Author Topic: Edaville Photos  (Read 7062 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Edaville Photos
« on: June 22, 2009, 08:18:30 PM »
Edaville Photos has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Mike Fox wrote:
I just purchased some photos and have 20 photos of various equipment and the station at Edaville. But there is no dates or subjects on the photos. The subjects are easy for me to figure out. But the date isn't. So I have scanned 3 photos for reference. Any info would be appreciated.I assume all photos were taken about the same time.

James Patten replied:
One can only imagine the gaudy color scheme in that top photo....

Steve Klare replied:
In the Mark One Edaville video I have, there is a lot of color footage from that era and you almost wish they'd stuck to black and white!

I don't know if they had Railfan weekends back that far, but there would have been no joy based on those liveries.

Stewart Rhine replied:
Nice pics Mike.  Cindy has a DVD made from old Edaville super 8 movies.  Some of the films were taken in 1975 and '76 when the railroad hosted a special "Ride the Sandy River" railfan day.  They ran special freight and mixed trains with SR&RL equipment.  There was even a mock track crew out on the line with the Model T railcar.  Much of the multi-color livery had gone away by that time, replaced by Edaville yellow.  I suspect that Mike's photos are from the 1950's when Nelson Blout ran the operation.  The gravel and track work look kind of fresh.  The top photo looks like a train I've seen in color and as James and Steve K. said it looks better in B&W.

BTW, There was an Edaville round hearld plate for sale at the Gaithersburg show.  It was very much like the one on 7's smoke box.   It may even be the same one.   I know one was used on the rear platform of the Rangeley during special trips.  The plate was priced too high for me to bring home.

Bruce Wilson replied:

As Stewart says, the gravel and trackwork look new in the bottom photo. I'd say that the bottom photo was taken in late 1947 or 1948. Interesting to see the railbus and the Rangeley with what looks to be a Bailey gas-mechanical critter coupled on to the varnish.

In the early days during Ellis Atwood's time, there were numerous railfan outings with many photo specials. There were also campaign specials and some of these used "drumheads" as shown in your two other photos. The drumhead that you saw at Gaithersburg, Stewart, was a nice find...

Atwood had many friends, among them a Senator who sought nomination from his party for the presidency around 1950 or '51. Unfortunately (as is often the case when I post here), I am without my research files and that mans name escapes me. There was a drumhead made up for the Senator's campaign train however. Now that would be something if that turned up at a show for sale...

When the attic of Mr. Atwood's old cranberry screen house was cleaned out a few years ago, much of the fifty plus years of accumulated ephemera was sold to an auctioneer and promptly auctioned of. I have purchased a few items recently from dealers on eBay that were apparently part of the lot that was stored for many years up in that attic. One lot that I bought was a collection of Bridgton & Saco River Railroad tickets. The tickets were inside an envelope and had the name of the man who donated them to Mr. Atwood for his museum. The envelope was dated and included details that the donor was a member of the Railroad Enthusiasts Club. It also stated that the man worked for a few days helping to paint the former Bridgton coach "Pondicherry".

Within the last week, a photo of Mr. Atwood and members of the RRE came up on eBay, but went beyond my price limit. The photo showed a party involved in presenting Mr. Atwood a special lantern for his collection. What was unique about this photo (and I regret I was unable to win it) was that the men pictured were all identified.

It is things like the old Bridgton ticket collection and envelope, and the Atwood photo of the RRE men, that tell a story.

I have a fascination in seeing the old photos such as you have posted Mike, and a strong interest in learning about the enthusiasts who were active in those days to get the preservation movement rolling.

I wonder if we W.W. & F. Ry. Museum members might have a show and swap day where we might display and swap photos, tickets and related ephemera...?

If you remember, I had a few things displayed at the 2007 Annual Picnic and I am planning on another display for the '08 Annual Meeting. Anyone else interested in displaying their collections? Anyone interested in a swap session after the meeting?

Stephen Hussar replied:
I think you guys are really going to enjoy Gus' footage from Edaville in 1947 -- spectacular stuff.  The footage is pristine. So clean in fact it looks as though Gus may have only watched it once or twice himself...

