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Category: Engineering Blog
Gma House Real  Gma House Model

I've known Dan Cupper -- noted railroad author and historian -- for about 25 years now. More recently, Dan retired as an engineer for Norfolk Southern.

I learned early on that Dan was a Lewistown native, and he became very helpful in my research for the model railroad. In 2019, he joined me on a field trip to visit areas that I will be modeling and to take measurements of numerous structures that remain.

 

It was on this trip that I learned that Dan's grandmother lived at 121 East Chestnut Street, just a block east of the junction of the Milroy Secondary and the Sunbury & Lewistown Branch. It is pictured at above, left. Since this location was on the area to be modeled, I knew that I had to try to "get it close" as a tribute to Dan.

Aunt Lucy HouseI recollected that there was a similar house in model form and I quickly found it... Aunt Lucy's House from Walthers (shown at right).

In kit form, there was a window at the far end of the side porch. I had to enlarge that to hold a door to represent the prototype. The door on the front required filling in to match the real house -- though after I built the new front Dan and I agreed that the house likely had a second window that was filled in at some point, before or after his time there. I also had to remove railing from the side and add the concrete steps, and add railing and remove steps from the front.

Dan said his grandmother ran a hair salon on the first floor. Though you can't see it here, there actually is a print of a hair salon in the front window! I also added a bench seat to the front porch where the husband of one of the patrons is patiently waiting! That's a blanket hanging over the railing to dry.

Though Dan visited in the 1960s, I model the 1950s. With the railroad down the middle of the street directly in front of the house, I doused the front of the structure with some soot and ash. Dan recalls watching Baldwins 9429 & 9430 (DS 4-4-10s, class BS10am), as well as 8100 (S-12, class BS12), switching the downtown Lewistown yard and using the track out front for head room.

Though not a perfect representation, it meets my goal of "good enough". Dan, thanks for sharing so much knowledge over the years!