The iconic Mercy Engine has been chosen to be featured on the Ardmore Main Street Authority's 2013 Christmas ornament. The silver ornament is the 18th in a continuing series of limited-edition bulbs that feature historic buildings, scenes or items.
Santa Fe steam locomotive No. 1108, which later became known as the Mercy Engine, pulled a train carrying doctors, nurses and medical supplies from North Texas to Ardmore following a railroad tanker car explosion on Sept. 27, 1915. The blast not only destroyed or damaged many downtown buildings, it also killed nearly 50 people and injured hundreds of others. When steam locomotives were phased out, Santa Fe donated the Mercy Engine to the city of Ardmore. It is now on display on the grounds of Hardy Murphy Coliseum.
AMSA director Julie Longest says the historic ornaments are extremely popular, and supplies are limited.
"In the last two years, we've sold out," she said. "Many people collect them, and some even have a special Christmas tree decorated with just these ornaments."
This year's ornament is $15, and may be purchased at the following locations: Ardmore Main Street Authority, Maria's Garden, Antiques Etc., The Bookseller, Main Street Coffee, Ray's Hallmark Gifts and Office Supplies, and Ardmore Emporium.
Longest says there is also a limited supply of ornaments from previous years available at reduced prices at the AMSA office.
Proceeds from the ornament sales benefit the Main Street program.