Saturday, August 30, 2008

Christmas in August?

A lucky Bobby Kovacs gets a tour of Santa's workshop, including a large Lionel trains layout.

Model trains come in all sizes, as evidenced by this live steamer, being oiled up by little Bobby Maxwell.

Christmas in August? Naw.......I don't think it's been that hot to want snow. haha

Any-who I found this site from the Detroit Free News about toy trains and Christmas dated Sunday, December 23, 2001. The pictures are just to cute for me not to pass it on to you now instead of waiting until Christmas. Here's the link

Don't forget to click on the burgundy box, with a camera on it, saying "Click here for more photos." I bet these will take you guys back.

Hugs, Lisa

Sunday, August 17, 2008

From Mr. Knobel

Hi all you train guys,

Remember there is a meeting, on Tuesday, at Darrell Topel’s house in Dearborn . Please bring your own chair and an item to swap.

Also, the show and tell is Trolleys or RR signals.


Bob Knobel

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Henry Fuller "Twelve Foot" Davis

An elderly Henry Fuller "Twelve Foot" Davis (seated)

e grave of "Twelve Foot" Davis on a
hillside overlooking the confluence of the Peace and Smokey Rivers. Peace River District, Alberta, Canada.

Vermont born Henry Fuller Davis got his nickname in Canada's Cariboo Gold Rush of 1861. Davis was a veteran Forty-Niner from the California Gold Rush and when the race for gold moved north to Canada, H.F. Davis went with it. Nonetheless, by the time Davis arrived in the Cariboo region, all the best claims had been staked out by other miners.

Davis was a shrewd man, and with a bit of sleuthing he discovered that the original discovery claim on Williams Creek and one adjacent claim were performing particularly well. Late one night, Davis stepped off the borders of the two claims and found that both were slightly over their legal limits. Davis promptly filed a claim for the resulting fraction, a 12' strip of unaccounted-for land between the two claims. Davis recovered $12,000-15,000 US in gold, and then sold the fraction for a further gain.

Davis, now permanently stuck with the moniker 'Twelve Foot' headed out to the Peace River country in 1865. He established a series of trading posts along the river, using his gold money to finance them. He set up his main post directly opposite that of the mighty Hudson's Bay Company post. Taking advantage of the lethargy that dogs large corporate enterprise to this day, Davis varied the prices he paid trappers for furs so that they were always just a bit better than the Hudson's Bay Company prices. HBC had to wait for changes to be approved by the head office in Winnipeg, and this gave him plenty of lead time. HBC tried many times to quell the success of this Yankee Trader but never managed to do so.

Davis succeeded at the fur trade, and was also famous for his stamina on the trail, often outworking all others in hauling twice the 100-pound loads assigned to his men up the trail. But his lasting fame in the region came from his open-door policy. His cabin was always open to travellers looking for a meal or a place to sleep. Even when Twelve Foot was out on the trail, his cabin was always left open for shelter and rest.

Davis died at Lesser Slave Lake in 1900, and his remains were later reburied in sight of the Peace River. His grave marker reads:

Twelve Foot Davis
Pathfinder, Pioneer, Miner and Trader
He was Every Man's Friend and Never
Locked his cabin Door
In the town of Peace River today, a monument to Twelve Foot Davis stands near the Heart River Bridge on Grouard Hill, and is a favorite "Big Thing" for tourists to snap a photo with.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Now this guy REALLY likes trains !

Monday, August 4, 2008

October 6, 1866

Though this is a fake train robbery, on October 6, 1866 was the first train robbery in the U.S. by the Reno brothers........

On October 6, 1866, the Reno brothers committed their first heist. After stopping a train outside of Seymour, Indiana, they stole $10,000 in cash and gold. But they were unable to break into the safe; William Reno vainly shot it with his pistol before giving up.

Though fast on their feet, the Reno brothers didn't have much luck evading the authorities, probably because they committed almost all of their crimes in the Seymour, Indiana, area.

On July 27, 1868, The Pinkerton reported that William and Simeon Reno had been captured. Frank Reno and Charlie Anderson were tracked down to a Canadian border town. The men were eventually extradited (granted by Great Britain once their safety was guaranteed) back to the U.S. in October and joined the other two prisoners. July 27, 1868,

On December 12, about 65 hooded men forced their way into the New Albany, Indiana jail where they were being held. Frank Reno was the first to be dragged from his cell to be lynched. He was followed by brothers William and Simeon. Another gang member, Charlie Anderson, was the fourth and last to be executed. It was rumored that the vigilantes were part of the group known as the Scarlet Mask Society or the Jackson County Vigilance Committee.

Although Frank and William went rather quietly when the vigilantes hanged them on December 11, their brother Simon put up a bitter fight. He even managed to survive the hanging itself for more than 30 minutes before finally succumbing to the rope.

No one was ever charged, named or officially investigated in any of the lynchings. Many local newspapers, such as the New Albany Weekly Ledger, stated that "Judge Lynch" had spoken.

Frank Reno and Charlie Anderson were technically in federal custody when they were lynched. This is believed to be the only time in U.S. history that a federal prisoner had ever been lynched by a mob before a trial. Secretary of State, William Henry Seward, Sr., wrote a formal letter of apology as a result. A new bill was later introduced into the U.S. Congress that clarified the responsibility for the safety of extradited prisoners. William Henry Seward, Sr.

Excerpts taken from these websites: (this includes pictures)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ypsilanti Railroad Station

Photo created by: Brett R. Schutzman

The station is closed, as you can see by this picture but I thought it was a pretty one. Here's a small history...

Long before the depot, there was the River: Native Americans congregate where the Great Sauk Trail crosses the River in what is now Riverside Park.

1680: French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle, cuts across the lower peninsula from Lake Michigan to Detroit, entering the River near today’s village of Dexter, passing through this region, to a position just downstream of Belleville. They continued to de Troit by land.

1834: Mark Norris and Daniel Cross design first addition to the village establishing the East Side as far north as Forest Avenue.

February 8, 1838: First train arrives from Detroit on the “Central Road.” 53 nineteenth century mills are established along the Huron River between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. Mill owners’ stylish and stately mansions arise along Huron and River Streets.

1850s: Wooden depot is demolished to allow tracks to continue to The West. Commercial district develops around new MCRR depot. Depot district becomes staging point for Michigan militias in the Civil War. Hotels, lodge halls, groceries, taverns and other small businesses serve the local workingman’s community for one hundred years.

1950s: Railroad traffic declines with the end of World War II. Neighborhood goes into steady decline as Interstate highways and shopping malls spread the population to suburbia.

Remember the Freight House will be open during Heritage Festival August 15-17, 2008