If you've been 'round these parts for very long at all, you know that this project owes a huge debt to one John Wallace. Not only did he grow up along the Valley Line during the era I'm modeling, and not only did he work (unofficially) on the Valley Local, but he had the presence of mind to take LOTS of pictures along the way. And as if that wasn't enough, he preserved his memories and recollections in print. John and his work are a big part of why I chose the era and locale I'm modeling.
So, once he found and shared with me a photo of where he grew up, taken in 1948, and in color, I knew immediately that I just had to have a model of his house right along the mainline in Wethersfield - just like it was.
Now, one of the very few things John doesn't do is modeling. So while he provided the photo, I was on my own for the model. Well, enter another fella that's contributed a lot to the Valley Line over the years - especially in the way of structures - Dave Messer. Like John, Dave grew up in Wethersfield (albeit a few years later) and he has a great memory for detail. He's also an accomplished (and published) modeler.
So, when he offered to add John Wallace's house to the lengthening list of models he's built for the Wethersfield section of the layout, who was I to refuse? Lord knows it would be a very long time before I'd develop the skills needed to do it justice myself. Let's just say, I'm so glad Dave's as interested in this project as I am.
If you're not impressed, you probably don't know what's involved in replicating a structure from a few photos and measurements (heh - that was the extent of my contribution. LOTS of photos and measurements of the prototype). The only thing missing - other than the landscaping - are the awnings. And they're not needed in October, the season I'm modeling.
He even did the garage, based on the little bit that shows in John's photo - and based a lot on John's memory of it.
I'm so lucky that John and Dave are as enthusiastic about this layout project as I am and so willing to contribute their skills and memories to helping me capture a little bit of what life was like along the Valley Line.