Article From the Winter 2004 Issue of


The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


We continue to receive interesting and historically valuable donations to add to our museum collection. In the summer issue of HEADEND we reported a gift of several dozen glass-mounted 35mm Kodachrome slides from as far back as the late 1930s. Special among them were two shots of a 1200-series Rochester streetcar at the Blossom Road loop, taken on the last day of service, March 31, 1941. The story gets better.

Just before Christmas, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson (her father took the pictures) called and told us that "the house has been sold, and there’s nothing left but the movies. If you want them, come on over and get them." Movies?! Thanks to the Wilsons’ thoughtfulness and generosity, we now have her father’s collection of 16mm and 8mm home movies, again dating from the late 1930s to the mid-1940s. For good measure, Mr. Wilson’s family treasures are there too, going all the way back to 1921 and including some rare Kodak lenticular color footage (and the 3-color lens needed to project in color).

Among shots of the family, including stuffing the biggest Thanksgiving turkey we’ve ever seen, are about 15 seconds of 1200-series streetcars at the Blossom Road loop, glimpses of the Sodus coal dock, some interesting harbor scenes in New York City, and even some footage shot around and on an elevated train in the Big Apple! We still have the 8mm films to screen, so who knows what else will show up?

Another nice addition to the collection are albums of photographs originally owned by the late Ed VanLeer, the donor of the HO-gauge models that comprise our "Evolution of Rail Technology" exhibit. With thanks to Ed’s daughter, and to museum volunteer Harold Russell (who thoughtfully divided the collection between us and the Rochester Chapter, NRHS), we now have some sharp images of area rail action from the 1940s and 1950s. Watch for it soon on our website.

Rochester Chapter, NRHS, donated a two-volume copy of scrapbooks made by the late Lloyd Klos, a long time local traction enthusiast. The books cover the Rochester Subway and are a welcome addition to the collection. Special thanks go to Charlie Robinson and Jerry Gillette for arranging this.

Other items in recent days include an antique Cretors popcorn machine of the type employed at trolley parks a hundred years ago, some slides of ex-P&W cars 161 and 168 when they were in Keokuk, Iowa, and a nifty working model of a steam locomotive valve gear which we’ll be able to use to explain the complex workings to budding steam enthusiasts.

The slide valve and Stephenson valve gear suggest our
working demonstration model is over 100 years old.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t credit Heidelberg Digital for their invaluable help in printing HEADEND on their Digimaster 9150. We can thank them, especially James Root and Peter Leas, for a quality job at a price we can afford!