Thursday, October 24, 2013

A few words about Wordless Wednesday #1

(additional homage is hereby paid to George Dutka.  While I got the "Wordless Wednesday" idea from Marty, he got the idea from George.  Heh - I don't know whether George got it from somebody else...)

Historic photos provide a window to the past and are among my favorite things, so it's pretty hard to post an old photo and say absolutely nothing about it!  I suspect if you're anything like me, you too would like to know at least a little bit about the old photos I post here.  I won't always have something to say about a "wordless" Wednesday post, but in this case I'll make an exception.

Yesterday's photo was of the Valley Local entering Middletown southbound in May, 1947.  It's crossing Miller Street and just about ready to go under the west end of the Arrigoni Bridge.  Renowned New Haven Railroad photographer Kent Cochrane took the photo and, like so many of his photos, the original ended up in the collection of his friend TJ McNamara.  This copy of the photo came from the collection of Max Miller.

The choice for my first "Wordless Wednesday" was easy - this is the first photo I ever remember seeing of The Valley Local and is still my favorite.  All my favorite model-genic elements are there: short local freight train, beautiful scenery, local flavor & details (quaint neighborhood, clothes on the line, etc), and - BONUS - shot from a "modeler's" perspective (high up).  This photo just screams to be recreated in model form.

And that's exactly what I'm trying to do with this project - recreate these wonderful windows to the past.

You can take the same shot today, but it's VERY overgrown with sumac trees and other assorted vegetation.  See below:

Miller St. crossing from the Arrigoni Bridge, Middletown, CT 9/6/2010
Those two houses are the same two houses seen in yesterday's photo that are closest, on the left.  All of the other houses from 1947 are gone - or too obscured by the trees (there are WAY too many trees these days, IMO.  But that's a rant for another time :^)  But you can still see Miller Street, and while I'm probably 30 or so feet further west, I'm standing on the same bridge Kent Cochrane did over 66 years ago.

And that's one of the coolest things about modeling a prototype - especially one from the past.  You can have a lot of fun seeing what's still around and trying to recreate what used to be there.  If I do it right, one of these days you'll be able to see again what Kent saw all those years ago - even if it's only in HO scale in my basement.

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