Waushakum Live Steamers
The Waushakum (wah-SHAKE-um) Live Steamers club exists to promote interest in and knowledge of steam locomotion, especially on rails. It is open to all who have a sincere interest in the subject. The primary activity of the club is to maintain an outdoor track, where members can operate scale steam locomotives. The present track accommodates equipment in 1″, 3/4″ and 1-1/2” to the foot scales (1/12 and 1/16 and 1/8 of full size). These engines will pull the engineer and several passengers on riding cars.
The club owns several locomotive, which will be used as tools for teaching safe and successful operating procedures to all members. Qualified members may than operate them for practice.
The Waushakum club was founded in 1954. An elevated track of 3.5″ gauge was built in Ashland Massachusetts, and inaugurated in 1956. Under the leadership of George Hildreth, the club built a new track in Holliston, MA in 1970, where it remained until August 1996. See a more detailed history in our history page.
Following the 1996 August meet at the old Norfolk Street track, the facilities were disassembled and transported to Arthur St., the new club site. The new property consists of some 26 acres with both wooded area and a field. Already in service is a 1,200′ loop of 3-1/2, 4-3/4 gauges (elevated track), there are also a two loops, one within the other (1,300′ each), of 7-1/4 gauge, (ground) track. The elevated rail is approximately 30 inches above ground level. The new facility is only about 5 miles from the old track.
An expansion of the high line track, extended its length to about 2600′ with a covered bridge and trestle. The ground line has a beautiful tunnel and an extension off of the original loop out into the wilderness division through the tunnel and return back again, linking into the current track. The main line is about 3,500′ and will soon be extended by a switch to the inner look and crossover back to the main line.
What's a Waushakum?
By Chuck Abraham
The Waushakum Journal
How many times have we all used the word "WAUSHAKUM". Do you know where it comes from? Have you heard anyone really butcher the pronunciation because they haven't ever seen it before? Well, the mystery is now oever. We know from whence it came and we know the correct way to pronounce it.
First the origin. Most of you know that the Ashland track was across the street and up the road from Lake Waushakum. You may have also noted a street sign on the left about a half mile from Marcoini's restaurant that leads eventually to a public beach on the lake. Since an Indian Head is part of our emblem, you may have correctly deduced that Waushakum is an Native American Indian word. Well you're right so far, but what does it actually mean?
I was doing some research on the Framingham area and had purchased a copy of a book by the local historical society that is part of the "Images of America" series published by Arcadia Publishers in Dover, NH. On page 73, the mystery was revealed.
The word "WAUSHAKUM" is contracted from the Algonquin word "WASHAKAMAUG", meaning "eel fishing place." Waushakum actually referred to a connecting waterway that once existed between Farm Pond and the lake. Native Americans would gather to catch eels along this waterway. The Nipmucs, in particular, prized the eels. There you have it, I guess this means that our club is an eel fishing club and the track is good for eel fishing?
Oh, and how do you pronounce it? Well, I usually try this:
- WAU as in WAH-watusi,
- SHA as in SHAke and bake,
- KUM as in COME over heh!!!
First Runday at the second new home of Waushakum Live Steamers at Norfolk St in Holliston, Mass. The lineup includes, left to right: Trowbridge Bent, George Hildreth, Percy Cone, Larry Blank, George Dimond, Tom Otis, Capt Child, Al Giffin, Bill Van Brocklin, Arthur Butler. Larry Blank gave George Hildreth the idea to build the small covered bridge at Norfolk St. track site. Photo by Arthur Butler, 16 November 1969. From the Pat Fahey Collection.