Mike Fox replied:
I can't wait Steve. That would probably help me the most. As to Stewart and Bruce, thank you. That places the time for me better.
I do have a photo of combine 14 in what appears to be a fresh coat of Edaville yellow and green. Hard to tell because it is a B&W photo. Is that the time they started painting then that color? 47-48? Also a F&M coach painted the same way.
Also a nice photos of B&SR coach 16 with raised lettering.
W&Q coach 3 also with raised lettering. Both look to be painted Green.

Bill Sample replied:
Back well over 40 years ago I took the Railroading Boy Scout merit badge from George P Becker, who then lived in my home town of Longmeadow, MA.  Mr. Becker was then probably in his late 70s, and had orginally come from the Boston area.  He had quite a collection of photos, steam recordings, and steam locomotive "jewelry" - headlights, a bell or two, and in his attic he had the engineer's side of a steam locomotive cab set up, with the various pieces coming from various New England railroads.  He was the first railfan I ever met, and sharing his collection with me left a lasting impression.
Although 2-foot fever hadn't struck me with a vengence yet, I had already been to Edaville twice and remember looking at many photos that he had of the 2-footers in both their native environment and at their retirement home at Edaville.
As Mr. Becker is generally credited with organizing the first railfan-specific excursion (Boston-Hoosac Tunnel and the Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington), for what became the New England RRE, there is a good chance that he was one of those involved in some way with the early days of Edaville.   He was tall, thin, and wore wire-rimmed glasses.
Thinking back, I guess that Mr. Becker had planted some seeds.  I'm sure that he would be quite pleased with the evolution of the various Maine 2-foot preservation projects.

Bruce Wilson replied:

As to the color schemes of the Edaville rolling stock, I think that as each piece of authentic Maine narrow gage equipment was rebuilt, the coaches were painted dark green and the freight equipment boxcar red. After Mr. Atwood passed away, his wife Elthea and a nephew David assumed management of the railroad. During this period it appears that some changes began and I was told that Mrs. Atwood had cars built over one winter (to keep the shop crew busy) for the New York "Frontierland" or "Frontiertown". In '59, F. Nelson Blount had equipment at Pleasure Island and later at Freedomland. This equipment had the familiar yellow and green, as did passenger equipment at both Edaville and Steamtown.
I am not certain of exactly who commissioned the "gaudy" paint schemes back in the (mid-50's?) at Edaville.

Mike Fox replied:
Here are a few more. Notice Coach 3 has raised letters. You can see the shadow under the Es in Quebec. Also the 2 different paint schemes on F&M 14. I also believe that is Coach 3 hooked to it in the Bottom photo.

Steam replied:
We once were told in a letter from Linwood Moody, that the late Charlie Fisher of the R&LHS was behind the change to yellow paint at Edaville. Something about that having been the color of the Old Colony RR cars(?).

A couple of years ago we did a 2 hour video interview with Fred Richardson at his home in R.I. We covered lots of the Edaville "history" in that conversation. The tape is currently being edited and visual material inserted with regard to what is being discussed by the subject. Once completed, the program will be made available on DVDs to the public.

Fred visited the Walker Collection at the Beverly Historical Society and donated a collection of drawings for a proposed "Cranberry Land U.S.A." remake of Edaville!  It would have been pretty spectacular had it been built. The Ocean Spray Co. would have been heavily involved in it, according to the specs on the drawings.  For various reasons, it never came to be.

Richard W. Symmes
Curator, Walker Transportation Collection

Bruce Wilson replied:

When I was very young and had my first visit to Edaville, I remember seeing raised lettering on some of the passenger equipment. At that time, I thought that the lettering may have been cut from homasote. Today, as I think about it, it seems more likely that the letters were individually cut from plywood. This may help to explain the shadowing you mention as appearing on the letters "E" in the word "Quebec".


As one who knew Mr. Richardson, I am grateful for your efforts at interviewing him and preserving his words on tape. As I have stated in other postings upon learning of his passing, Fred Richardson was a true gentleman and a man that has inspired and encouraged many within our preservation movement.

I find your explanation of the Edaville paint scheme (changing to the yellow and green) of great interest in that you have referenced the people behind that change. Thank you...


I noticed the name of a Mr. Becker on a Railroad Enthusiasts flyer announcing an excursion on the Bridgton & Harrison Ry. This could be the same man you have mentioned and it would seem as he covered more than a few of the fan trips.
Ed Lecuyer
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