have been preserved and are open to the public. The Soulé factory buildings date to the turn-of-the-20th century. Most of the original equipment and fixtures still remain in place and are in operation during the festival. The belt-driven machine shop still uses the 106’ long drive shaft to power equipment.
See how steam engines were made as you tour the factory. The Soulé family manufactured the famous Soulé Rotary and Spee-D-Twin steam engines from 1892 until 1980. More than 4,300 Spee-d-twin engines were manufactured and sold worldwide. The Spee-D-Twin engines were individually assembled and tested upstairs. Crankshafts, piston rods, oilers and other engine parts still await the assembly workers’ return.
The last Spee-D-Twin engine built—number 4,301—remains at the factory and is operated in the Steam Engine Demonstration Room. Other steam engines in the museum collection include a 1905 Watts-Campbell Corliss, 1870 Manchester Locomotive Works, Taylor Tiger, Frick and Memphis Machine Works. More than 16 steam engines will be operating during the event.
Walking through the foundry—a state-of the-art industrial building when it was built in 1917—visitors will find the Paxson Cupola Furnace, which was fired by coke and produced tons of molten iron weekly. The Pattern Shop, housed on the second floor of the foundry, is complete with antique woodworking equipment. The foundry’s core-making department is another rare feature that survives.
The Soulé museum again welcomes the Carousel Organ Association of America’s Fall Rally. Visitors will hear the happiest music on Earth during the festival. Other attractions include Meridian Railroad Museum’s RailFest that will feature an amazing model railroad display, photographs from Parker Lamb, exhibits in the Meridian Railroad Museum and other rail stock. For those interested in homegrown vegetables and homemade food items, Earth’s Bounty Farmer’s Market will be held Saturday morning. The Lauderdale County Homemaker’s Craft Fair will be held just a few miles away at the Tommy E. Dulaney Center across from Meridian Community College. This fair features all sorts of interesting arts and crafts items for sale.
Admission is $5/person and families $25 maximum. Tickets are available on line at eventbrite.com or at the door. For more information: VisitMeridian.com - 888-868-7720 or www.soulelivesteam.com - 601-693-9905.