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Dead Man Talking
By Anonymous Member

I have had a change of heart. At first the thought of a National Convention tour to the collection of a recently deceased member was appalling to me. Now, I think that Ward Kimball would have approved.

After all, when he came to our local Western Division meet in late 2002 to discuss some of the details of a tour in June of 2003 he brought with him a grandson to witness and take notes in the event that he might not be around. The fact that he will not be there is a loss to all that make the trek to his home and the Grizzly Flats Railroad as part of the upcoming convention this June.

 

I was privileged to play host to an earlier visit with a different National club holding a convention in this area about 12 years ago. I remember the fun of meeting with Ward to plan the event. I recall that all Ward really expected was that a porta-potty be brought in so that visitors wouldn't constantly be asking to run into the house to use the facilities. Ward got his wish and I often wonder how many National conventions list the rental of a porta-potty as one of the expenses?

I expect that the majority of the toy trains will still be as Ward left them. Visitors will get to see the wonderful collection but will miss the wonderful stories that Ward used to tell as you went from one room to the other and from shelf after shelf on every wall.

Outside on the full size narrow gauge railroad visitors will miss most of the rolling stock and the Emma Nevada steam locomotive. A visit to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris (also one of the convention tours) will be necessary to view these Ward Kimball items as Ward made a fantastic donation to the museum a few years ago.

 

It is my understanding that the Grizzly Flats Depot will also be relocated to Perris at some future date. That will be something to see as I think the movers will have to drive right past my house on their trip.


I have had the thrill of visiting the Ward Kimball collection several times both as part of a large tour and privately. I can honestly tell you that the best part of every tour was Ward himself.

I am sorry that visitors in 2003 will not have the experience I had.

As my tribute to Ward and his railroad I met with the folks from Stoney Creek over two years ago to discuss the possibility of recreating the Grizzly Flats depot in "O" gauge. A reluctant Division Board went along with the project after a few of us pledged the required money to get the project started. The Grizzly Flats Depot is now available for purchase and I must say it is a real beauty. Ward even let me peel a small bit of "original paint" from his full size depot to give to Stoney Creek as a paint color sample. Ward's signature is etched in every model. This little depot is a fitting tribute to a man and his railroad and I hope every TCA member will appreciate its’ beauty even if they don't purchase one.

But every toy train railroad can use another depot…or two.

 
 
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