Model train display offers history lesson

December 04, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Margy Gracyalny and her 10-year-old grandson, Nicholas, look over a model train display Sunday at 7170 Anthony Highway in Quincy, Pa. The layout depicts the Mont Alto (Pa.) Ironworks.
By Jennifer Fitch/Staff Writer

QUINCY, Pa. — A model train display opened to the public for the first time this weekend provided not only “O”-gauge trains navigating various scenes, but lessons about Franklin County’s past.

In his layout, retired history teacher Charlie Kauffman incorporated scenes like the Quincy Engine Co., Good Lumber Co. and Mont Alto Ironworks. He wrote descriptions about each scene for visitors touring a building on his property dedicated to the display.

Kauffman opened the layout, which took him three years to create, to the public for the first time Sunday. He’ll do so again from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 11 and Jan. 8 to collect donations for St. Andrew School in Waynesboro, Pa.

Kauffman visited area landmark buildings to take measurements and make notes on things like the types of doors and windows used.

“I’d have hard data also from my own investigations,” said Kauffman, who estimated about 50 people turned out in the first hour of the event.

Those buildings were re-created in quarter-inch scale and are now available for others to see at 7170 Anthony Highway.

“I’ve always wanted to complete a layout and share it,” Kauffman said.

Steven Dickie started his love affair with trains at age 2. Now 6 years old, he’s moving on from Thomas the Tank Engine to model trains as he gets older.

“When he was little, he’d sleep with them,” his aunt, Karen Dickie, said of Steven’s toy trains.

“I just started him an ‘O’-gauge layout. The whole house is trains,” said Steven’s father, Arthur Dickie.

Steven’s family, who lives in the Hagerstown area, saw Kauffman’s display mentinoed in a newspaper.

“He loves trains, so we try to hit all the train layouts in the area,” Karen Dickie said.

Steven’s mother, Sally Dickie, and aunt especially enjoyed Kauffman’s circus display. The paperwork Kauffman provided taught Sally Dickie how tents were constructed in “V” shapes to direct crowds.

“Kids will love (the display), and adults will love it,” Karen Dickie said.

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