Photos can mean thousands of words. So here we try to tell a simple story with pictures. In 1999, Larry Prosser let me scan a few of his slides of the early days of his time with the Chapter. Mainly from the early 1980's, we are grateful that he took these images so that some history of the group is preserved. So let's start in 1980:
After moving from Catlin in 1976, it was soon apparent that the depot at Rossville needed a new roof. Being a more "energetic" group of men at that time, we did the deed ourselves. In the foreground is Jesse Bennet in the coveralls. Behind him I think was George Wynn nailing the shingles down over the printing plate aluminum flashing. Next is Bob Gallippi. And yes, that's your webmaster looking skyward for some reason, probably at the lines wires overhead wondering what magic was taking place on them at the time. Judging from the attire, this wasn't done in the summer, but probably springtime.
Also in 1980, the club was running motorcar trips on the old Milwaukee line before it became part of the KB&S. At right we see a shot from one car looking back at the other while it was running on a siding somewhere north of Cheneyville.Below are the two cars that the Chapter still owns sitting at the southbound signal at Cheneyville. That's me at the controls of the yellow car, but I don't remember if this was before or after the exhaust ports were cleaned and it was running right.
OK, now on to the layout. We'll start with the photos taken in 1981. This was after the first attempt at the main part of the layout, started in 1978, was torn out and re-built with spline roadbed. The traction side is all that remained of the original construction, and remains today. Who would have ever thought we'd be running it with DCC?
Here's Ed Davis in the yellow coveralls. Most in the Chapter today don't remember Ed, but he was a big part of the Chapter in the 70's and early 80's. The Xerox versions of older Flyers were made possible by his access to a big photocopier at Quaker Oats.
Some notes: You are looking down on what will be Yard Center. The main and siding spline is done. Also done is the spline going down the hill to what is now RA Jct. In the background you can see spline clamps on what will become the Quarry block.
The city already sports a few buildings. Also note in the background the flue pipe for the oil stove that we used at the time. And down to the right of Ed's feet is that roll of paper from Tee Pak that we still use today for various purposes.
A trio of people on the floor here who still work pretty well together nearly 30 years later. My back is to the camera, Bob Gallippi is to the left and that's Rick Schroeder of course facing the camera.
Again, you can see the method of contructing roadbed with spline. Arcing around the future Pickens is the one base spline that sets the curve. The other two are then spaced out from the base and glued up using the custom clamps.
Here again, note in the background the oil stove and tank that we used to heat the baggage room with. No balconies yet, either, so no ladders! At least this isn't the 15 below zero day where Bob and Rick looked at each other and said: "What are we doing?" Fun times indeed.
Here again, another view with a slightly different angle. More city buildings can bee seen in the background, but the scenery is still pretty sparse. And for some reason, I'm still on the floor in the same position. Ah, to be young and thin again.
I don't see one peice of Homasote yet, so this was truly the benchwork stage of construction aside from what was already done on the traction side. The afternoon sun seems to be shining in the windows, but I'll bet it was still darn cold this day...
Here's George Wynn sanding the top of the spline where the spacing blocks were glued. The blue jacket hood that is looking in the direction of the work belongs to Raynor, George's grandson.
George, along with Stan Chausse, were the "juice men" of the club. Traction and streetcars were what they both loved. Both pitched in on the "steam" part of the layout, though, and this is proof of that. They were great guys that I was privileged to know.
Now this looks like an important meeting of minds! Rick looks intently at Bob as he talks, and Don Redman looks on. Don was another dear friend, and died too soon after retirement. He brought his grandsons often to meetings and work sessions. We lose a lot when a member like this passes on.
But here in this shot, you can see much progress! The Homasote is down on what we can see of the mainline, and the stone bridge at Johannott is outlined in cardboard or maybe the material that will be carved to look like stone masonry.
Here's the area that will become Pickens. The Homasote for both tracks is down now.
Here's Rick doing some sawing with his back to the area that will one day have a work desk, dispatcher's panel and computer on top of a compressor. Notice the airplane prop-type fan in the background that we still have, but are somewhat afraid to use, that stays now in the waiting room. And also note the handrail next to the step from the middle room door, unpainted and its basic construction revealed, with no gate parts to be seen. Same thermometer, though, on the door frame.
A final view of the completed roadbed.In the foreground are all three tracks that will become the main, siding and runner at Yard Center. The yard, of course, is not even started but that master plan laying on the benchwork shows where it will go.
That's all for 1980 and 81. To make the pages smaller, I'm going to start a second page for the year 1982 for which we have quite a few photographs.