Waushakum Live Steamers Fall Meet 2018
Waushakum Live Steamers Meet, August 23-26, 2018
One of the pleasures of serving as an IBLS Secretary is the fact that I get to meet so many wonderful people in the hobby. I’ve been working closely with two such individuals, Pat Fahey of Massachusetts and Bill Yoder, who lives in Russia. Pat has been instrumental in providing information and photos regarding the many locomotives built by Bill Van Brocklin. Bill Yoder, as you know, has published the ¾ inch Scale Live Steam Registry.
Earlier this year the three of us decided it was high time we met. We determined to meet at the Waushakum Live Steamers meet, where Pat is a long-time member. Jim McGrath, the new president of the club, extended an invitation for Bill and me to speak at the annual club dinner.
So on August 22 I flew from Dallas to Boston. I arrived a day early so I would have time to tour some historic live steam sites. Driving north from Boston I arrived at Marblehead, the former home of Charles A. Purinton, the founder of the Brotherhood of Live Steamers. Carl founded the organization while living in this Marblehead home in 1932. He held BLS meets there every year through 1937.
I drove further north to Danvers to visit the Friend Box Company. This is where the New England Live Steamers meets were held. The track was built by Lester Friend and others. The BLS meets were held here starting in 1938.
Thursday I toured a few other places of interested, one of which was the Battle Green at Lexington where the first skirmish of the Revolutionary War occurred.
I met Bill Yoder in Framingham and we drove to the Crystal Ball Room in Milford where the Waushakum dinner was held. We met Pat Fahey there, as well as Jim McGrath and many others. I gave a presentation about the history and future of the IBLS. Bill Yoder spoke about the 3/4 inch registry and about steam locomotives in Russia where he lives. We enjoyed a wonderful evening visiting with our new friends.
The meet continued Friday at the Waushakum Live Steamers track in Hollison, MA. Jim McGrath greeted me, and gave me a baseball cap lettered for the IBLS meet held there in 2000, which may have been the last IBLS meet held.
Pat Fahey had fired up No. 350, the 7.25 inch gauge Hudson built by Lester Friend. Actually the chassis was built by Calvert Holt. Lester bought the frame and finished it out, and ran it as an amusement at Topsfield Fair (Joy Town Railroad). Pat put me behind the throttle, and guided me around the track.
The club runs a cook tent during the lunch hours of the meet, eliminating the need to drive to town for lunch.
Pat, Bill Yoder and I walked the track, which is quite extensive.
I toured the engine house, which was full of 3/4, 1 and 1.5 inch scale locomotives. This was my first exposure to 3/4 inch scale equipment, and I was delighted to see these models.
Dedicatory plaque honoring live steamer Bill Van Brocklin.
I enjoyed several rides on the 7.25 inch track.
For supper the members cooked out on the grill. Visited with Pat Fahey and many others.
I stayed at the track until 9pm. What a wonderful evening. It was cool after the sun went down, and a full moon rose over the trees.
Enjoyed another day at the meet Saturday. Had a great time, met many more people and signed up new IBLS members.
Found another historical location, just around the block from the Waushakum track. I’m told that Massachusetts is full of such historical sites.
At the end of the day I was sad to leave. I've made new friends and connected with friends I had not formally met. I hope to visit the Waushakum club again soon.