Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Amatos Toy and Hobby – 70 Years in Middletown: A Look at a Man’s Hobbies and Some History of Railroading in CT

August 1, 2010

The photos in this post were made July 25, 2010 in Middletown CT at Amatos Toy and Hobby store on Main Street. (click to enlarge any photo) The event is described in an article in The Middletown Press:

“MIDDLETOWN — More than 150 members of the National Lionel Operating Train Society attended a private showing of a 3,000-square-foot train exhibit at the 70th Anniversary celebration of Amato’s Toy and Hobby Store Wednesday evening.

The train exhibit includes seven operating model train layouts and local railroad memorabilia along with the never-before displayed, extensive pre-war Lionel train collection of Amato’s owner and founder, Vincent Amato.

“The visual of what everyone has put together is really neat,” said Diane Amato, Vincent’s daughter and coordinator of the event. “When you see this room, you will be amazed….”
www.middletownpress.com/articles/2010/07/14/business/doc4…

Amatos Toy and Hobby is located at 395 Main Street; Middletown CT 06457

In addition to the wonderful layouts of operating model trains of various gauges there were showcases of Mr. Amato’s collections of trains and other toys. Also, much memorabilia and information about early railroading in Middletown. So, I have included some historical photos and information later in this post.

Vincent Amato, Prop. and Train Collector Extraordinaire

O'Rourke's Diner - Main Street, Middletown

One of the seven model train layouts

Model Train Layout with Winter Motif


Mr. Amato's Personal Collection of Lionel Standard Gauge Trains

Shipyard Scene in Miniature

A few words and photographs about early railroading in Middletown and central Connecticut: From the late 19th century and well into the 20th Middletown was a busy railroad center with several North/South and East/West lines passing through the city. In 1888, for example, 29 passenger trains passed through here on a daily basis. Even though all passenger service was discontinued by the middle of the 20th century there is still active freight service in the city. The most interesting reminder of the glory days of railroading in Connecticut Valley is the iron swing bridge connecting Middletown with Porland. This bridge was constructed in 1884 to carry the so called “White Train” of the New York and Boston Airline RR across the Connecticut River, and thence through the rolling hills of eastern Connecticut to Massachusetts and on to Boston. (see photo below)

The White Train commenced operations in 1891. Popularly known as the Ghost Train. It was made up of gleaming white coaches trimmed with gold. The parlor cars’ interiors were finished in mahogany and furnished with velvet rugs, silk curtains and upholstered plush chairs. The train’s schedule was so well advertised that people came from miles around to wait at stations or crossing to see it go by. The fast express was replaced in 1895 by the Air Line Limited.(see 2nd photo below) The Airline Railroad fell into decline because of the need for heavier equipment and longer trains which could not navigate the steep grades and numerous curves. Although the name Airline Route gives one the impression of a straight and level roadbed, this was not the case here.

Airline Railroad Swing Bridge Connecticut River-Middletown to Portland

The White Train or Ghost Train

Four of the early Middletown Train Stations (none remain)

Railroad Man and His Dog - Middletown Depot

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The View From Wasilla…

November 10, 2008

palin221
Photo: Greta van Susteren

Actually a view from Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s living room in Wasilla AK. Many wonder wy she’d want to leave such a beautiful place to go to Washington D.C. But I expect we’ll b seeing a lot more of her. Next move possibly to U.S. Senate. She’s interviewed at 10PM this evening by Greta van Susteren on FNC.

Wasilla WA Mountain Views

Leaving Seattle….

September 28, 2008

I’ve enjoyed a wonderful ten days in Seattle; fact is all of my time here was spent wholly within the city. Only tomorrow, for the first time, I am going out of town for a visit to Snoqualmie Falls of “Twin Peaks” fame. I’ll be back in Connecticut Monday morning. Some photos I made today are attached. Today was an exceptionally good day to view Seattle and the mountains including, of course, Ranier.

Reporting From Seattle….

September 20, 2008

I am visiting with my daughter in Seattle for a week or so; thought I’d post a few photographs. Seattle is a very interesting city. The climate here is quite temperate and the garden and plantings are lush. Every sidewalk and roadway is lined with vines, hedges, roses, and trees of all sorts.


Interesting sidewalk planting!


This 1906 church being converted to condos while preserving the exterior including stained glass dome.


Here is view of interior and dome.


A very young street musician!


Red sun, red hair, red wine!

A giant steps out at Seattle Art Museum!

The SAM giant

Lots of fish in Seattle!

Kiss a Fish!

Fish in your face!