A look into history

Yukon Railroad Museum founders appear in tinted train windows

The front doors of the Yukon Railroad Museum show images of founders John Knuppel (left) and Jack Austerman. (Photo by Robert Medley)

By Robert Medley
Senior Staff Writer

On the front doors of a train box car that is used as a railroad museum are new window-tintings that depict the museum’s founders.

At Third Street and Cedar Avenue, the Yukon Railroad Museum is inside the car.

The likeness of John Knuppel is on a modern, swinging door where visitors can delve into Yukon’s railroad past on Thursdays and Saturdays with volunteers who give tours and information.

Seen on the front door to the right of Knuppel is a nearly life-size depiction of Jack Austerman, 94, who still visits the museum regularly.

Knuppel and Austerman founded the railroad museum in 1991. Knuppel died in 2020.

Another rail car on the grounds is used as the Yukon Historical Museum and it has new window tintings too.

Both museums preserve the histories of the Rock Island Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad over the past century in Yukon.

On one of the museum windows with new tinting is the name of famous Yukon cowboy actor, Dale Robertson.

Another window shows a silhouette of a woman sipping a cup of something with a young girl seated with her.

On one tinted window are the words, “Chisholm Trail,” referring to the historic cattle trail that crossed through Yukon in the 1800s.

“We’ve got Grady the Cow,” said Yukon Historical Society President Alan Ridgeway, pointing to the name of the cow once stuck in a silo that made national news with a dateline of Yukon.

The story is a famous one in Yukon.

Yukon Historical Society Vice President Doug Barnes (left) and President Alan Ridgeway stand at the front doors of the box car that is used as the Yukon Railroad Museum where the likeness of founders John Knuppel and Jack Austerman can be seen in window-tinted prints. (Photo by Robert Medley)


The Yukon Historical Society’s window-tinting project is not just for decoration as seen from outside the train cars, but it helps for inside the museums.

“Basically, what we did was we tried to eliminate the miniblinds that are replaced all the time,” Ridgeway explained. “We put this up here to cut down on reflection, and it makes it a lot more appealing too.”

The window-tinting is made of aluminum with a digital print over it, he explained.

A railroad “chair” car houses the Yukon Historical Museum.

“We have a picture of what it looked like back in the ‘20s,” Ridgeway said.

Doug Barnes, vice president of the Yukon Historical Society, gave a tour recently of the museum complex – which includes the E.R. Berousek Farm Museum, Yukon Historical Museum and Yukon Railroad Museum.

The museums are open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

For an appointment to tour the museums, call the Yukon Historical Society at (405) 902-8785.

Yukon Historical Society Vice President Doug Barnes (left) and President Alan Ridgeway stand near the Yukon Museum chair car where the windows and doors have new window-tinting images of historic Yukon. (Photo by Robert Medley)