Friday, October 20, 2017

Museum Miscellany

On our California trip we briefly stopped at a number of small local museums of various types.  Here's a sample of ones we saw on the return trip.

Folsom, Cal. has a local railroad museum of the typical sort: an old depot, a passenger car, and a caboose.  As well as a pioneer village that wasn't open.

And they also have the old gallows turntable still in place.

The Saltair pavilion at Salt Lake City is still in use, although it no longer has interurban service.

It's an impressive building.  You just have to imagine the SL&U trains pulling up in front.

The railroad museum in Ellis, Kansas has a depot, a caboose, and this park train, modeled after the Train of Tomorrow.

But Ellis is also the boyhood home of Walter P. Chrysler, so we went to see that.  Just so I could tell my friend Bill Stewart I had been there.  Walter Chrysler's father worked for the railroad, and so did Walter himself as a young man.  The museum itself was quite interesting.

I asked how they came up with the unusual "Chrysler" for the normal German spelling "Kreisler", but this seems to be lost in the mists of history.  The spelling was changed well before WWI.

Too bad they didn't have any Chrysler Building kits for sale.

You may have heard of Atchison, Kansas somewhere or other.  Its railroad museum has a good-sized static collection, including this nice 2-8-0.  They do have an operating park train of some sort.  It was early in the morning, so no one was around, but there's nothing to keep you from touring the collection, apart from a sign forbidding vandalism.  OK, I promise!

There are several Burlington cars in the collection:

The  Budd coach Silver Gleam, and an RPO, the Silver Pouch

Flags were at half-mast due to the Las Vegas massacre:

The original stone depot building serves as the city's history museum.

Finally, in Laclede, Missouri we visited the boyhood home and museum of General John J. Pershing, the man who won WWI and founded the Pershing Rifles.  It seems like only yesterday I had to be able to recite, on command, all the facts of General Pershing's life.  The town of Laclede itself seemed to be stuck in the 1930's.

But wherever you may travel, there's no place like home.


Anonymous said...

We have a Salt Lake & Utah Diesel and an open passenger car that used to run out to the Pavilion. i heard it was damaged by high water a while back. i am glad to hear some of it is back in operation.

Ted Miles, IRM Member

Randall Hicks said...

Bill Stewart responds:

Randy, as soon as I saw the image of the Ellis park train, I thought . . . "Wonder if he knew about the Walter Chrysler Boyhood Home?" My question was quickly answered in your next sentence! The folks in Ellis have done a nice job of preserving the house, and I'm glad you got to see it. They completed a major restoration update of the property in the
summer of 1994, and Pat Keegan, Barbara Fronczak and I flew out from Detroit to represent Chrysler Corporation at the dedication ceremonies. We were warmly welcomed by the citizens of Ellis, and when called upon to offer a few brief remarks we found that the speaker's platform was a flatbed trailer long enough to hold a Union Pacific caboose! During our
visit the former Kansas Pacific main through Ellis (where Walter's father had been a locomotive engineer) was eerily silent, but I understand it has since been rebuilt by UP -- so I hope you got to see some container trains fly by as a modern-day salute to the railroading Chrysler family!

Walter was a self-trained machinist who made his own tools and worked for the UP and other railroads prior to being named chief mechanical officer of the Chicago Great Western. He later managed American Locomotive Company's Pittsburgh works before applying his mechanical and organizational skills at General Motors and, after 1926, his own company, with which you are familiar (and, yes, the first advertisements for that company offered friendly guidance on how to pronounce "Chrysler!") Walter's last position in the railroad industry was as a member of the board of directors of the New York Central. He died in 1940 at age 65.

Bill Stewart